I’m SO excited that MOAT friend, prolific author and kitchen queen Jane Jarrell has given in to my coercion tactics and agreed to be our resident Foodie (yippee!). Not only will she share secrets and tips on bringing ease into your recip”ease”, but she’ll share some of her own super simple, time-saving meal ideas (that even a teen could throw together!).  Thanks, Jane! I can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve. You’re a dear to share with us.

… and thanks for walking the road with me.


As the fall schedules ramp up and we find ourselves clamoring in commutes and carpool lines it is imperative that we have our dinner dance down. Why? It smoothes the transition from day into night, it gives family a chance to debrief the day and it provides needed sustenance for making it to bedtime. > In short, it is my goal to get it together before we gather together. Here are five easy steps to keep the kettle on when time is short. 

  • Find the Fave-Five – These are the top five recipes you know your family will eat. This is your little black dress approach to meal planning. One dress, or one list, dozens of accessories, or sides that are mix and matchable. 
  • Create a “getting my grocery groove on” list extraordinaire – something that becomes a signature detailing ALL items you typically use in week. (I include paper products, personal items and cleaning potions.) Print this out and keep it handy to mark when you are out of something important. Your goal: Weekly trips to the grocery store, not numerous pop-ins for vital ingredients. 
  • Prior to your week; review the calendar =”-webkit-nbsp-mode: normal !important; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-top: 0px; word-wrap: normal !important;” xml:lang=”EN-US”> 

– Who must be where, when and how many activities conflict with dinner. Here is where you go easy on yourself. Schedule in a taco night, or take-home Chinese, or a pizza and movie night. No one enjoys a martyr mom when it comes to mealtime. 

  • When you shop, only add to your “getting my grocery groove on” master list just what you need to make your week of planned meals. On super busy nights plan simpler meals, see a few examples below. 
  • Take a peek in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry, see what’s missing and add it to the list. If you have time, do a quick clean out of the fridge, tossing anything that looks like a penicillin-growing Petri dish, or an alien life form.



What’s 4 Dinner? 

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Place a piece of flank steak in a Ziploc bag. Pour in a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette. Marinate all day. Grill until reaches your favorite steak color. Slice and serve on an onion bun with sweet potato fries and a crisp salad. 

Warm Corn Tortillas topped with guacamole and sliced grilled chicken. Cut bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes and toss with spicy vinaigrette. Sprinkle with lots of chopped cilantro. Place over chicken. Add a big splash of sour cream and a side of homemade salsa. (I love the fresh salsa from Central Market.) 



2 cups Panko, 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, salt and white pepper to taste. Place all in a Ziploc bag. Dip tilapia filets in 1 cup milk, remove, place in bag, and shake to coat. Heat olive oil, sauté filets until fork tender. Shred Napa cabbage, add carrots, and toss with vinaigrette. Top with cooked filet. 

Mother, wife, accomplished speaker and author on hospitality and parenting, Jane Jarrell uses wit, charm, and stories from her own life to teach women practical ideas and creative solutions for life. Jane loves sharing simple solutions for families with a humorous approach to life.

A former emcee for Southern Living Magazines Cooking shows, Jane has also written fourteen books and co-authored over 20 others, whose topics range from managing mid-life mommy-hood to ways to introduce simple hospitality to your home. As the founder and president of High Heels & Home Life, Jane loves sharing simple solutions for families with a humorous approach to life. She is a sought after speaker at national and regional conferences and within organizations and corporations across Texas.

In addition to her time with Southern Living, she has also worked for Neiman Marcus in advertising, and currently works as a food stylist and special contributor to the Dallas Morning News. Jane and her husband, Mark, have two children, Sarah and Luke, and reside in Texas.  For more information, please visit janejarrell.com


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