I would be lying if I said this will make your life easier. It will not. It will make your kitchen messier and take more time, but it may make your little (and big) ones consume more if they’re fussy eaters.

Older kids can make their own lunches from start to finish, and yes, that process should include putting dishes away. You can set up the menu and fridge lunch-box, or let them determine what they want. My daughters are now teenagers and enjoy putting together their own midday meals. And because grocery shopping is one of the few things they can do during quarantine, they also like trips to choose their own ingredients.

Bake cookies

With everything we have to do as parents during online schooling, baking Cookies may not seem like a smart move. It’s neither “lunch” nor “vegetables.” But the act of it can be therapeutic alone time or sweet family bonding time, and the result of it is a way to brighten kids’ “school” days. Cookies can’t replace classmates or teachers or recess (or lunch, I guess), but they can bring joy.


Time: 30 minutes

Yields: Serves 4 to 6

When angel hair cooks in tomato sauce, it soaks up its tangy taste [–] and cuts down on dishwashing. The broken noodles are first toasted in oil to give them a deep richness and to keep them from sticking together or becoming mushy. That means leftovers reheat beautifully. When eaten fresh out of the pan, the flavorful crust that develops on the bottom has a satisfying crackle.

1 pound angel hair pasta

3 tablespoons everyday extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 jar (24 ounces) marinara or other tomato sauce

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or tomato juice

Finely grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

1. Grab a small bundle of angel hair, hold it over a large bowl, and break into 1-inch pieces. Repeat with the remaining noodles.

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