5 Easy Weeknight Meals
Brooklyn chef Chris Scott shares simple, family-friendly recipes.
Back to school means back to routines that help kids succeed, like monitoring their homework and getting them to bed at a reasonable hour. Chef Chris Scott believes in another routine: introducing kids to the kitchen.
Scott, 44, is co-founder of Brooklyn Commune, a café and market in Brooklyn, N.Y. He and his wife, Eugenie Woo, began the venture in late 2010 to foster community around good food. The café is a hot spot for busy families who stop in to eat wholesome sandwiches and salads at large communal tables, pick up containers of homemade soup and granola to go, or get involved in community events such as planting a vegetable garden at a local women's shelter.
Teaching Kids to Cook
Dad to daughters Elana, 15, and Pearl, 10, Scott also leads monthly cooking classes for local kids ages 9 to 15. "We teach them fundamentals, like how to make rice, how to roast a chicken," he says. He remembers the pride he felt when he learned to make scrambled eggs as a child and wants more kids to have that experience. "The simpler it is, the more comfortable they feel," he says. "I want to give them the confidence to go home and try cooking for their friends and family."
Scott cut his teeth in various restaurant kitchens in Philadelphia and then trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Recently, he's shown off his skills as a contestant on the Food Network's Chopped. But his passion is sharing the joys of food and cooking with young people.
Kids who are proficient in the kitchen are less likely to fear vegetables or new ingredients, Scott says, and "can begin to enjoy healthy, delicious, natural foods. Not only that, they also develop a wonderful sense of community as they see the connection between the people who grow the food, those who prepare it, and those who sit at the table and share the meal." He says helping his grandmother slice apples for pie taught him about the power of food to bring people together.
To help bring your own family together this fall, Scott whipped up five simple recipes, one for each weeknight, made up of only five or six main ingredients. These dinner options not only taste great, but also are fun for young, aspiring chefs to make.
Mini Turkey Meatloaf
Makes 6 servings
½ cup onions, diced
½ cup celery, diced
1 lb lean ground turkey breast
½ cup nonfat sour cream
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme (optional)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup low-sodium, no-sugar-added ketchup
¼ cup molasses
1 cup balsamic vinegar