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Chef struggles with family dinner

    I've admitted this before, getting dinner on the table is one of my most difficult work/life challenges. But I take comfort in the fact that it's also difficult for a professional chef. Sarah Davidoff, owner of Fare to Remember Creative Catering in Coral Gables, FL, faces the challenge each night as a working mom and wife. Imagine coming home for work after cooking all day and ....cooking some more.

        We all know the downturn in the economy is changing the way working parents cook for the family because most of us are tightening our budgets. We're cutting back on buying prepared foods or take out. Of course, dinner is certainly more time consuming and tiring, adding to the daily stress.


   Davidoff (pictured) has some ideas for how to manage the process. Here are five    tips:

      * Plan out your menu for the week/ make a calendar in advance.

    * Cook in advance. Cook on the weekends for what you'll need during the week, or at least cut things up into portions.

      * Use leftovers for lunch and dinner the following day.
       * Fresh vegetables actually can be cheaper than frozen or canned if you cut up the portions and wrap the lefteovers.
     * Use less prepared products which can be 2 or 3 times as expensive compared to when you make it yourself. Even something as simple as chicken stock can be cooked at home and be a big cost savings.
       At my office, I suggested we share recipes for quick dinners. I also suggested rewarding employees during the holiday season by raffling off dinner to go. Has your business tried anything like this to help working parents get dinner on the table?