Supermom, Frozen Meat, and a Flashback from the Seventies

Do you remember the TV show The Brady Bunch?  One of the bedrocks of this blended family of six was Alice—the somewhat wacky, miracle working, never-complaining, housekeeper/cook/home manager extraordinaire.  Dinner was always on the table, the house was always clean, and it seemed like the laundry and the grocery shopping was perpetually done.

I don’t know or have an Alice in my life.

For many women, the hardest part of the day is the transition between work and home or the pre-dinner hours. Everyone’s tired, many are stressed, and often we (and those we are interacting with) are HUNGRY.  I’ll be honest.  As much as I love to come home at the end of the day, I dread walking in the door and immediately being thrown the question,    ”What’s for dinner Mom?” Life would be easier if I always had a plan (or had Alice), but that’s not real life.

I like to cook and I love good tasting food. But after a long day, and facing four very different sets of preferences, food aversions and opinions, creating a meal that’s healthy and will win positive reviews is a daunting task.  Sometimes it’s just too tempting (and easy) to order carry-out.  But the truth is, that’s not what I want, it’s not what we need, and I like to have other options.

Last week, I came home in that exhausted frame of mind but determined to persevere.  I WOULD create a healthy meal my family would love—or enjoy anyway. And in thirty minutes, I actually did it. It definitely wasn’t a gourmet meal, but, my kitchen smelled like a blast from my childhood and I had a balanced meal of pretty-healthy-comfort-food-from-the-past. Can you blame me if I use my blog to take a bow and tell you that I succeeded?

The recipe is nothing fancy and easy to replicate. It’s not the seafood and grilled vegetable experience that I love, but that’s another post and a different kind of evening.

Because I know I’m not alone in the “I-wish-I-had-an-Alice-from-the-Brady Bunch-who-had-dinner-waiting-club, I’ll share my retro recipe here. This is what I made with a pound of frozen ground turkey I found in the freezer.  I added a salad and put some fruit on the table and called it good.  Can you believe my family of he-man eaters are asking me to make this again?

Secretly Healthy Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground turkey
1 ¾  cups shredded cabbage
1 medium onion chopped
1/3 cup red pepper chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (or some other white vinegar)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard (the condiment, not the spice)
½ teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Put a very little olive oil in the bottom of a large pan and brown the ground turkey (I started with a frozen brick), cabbage, onion, and red pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.  Drain (if necessary). Stir in remaining ingredients.  Simmer for ten minutes until cabbage is tender (it disappears—my picky eaters didn’t even know it was there).  Serve on buns. Makes 6-8 Sloppy Joes.

I know Alice probably isn’t standing by in your kitchen either, so let’s form a support group–a Too Much On Her Plate Alice-Never-Lived-Here Dinner Club. Please leave a comment and share—what’s your fallback reasonably healthy (and satisfying) dinner?

Take good care,


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