When Ketchup Becomes a Food Group

You’d think after 18 years as a professional chef preparing all kinds of food for thousands of people in countless settings, I’d find cooking for my family of four a breeze. Not so much. It’s hard to get inspired to cook dinner when a major criterion is that it has to taste good with ketchup. It can be daunting making meals three times every day that satisfy all of our taste buds and have nutritional value.

As long as my children start to melt down at five o’clock and spill every single beverage poured for them, I’ve decided not to prepare meals from scratch at dinnertime–it’s just too stressful. Instead, I cook dishes when everyone is happier and then serve them later on. In the morning, my kids sit at the cooking table and help prepare (and eat) the ingredients.

In an hour or two, I can make several plain dishes that will be dressed up quickly before a meal like:

  • Rice, pasta, and grains
  • Green salad
  • Steamed, saute ©ed, or roasted veggies
  • Baked yams and potatoes
  • Baked, grilled, or saute ©ed chicken or fish; lamb, beef, or turkey burgers; and fried seiten, tempeh, or tofu

At dinnertime, I’ll warm up a yummy sauce to pour over the pre-made food or to use as a dip–very popular with the little people. These two sauces are great for eaters of any age.

Soy Butter Glaze

Saute © two tablespoons chopped garlic with two sticks of butter in a small saucepan for three minutes. Stir in the juice from one lemon, 1/3 cup tamari, and two heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast (found in a health food store). Great on green veggies, grains, noodles, and protein.

Roasted Nut Sauce

Puree in a blender: two cups unsalted and roasted almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds with one cup washed and chopped fresh parsley, the juice of one lemon, 1/3 cup tamari, ¼ tsp cayenne, and as much water as is needed to make the sauce pourable. This is crazy good on steamed, saute ©ed, roasted, or stuffed veggies, grains, fish, meatballs, and burgers.

Sometimes I think about writing a cookbook for people with young kids, so challenging is it to continue to eat well at home as a parent (even when one of us is a professional chef!). I think I’ll call it “When Ketchup Becomes a Food Group.”

Featured Culinary Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America , Online (campus option available)
            • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
            • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
            • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
            • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
            • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            3 Program(s) Found
            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
            • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
            • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits