Family Dinners in a Busy World: House of Bedlam


Now that school has officially begun so has sports season. Most families are racing to get one or, in many cases, multiple children to a soccer field, football practice, music class, or in our case, the ice rink. My oldest is on a travel team this year, and although I’m thrilled for him, it’s hard to be in two places at once, much less get dinner on the table. To him, hockey is more important than eating so it’s my mission to make sure our family dinners don’t become extinct. We’re still in training at House of Bedlam but here’s a few ideas we’ve come up with to save our family meal:

  • Invest in a Slow Cooker – while you’re out running around a slow cooker can be home making dinner, how convenient is that? Prepare ingredients the night before, put in slow cooker pot, refrigerate and in the morning just push a button. Eight hours later, dinner is served.
  • Weekend Marathon Cooking – spend a few hours on the weekend and prepare several meals that can be frozen or refrigerated and easily reheated. It might be the last thing you want to do on your day off but it will pay off when you don’t have to cook later in the week. See our easy make ahead meal below: Curry Chicken & Rice.
  • Double Duty – anytime you are making a sauce or soup, double the ingredients and reserve for another meal later in the week. Or put in zip lock bags, and keep stacked in freezer. If you’re cutting vegetables, cut extra, store in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days to reduce prep time for another recipe.
  • Stock the Pantry– for easy one pot meals keep canned goods, such as beans, diced tomatoes, and quick cooking pastas, such as cous cous.
  • Hire Help – make semi-homemade meals with a little help from your local market. Many stores now offer freshly prepared foods. Buy a few sides to add to a main course.
  • Turn Back the Clock– many of our sports practices start around the dinner hour. Instead of a snack after school, make dinner a half hour earlier for the whole family. This way your child is not running on empty when he’s trying to make that goal. Save the snack for after the game and have it be dessert. When we roll into the house late at night, dinner is already done and not a rush before homework and bedtime routines.
  • Make Your Own Fast Food – sometimes we don’t even get to come home between school and practice. On those nights, it gets tricky because I’m not crazy about my kids eating in the car. Prepare a few sandwiches and fruit the night before. If you’re already packing lunchboxes, just think of it as one more for that day. Put a few ice packs in a cooler and take it on the road.
  • No Mess, Keep it Simple – If you need to eat and run, stick with paper plates for a fast clean-up. While you’re packing the helmets, soccer balls, and bats in the car, have your kids dump their plates in the garbage and then go lace up the cleats!

Curry Chicken & Rice: House of Bedlam

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Curry Chicken & Rice: House of Bedlam


  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 lb. chicken cutlets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cups basmati rice, cooked


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour with the salt and pepper. Toss in the chicken and coat with the flour mixture.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes each side. Remove chicken and set aside.
  3. Add in remaining olive oil to skillet and saute garlic, onions, and zucchini until translucent, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add curry and cumin to the vegetables and cook for an additional minute. Pour in chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat, stir in coconut milk.
  5. Place the chicken back into the pan and toss to coat and cook for a few minutes to warm through. Serve immediately over rice. Or let cool completely and freeze.





About Author

House of Bedlam columnist, Elaine Studdert, started cooking later in life, after having her three children. At first it was a matter of necessity. Taking three kids under the age of three to a restaurant, was just not fun in any way shape or form. So she started cooking more and more at home. As time passed and her boys got older, it became more important to expose them to real food. She didn’t want to raise her kids on processed food and knew that starting them on healthy food early was the way to go. She blogs at House of Bedlam where she creates and tests recipes each week with her kids. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

1 Comment

  1. Looks good! I’ve got some coconut milk in the pantry waiting for a dish just like this! And great tips! Any recipe recommendations for slow cooking?

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