Quick and simple dinners for work days

Linda Conway Eriksson - Contributing Columnist

People just don’t cook like they used to. Who has the time?

June Cleaver (Beaver’s mom on “Leave it to Beaver”) was the mom everybody wanted to be back in the 1950s. She was pretty and poised, ran a nearly perfect house, and managed to keep up with two sons and their goofy friends, all while maintaining her sense of humor. She set a lovely table every night, where her family gathered to consume a home-cooked meal (everybody actually sat down to eat) and happily discuss their day.

One thing that helped June maintain her sunny disposition while competently taking charge of things was the simple fact that she did not work outside her home. Things have changed.

If you work at a job other than keeping your own home (which most of us do) you know what I mean. It’s either load the slow cooker (aka crockpot), turn it on low and set the timer before you leave for work or plan to stop by a grocery store for a rotisserie chicken on the way home.

One or the other of these dandy methods produces my “go-to” quick meals many nights. It’s rare for us to go out for dinner at the end of a long work day and just a little planning ahead usually eliminates the need to.

One of my favorite hurry-up meals involves the aforementioned ready-made chicken with gravy you make from broth, a little flour and the drippings from said chicken; some really good store-bought mashed potatoes (thanks to Bob Evans); a fresh green salad that takes all of about two minutes to put together; and either cranberry sauce or applesauce. In the five minutes you have left before dinner, you can make a quick dessert to be sure things end on a sweet note (speaking of June Cleaver).

This is a quick and simple (but delicious) dessert that would make June proud.


1 ready-made Angel Food cake

1 quart fresh strawberries

1 10 ounce package of frozen strawberries with sugar

dash of vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut eight slices of Angel Food cake. Spread one side of cake lightly with butter. Place on a cookie sheet with buttered side up. Toast for 15 minutes just until top starts to brown a little. Remove cake slices from oven and allow to cool.

While cake is in the oven, rinse and slice fresh berries into a medium bowl. Defrost and add frozen strawberries. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Allow strawberries to stand while you eat dinner.

When ready to serve, place a slice of cake on a plate, top with strawberries, and enjoy.

Serves eight.


Linda Conway Eriksson

Contributing Columnist

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at lindaconwayeriksson@gmail.com.

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at lindaconwayeriksson@gmail.com.