Chicken Tacos _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Give Chicken Tacos a flavor change-up with teriyaki sauce.

Find ingredients you like. That’s the best start to any recipe.

I also happen to be a fan of anything easy, and that hasn’t changed throughout my cooking years. It’s one of the reasons many people like slow cooking. Most of its recipes are easy, taking away the stress of putting a meal on the table.

As families expand, ingredient likes and dislikes can be just as challenging as finding time to put those meals together. I tell young mothers to hang in there and try not to let mealtimes become too overwhelming. Try to settle on a consensus but encourage children to keep trying a certain food. Maybe they would like to try different seasoning on a given food. Invent recipes and let them name it.

Don’t like tacos? Maybe it’s the ground beef. Try it with pork or chicken. Taco sauce not to their liking? Try something completely different. Change, adapt and have fun in the kitchen. Mealtimes may have changed through the years, but the gathering of families together has not. Find a slice of time when everyone can be at the dinner table. If it’s just not a possibility some days, sit down with each child as they eat and find out about their day. A successful recipe is more than one’s likes or dislikes. It’s the gift of time, with food the vehicle through which the gift is delivered.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at