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NO. 1 DINNER CHALLENGE: GETTING IT READY FAST

What's the No. 1 problem people face at mealtime?

The survey says: getting dinner on the table quickly.Kraft surveyed 100 families in the metro Denver area about the joys of dinnertime. Second to the issue of time, the greatest challenge was dishing up a meal the whole family would eat.

With those two concerns in mind, Kraft developed a new dinner plan called Simple Answers. Carol Blindauer, a registered dietitian and division manager for Kraft Creative Kitchens, was in Denver to talk about the plan and the results of the survey.

Here's a condensed version of results. Margin of error is 6 percent.

- What three meals or main dishes do you prepare most often? 52 percent, chicken; 47 percent spaghetti and pasta; 25 percent hamburgers; 19 percent steak; 13 percent fish.

- Do you ever vary the ingredients in stand-by recipes? 63 percent, Yes; 37 percent, No.

- What percentage of the dinners you prepare are made with prepackaged foods? 75 percent or more of meals, 13 percent; 51 to 74 percent of meals, 5 percent; 25 to 50 percent of meals, 34 percent; 11 to 24 percent of meals, 11 percent; 0 to 10 percent of meals, 36 percent.

- What is your family's favorite ethnic cuisine? 38 percent, Mexican; 21 percent Italian; 16 percent Oriental.

- Which do you do most often? 69 percent, prepare own ethnic food; 31 percent, purchase carry-out.

- What's the biggest challenge you face in preparing the family meal? 41 percent, not enough time; 10 percent, picky eaters; 9 percent, no challenges; 3 percent, different schedules.

What's interesting, says Blindauer, "is how people are coping with the time pressure. They spend less than 30 minutes from the time they walk in the door to the time they get it on the table."

Most people don't plan ahead. "This is a decision that most people delay. They hate to spend time pondering it. It's when they have one hand on the refrigerator door and the kids are crying, they decide.

Respondents said they wanted recipes that used simple ingredients they had on hand from the cupboard, things kids would eat, little hands-on work, i.e., little chopping - and no fractions.

"They hated fractions; they like one jar, one pound, one onion."

Kraft has put together three recipes that fit the criteria. They'll send them to you by calling 1-800-547-3112.