Truth: there are a few universal pain points every busy parent deals with no matter where you live or how many kids you have. The biggest for many of us? Mealtime! Food blogger and mom of three, Siri Daly can relate. Her popular food blog, Siriously Delicious and her new cookbook of the same name (it debuts this month) is devoted to simple recipes for the real home cook.

We recently spoke to Siri about how she makes dinnertime more enjoyable and less hectic, mealtime traditions she shares with her kids and husband, Carson Daly, and goods she always has in her pantry. Read on to hear from Siri and don’t forget to check out the recipes she shared with us.

Red Tricycle: Do you have any family rituals or traditions when it comes to mealtime?
Siri Daly: We try and sit down together almost every night, even if Carson and I end up eating a little later than the kids. Usually, we play some sort of game during dinner, favorites being 20 Questions or Telephone. Have you ever tried playing Telephone with a 3 year-old? It’s pretty comical.

RT: For parents pressed for time in the evenings (who isn’t?!), can you share any wisdom to make dinnertime more enjoyable and less hectic?
SD: Um, let them have ‘screen time’ while you’re cooking? KIDDING! (Sort of.) Planning ahead is key, if possible, and using any free time you have on the weekends to prep fruits and veggies will help when it comes time to cooking meals. I love simple recipes that involve one or two pots and that can be ready in 30 minutes or less. As far as the eating process, I find it’s more pleasant to sit at a table, away from any distractions like homework or television. Even if dinnertime goes by quickly, it’s important to pause for a bit to check in with each other.

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RT: Are your kids open to trying new foods and cuisines? Do you have any advice to parents whose kids may have a picky palate?
SD: Welllll, they are certainly getting better! My son, who is the oldest, is the most willing to try new things, so my advice is to be patient! If they are picky at a young age, their palates will develop with time. Also, as discouraging as it sometimes feels, it’s important to keep trying because they are always changing their minds. That said, in my experience, it never helps to force anything on them (or maybe I just gave birth to control freaks?) so again, patience is key. And when all else fails, I sneak veggies into their meals!

RT: What are 5 things you always have on-hand or in your pantry?
SD: Good olive oil, Sriracha sauce, a chunk of fresh Parmesan cheese, almonds, and spaghetti.

RT: What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?
SD: I love sushi, and the first time I went to Nobu in New York City with Carson was very memorable for a couple of reasons. First, as someone who was introduced to raw fish as a twenty-year-old…in WISCONSIN…eating the delicious cuisine in a big, coastal city was a real treat. Second, Carson and I had just started “crushing” on each other. Is that a thing people say? Anyway, the flirty vibe at dinner is always something I’ll remember, along with that first bite of crispy rice with spicy tuna and that first sip of a lychee martini.

RT: If you could eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be? How about your kids?
SD: Probably a perfectly prepared Spaghetti Carbonara with that delectable, creamy egg sauce and crispy pancetta. For my kids? Boxed Mac & Cheese!

Siri shared three recipes with Red Tricycle. Check them out here:

Perfect Banana Mini Muffins

Grilled Cheese Roll Up Dippers

Sneaky One Pot Mexican Pasta

 

 

Siri Daly was a television writer and producer before becoming a stay-at-home mom of three young kids. She started her popular food blog, Siriously Delicious, as a place to keep track of the recipes that worked for her continuously busy life. Married to Carson Daly, she is now a regular TODAY food contributor and resident comfort-food expert, often cooking on-air with her husband. They live in the greater New York area. For more of Siri’s wit and humor and a peek into her life as a busy mom, visit siriouslydelicious.blogspot.com.