Life is never too busy for a quick and easy dinner with the family

I am a big believer in dinner. I know that might sound silly, but it’s amazing how many people don’t sit down for dinner anymore. And since food and togetherness are big themes in Judaism, I like to think of sitting down with friends or family for dinner as kind of a mitzvah.

There are, however, good reasons that people aren’t always able to make dinner the relaxing ritual that it should be. Between work, driving the carpool, Hebrew school, soccer practice, music lessons and homework, taking the time to prepare a meal and then get the entire family in one room for it can be quite a challenge — let alone getting them all to eat something healthy. The solution is meals that require little time to prepare, are made from inexpensive, easily procurable ingredients, and taste good.

These are my picks for quick meals that bring everyone to the table. Life is hectic … but you might as well be well fed!


Pasta Primavera

Serves 4

1 lb. penne pasta

2 Tbs. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup frozen green peas

1 cup half-and-half

salt and pepper to taste

1 small bunch fresh basil, chopped

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions in salted water. Drain and set aside. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, watching carefully to avoid burning. Add broccoli and red pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add pasta and peas and stir gently to coat well with the olive oil. Add the half-and-half and stir as it thickens into a sauce. Season well with salt and pepper, stir in Parmesan and basil. Serve hot.


Grilled Sausages With Balsamic Cabbage and Apples

Serves 4

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 medium apples of any type, cored and sliced thinly

1 head red cabbage, cored and sliced thinly

4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

4 large, good-quality grilling sausages, sliced on the bias (I like chicken-apple or vegan sun-dried tomato)

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish

To make the cabbage, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the apple slices and cook for 2-3 minutes until they begin to brown. Add the cabbage and cook everything together for 7-8 minutes or until cabbage begins to soften. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the cabbage and toss well to coat (tongs work well for this). Allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the vinegar has been absorbed by the cabbage, apples and onions. Season well with salt and pepper.

To cook the sausages, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in a grill pan (or regular skillet) over high heat. Grill sausage slices 2-3 minutes on each side until the skin has caramelized and the inside is cooked.

To serve, heap a pile of the cabbage mixture on a plate and arrange grilled sausage slices atop. Garnish with a little fresh parsley. Buttered noodles make an excellent side for this recipe.

Gabi Moskowitz is the clergy assistant at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, a caterer and cooking teacher. Follow her adventures in and out of the kitchen in her blog,

Gabi Moskowitz
Gabi Moskowitz

Gabi Moskowitz is the co-author of “Hot Mess Kitchen” and the co-producer of “Young & Hungry,” a Freeform comedy currently in its fifth season. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Evan. She can be reached at