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5 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Busy Parents

02/24/2015 10:26 am ET | Updated Apr 26, 2015
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Working parents have it tough. I have no earthly idea how it's possible to work 40+ hours a week, run errands, go to PTA meetings, put Band-Aids on boo-boos and prepare dinner for hungry families. But mom and dad are superhuman - and manage to fit more activity into one day than seems remotely reasonable. So here are five quick, easy international recipes that will hopefully have everyone around the dinner table chewing and murmuring appreciatively at your culinary prowess. A tip of the hat to mom and dad.

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After a long day at work, the last thing you want is a complex, time consuming and messy hour in the kitchen. These savory and hearty veggie-filled pork rolls are a total no-brainer. You'll have dinner on the table before SpongeBob SquarePants hits the second commercial break.
Total Cooking Time: 17 Minutes
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It's tough to get the kids to voluntarily eat their veggies. But trust me when I tell you these zucchini cakes have a flavor and texture that borders on meaty indeed. Aside from the zucchini, some leftover spaghetti sauce and grated Parmesan are about all you need to whip up a post-swim-meet Italian crowd-pleaser.
Total Cooking Time: 25 Minutes
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Yes - you could make a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese for dinner (confession: sometimes I like a little taste from the 'blue box'). But it doesn't take much more time to whip up a macaroni dish that is intense, hearty and nuanced. And the addition of soy sauce might have your future honor-student asking what umami is while (hopefully not) sticking macaroni in their nose.
Total Cooking Time: 27 Minutes
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Fish sticks get a bum rap. The school cafeteria version can only be made palatable if you drown them in enough ketchup or tartar sauce. These Thai fish sticks aren't breaded, but still turn out crunchy on the outside with an herbaceous, fluffy interior. A dunk in the punchy dipping sauce totally beats a ketchup packet!
Total Cooking Time: 21 Minutes
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Sometimes the kids just need a hearty snack, and you're out of Lunchables. Japanese rice balls have been a favorite of mine since I was wearing Hello Kitty pajamas. And with savory chicken, rice, carrots and ginger - that's a whole lot of food groups wrapped up in one delectable bite.
Total Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
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