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Melissa Joan Hart’s Go-To Quick Dinner Is a Recipe Passed Down From Her Mom

If you turned on the TV sometime during the ’90s, there’s a pretty good chance you would see Melissa Joan Hart. Hart was the queen of ’90s television, starring in shows like Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. More recently, you’ve probably seen Hart in movies like A Very Nutty Christmas or Dear Christmas but when she’s not working on the next big holiday hit she’s a busy mom and who appreciates the importance of an easy 20-minute meal.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Melissa Joan Hart recently and we chatted all about recipes, new year’s resolutions and of course, our favorite ’90s TV shows.

SheKnows: I think we can all agree that 2021 is off to a wild start. How are you coping? Do you and your kids have any kind of self-care routines that keep you grounded during these turbulent times?

Melissa Joan Hart: It’s been a crazy year for sure but I think we’ve been able to cope by learning to respect each other’s space more and I’m trying to teach my kids to take care of our home more and be a bigger part of the family. Trying to teach my boys to do their own laundry. That would be great if they could learn that. It’s also nice to be able to get space apart and come together as a family later. Especially at dinner, we come together to watch a TV show or eat dinner or go on a walk with the dogs – a lot of neighbors joined us which was nice. We called it the Corona Crawl – we had this loop on our block that we did for 52 nights straight. People were so desperate for some comradery and fellowship so they would come out and walk their dogs beside us.

SK: Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? If so, how are they going?

MJH: I actually decided this wasn’t the year to make resolutions and probably the first year I haven’t made a solid resolution. I would say that I’m just working on my patience with my kids and being kinder to my husband.

SK: With so many things going on in the world today a lot of us are feeling very nostalgic for simpler times. We’re all wishing we could turn back the clock to the 90s, put on an episode of Clarissa Explains It All and kickback and relax. What are some of the things from the 90s you miss the most?

MJH: Funny enough, I have been on a journey to try to get the kids to watch a TV show with us after dinner. I’ve wanted to sit down with them the way I used to with my family and discuss a show. We just started The Wonder Years and I’m looking forward to not just binging shows but watching them as a family and having a discussion. I use it as an opportunity to rewatch shows I haven’t watched in forever.

SK: Have your kids watched Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Melissa & Joey? Are they big fans of the series?

MJH: Not at all. They do not like anything that mom has to do with. I tried to get them to watch Holiday In Handcuffs but they showed no interest. Like most moms, I am uncool to them.

SK: Have you been trying any fun new recipes during quarantine?

MJH: I have been playing around with different shrimp dishes because the whole family likes shrimp and it’s a good way to get protein and they all like it. I like to do lemon, spices, garlic and play around with the different flavors and throw it on top of pasta.

SK: Do your kids like to help you cook?

MJH: They like to prepare their own foods and by prepare, I mean open up some Lunchables. They reach in the fridge and grab their Lunchables and enjoy it anywhere in the house.

SK: What’s your go-to lunch for you and your kids?

MJH: For the kids, it’s definitely Lunchables. The little one likes the pizza and all three of them like the turkey and cheddar. Like most moms, I eat whatever they don’t eat! I like to snack for lunch and grab something quick unless we can go back to the days when we could grab lunch with colleagues or friends. I miss date lunches with my husband but mostly I just like to snack for lunch now.

SK: Do you have a favorite 20-minute meal?

MJH: I’m actually really good at making large portions of food like casseroles. My specialty is lasagna. I usually make three or four lasagnas at a time. When we moved from Connecticut to Nashville, I accidentally left the whole lasagna in the freezer. I’ve gotten good at my mom’s lasagna recipe and I can whip that up quick. One in the oven and one in the freezer for later.

SK: What’s the strangest ingredient we would find in your cabinets or pantry?

MJH: Seaweed. My little one likes seaweed. The freeze-dried seaweed. It’s really just him who likes it. I’m happy to give him something green.

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