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I often hear from women that the kitchen poses a problem for them. With many of us who are juggling careers and family, it's always a time sensitive issue. When do you shop, plan, cook, serve, and how do you keep it interesting?

Many years ago I had to simplify my kitchen to make it look more complex. Is this an oxymoron or what?

Let me explain. My husband's job required that we entertain often. I love having people in my house, therefore it was never an issue. The issue only presented itself when my significant other would call me at 5 p.m. profusely apologizing that we will have 10 people for dinner at 7 that evening. He would than usually add that the guests are Japanese, Taiwanese or visiting from somewhere in Europe.

The first couple of time were nothing less than stressful and challenging. Yes you can order take out, but you can never claim it your own. With different cultures that I was exposed to it was painfully obvious that when you invite people over for dinner they look forward to a home made meal. Besides, ordering out is pricey and unpredictable.

After several hick ups, I developed a pretty easy system that was implemented by me and passed down to my friends. Now with much experience I can easily serve gourmet dinner for 12 within 2 hours notice.

Here is how.

It's all in the ingredients. Most of us can cook up some kind of concoctions as long as we have the right produce in our refrigerator and kitchen cabinets. For those of us that were blessed with "Trader Joe's" a small chain that I watched grow nationally over the years, makes my life and the life of my friends much less hectic when it come to making a nice dinner.

The following is a list of ingredients that you will find in my kitchen at all times. 



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