Many families struggle with this, and there is nothing wrong with that. I totally understand crazy schedules and that it doesn't always work for everyone to sit down together. But if we try to have a family dinner once or twice a week and make it a habit your family will truly grow closer and stronger and you will find your kids pushing for more family dinners.
"Our family time around the dinner table has provided healing balm for many such trying days. With the busy lives each of us leads, we’ve found that mealtime together has taken on added importance. President Spencer W. Kimball said: “It is important for us also to cultivate in our own family a sense that we belong together eternally, that whatever changes outside our home, there are fundamental aspects of our relationship which will never change” (“Ocean Currents and Family Influences,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 112–13). Despite differing circumstances, every family can make eating at least one meal together every day a family priority.
Mealtime conversations can be a genuine family lifeline to connect busy families swimming in a sea of hectic and conflicting schedules. A poll was taken by the Reader's Digest Magazine to determine what factors contributed most to a child's success in school. Surprisingly one thing they found was that 'students who who regularly shared mealtimes with their families tested better than those who didn't."'
- Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard
Try to make it your families goal to have regular family dinners, everyone eat the same meals, cook as well as clean together, and I promise you that your family will indeed grow closer together and everyone will look forward to mealtimes.
Course one easy way to get the whole family together for one meal is by making a delicious dinner..... LIKE THIS ONE!!!!!!
My roommates and I came up with this really cool cooking schedule where Monday- Thursday's we each take a turn making dinner for everyone then what ever is leftover goes to the person who made it. Friday's and Saturdays we make our own dinners and Sunday's we get together with a boy's dorm and do a community dinner. We all provide ingredient, girls cook, boys do the dishes- its a great plan in my book :) But anyone that knows me knows that I like to find a good deal and attempt to save money. (You see I love to spend money and somewhere in my mind I think that if I find good deals than it justifies all my spending- totally not how it works but that's what I like to think.) Anyways- I cook every Wednesday and I try to make BIG meals that I can eat off of for the rest of the week and sometimes even freeze for a later week. I found this yummy recipe and thought- Hey what can I loose, it's spaghetti, its cheap, I have the ingredients and it makes a lot. WELL WORTH IT!!!!!! This recipe will change anyone's views of spaghetti :)
(T-tablespoon t- teaspoon C.- cup)
1 T olive oil
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic or 1 1/2 T minced garlic
1/2 pound Italian Sausage or if you are cheap like me 2 cups diced
chicken, course ground beef would also work or you could
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes ( try and drain as much juice
as you can but a little juice is good)
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 T sugar
12 oz spaghetti or however much spaghetti you generally use for your
family, I did about 14 oz to really stretch out this recipe
Shredded Mozzarella, Cheddar or Colbie Cheese (approximately 1 1/2
cups but really its just preference)
So this recipe is totally one of those where you don't really have to follow the recipe. So just go for it and have fun with this, make it your own and experiment with it. But Ill tell you how I did it, because it was totally yummy
1. Start by preparing your spaghetti, I boil the water with a little oil and a dash of salt. garlic salt or dried basil. The oil helps the noodles not to stick together, the salt and basil is give a slight flavor to the pasta, wait till your water is at a rolling boil before you add the pasta. You also want to get your meat cooking, you want it completely cooked when you add it to your sauce.
2. Now to start on the sauce. Add your oil and garlic to a sauce pan heat this up on a medium- high heat while you dice your onions. Depending on how you like your onions we depend on how small you cut your onions, I like that little crunch so I do a medium dice. Once your oil is heated up dump in the onions. Cook over a medium-low heat till your onions are well cooked (almost transparent, this will take about 5-8 minutes) If you would like more veggies in your dish than now is the time to add it. Some canned corn, or black beans, diced peppers, carrots or even celery would be really good too! Take freedom with this add as much or as little veggies as you would like!
3. Now add your fully cooked meat, make sure it is cut into bite sized pieces. Then add the tomato paste slowly cook on a medium heat for about 2-3 minutes till the paste has completely warmed up and has turned a slightly darker color. (The darkening color just means it is warming up, nothing wrong with it.) If you added extra veggies to this recipe take your tomato paste can and fill 1/3- 1/2 way full of water then add this, this will help your sauce not be so super thick. Now add your diced or crushed tomatoes, salt and sugar. I know the recipe doesn't call for this but this is where I like to take my cooking privileges and just have fun with the spices cabinet (let me tell you its harder to have fun with spices when you have like 6 choices..... the joys of a college student.) I added pepper, dried basil and some oregano to taste. I generally don't measure my spices I just dump a little of this and add a dash or two of that. I remember watching my Grandma Morrill cook like that and I always thought that was the mark of a good chef so I aspired to be like her- I still do!
4. Preheat your oven to 350 ( I actually preheat my oven to 375, then when I put my food in the oven I turn it down to 350, this called blast cooking, where you introduce your food to a high heat and then bring it down to finish cooking slower.) Take out your 9x13 dish and lightly spray with a cooking spray.
5. Place about 1/3- 1/2 (depending on how many layers you want) of your already cooked spaghetti to the dish evenly destitute around the bottom, but make sure the bottom is completely covered. Pour about 1/3- 1/2 of the sauce over the noodles. Then layer your cheeses- feta, paremesan shredded cheese of your choice. (I personally am not a huge fan of paremesan cheese cooked into pasta so I replaced the paremesan with ricotta cheese- super yummy!) Then repeat, layering pasta, sauce, cheeses until you have no more. At the very top make sure you have a nice layer of shredded cheese and for a little extra something I sprinkled a little dried basil.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted on top. Let it set for 5-10 minutes then cut like a lasagna and eat. YUM!!!!!!!!