From The Parent Education Workgroup of the Communities That Care Coalition
Family Dinner Day is the fourth Monday in September, today, but it is something that can make a difference any day of the year!
Dinner Makes a Difference!
Family Dinner Day was created by a group called CASA to highlight the benefits of parents/caregivers spending quality time with their kids. We, the Parent Education Workgroup under the Communities that Care Coalition want to remind local families that a great way to do that is to eat dinner as a family as often as you can!
We know it’s hard to pull dinner together during the week when life is so busy, so a tried and true way to deal with that is to make meals ahead of time, or double a meal, to freeze some in advance! That’s especially true as the weather gets cooler and those comfort meals are so appealing!
The benefits of families enjoying meals together include opportunities to:
- Connect as a family to talk about almost anything
- Cook with your children
- Give your children regular chores, like setting the table or helping to clean up after the meal
- Teach your children table manners
Also, remember that mealtime together doesn’t have to be dinner! Families are so busy these days – if you can do it just a few times a week, that’s great! Or maybe add week-end brunch to your family time – whatever works for you is what counts. For more information on family dinner, visit https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/.
Here are a couple of recipes to inspire you – feel free to tailor them to your family’s tastes:
- 2 cups long grain rice
- 1/8 cup oil
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 6 stems cilantro (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 4 cups water (or 4 cups chicken lower sodium chicken broth – and no bouillon)
- 1 cube chicken flavored bouillon – or vegetarian bouillion
- dash cumin
- dash garlic pepper
- Heat oil in large frying pan on medium heat.
- Add rice and cook until golden brown.
- Add 1 chicken flavored bouillon cube to 4 cups water and microwave for 3 minutes.
- When rice is brown, add water, tomato sauce, salt, garlic, cumin and garlic pepper to pan.
- Stir and cover pan. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until all is cooked and there is no liquid left. Fluff before serving and ENJOY.
A local mom, Jomary Alicea, cooks Spanish Rice regularly; here she is in action!
Slow Cooker Lentil Soup
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup uncooked green lentils
1 cup chopped onions
¾ cup chopped carrots
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
¾ cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups sliced kale or other greens (optional)
½ tsp vinegar
Coat a 5-6 qt slow cooker with cooking spray. Put in the broth, lentils, onions, carrots, and seasonings and stir well. Cover and cook on low 7 hours. Then, in a blender, combine chickpeas, water, oil, and lemon juice until smooth. Add this mixture and kale (if using) to slow cooker and stir well; cover and cook on low for 30 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and serve.