Suzie Roberts, author of a new cookbook called “Families on the Go” shares ideas on how to make dinner together as a family fun.
There have been many studies that show how important it is to actually sit down at the dinner table together. Here are a few simple things you can do to help foster a fun dining experience in your home.
A conversation jar comes in really handy when you finally do get everyone sitting together at the dinner table. It’s quite a feat, so it’s important to make this time count. Sometimes you aren’t quite sure what to talk about, or there is so much to talk about no one can get a word in. This jar will help you focus on one topic and take turns going around the table answering the question that was chosen. For instance, the question might be, “What was your favorite childhood memory?” Kids love to hear stories about their parents childhood and this will also teach you what makes memories for your children.
Rubber Glove Spaghetti Dinner
A fun way to make dinner exciting and memorable is to eat with rubber gloves instead of utensils. You could even take this a step further and have no plates as well. Get a vinyl tablecloth and draw plates on it with a permanent marker. Place the spaghetti directly on the tablecloth with the rubber gloves in place of utensils. This makes for a fun, memorable dinner that your children will still be talking about when they are adults. You will be the coolest mom around!!! Clean up is quick and easy, wad up the table cloth and throw it away!!! (The kids will wish this was how dishes were done every night!!!)
Great and a Grumble
Go around the table and have everyone tell one “Great” thing about their day and one “Not so great” thing about their day. This will make the kids have to elaborate a little more instead of just saying their day was “Fine” when you ask. This will definitely give you a little more insight on what went on in their day.
Quick Dinnertime Menu Idea
4-5 cups cooked, chopped roast beef
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
2 cups of cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
1 1/5 cups salsa
Oil for frying
Slow cook roast 6-8 hours until it shreds and then chop finely. In a large bowl, mix beef, beans, corn, cheese and salsa. In a frying pan, heat oil to medioum heat. One at a time, using tongs,dip tortillas into hot oil for 5-10 seconds just until it begins to bubble slightly. (You may need to use a spatula to get it out of the oil so it doesn’t tear.) Set aside on paper towels. (Do only about 12 at a time; fill, roll, repeat). Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 cup of the mixture. Roll tightly and place seam side down on a cookie sheet. Bake 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. If freezing, fill a cookie sheet and flash freeze. When firm, place several in a gallon size freezer bags. To reheat, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (from frozen) until heated through.
You can find these and other ideas to simplify dinner and make memories in my newest book, “Families on the Go” found at Costco and at
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