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Tips For Family Dinners


I love family get-togethers and I love to cook, so it wasn't hard for me to make a commitment to myself to cook a family meal at least once a week. If you are new to cooking or stuck in take out mode, you may have to find your own personal motivation. My motivation for a weekly family meal was clear to me from the beginning so it was simple to integrate into our busy lives. I really just wanted us to all sit down together with no distractions (TV, cell phones, email).

Your main motivation might be as simple as
  • a way to spend more time with friends, parents, siblings, children
  • a desire for a leisurely, solitary meal at the end of a busy week
  • a reason to try out new recipes or expand your cooking skills
  • a desire to serve healthy, nutritious, home cooked meals
  • personal satisfaction


  • A few ideas on getting started
    Begin with just 1 meal. It could be breakfast, lunch, dinner or even dessert. Keep it simple. Pancakes and eggs, a simple Gumbo and bread, ice cream and homemade cookies. Start with a small foundation and build on it over time. If dinner once a week does not fit into your lifestyle, try once a month or dinner one week and breakfast the next.
  • pancakes and eggs
  • a simple Gumbo and bread
  • ice cream and homemade cookies


  • Kick-off with a summer barbeque
    Who doesn't love a family barbeque? It is quick and easy to put together. Serve burgers and dogs, grilled meat, or seafood.
  • Serve easy foods that everyone likes
  • Prepare 1 or 2 homemade side dishes to serve with your entree
  • Serve raw veggies and dip and fresh fruit slices for nibbling on


  • As the weather cools down and the days get shorter, move the barbeque indoors. Instead of grilled chicken, serve roast chicken. Tri-tip roasts are moist and delicious when cooked in the oven. Pasta dishes or steaming hot soups served with bread and salad are meals enjoyed by nearly everyone.

    Make it fun
    Meals built around a theme can be fun especially if you have young children. Seafood boils, fish frys, and heaping platters of spaghetti are easy and fun. Add salad and garlic bread.
  • Meatless Monday
  • Taco Tuesday
  • Gumbo Wednesday
  • Tasso Thursday
  • Seafood Friday
  • Chili Saturday
  • Ice Cream Sunday


  • Get the family involved
    If you want your family meal to be a joint effort, assign everyone a task or a dish to prepare. Even little ones can help.

    With a little creative flexibility, anyone can fit the ritual of a weekly family meal into their lives. Whether it is a meal reminiscent of Grandma's Sunday dinners or as simple as ice cream and homemade cookies, the ritual of a regular meal with love ones will enrich the lives of everyone.

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    Content copyright © 2013 by Sandie Jarrett. All rights reserved.
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