By Lori Mork
Family dinners seem to be becoming a lost art, but you should know, experts have found that families who make an effort to eat together at least three or four times each week get some great benefits, including healthier eating habits, better relationships, better school performance and less obesity. Here are a few recipes to help you get started, and allow your children to pitch in with the cooking!
KAYAKER’S CHICKEN PASTA
This recipe is so easy to adapt to any number of people. I use whatever fresh vegetables I have on hand – asparagus; red, yellow, orange, purple and/or green peppers; snow peas; onions – anything you like. You can also increase or decrease the amount of pasta or chicken to suit your taste. When I’m in a hurry, I use rotisserie chicken without the skin. Easy as can be and the whole family loves it!
1 pound rotini or other shaped pasta
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
2 cups snow peas, cleaned and trimmed
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted almond slices
Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Heat 1/2 of the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add garlic and sauté three minutes. Add chicken pieces and sauté 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken and keep warm.
Add remaining olive oil with red and yellow bell peppers, and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add snow peas and sauté 3-5 minutes more. Add chicken and heat quickly.
Stir in Parmesan cheese and almonds. Toss pasta with chicken mixture and serve immediately.
BISQUICK DROP BISCUITS
When I was young, my mother used to let me stir together the batter for these and help drop them on the baking sheet. It’s easy and fun!
2-1/4 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir ingredients together until soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 9 biscuits.
FAMILY-SIZE CHEESE-GARLIC BISCUITS:
Make drop biscuits, except decrease Bisquick to 2 cups and add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Mix 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, and 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder. Brush over warm biscuits.
CHEESY EGGS IN THE HOLE WITH BACON Kids can use their favorite cookie cutter shapes to help make this breakfast.
4 slices bacon
1 tablespoon butter
4 half-inch thick bread slices
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain bacon on paper towels; crumble when cooled.
Add the butter to the hot pan to melt with the bacon fat; set aside.
Cut a piece from the center of each slice of bread with 2-1/2-inch round or decorative cookie cutter (star, flower, heart). Brush slices and cutouts with the butter-bacon fat mixture, transfer to a plate.
Toast 2 slices of bread and 2 cutouts in the skillet over medium heat until browned on one side, about 1 minute. Crack an egg into each hole. Sprinkle each toast with 1 tablespoon Parmesan; cook 2 minutes. Flip slices and cutouts, season with salt and pepper and cook 2 minutes for a runny yolk or slightly longer for a set egg. Repeat with the remaining bread slices, cutouts, eggs and Parmesan.
Transfer each egg-in-the-hole to a plate and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Serve with the toasted cutouts, for dipping in the yolk.
Lori Mork of Lowry is a mother, grandmother and dabbler in all things food, photography and decor related.