Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Family Dinner Time

At the beginning of this week I decided that I am making dinner TOGETHER a priority. Really, we have fallen into the horrible habit of eating together (at the same table at the same time) only once or twice a week, not counting Sunday dinner. I was finding myself fixing something for the little girls b/c the big kids were still gone, while Chris grabbed whatever to eat with MSNBC as company, then I would eat with the older kids later - insane. Our schedule can't be that crazy that I am unable to work around it and make family time around the table happen, even if it means dinner isn't served until 7:30pm.

And guess what? It worked! Now for two nights each week we don't eat until 7:30 (we ate later Monday night too), and with a little foresight, planning, and the crock-pot, we made it happen. What a difference it made to have dinner simmering, leave to take Caroline at to tennis at 5:15 while Ryan stays home to set the table and get things ready for our late dinner. I even got a relaxing 6-mile run in while she had her lesson and Chris still gets to catch up on the news. THEN (this is the best part), because we all eat together, everyone is there to help clean up . . . it is actually easier doing it this way - I don't feel like I'm running a cafe and feeding everyone as they walk up to the counter!

I thought I would share tonight's recipe - one of our favorite (and easiest) meals:

Cranberry Chicken
4 Chicken Breasts, cut in half lengthwise
1 can whole berry cranberries
1/2 c. Russian dressing
1 pkg. onion soup mix
salt/pepper to taste

- Arrange chicken at the bottom of crock-pot, sprinkle w/S&P, mix remaining ing. and pour on top, cook 3 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low. Serve over rice.

Like I said, EASY - your kids can do it! Tonight we just had it w/rice and some fresh fruit - perfect :-).


Michelle said...

Mmmm...this looks so good, I can't wait to try it. BTW, I love your Hawaii photos!

lyn. said...

It really is true what the Prophets have always said about the family... and you just proved it!! :-D

♥ the recipe, and will be trying it soon...

gina said...

That recipe sounds awesome - I'm totally going to make that.

I understand the dinner dilemma. Sad how busy things are, even after I've tried to simplify our activities a lot. Your solution is very smart. 7:30 isn't too late - you probably avoid the 10:00 pm snack-time clean up too! Hope it keeps working great. Crock pots are a good thing. My mother-in-law taught me something cool that helps me. She found a nice serving tray that fits on the refrigerator shelf and keeps bowls of cut fruit, cut vegetables/dip and condiments they always take to the table. Arranged nice on the tray - and then pulls it out when it is time to eat. I'd never heard of that before and thought it was cool. Target has some nice melamine trays and Pottery Barn has plain white ceramic ones-that work well.

Your trip to Hawaii sounds heavenly. What a fun memory and family wedding.

Kristin said...

Good for you for making the effort. Your life seems so busy to me. We eat at 5, and my younger 2 are in bed by 7, so I don't know what I'd do with your hectic schedule. Oh wait, I'd have said NO from the get go. I'm just not going to win mother of the year this year....