Sunday Dinners: How to Establish Family Meals

Sunday Dinners: How to Establish Family Meals | Positively Smitten

Sunday Dinners: How to Establish Family Meals | Positively Smitten

By Lyndsey Fought

Family meals are important. While not always possible, what with busy work and activity schedules, sitting down to just one meal a week can make families feel a little more connected.

It provides time together, gives you actual time to enjoy your family and breaking bread with people you love cements your bond with them. We are used to living fast and speeding through meals now. A Sunday dinner can really slow you down and make you enjoy life. Not to mention, creating an actual sit-down meal increases the likelihood that you make better food choices. This series, “Sunday Dinners,” will have different topics that I will touch on like methods of cooking, nutrition, table settings, safety and sanitation, and of course recipes (which are written, adapted, and tried by me)!

When I was growing up, my grandmother would request my aunts and uncles and the grandchildren over to her house for Sunday dinner. She always made too much and we were always made to take leftovers home. The leftovers were heaven as well, especially when it was mashed potatoes. After the meal, we would generally play poker or just talk while eating dessert. Every Sunday I probably consumed way too many calories but it was still nice to spend that time with my family and it’s something I miss now, as my grandmother passed away and my aunts and uncles now have their own dinners.

You don’t have to have children to establish these meals at your house. Chances are your friends would be more than thrilled to come eat at your house and hang out with you. It doesn’t have to be every week or even every other week, but setting up a regular schedule when you can sit and enjoy a meal at home with friends can improve relationships and make you happy. It has for me.

To get you started here’s a simple Italian-style dinner that can feed 4-6 people with little effort on your part.

Cannellini Puree on Crostini

What you’ll need:

  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 loaf thin Italian bread, sliced on the diagonal into 12 to 15 slices
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnish
  • Cracked black pepper, for garnish

How to prepare it: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Put beans, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt in a blender and process into a smooth puree.
  3. Toast the bread slices in the oven until light tan and slightly crisp.
  4. Spread the toasts with the puree and top with chopped parsley and cracked pepper.

Spaghetti and Simple Slow-Cooking Red Sauce

What you’ll need: 

  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 bell pepper, diced finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 28 ounce cans chopped tomatoes, San Marzano is awesome
  • 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes, same brand
  • 1 12 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley
  • 2 pounds spaghetti

How to prepare it: 

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and carrot until onion is very translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes, paste, sugar, salt, basil, and parsley to the pot. Simmer for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. Prepare spaghetti.
  4. Transfer half the sauce to a bowl, toss spaghetti (this makes the sauce cling to it more). Serve with extra sauce.

Chicken in Butter

What you’ll need: 

  • 2 pounds thinly sliced chicken breast, organic free range, boneless, skinless
  • 6 ounces salted butter
  • 6 large sage leaves
  • Sprinkle of sea salt and cracked pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil

How to prepare it: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle olive on bottom of 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Arrange chicken in dish in single layer. Cut up butter and sprinkle over chicken. Lay sage leaves over chicken breasts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake chicken until 165 degrees internal temperature. Serve over spaghetti with sage leaves as garnish.

Mixed Fruit with Spiked Whipped Cream

What you’ll need:

  • 4-6 cups mixed fruit, I use pineapple, peaches, strawberries, and raspberries.
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ of Moscato wine (Castello del Poggio is my favorite)
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar

How to prepare it: 

  1. In a medium sauté pan reduce the wine to shy of an eighth of a cup. Turn off heat, add sugar and dissolve. Allow to cool.
  2. Beat the cream to soft peaks. Add the Moscato syrup slowly and continue beating until you have heavy peaks.
  3. In small bowls or wine glasses serve the fruit and top with the whipped cream.

Lastly, enjoy! Do you have a regular “family/friends” dinner? What’s your recipe of choice?

Next week, Sunday Dinners: Roasting. 

About Lyndsey:

I have too many interests and I get easily distracted, so I haven’t completed a single thing in my life. Yay, hyperboles! I have been to culinary school and I like baking cupcakes. I write the beginnings of too many novels. I am driven by ambition and delayed by perfectionism.

I would like to travel the world, learn from others, write some best sellers, and have a restaurant or bakery someday. I am a Slytherin. I like the tenth Doctor best (followed by ninth). I am too obsessed with Downton Abbey and the whole etiquette of that era. I never forget to be awesome!

1 Comment

  1. What a great article. I agree that family dinners are so important. Also, I’m so excited to try the fruit with spiked whipped cream….YUM!

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