(Family Features) Most families are looking for ways to spend more time together, but managing the family schedule can be a daunting task, especially with the additions of nightly homework and extracurricular activities a new school year brings.
Hectic weeknight schedules during back-to-school season don’t need to get in the way of quality time spent around the dinner table with these simple tips for enjoying dinner together.
Designate a time. Write dinner time on a calendar in the kitchen so every family member is aware of this special time and can look forward to sitting down together. Even if your schedule is overwhelming, pick a specific day each week and block out time to have a meal as a family.
Rely on foods rooted in tradition. Experimenting with recipes can add quick and easy new favorites to the family meal repertoire like Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs, a modern twist on the nostalgic family classic. As food trends come and go, RAGÚ continues to be a culinary staple for family meals. For 80 years, RAGÚ has gathered families at the table to celebrate the tradition of creating memories around a mouthwatering meal. Whether that’s a new take on ravioli or a family-favorite pasta dish, families can count on serving up delicious pasta sauces rich with bold, Italian flavors and vine-ripened tomatoes.
Create rituals. To build a tradition in the kitchen, try involving the whole family by showing your kids age-appropriate ways to contribute to their favorite meal. Let them measure ingredients to create better-for-you turkey meatballs, carry ingredients from one place to another, mix and pour ingredients, and set the table. Creating a ritual of cooking a favorite back-to-school meal with your kids is a good way to help them build healthy habits and skills that will last a lifetime.
Step away from your cell phone. Designate dinnertime as a no-cellphone zone. Leave your mobile devices in another room to allow for time to reconnect with your loved ones and be fully present.
Create fun dinner table topics. Making the table a fun place to be is the best strategy for getting your family to dinner and keeping them at the table longer. Make a game out of sharing the best parts of your day with each other. This can be a great way to laugh together as well as an opportunity to offer much-needed advice and support.
Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 10 ounces spaghetti
- 1 pound (85 percent lean) ground turkey
- 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned, dry bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 cup water, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 jar RAGÚ Homestyle Thick and Hearty Traditional Sauce
- Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt; keep warm.
- Combine turkey, bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, egg, 1/4 cup water and salt. Shape mixture into 25 (1 1/4-inch) meatballs.
- In large, nonstick saute pan on medium heat, heat olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Add sauce and remaining water once garlic is golden.
- Arrange meatballs in sauce; cover and cook 10 minutes, or until cooked through (165° F), stirring occasionally. Serve with cooked spaghetti and additional Parmesan, if desired.
Tip: Use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to easily make evenly sized meatballs.
Tofu Tikka Masala
- 5 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 gram jalapeno chile, chopped
- 3 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 pound Wildwood Vacuum Pack Tofu
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped in 1-inch long thin slices
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3-4 tablespoons plain or unsweetened yogurt
- 1 cup Wildwood Plain Soymilk
- Chopped cilantro (for garnish)
- In bowl, mix lemon juice, ginger, garlic, green chili, half of cilantro, chili powder, salt and tofu together; mix well and cover. Let marinate for an hour.
- In pan, heat oil and slowly add onions. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat until translucent.
- Slowly add turmeric powder, yogurt, soy milk and remaining cilantro to the pain. Mix well for a few minutes until sauce thickens.
- Add tofu mixture into sauce and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately with Indian Naan bread or heated rice.
Source: Wildwood Foods
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 1/4 pounds ground beef
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Kikkoman Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Kikkoman Soy Sauce
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions, rinse and drain.
- Combine ground beef, eggs, panko, soy sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and 2 cloves of garlic in large bowl; shape into 1 1/2-inch sized meatballs. Bake meatballs at 350°F on ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, heat deep skillet, add oil, 1 clove garlic and onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until onions are soft. Add tomatoes and remaining garlic, cheese and oregano; simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Irish Potato Bread
Boxty is practically a national dish in Ireland. It can be served as a potato pancake, a dumpling or, as here, in a crunchy soda bread.
- 2 3/4-pound russet potatoes
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
- 1/3 cup canola oil, plus additional for greasing the baking sheet
- 3/4 cup fat-free milk
- 2 tablespoons minced chives (or the green part of a scallion)
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting and kneading
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Bring 1 inch water to a boil over high heat in vegetable steamer or large saucepan fitted with portable vegetable steamer. Peel 1 potato and cut into eighths; steam pieces until tender when pierced with fork, about 15 minutes. Rice or mash pieces in large bowl; set aside to cool 15 minutes.
- Position rack in center of oven; preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil large baking sheet with canola oil dabbed on paper towel.
- Peel other potato and grate it through large holes of box grater. Squeeze out any excess moisture; add to riced or mashed potatoes.
Stir in egg, egg white, oil, milk, chives and caraway seeds until fairly smooth. Add 3 1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt; stir with wooden spoon until mixture forms soft but sticky dough.
- Lightly flour clean work surface as well as your cleaned and dried hands. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead 1 minute, adding flour in 1-tablespoon increments to keep dough from turning too sticky. Too much flour and dough turns tough; it should remain a little tacky but workable. Shape into 8-inch circle, flatten slightly keeping loaf mounded at its center and place on prepared baking sheet. Use sharp knife to slash X in top of dough, cutting into dough about 1/2 inch.
- Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch , about 55 minutes. Cool 1 hour on wire rack before slicing and serving.
Nutrition information per slice: 183 calories, 5 g fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 298 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein, 222 mg potassium, 6 mg vitamin C
Source: United States Potato Board
(Family Features) If you’re observing Lent, Friday fish dinners could be in your future, but that’s no reason to feel limited by what you can cook. Seafood pairs well with all sorts of flavors – from chili seasoning to lime extract – and bakes quickly on a sheet pan with minimal cleanup.
Follow these simple tips from Dr. Wendy Bazilian, McCormick Health Advisor and Registered Dietitian, to get your family asking for good-for-you proteins like salmon and shrimp all year long:
- While lemon is a great complement to seafood, think about pairing with other citrus flavors like orange and lime. Try marinating shrimp in a mixture of lite coconut milk, lime extract, ginger and red pepper.
- Add colorful vegetables like zoodles or asparagus to your sheet pan to boost both seafood and vegetable servings. You don’t need a spiralizer to make zoodles because many grocery stores offer pre-made zoodles in the produce section.
- Keep shrimp in your freezer to pull out for stir fries, pastas or this Coconut Lime Shrimp with Zoodles recipe.
Coconut Lime Shrimp with Zoodles
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1/4 cup Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk (regular or lite)
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Crushed Red Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Pure Lime Extract
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 small zucchini, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer
- 1 medium yellow squash, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer
- 1 medium carrot, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Black Pepper
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- In large, re-sealable plastic bag, mix together coconut milk, ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and lime extract. Add shrimp; turn to coat well.
- Refrigerate 15-30 minutes. Remove shrimp from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. In center of large, shallow, foil-lined baking pan, arrange shrimp in single layer.
- In large bowl, toss vegetable noodles and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat well. Spread noodles around shrimp in pan.
- Bake 10-15 minutes, or until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through and noodles are tender. Serve shrimp over vegetable noodles.
Test kitchen tip: For faster prep, use 4 cups store-bought spiralized vegetable noodles instead of spiralizing them yourself.
Orange Chili Sheet Pan Salmon
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Orange Extract
- 2 pounds salmon fillets, skin removed
- 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 package McCormick Original Chili Seasoning Mix
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- Heat oven to 375° F. Spray foil-lined, 13-by-9-inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- In small bowl, mix together oil and orange extract. Place salmon and vegetables on separate sides of baking sheet. Brush vegetables with 1 teaspoon extract mixture. Brush both sides of salmon with remaining mixture.
- In small bowl, mix together seasoning mix and brown sugar. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons seasoning mixture over vegetables. Sprinkle both sides of salmon evenly with remaining seasoning mixture.
- Bake 20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork and vegetables are tender.
Endless possibilities with potatoes
(Family Features) Delicious and nutritious, it’s no wonder potatoes are a menu staple for many. Everyone craves meal variety, and potatoes offer a perfect canvas to inspire new flavor exploration so you can enjoy something different every day. From russets, reds, yellows, whites and purples to petites, fingerlings and more, there are multiple varieties to keep dishes interesting.
You might be used to preparing this kitchen staple mashed, baked or fried, but these inventive recipes show how easy it is to incorporate flavors and techniques to create new potato dishes for any meal of the day in 30 minutes or less.
Find more meal ideas featuring a variety of potato preparations at PotatoGoodness.com/explore.
Fiesta Potato Smashers
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 5 small yellow potatoes
- 5 small red potatoes or potato of your choice
- 1 pint sweet mini peppers (red, orange and yellow)
- cooking spray
- 4 tablespoons fat-free sour cream or fat-free Greek yogurt (optional)
- 8 sprigs cilantro, picked from stems
- salt, to taste
- chili powder, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Place whole potatoes into microwave-safe, covered dish.
- Microwave on high 3-4 minutes.
- While potatoes are cooking, cut mini peppers into 1/4-inch slices. Spray nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat to medium. Add peppers and saute until they start to brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Remove potatoes from microwave and with layer of paper towels covering each potato, smash on cutting board until 1 3/4-inch thick.
- Spray saute pan with cooking spray, heat on high and add smashed potatoes. Cook 1-2 minutes until potatoes start to brown.
- On plate, place potatoes and layer with sour cream or yogurt, if desired, peppers and cilantro. Dust with salt, chili powder and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.
Nutritional information per serving: 50 calories; 350 mg sodium; 0.7% vitamin C; 1 g fiber; 1 g protein; 293 mg potassium.
Steak and Potato Tacos with Poblano Chiles
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
- 12 ounces white potatoes, quartered lengthwise then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1 flank steak (12 ounces)
- garlic powder
- chili powder
- 12 corn tortillas (6 inches each)
- chopped fresh cilantro
- pico de gallo salsa
- hot sauce
- In heavy, large nonstick skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and chiles and saute until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer onion mixture to bowl. In same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and saute until golden brown and tender, about 12 minutes. Return onion mixture to skillet with potatoes and keep warm.
- Sprinkle both sides of steak generously with garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. In heavy, large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook until browned on both sides, turning once, about 8 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer steak to cutting board; let rest 5 minutes.
- While steak rests, heat tortillas on griddle or over gas flame until warm, turning frequently with tongs.
- Thinly slice steak. Top tortillas with steak and potato mixture; sprinkle with cilantro.
Serve with pico de gallo and/or hot sauce.
Nutritional information per serving: 167.9 calories; 6.3 g fat; 13 mg cholesterol; 19.1 mg sodium; 6.8% vitamin C; 20.9 g carbohydrates; 2.5 g fiber; 7.1 g protein; 147.4 mg potassium.
Potato Prosciutto Waffles
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
- 1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
- 3 medium russet potatoes (or 3 cups mashed potatoes)
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional for salting water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly lay prosciutto on paper. Bake 10-15 minutes until prosciutto is crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Peel and cube potatoes. Place in pot of salted water and bring to boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to rapid simmer and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes. Strain potatoes from water and transfer to large bowl. Mash potatoes with fork or potato masher.
- Add milk, butter, eggs, cheese and thyme to potatoes. Stir to combine.
- In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add to potato mixture and stir until just combined. Crumble prosciutto and fold it into batter.
- Heat waffle iron. If required, grease with cooking spray.
- Spoon about 1 cup batter onto waffle iron and cook according to iron’s instructions until waffles are golden, about 4 minutes. Keep waffles warm in 200 F oven until all waffles are cooked and ready to serve.
- Serve with touch of butter, sour cream or poached or fried egg.
Nutritional information per serving: 332 calories; 16 g fat; 109 mg cholesterol; 1,138 mg sodium; 13% vitamin C; 32 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 15 g protein; 653 mg potassium.
Source: Potatoes USA