Cooking for my family is something that brings me very much happiness. I guess it helps that I really love to cook, but with both of us working full time jobs, I really take pride in how many homemade meals we manage to eat. With long hours, travel and school activities, it isn’t often that we all sit down for dinner around the table on a week night.
Last month we had the opportunity to hear some great messages from Barilla about sharing the table together as a family during the Family Forward blogger retreat in Orlando organized by Mom it Forward. What really spoke to me was their message that it was about quality, not quantity. Yes! Thank you for emphasizing that the number of nights we all eat together isn’t the most important thing!
Do I feel guilty that I work late quite often and don’t get home until Adam and Lily have already eaten? You bet.
Does my husband feel left out when I manage to pick Lily up and he has to work late and miss dinner? Of course.
Do I cherish the times we manage to eat together together? So much!
What I enjoy even more is seeing my budding little home chef help out in the kitchen when we have the opportunity to prepare a meal together. Lily has been helping in the kitchen since she was probably about 3 years old, and at nearly 7, she’s graduated to using a (very dull) real knife to chop mushrooms and other soft vegetables. We all get involved in trying new recipes and tweaking them to our taste. I often hear things like “Mommy, more lemon juice in this dish, plus some parsley would be good!” My little foodie makes me smile!
At Family Forward in Orlando, we created a delicious Barilla recipe at the table. I loved the fresh flavors of the basil and lemon mixed in the pasta!
Penne Summer Salad
Ingredients for 4 people
1 box Barilla penne
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 roasted bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
3 cups baby arugula
2 balls mozzarella cheese, diced
salt and pepper to taste
juice from 1 lemon
4 basil leaves, finely chopped
grilled chicken, chopped, if you want to add some extra protein
Bring pasta to a boil, season with salt and cook according to instructions on the box.
Drain and toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil, then set aside to cool.
Once cool, toss together with remaining ingredients.
Needless to say, you can see this is an easy and quick meal the family can help prepare.
Barilla has 5 ways you can make mealtime more meaningful!
Make and eat healthy and good food
Eat together as much as you can
Put away, cut or “turn off” any distractions
Talk and do things with your family more at dinner
Help make mealtime happen
How do you share the table with your family?
The Family Forward Blogger Retreat at Universal Orlando provided bloggers and their families with hotel, food and park passes at a significantly reduced price. All opinions are my own.