H ere’s food for thought: Experts say mealtime may be the best time for families to relax, reconnect and enjoy each other’s company after a busy day. In fact, research also suggests that having dinner together as a family at least four times a week has positive effects on child development. According to a report by the University of Florida, children who eat dinner with their family are more likely to understand, acknowledge and follow the boundaries and expectations set by their parents. A decrease in high-risk behaviors is related to the amount of time spent with family – especially during family dinners.
One reason may be because eating dinner together as a family provides an opportunity for conversation without distractions from screens. As you engage your children in conversation, you can teach them how to listen and provide them with a chance to express their own opinions.
In addition, conversations at the dinner table can expand a child’s vocabulary and, thus, reading ability.
So, when you want to dine with your family and you’re tired of takeout, consider these simple – yet delicious – recipes:
♦ Lingonberry Noodles (Serves 6)
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
• ¼ c. sliced green onions
• 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced into strips
• 1 c. sliced mushrooms (such as cremini)
• 2 small bok choy
• 12 oz. prepared Udon noodles
• 5 Tbsp. oyster sauce
• ¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce
• 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
• 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
• 5 Tbsp. Felix Lingonberry jam
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant, 1 minute, then add green onions. Cook until softened, 2 minutes.
2. Add peppers and mushrooms and cook until tender, 5 minutes.
3. Add bok choy and stir until wilted.
4. Make sauce, whisking together oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and Felix Lingonberry jam.
5. Combine with vegetables and then add noodles and toss until coated.
♦ Pepper Olive Shrimp Linguine
• 1 lb. fresh linguine pasta
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
• ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
• 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 (12-oz.) jar drained Lindsay® Red Roasted Peppers (about 1 ¾ cups), cut into strips
• 1 (6-oz.) can Lindsay® Sliced Olives, drained
• 1 lb. uncooked peeled and deveined shrimp
• ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
• Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, parsley, chives and crushed red pepper; sauté 1 minute.
3. Add mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce; sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Stir in red peppers and olives; heat through.
5. Stir in shrimp; sauté until shrimp are opaque.
6. Drain pasta; return to same pot.
7. Add olive mixture and Parmesan cheese to pasta; toss well.
8. Serve family style in a large bowl with tongs or serving utensils.