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Although weekends are busy, they’re often the only time to prepare a nicer, more extensive family meal. We were celebrating my parent’s anniversary last weekend, and I wanted a simple but enjoyable meal that didn’t involve the BBQ.  Instead of using my regular recipes, I gathered some from the internet to test out.  All turned out well, and I’ll share them here for your upcoming family gathering.

Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner

Chicken Marsala is a family favorite, but one we don’t get to make too often.  This recipe was excellent.  I quadrupled it, as we were having a larger group.  The only modification I found necessary was to thicken the sauce further, which I did by removing a small amount from the pan, whisking in two tablespoons of cornstarch to make a slurry, and stirring back in.

Mashed potatoes are a great alternative for a gluten free family.  I usually make them dairy free to accommodate my daughter, but since we were serving company, I made hers separate and then followed this recipe for the rest.  To make it a little healthier, I used one cup of skim milk and one cup of half and half instead of heavy cream.  I used a combination of Yukon gold and Eastern potatoes, and decided not to peel them.  For some tips on how to achieve creamy potatoes that don’t get gluey, check out this link.

Finally, roasted asparagus. I’d never prepared them this way before, but we really liked them.  I washed and trimmed two bunches of asparagus, lined a pan with foil, rubbed the asparagus with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I cooked them at 400 for 12 minutes, and they were perfect.

Gathering the family around the table is a great bonding experience, especially when extended family can be there.  At our home, giggles, rounds of the game, “Telephone,” and silly stories always abound. A delicious meal can be put together without too much trouble, and sets the backdrop for memories and laughter.  Share your family favorites with our readers. To see what’s happening in our kitchen, or to share what’s going on in yours, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Happy Halloween!

I love finding dinner recipes that sound fun, and “chicken spinach pie with mashed-potato crust” was one of them.  Although the ingredients themselves aren’t so unique– chicken, spinach, carrots, ricotta, and potatoes– the assembly and presentation are cute, and results in a dinner that is definitely not boring.  Straight out of Parenting magazine, the recipe can be found here.  It is a fairly easy dish to make, and lends itself well to one small improvement.  When making the mashed potatoes, I mixed in ½ cup of pureed, steamed cauliflower, a trick I learned from my favorite food enhancer, the Sneaky Chef.  The addition was not noticeable to the naked tongue (ha), and I felt happy knowing there was one more vegetable in our dinner.  My kids loved eating a meal that came from a pie plate, and who can argue with that?

Chicken-spinach pie with mashed-potato crust

I’d love to hear about your favorite, fun family dinners. To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook.  Happy cooking!

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