Have family dinners become a bore? The same old meals can turn dinner time into a chore and leave your kids sulking in their rooms or throwing tantrums instead of chowing down. If you want to shake things up and gather everyone around the table again, try these four fun meal ideas that are sure to please even the pickiest toddlers and surliest teens.
Take your tacos up a notch by trying out new recipes wrapped in tortillas. Try making fish tacos with battered tilapia and cabbage slaw or slow cook pork carnitas in a crock pot with green chiles. You can also add a toppings bar with unconventional choices like pickled vegetables, roasted potatoes and Greek yogurt dip. Serve up Mexican rice, tortilla chips and guacamole on the side.
Does your family think Asian food is limited to the Chinese buffet? Get them out of their comfort zone with sushi night. The essential ingredients are nori, a type of seaweed, sushi rice and a bamboo mat or towel for rolling. Contrary to popular belief, sushi isn’t just raw fish. Get creative and fill your rolls with crunchy vegetables, tempura battered meats or even canned tuna. Don’t forget the soy sauce, ginger and wasabi for dipping.
Make Your Own Pizza
Everyone loves pizza, but ordering a pie is neither healthy nor frugal. Ditch delivery and have a make-your-own pizza bar with whole grain crusts and plenty of nutritious toppings. Line up the crusts, sauce, cheese and toppings on a counter and let everyone design their own custom pizza. Short on time? Use whole wheat tortillas instead of dough for quick and easy thin crust pizzas.
Soup is another easily customizable meal, and it’s perfect for chilly days. Get your favorite soup started in a crock pot in the morning so you can come home to warm, homemade soup. Offer up an array of toppings like sour cream, cheese and croutons along with breadsticks or grilled cheese. If your cooking skills aren’t up to making soup from scratch, you can use canned or powdered soup mixes instead.
Remember, food isn’t the most important aspect of family dinners. Eating dinner together every night is associated with many benefits, such as better grades and a lower risk of drug abuse. It doesn’t matter if your meal is gourmet, homemade or from a box as long as everyone can gather around the table and enjoy each other’s company.