Today is National Family Day. A day to celebrate a family meal as a family and a great day to remember why family meals are so important. For me it is non-negotiable – momma gets a little cranky without them! I know as a family we are so busy but these meals give us a time to reconnect from the day.
And to get everyone running to the kitchen on those busy nights, try an easy concept: family food stations. The concept is becoming so popular for entertaining, why not use it for your own family? There is no reason to save the most fun meal only for your guests!
* Pasta Station: Whole grain pasta with a variety of sauces including pesto, marinara, light alfredo, pre=steamed vegetables, shredded cooked chicken, cooked shrimp, lean meatballs, parmesan cheese, garden fresh cherry tomatoes (halved).
* Pizza Station: Whole grain tortillss (love Flatout Wraps), whole grain pita breads or mini whole grain pizza crusts as the base of your pizzas. Sauces can include pesto, alfredo sauce, hummus, refried beans mixed with salsa and pizza sauce. A variety of toppings to include ham, turkey pepperoni, chicken sausage, fresh cut vegetables, pineapple. Our rule in this one is everyone has to try a vegetable. Don’t forget the cheese – mozzarella, Parmesan, feta and whatever pleases you, a little goes a long way.
* Oatmeal Station (maybe your only time to connect is in the A.M.) Cook some oatmeal in the crockpot overnight and pull out the toppings from the pantry – dried cranberries, walnuts, chia seed, flax seed, vanilla yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup, cinnamon, diced apples, diced bananas, and don’t forget a sprinkle of granola for a delicious crunch.
* Baked Potato Station: Precook the baked potatoes when you have the oven on for something else, or try the microwave. Broccoli, cheese and ham or rotisserie chicken, broccoli, black bean and corn salsa, extra black beans for fiber and protein, cilantro cheese and sour cream are just two of our favorite styles.
* Nacho Station: Start with a base of yellow corn chips, top with sautéed, (in 1-2 teaspoons olive or canola oil) diced red bell peppers. Mix rotisserie chicken with black bean and corn salsa. Top chips with chicken mixture and shredded 2% reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted. A little dollup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt and sprinkle of cilantro is absolutely mouthwatering.
None of these food stations take much time at all, just prep on the weekend for the upcoming week and the best part? Everyone is in the kitchen together preparing the meal and then eating it. Celebrate Family Day EVERY DAY.
What’s your favorite family food station?