Thanks to Ragú for sponsoring this collection of stress-free family dinner ideas!
We all have long, busy days. Even kindergarten has become grueling at times, and kids of all ages are worn out after school. Whether parents work at home or out of the house, they are beat by dinnertime too. When everyone feels tired, hungry, and maybe a tad grumpy, it’s hard to think of family dinners as more than a chore. It doesn’t have to be that way! If you can try to let go of some of the stress and make a super easy meal, you can spend less time in the kitchen and enjoy the time to reconnect with your family.
I told you yesterday that we just got a fish tank. That night at dinner, my youngest said, “I hope the fish don’t grow chesthair.” I still laugh every time I think about it! Sitting down with your kids and listening to the funny things they have to say is a great way to unwind at the end of the day.
How to Skip the Stress at Family Mealtimes:
Keep it SIMPLE. Almost every time my kids tell me a dinner is their favorite ever, it’s something super basic like spaghetti or hot dogs. You don’t have to cook an elaborate meal to make your family happy! My recipes are quick and easy because I know I don’t have to slave away for hours to make a dinner everyone will enjoy.
Have realistic expectations. This is a big one for me. When I go into a meal thinking everyone is going to sit still and love everything on their plates, I’m sure to be disappointed and frustrated. If I go in with the mindset that kids are going to be kids, it doesn’t bother me as much that they are a little louder, squirmier, and pickier than I might like!
Let the kids help in a way that’s actually helpful. I’m not always the best at letting kids help in the kitchen. I don’t want them to get hurt or make big messes, so having them running around can add to my stress. I think it works best to give them jobs they can accomplish on their own with little supervision like cutting mushrooms with a plastic knife, tearing lettuce for salad, or setting the table. They feel involved and successful, and I’m not worried about someone getting burned or pouring sauce all over the floor.
Make it DIY. More often than not, I’m the last one to sit down at the table because I’m running around making everyone’s plates just the way they like, filling glasses, getting forgotten utensils, etc. It makes my life so much easier when I offer up all the components of a meal and let everyone serve themselves. This is also great for picky eaters because they can make their food just the way they like. Offer up noodles, a couple sauce choices, and a build-your-own salad bar and let everyone have at it!
I hope you are inspired to make some stress-free family mealtime magic at your house. Here are a few of my super simple, family-friendly recipes to get you started. You can make all these with Ragú sauce, and none of them take much time or brainpower. Spend your evening time at the table enjoying your family instead of standing over the stove!
Hungry for more family-friendly dinner ideas? Ragú has loads of recipes to choose from, and you can even vote for your favorite Saucesome recipes right here for a chance to win up to $12,000! You can also follow them on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter for more fun contests, recipes, funny videos, and all sorts of other good stuff!
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