Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Family Dinners

A few years ago, in an effort to stay current with family news and to allow us more visits with our grandkids, our daughter suggested we begin a new tradition. She wanted us to sit down together and share dinner one night a week. Her dad and I thought that was an excellent idea and we've been doing this for about 4 years now. Our designated dinner night changes from time to time to accomodate individual schedules, but right now we gather on Fridays at 5:30pm.
My daughter and I take turns providing dinner. Most of the time we cook, but sometimes one of us orders pizza or our families meet at a favorite Mexican restaurant. When we cook, my daughter does the meal planning one week and I provide dessert. The next week we switch and I provide dinner while she makes a dessert. This is the one time during the week we actually indulge in dessert, so I think all of us look forward to that. This has been a good thing because my daughter and her family moved away from our neighborhood 3 years ago. They used to live just around the corner from us and we were very blessed to be able to see our grandkids often. We've finally become accustomed to the fact they now reside in a town 35 minutes away. "Family Dinner", as we call it, is now the only time my spouse and I are able to spend time with our grandkids, unless we make arrangements for special outings with them, and we probably need to do that more often. Sharing family dinner each week is a very nice tradition that has become very dear to us.
Tonight, it's my turn to provide dinner and since I'll be taking it to my daughter's home, I decided to prepare something which would be easy to transport. Tonight's menu will include: Sloppy Joe sandwiches, Broccoli Salad, Baked Beans, Jello Salad, and potato chips. My recipe for Sloppy Joes is probably similar to others, but this is one I watched my mother prepare during my growing up years. I've made a few changes to make it more heart-healthy, but this is her basic recipe:
Mom’s Sloppy Joes
1 pound 96% lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp. chopped green pepper
¾ cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
2 Tbsp. brown sugar (add more or less according to taste)
½ tsp. salt (or salt substitute)
½ tsp. black pepper
In large skillet, brown ground beef or turkey, then rinse under hot water and drain. Return meat to skillet and add onion, celery, green pepper, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Then add ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar. Cook on medium for about 20 minutes, stirring often, or place contents of skillet in crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours and stir at intervals. Serve on split buns.
This is a great dish for the crock pot. Mine is cooking right now and will taste good tonight. Plus, it's easy to fix and doesn't require any last minute attention. The recipe for Broccoli Salad is one I found online. I plan to try it for the first time tonight. If it turns out well, I'll post the recipe tomorrow. I'm not sure the grandkids are going to be thrilled with broccoli salad, but I'm pretty sure they'll eat pineapple Jello salad and they like baked beans.
My sister, Linda, gave me a super recipe for pineapple Jello salad. It's easy to prepare and tastes so good. It's my daughter's favorite. I try to use the more healthy ingredients when I can, so I know the lighter versions will work just fine. I'm sure Linda won't mind if I post her recipe here:
1 small (3-oz.) box lemon Jello
1 small (3-oz.) box lime Jello
1 cup boiling water
1 can evaporated milk (NOT Eagle Brand)
1 small (12 oz. carton) small curd cottage cheese
1 large (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple - in it's own juice

Pour contents of both boxes of Jello into large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir until Jello is completely dissolved. Add crushed pineapple, evaporated milk, and cottage cheese. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate for about 3 hours (or until firm) before serving.
This evening we hope to hear all about our grandson's recent trip to Washington D.C. He's in eighth grade and traveled with his class as a reward for good grades, good attendance, and good conduct. We're very proud of him. Our granddaughter will have a lot to tell us too. She was the flower girl in a wedding last weekend and I heard she had such fun dancing at the reception. It was an adults-only affair but since she was in the wedding, she was invited. How special is that? I'm sure she'll have lots to share with us. We adults will also tell about our experiences for the week. It's a good time for sharing and catching up with each others' lives.


MIUMIU said...

Nice to meet you, look at your blog sympathy.
And links to your blog please.

Kady said...

Thanks for looking at my blog. I hope you find some of the recipes useful. I'll definitely be adding links. I'm new to this and haven't tried adding links yet.