In an age when schedules are at their busiest, family mealtimes seem to have taken backstage.
Here are a few reasons why family mealtimes should make a comeback.
- Family mealtimes mean better family relationships
- Family meals lead to healthier food choices
- Eating as a family leads to better grades
- Family dinners are a chance to explore new foods
- Family dinners lead to greater happiness
- Homemade meals promote portion control
- Family dinners equal healthy kids
- Family dinners relieve stress
- Eating at home saves money
Here are a few suggestions on what you can do:
• If you’re not already eating together regularly, aim to do so one night a week.
• If dinnertime is too hard to get everyone together, try to have a special family breakfast on the weekends or a family lunch.
• During the week, don’t worry if everyone can make it. Sit with whoever is at home, TV off and enjoy a meal.
• Ignore all phones, turn off the TV and ban texting at the table.
• At a loss for conversation? Ask each family member to share one good thing and one bad thing that happened during their day.
• Take turns talking so no one is left out. Use an egg timer for little kids if they tend to ramble!
• Get your children involved in the meal preparation. Older kids can take charge of the whole meal, while younger ones can help set the table.
Here is a recipe of one of our family favourites. It yields enough for more than two dinners for a family of six, is budget friendly and the perfect winter comfort food.
I use a French crock pot for this dish. You could use a slow cooker but the flavour from the oven baked dish isn’t the same.
We serve this Ragu with pasta and parmesan, or crusty bread, or on a bed of polenta. Steamed veggies on the side is always a must!
Family Beef Ragu
2kg Beef Chuck Steak
2 large onions roughly chopped
4 stalks celery (2 with leaves on) cleaned and chopped in large pieces
4 large carrots peeled and chopped into large pieces
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock (or whatever you have)
700g bottle of tomato passata
3tbs tomato paste
salt and pepper
Fresh garden herbs of your choice.
I’ve used oregano, sage and thyme as that is what was available in the garden.
If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use a couple of tablespoons of dry herbs.
- Preheat the oven to 160degrees celsius
- Brown the meat in a little light olive oil and season
- Add the vegetables, wine, stock, passata and tomato paste. Bring to the boil. Cover and place in oven
- Cook in oven two hours before adding the herbs
- Turn heat down to about 140degrees Celsius and let sit in the oven for another 1 – 1.5hrs.