I’m not sure when I began to subconsciously love and value the table as the centerpiece of our home, but I think it was somewhere around 4th grade. My brother, sister, and I would raise our hands to talk, shoving it high in the air and fist pumping so that mom and dad knew that what we were about to say was really important. We were a little bit chaos and a lot a bit chatty.
People always ask me if my mom taught me how to cook and where I got my love of the domestic side of life. While I would love to say I stood at her feet as sous chef that could not be further from the truth. I had zero interest in cooking, and an over interest in every school activity under the sun.
What my mom did teach me was that dinner was important. She was tirelessly faithful about getting a healthy meal on the table, and would give us a hearty snack if we had to eat later due to Dad’s work schedule. We ate together.
I now know how hard this is to accomplish. We are in the full throttle sports years and everyone gets home at different times, and when they do walk in the door, they are ravenous. I often have to put out healthy snacks for the ones who get home earlier than others to hold them over.
But, as mom modeled, and as statistics back up, family dinners are critical to family identity and our children’s well being, and they are worth the effort. Making them special is one way we can treat our family like guests.
When guests come to our homes, we plan ahead, gather ingredients, and make a point to sit down together, often making it special. Let’s do the same for our families. A little pre-planning makes the family dinner possible.
Below are some of my family’s favorite dinners. Light the candles, turn on the instrumental music, and you have a recipe for a special evening.
**And if the special dinner doesn’t turn out the way you want – take heart – it’s about the journey and the effort. I didn’t always appreciate my mom’s efforts either. But someday your children will look back and see your faithfulness. And your spouse will see it now and feel cared for and loved. It counts.
- ½ c. cabernet sauvignon
- 1/3 c. sugar
- ¼ c. soy sauce
- 6 slices fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2-3 lb. tri-tip
- 1 lb. red potatoes
- 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
- kosher salt
- cracked pepper
- ¼ c. olive oil
- For the steak: Combine all ingredients and marinate overnight. Grill for 7 min. per side.
- For the potatoes: Wash the potatoes and dry. Cut into fourths. Toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 30 min. or until browned (check them periodically).
Two other recipes I love – both freeze well and are easy to heat up in the crock pot: