Let me introduce you to Angie- our Health Mama Series guest blogger today. Angie authors on the inspirational site Show Up for Life Blog. She is a photographer, mother and geniuenly a beautiful person. We are so happy to have her today sharing the importance of family dinner time along with a tasty family recipe- Zucchini Lasagna!
“Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.” -Julia Child
As a kid I always enjoyed helping my mom get dinner on the table. I loved setting the table and mixing the salad together. It was always a joy for me to sit at a table with my entire family. We have 9 people all together, so it was always fun and sometimes a little hectic.
My own family is quite different. We have 2 kids, so our table is small and intimate. Dinner is still the same, always fun and for the most part always loud and hectic, even with only 2 little ones.
I struggle with the fact that my children and husband often want to grab dinner and race to the tv. I enjoyed that as a kid as well. My mom found these adorable tv dinner trays at a thrift store and we would often sit on the floor and laugh at our favorite show together while we chowed down our meal. As an adult however, my thoughts on this practice have definitely changed. I still enjoy a meal now and then in front of my favorite show, but for the majority of the time I find solitude in getting my family to sit down and have a nice and healthy meal together. My kids now have taken on the role I had as a child. They love setting the table and getting the cups full of water or a yummy drink.
I love the time we have together, being at the same level as the kids with zero interruptions. We turn the television off and leave phones in the other room. It is an hour of what I call “digital detox”. We are allowed to sit down from our busy day and carry on conversations with our kids about school, church, life, and their personal lives. It’s funny to think about a 5 and 7 year old’s personal life, but the drama on the handball court these days is serious business. :)
Family meal time is a small and simple act we can do to not only give our children and spouse quality time, but I believe it gives our children a sense of comfort, stability, and trust. I know I look back at my own family meal times and have great memories connected to them. Food brings us together and food brings us joy. Think of all the parties, get togethers, holidays, where food has a large connection to the memories. The smells of mom or dad cooking dinner will always be something that children hold dear to their hearts. I know many of us have schedules, that don’t always allow our families to be together at the dinner table. If it’s possible try at least one meal a day, it doesn’t have to be dinner. If one meal a day isn’t feasible, then try doing a few meals a week. What ever you can do will be awesome and you all will reap the benefits of the time together. When we are surrounded at a table with the ones we love and a delicious abundance of food, you can’t help but feel extremely grateful for all that is placed before you at that time.
On tonight’s menu.. Zucchini Lasagna, Asparagus and Bread Sticks! EnjoyNatalie Norton
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 onion
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 3 medium zucchini sliced 1/8" thick
- 15 oz part-skim ricotta
- 16 oz part-skin mozzarella cheese shredded (Sargento)
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 large egg
- Grab a medium sauce pan. Add olive oil to the pan and sauté garlic and onions for 2-3 minutes.
- Next, add the meat and cook until fully cooked. Add basil, salt and pepper.
- Simmer on low for at about 15 minutes, covered.
- Meanwhile, slice zucchini into 1/8" thick slices, add a bit of salt and set it aside for 10 minutes.
- In another pan grill the zucchini on each side, until cooked, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a medium bowl mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and egg. Stir well.
- In a 9x12 casserole spread some sauce ( I like to use the Trader Joe’s brand) on the bottom and begin to layer the zucchini to cover.
- Then you place some of the ricotta cheese mixture, then throw on top some mozzarella cheese and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up.
- Top it off with sauce and mozzarella and cover with foil.
- Throw it in the oven for about 45 minutes, then take of the foil and crank it up to 375 and cook for about 15 minutes uncovered.
PRESSURE COOKER: You can either cook lasagna directly in your pressure cooker pot, being sure to mix meat (or vegetables) with plenty of sauce and 1 c water on the bottom, or prepare the lasagna in another pan that will fit in your pressure cooker, place 1 1/2-2 c water in the bottom of the pan, and cook it that way. Layer as usual. If using recipe above, do not pre-cook zucchini strips. Lock lid, set to soup setting and cook 20 minutes with natural release.