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Dinner

My Chicken Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food!

Chicken Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese

It’s such a pleasure partnering with Foster Farms to bring you a new recipe and talk about the importance of family dinner time.  This has been so important to me and I am thrilled to share my thoughts with you!

Before I do, can we talk mac and cheese for a second?  I absolutely LOVE creating new mac and cheese recipes.  This one I have developed for you today uses Foster Farms cooked chicken breast along with roasted broccoli, asparagus, onions and bacon crumbles.  Does not get better than this.  So perfect for Sunday dinner when you’ve got lots of hungry mouths to feed :)

Chicken Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese

 Cheesy goodness!  You’ll need just a little prep work to get this dish to the table, but it’s worth every minute :)

Chicken Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese

I am LOVING Foster Farm’s campaign, Take 75 minutes for dinner to make memories with your family.  I am definitely not perfect at getting my family to sit down for dinner every night of the week, but I am making it more of a priority.  Do I use my fancy dishes every night?  No, but occasionally I’ll set the table nicely and it’s funny that even my little boys notice and feel special when I put a little more time into dinner.

Chicken Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese

Dinner time is my favorite time of the day to talk with the boys.  I feel like they enjoy telling my husband and I all about their day they’ve had.  We hear about little details we wouldn’t have heard from just passing through the house.  We laugh a lot, watch food fly from my 2 year old in the high chair and enjoy the connections we have as a little family.  I’ve definitely learned that it’s ok if dinner is not perfect and the kitchen table isn’t set like a restaurant, it’s all about the connections and time spent together.  That’s my goal this year :)

Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese

Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese

Chicken Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dry small pasta, I used elbow
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups milk, I used skim
  • 2 cups finely shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded Foster Farms Chicken Breast
  • 2 cups roasted broccoli florets
  • 1/2 pound roasted asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large roasted onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound cooked, crumbled bacon
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside for a few minutes.
  3. To prepare roux, melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until color of roux will gets slightly darker. Slowly whisk in milk, stirring continuously until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in cheese until melted.
  4. Transfer cooked pasta to large dutch oven or pot over low heat. Pour cheese sauce over top, stirring to combine.
  5. Add chicken, broccoli, asparagus, onion and bacon, stirring to combine.
  • Transfer mac and cheese to prepared baking dish. Top with additional shredded cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Makes 6-8 Servings

This is a sponsored post for Foster Farms however thoughts and opinions are my own.


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Appetizers and Sides

Treat yourself to my buttery crisp Cheesy Mediterranean Bacon Quesadilla this week.  You’ll be glad you did :)

Cheesy Mediterranean Bacon Quesadilla

Is there anything better than a hot off the skillet, flavor packed, cheesy and buttery crisp quesadilla?  I have fond memories as a kid enjoying my mom’s quesadillas and this recipe is one of my favorite ones yet! It’s always a pleasure teaming up with Land O’ Lakes to bring you a new buttery recipe.  This one does not disappoint and takes just minutes to prepare with some amazing ingredients.

Break out your favorite large skillet and let the deliciousness begin.

Cheesy Mediterranean Bacon Quesadilla

I used these oh so cute Land O Lakes Butter Half Sticks with Olive Oil & Sea Salt for my quesadillas.  I’m in love with these!

Cheesy Mediterranean Bacon Quesadilla

Use your favorite tortillas and let’s get started.

Cheesy Mediterranean Bacon Quesadilla

You’ll add about 1 tablespoon of butter for each quesadilla.  Let it sizzle in a large hot skillet.

Cheesy Mediterranean Bacon Quesadilla

Place your tortilla into the skillet then add the cheese please!

Cheesy Mediterranean Bacon Quesadilla 1

A little layer of roasted red peppers and kalamata olives.  Mmm!

Bacon

A layer of bacon up next.

Parsley

A touch of fresh parsley.

cheese

Add another layer of cheese, fold and continue cooking until golden brown and crispy.

CheesyMediterraneanBaconQuesadilla-24t

Slice your quesadilla in half and enjoy!

CheesyMediterraneanBaconQuesadilla-18t

Wait until you sink your teeth into this buttery crisp flavorful quesadilla!  Such a treat!

Cheesy Mediterranean Bacon Quesadilla

Cheesy Mediterranean Bacon Quesadilla

Cheesy Mediterranean Bacon QuesadillaPrep time: 15 min | Cook time: 5 min | Total time: 20 min Ingredients

  • 1 Half Stick (1/4 Cup) Land O Lakes® Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt
  • 4 burrito size tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked, crumbled bacon pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter into large skillet over medium heat. You’ll add 1 tablespoon butter for each quesadilla.
  2. Add tortilla to hot skillet and on half of the tortilla, add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, bacon, parsley, feta cheese and additional mozzarella cheese. With a spatuala, fold tortilla over filling and cook both sides until golden and crisp. Remove and continue cooking the remaining quesadillas.
  3. Slice each quesadilla in half and serve warm.

Makes 4 Servings

Picky Palate has partnered with Land O’Lakes for an exclusive endorsement of Land O Lakes® Butter for their Kitchen Conversations blogger program. This blog post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.


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Appetizers and Sides

My Candied Raspberry Baked Bacon could not be more simple to prepare and irresistibly delicious!

Candied Raspberry Baked Bacon

If I could jump up and down with excitement telling you about this recipe I would!  These drool worthy strips of sweet and salty bacon are heaven sent.  I’ve partnered with Smucker’s to bring you simple recipes that use their amazing jams and preserves.

You won’t believe how simple this recipe is!

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If you haven’t tried Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest Lakeside Raspberry Cranberry Preserves you’ve got to!  Sooo good.  Be sure to visit Smucker’s on Facebook and their Perfect Pairings Board on Pinterest.

I love pairing cheeses, crackers and nuts with a little bowl of my favorite Smucker’s preserves for dipping.  I also love serving pita wedges with peanut butter and Smucker’s preserves  for a midday and or after school snack.

Candied Raspberry Baked Bacon

Take 1 pound of cooked bacon strips (I used the microwave ready bacon strips) and brush each lightly with your preserves then sprinkle lightly with brown sugar.  Place in the oven and let the magic happen!

Candied Raspberry Baked Bacon

Crispy fabulous candied sweet and savory bacon strips!

Candied Raspberry Baked Bacon

Candied Raspberry Baked Bacon

Candied Raspberry Baked BaconPrep time: 5 min | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cooked bacon strips
  • 1/4 cup Orchard’s Finest Lakeside Raspberry Cranberry Preserves
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with a baking rack. Arrange bacon strips onto baking rack and brush evenly with preserves. Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 10-15 minutes or until browned and crisp. Remove and let cool for 20 minutes. Serve room temperature.

Makes 13-15 strips

Here’s another fun and simple recipe that is great for an after school snack and uses Smucker’s irresistible Blueberry Preserves! Hope you enjoy!

Peanut Butter Blueberry Pastry Squares

Peanut Butter Blueberry Pastry Squares

Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 30 min | Total time: 40 min

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Smucker’s Blueberry Preserves
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper. Unroll puff pastry sheet and gently press onto baking sheet. Spread with peanut butter then Smucker’s Blueberry Preserves. Top with chopped peanuts. Bake for 25-30 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Makes 12 Servings

This is a sponsored post for Smucker’s however thoughts and opinions are my own.


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Dinner

My Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup Recipe is simple to prepare for those busy weeknights and is full of great Mexican flavor!

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I am celebrating with this delicious and so simple to prepare Mexican style soup.  It’s packed with my homemade spanish rice, vegetables and chunks of chicken in a flavorful zesty broth.

Cholula is my go to hot sauce for everything.  It flavored my broth perfectly without being too spicy.  We love it in my house!

Be sure to check out Amanda’s Firecracker Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa HERE for another fun Cholula Cinco de Mayo recipe.

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for your soup.  Simple pantry and refrigerator items.  To save yourself some time, cook your chicken ahead of time so it’s ready to go :)

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

 Start by sautéing your onions.

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

Add your carrots and some fresh garlic.  Cook and stir until slightly softened.

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

Add your cooked rice. and seasonings.

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

Finish up the spanish rice by adding salt, pepper, tomato sauce and chicken broth to start the soup.

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

Dice your chicken and add it to the pot.

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

 Season the soup with Cholula hot sauce.  I used 4 tablespoons, but use more or less to according to your liking.

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup-16

Add some fresh cilantro and or parsley and simmer on low until you are ready to serve!

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

Spoon into your favorite bowl and enjoy!

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken Soup

Zesty Spanish Rice Chicken SoupPrep time: 20 min | Cook time: 30 min | Total time: 50 min

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked rice of choice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 64 ounces reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 10 ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes, mild
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup Cholula Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onions, carrots and garlic for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Add rice, cumin, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Stir in tomato sauce.
  3. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, lime juice and hot sauce and cilantro, stirring. Simmer on low until ready to serve.

**NOTE: The rice soaks up the broth the longer it simmers, add more as needed.**

Makes 10-12 Servings

This is a sponsored post for Cholula however thoughts and opinion are my own.


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Appetizers and Sides

Enjoy my Chicken Pecan Mexican Rice Salad this week! So simple and flavorful!

Chicken Pecan Mexican Rice Salad

It’s always a pleasure partnering with Fisher Nuts to bring you new recipes!  I had so much fun creating this zesty Mexican rice salad loaded with chicken, vegetables and Fisher Nuts Chopped Pecans.  Chicken and pecans go together so nicely.  Adds a great nutty texture to each bite.  I’ve also blended a simple cilantro dressing that gets stirred into the salad.  This is a perfect salad to bring to a potluck or even by itself as a light dinner.  All of my favorite flavors!

Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Pecan Mexican Rice Salad-4

You’ll need some lovely chopped pecans for your salad.  Love having Fisher Nuts on hand for snacking and using in my recipes!

Chicken Pecan Mexican Rice Salad 1

Place your cooked rice blend into a large bowl.  I love Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Blend that you find in the freezer section.  Any brown rice blend with do the trick.  Add chicken as well.

Chicken Pecan Mexican Rice Salad 2

Pecans and sugar snap peas up next.

Chicken Pecan Mexican Rice Salad 3

Add Feta cheese and roasted red peppers.  I transferred to a larger bowl to make it easier to stir.

Chicken Pecan Mexican Salad 4

Stir in your cilantro ranch dressing then gently stir in a chopped ripe avocado.  Time to eat!  Enjoy :)

Chicken Pecan Mexican Rice Salad

Please note this salad is best eaten the day of.  We tried it the next day and the dressing soaked into the rice making it a little dry.  Enjoy right away for best results.

Chicken Pecan Mexican Rice Salad

Chicken Pecan Mexican Rice Salad

Chicken Pecan Mexican Rice SaladPrep time: 15 min | Cook time: 0 min | Total time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked brown rice blend
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
  • 3/4 cup Fisher Nuts Chopped Pecans
  • 1 small bag sugar snap peas/span>
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cilantro Ranch Dressing

  • 1 cup prepared Ranch dressing, I used a yogurt Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. Place rice into a large mixing bowl. Add chicken, Fisher Nuts Chopped Pecans, sugar snap peas, feta cheese, roasted red pepper, salt and pepper. Stir to combine then set aside.
  2. To prepare dressing, place ranch dressing and cilantro into a high powered blender. Blend until smooth and well combined. Pour over salad, stir then add avocados. Serve immediately.  Best eaten same day.

Makes 8-10 Servings

This is a sponsored post for Fisher Nuts however thoughts and opinions are my own.


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Breakfast and Brunch

Treat yourself to my simple and delicious Red Tart Cherry Toasted Macaroon Oatmeal!

Red Tart Cherry Toasted Macaroon Oatmeal

I am thrilled to be teaming up with Smucker’s® Pairings today! Simple and delicious way to enjoy Smucker’s fruitfully delicious combinations.  Smuckers has the best fruit spreads around.  So many flavors to choose from and so many combinations to enjoy!

Today I am sharing my Red Tart Cherry Toasted Macaroon Oatmeal.  I’ve paired Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest Michigan Red Tart Cherry Preserves with some quick oatmeal, almond milk and a touch of brown sugar.  We went nuts for this oatmeal that’s great for breakfast or brunch.  I love that from start to finish it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare.

Enjoy!


Red Tart Cherry Toasted Macaroon Oatmeal

LOVE this Michigan Red Tart Cherry Preserves.  So many fun options to pair with it.  I also love pairing it with baked brie and crackers.  To die for!  Be sure to check out Smucker’s website for dozens of other pairing ideas.

Red Tart Cherry Toasted Macaroon Oatmeal

The toasted coconut adds such a great texture to your oatmeal.  Pour some shredded coconut into a large skillet over medium high heat.  After about 2 minutes, stir and toast all sides until golden and beautiful.  So good!

Red Tart Cherry Toasted Macaroon Oatmeal

Use a spoon and swirl your Red Tart Cherry Preserves over your warm oatmeal.  Talk about a treat!  Healthy and delicious.  Enjoy!

Red Tart Cherry Toasted Macaroon Oatmeal

Red Tart Cherry Toasted Macaroon Oatmeal

Red Tart Cherry Toasted Macaroon OatmealPrep time: 10 min | Cook time: 5 min | Total time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dry quick oats
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Orchard’s Finest Michigan Red Tart Cherry Preserves

Directions

  1. Preheat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add coconut; cook and stir for for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Cook oats according to package directions. Once cooked, return to a simmer and stir in almond milk, brown sugar and salt. Stir to combine. Divide oatmeal into 4 serving bowls. Swirl in 1 tablespoon Red Tart Cherry Preserves and top with pinches of toasted Coconut.

Makes 4 Servings

This is a sponsored post for Smucker’s however thoughts and opinions are my own.


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Appetizers and Sides

My Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza is a family favorite. Enjoy!

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza

It’s always a pleasure working with Land O’Lakes to bring you my newest recipe.  This one deserves a standing ovation.  This pizza has got all of my favorite ingredients that makes the house smell like a dream.  Roasted Brussels Sprouts and crispy bacon lay on top of my homemade creamy Parmesan Rosemary sauce.  You don’t want to miss this one!

I am so excited about the Land O’Lakes called Pin a Meal, Give a Meal Campaign.  This program is amazing, for every Land O’Lakes recipe that is pinned or re-pinned between March 28 and May 1st, 2014, the Land O’Lakes Foundation will donate $1 to Feeding America.

Be sure to help us reach our goal to donate 2.7 million meals.  You can pin my signature recipe, Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza to contribute 9 meals to Feeding America.

You can pin more recipes from Land O’Lakes to contribute even more meals.  Pin to give more than just a meal. When you help feed a family, you’re helping families live full and active lives and make a better future for themselves.

See the Pin a Meal, Give a Meal Pinterest Board HERE.

Hashtag: #giveameal

Let’s take a look at how to make my pizza!

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-2

You’ll start by halving your brussels sprouts, drizzling with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.  Bake until roasted and beautiful!

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-9

Perfect!  Set those aside for a few minutes while you make the sauce.

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-3

For the sauce you’ll need Land O’Lakes Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil, flour, salt, pepper, milk and Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-5

Melt your butter into a small saucepan then whisk in the flour, salt and pepper.

Sauce

Whisk in your milk, Parmesan cheese and chopped rosemary leaves.

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-11

Ahhh, perfect.

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-12

Press your pizza dough onto a pizza pan that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-14

Spread your creamy sauce over the dough.

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-15

Top evenly with your roasted brussels sprouts.

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-16

Crumbled bacon!

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-17

Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-18

Lovely!

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-19

Top with a sprig of fresh Rosemary if desired before baking.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until baked through.

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza

Cheesy and perfect.  Enjoy!

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza-25t

Pax was eager for the photo shoot to be over so he could dig in, lol!

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza

Parmesan, Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza

Parmesan Rosemary Brussels Sprouts and Bacon PizzaPrep time: 30 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 50 min

Ingredients

  • 15 brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound Refrigerated Pizza Dough, my Honey Whole Wheat Pizza Dough works great
  • 10 strips cooked, crumbled bacon
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Creamy Parmesan Rosemary Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Land O’Lakes Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper.
  2. Place brussels sprouts onto prepared baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Cook for 25 minutes, until golden brown and tender. Remove from oven. Press pizza dough onto a pizza pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Press into about a 12 inch round.
  3. To prepare sauce, place butter into a small saucepan over medium heat. When melted whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Whisk in milk until thickened and hot. Whisk in Parmesan cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in rosemary leaves then pour onto pizza dough, spreading to 1/2 inch from edges. Place roasted brussels sprouts evenly over sauce then top with cooked bacon pieces. Top with shredded cheese and bake for about 20 minutes, until crust is cooked through and cheese is melted. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into slices.

Makes 8 Servings

$1 helps provide 9 meals* secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks. The Land O’Lakes Foundation guarantees a minimum of 2.7 million meals* (monetary equivalent of $300,000.00) to Feeding America and member food banks from March 28 through May 31, 2014.

Disclosure: Picky Palate has partnered with Land O’Lakes for an exclusive endorsement of
Land O Lakes® Butter for the Kitchen Conversation blogger program. This blog post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.


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What is your meal time like at your house?  Calm and cool or pure chaos?

I am positive that it looks different for every family.  For some, it happens on a regular basis and for some, they are lucky if they sit together for meals at all.

We definitely fall somewhere in the middle.  I’ve always known that family meal time is important.  My family wasn’t perfect at sitting down together growing up, but I have good memories of the times we did.  I have a wonderful French grandmother who made meal time so much fun growing up.  She was exuberant and had such a love for food that it rubbed off on everyone enjoying a meal with her.  No one ever went hungry at her house.  In fact, you were so full you could hardly move :)

What is it that keeps us from sitting down together? ……busy with the kids, school, homework, sports, other activities and everyday life.  We are all guilty of it!

The struggles we face are trying to get everyone to sit down together at the same time.  Between sports and homework I have yet to find a time that sticks.  I think being flexible from day to day will help.  I also want to work on having my boys help set up the table and help with the clean up.  Some extra bonding time is always good right?

I am making a goal this year to be better at making meal time a priority.  I know how important it is and that’s a good enough reason for me!  I want my kids to remember the times we sit and talk together during the week and not being so busy that it never happened.

Family Dinner Time

Currently, our family meal time is very simple and I mean simple.  The picture above was actually  me “trying” lol!  I put some rosemary sprigs from our bush outside in a vase and set the table a little nicer than usual.  The boys said, “Wow Mom, what’s the occasion?”  If I’m being honest, I’ve got no problem using paper products.  We actually use plastic cups from Costco on a regular basis.  This is what works for us.  I think we all need to be ok if things are not always perfect.  I want to focus more on the connections and conversations we have at the table than what type of placemats I have.

Some of the things that we do well are definitely having home cooked meals on a fairly regular basis.  Since I write a food blog, that one is pretty easy, there’s always food around :)  I also love the conversations we have at the table.  Aside from our daily conversations and discussions about school, as often as we remember, we like to ask the boys “What’s one thing you did today that helped someone or what’s one thing you can do tomorrow to help someone?”  This way, if the boys didn’t help anyone, they can think about what they can do the next day.

Dr. William Doherty, who I had the pleasure of meeting at Barilla, has studied the importance of family dinner time for years and brought up a good discussion that having the kids help clean up was very important.  I was happy to hear this!  He also brought up really good points that having regular family dinner helps your kids do better in school, improves behavior and provides a safe home feeling.  I am thrilled to be partnering with Barilla and Share The Table Family Project.  I love that Barilla promotes and supports families to share more meaningful meals together.  This is so important to my family as well.

I love that Barilla is helping support those in need with this program as well.  For every post using #ShareTheTable, Barilla will help provide the monetary equivalent of tem meals to Feeding America, up to one million meals!

Family Dinner Time

This is exactly how our table looks.  Messy and happy, lol!  Our 18 month old loves to throw is food and make a giant mess.  We all sit together and get a good laugh watching Pax eat.

I am excited to make family meal time an even bigger priority this year.  I think letting go of having to do things perfect will be a good step for me.  As long as we are all together and enjoying our meal is good enough :)  We will also have “family clean up” time as Dr. William Doherty has recommended.  Yay!

What are your struggles with family meal time?  Do you have any successes to share with the rest of us?  Would love to hear it!

Be sure to help raise money for Feeding America by posting #ShareTheTable on your social media pages!

Share The Table

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post on behalf of Barilla, however, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Barilla or their products.


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Desserts

My White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies are perfect for Spring Time entertaining!

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies

Lemon poppyseed is one of my favorite combinations.  Seems to always be a sweet and delicious cake of some sort.  I decided to turn that combination into one delicious blondie if I might say so myself.  It’s dense, chewy and lemon poppyseed delicious.

Dust with a little powdered sugar and you’ve got yourself a beautiful dessert to serve to family and friends.

Enjoy!


White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies-2

It’s always a pleasure teaming up with Gold Medal Flour.  I’ve used their flour for years and years.  Nothing better!  You should be able to find lemon curd in the jam section of your grocery store.  For those of you with Trader Joe’s, you can get it there too.  Other than that, pretty standard pantry and refrigerator items.

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies-1

Start by adding your white chips to some hot melted butter.

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies-3

Let it sit for a minute or so then give a little stir.

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies-4

Add your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies-5

2 lovely eggs.

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies-6

Poppyseeds please.

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies-8

Lemon curd and more white chips :)

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies-9

Give a nice stir to combine.

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies-10

Transfer to a parchment lined square baking dish.

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies-11

Spread evenly to corners then time to bake until golden and baked through!

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies

Let your bars cool completely then cut into squares.  Dust with a little powdered sugar and voila!  Gorgeous and delicious treats.  Enjoy!

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed Blondies

White Chocolate Lemon Poppyseed BlondiesPrep time: 10 min | Cook time: 30 min | Total time: 40 min

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup all-purpose Gold Medal Flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup prepared lemon curd
  • 2 tablespoons poppyseeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Place butter into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds until butter is melted and hot. Add 3/4 cup white chips and let sit for 1 minute. Stir until smooth, if needed place back in microwave for an additional 15-30 seconds to melt through.
  3. Place flour, sugar, chips, baking powder and salt into mixing bowl with melted chocolate. Stir to combine. Stir in eggs and lemon curd and poppyseeds. Stir until well combined. Transfer to prepared baking dish, spreading evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through. Let cool completely then cut into squares. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

Makes 12 Servings

This is a sponsored post for Gold Medal Flour however thoughts and opinions are my own.


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Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!



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