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Return to the Table

Birmingham mom and author shares an easy, kid-approved recipe to encourage having sit-down family dinners.

Taking the time to sit down, eat slowly and share good food together is one of the most powerful things that you can do every day to create more meaningful connections with your children. Having this daily routine can also improve your health, reduce stress and strengthen your marriage. Children who enjoy regular family dinners are smarter, have more self-confidence and so many other benefits.

The family dinner tradition today is easily lost to hectic schedules, more reliance on convenience foods and the increased use of personal devices. Easy and regular family dinners may seem impossible. However, the good news is that it does not have to stay this way.

It is easy to start enjoying more meaningful mealtimes by getting everyone involved, creating a family menu, turning off the TV and personal devices, as well as having some great conversation starters ready. Storytelling is a great way to get everyone engaged and eat in courses rather than one-plate meals. Families tell me that this is a “game changer.” It can be as simple as first serving a soup or homemade caesar salad and then a main dish, such as pesto pasta and finally a dessert, such as fresh berries and cream, clementines or a piece of dark chocolate. Eventually dinner time will become a time of day that is looked forward to by everyone and a coveted time to connect; this is where the magic happens.  

Good food does not have to be complicated. Pistachio Pesto is easy, kid-approved and can be prepared in minutes. Not only is pesto delicious and nutrient-dense, when we make our food, we put our love in it, and this nourishes our children's bodies, minds and spirits. 

Pistachio Pesto 

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Fresh Pistachios, Shelled
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil
  • 2/3 Cup Mint
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Italian Parsley
  • 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 2/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan
  • Lemon Zest
  • Celtic or Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:

Place oil, garlic and pistachios in a food processor and blend. Add herbs and blend until the mixture is pureed. Add salt, pepper, cheese and zest; blend again to mix. Cooking should be fun and an adventure, so don't worry if you don't have basil or lemon zest; play with recipes to create different variations.  

You can either...

Mix with pasta by putting the pesto on the bottom of a serving dish, layering the pasta on top, topping with extra fresh basil and shaved parmesan for presentation and then tossing together the pasta and pesto to serve.  

Put a dollop on tomato, carrot or vegetable soup. 

Replace carry-out pizza and make bruschetta on toasted bread. Top with cheese and or chicken.

Serve as a side with tomato mozzarella salad or as a veggie dip.

Use as a sandwich spread or mix into salad dressing.

To get “5 Easy Steps to Make Dinner Time Easier and More Meaningful” and to be notified when De Falco’s book, Return to The Table, is coming out, visit ReturnToTheTable.com. She’s on Instagram @caterina.defalco and Facebook, Caterina De Falco Return to The Table, where she shares daily inspiration. She hopes to see you at The Table! 

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