(Family Features) Most families are looking for ways to spend more time together, but managing the family schedule can be a daunting task, especially with the additions of nightly homework and extracurricular activities a new school year brings.
Hectic weeknight schedules during back-to-school season don’t need to get in the way of quality time spent around the dinner table with these simple tips for enjoying dinner together.
Designate a time. Write dinner time on a calendar in the kitchen so every family member is aware of this special time and can look forward to sitting down together. Even if your schedule is overwhelming, pick a specific day each week and block out time to have a meal as a family.
Rely on foods rooted in tradition. Experimenting with recipes can add quick and easy new favorites to the family meal repertoire like Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs, a modern twist on the nostalgic family classic. As food trends come and go, RAGÚ continues to be a culinary staple for family meals. For 80 years, RAGÚ has gathered families at the table to celebrate the tradition of creating memories around a mouthwatering meal. Whether that’s a new take on ravioli or a family-favorite pasta dish, families can count on serving up delicious pasta sauces rich with bold, Italian flavors and vine-ripened tomatoes.
Create rituals. To build a tradition in the kitchen, try involving the whole family by showing your kids age-appropriate ways to contribute to their favorite meal. Let them measure ingredients to create better-for-you turkey meatballs, carry ingredients from one place to another, mix and pour ingredients, and set the table. Creating a ritual of cooking a favorite back-to-school meal with your kids is a good way to help them build healthy habits and skills that will last a lifetime.
Step away from your cell phone. Designate dinnertime as a no-cellphone zone. Leave your mobile devices in another room to allow for time to reconnect with your loved ones and be fully present.
Create fun dinner table topics. Making the table a fun place to be is the best strategy for getting your family to dinner and keeping them at the table longer. Make a game out of sharing the best parts of your day with each other. This can be a great way to laugh together as well as an opportunity to offer much-needed advice and support.
Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 10 ounces spaghetti
- 1 pound (85 percent lean) ground turkey
- 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned, dry bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 cup water, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 jar RAGÚ Homestyle Thick and Hearty Traditional Sauce
- Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt; keep warm.
- Combine turkey, bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, egg, 1/4 cup water and salt. Shape mixture into 25 (1 1/4-inch) meatballs.
- In large, nonstick saute pan on medium heat, heat olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Add sauce and remaining water once garlic is golden.
- Arrange meatballs in sauce; cover and cook 10 minutes, or until cooked through (165° F), stirring occasionally. Serve with cooked spaghetti and additional Parmesan, if desired.
Tip: Use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to easily make evenly sized meatballs.