Top 10 Favorite Family Meals

When I think of what a family meal means to me, I first think of a dinner that everyone in the entire family likes. In some households, that in itself could be difficult to conjure up.

The selections below keep that thought in mind. I also believe a family meal should be something that everyone can actually enjoy together. A pass me another burger, sit around the picnic table as a family and have a nice, relaxing, casual, no stress kinda meal.

1) – Spaghetti

We have a tradition in our house that on birthday’s, you get to pick the dinner. Two of us pick this meal. Such an easy meal to throw together, (the basic version of noodles and sauce anyway), often tasting even better the next day. I like to eat my leftover spaghetti cold straight out of the fridge…. Can you pass the garlic bread please?

2) – Burgers & Hot Dogs

Burgers – The options are endless…. onions, cheese, mushrooms, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes. Preferably cooked outside on the grill and eaten family style at the picnic table on a lazy summer night. I find the bun selection could make all the world of difference. A classic family meal that works great with larger crowds. Don’t forget the mustard and catsup.
Dogs – I’m not talking about the scrawny little wieners occupying the majority of grocery store shelves. I’m talking pure, all beef, jumbo size, hebrew nationals. Ten times  better prepared on the grill, the dogs I long for have that “pop” of juices when you first bite into them…..makes my mouth water even thinking about them. Serve them with some beans and potato salad on the side and like the burgers mentioned above, enjoyed outside around the picnic table. The All – American meal.

3) – Chicken Wings

Some may consider wings more of an appetizer, but if your household is anything similar to mine, a wing dinner can be a feast of it’s own. My kids love to take ownership of the secret sauce they create. Include celery sticks and a big ole bowl of blue cheese dressing for dipping… the kind with the big chunks of blue cheese.

4) – Crab Feast

The ultimate family get together feast and a Maryland favorite. Enjoyed with corn and cold beer…sodas for the kids. A true conversation meal. Other areas of the country may have their own versions – shrimp feasts, lobster feasts, crawdads…. These variations, all enjoyed in the same manor are not your average sit down to eat, finish up and leave the table meal as they often last for hours at a time.

5) – Grilled Cheese

Doesn’t get a whole lot easier than fixing these guys. Our family has a grilled cheese maker that cooks four sandwiches at a time. Cut up some tomatoes and serve with a bowl of soup on a cold winters evening. Never have heard any complaints from the kids about grilled cheese for dinner.

6) – Pizza

Making pizza from scratch is an enjoyable and satisfying family experience. There’s a task for everyone… rolling the dough, spreading the sauce, cutting up the ingredients. Ever the little ones can get involved spreading the fixings. We like ours with pre cooked bacon and tomatoes.

7) – Salmon

Having three boys in their teens, I know picky. And when it comes to liking fish, kids are not always eager adopters. Salmon seems to be a happy medium. Cut like a steak and not very fishy tasting. Best part about it… it’s good for you. Goes great with a feta and almond salad which the kids always like as well. A double bonus…

8) – Macaroni and Cheese

Have you ever seen anyone turn down a plate of hot and cheesey mac and cheese? I think it should stand alongside the hot dog as a co All – American meal. I like mine almost burnt on the top…even a little crispy.

9) – Lasagna

Another fun meal the whole family could participate in cooking together. And another meal that can be as simple or extravagant as you choose to make it. I have been told the secret to a good Lasagna is the cottage cheese. I know this…kids love it.

10) – Steak

My experience tells me children’s palate and sense of smell change as they get older. Maybe not a favorite of the younger ones, experience has shown me, as kids get older their desire to consume a good cut of well prepared beef increases. There may be no better sense of smell than a juicy steak sizzling on the grill. Baked potatoes and asparagus round out the typical course in our household. Often reserved for special occaisions.  A great excuse to have a family meal in the dining room nobody ever seems to use. Bonus!
Without a doubt the most enjoyable family meals I have selected will change depending on what part of the world you live in. Feasts will differ by geographic  location as well. The Maryland crab feast my family enjoy’s could be replaced by the Lobster feast in New England, but they all share that sit together and engage with your family type of feel.
What’s your Favorite Family Meal?
Let’s hear about it…

4 Responses

  1. Sherryl Perry
    Sherryl Perry July 30, 2011 at 6:12 am | | Reply

    I can certainly tell that you either live on the coast or did at one time Lewis. Maryland crabs and salmon – yummy! This is a great top 10 family list!

  2. Rob Beland
    Rob Beland July 30, 2011 at 9:46 am | | Reply

    You can’t forget taco night! A great family favorite in my house…

  3. CindyM
    CindyM July 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm | | Reply

    As the “personal chef” to my family for over 32 years, my favorite family meal is anything someone else cooks and puts in front of me!

  4. Mark Cunningham
    Mark Cunningham August 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm | | Reply

    Nice work Lewis, you’re making hungry in fact. You make a good point about making something the entire family likes because for the last 7 months or so, every night majority party wins. Pregnancy is a game changer, temporarily speaking so the forthcoming list is what “WE” eat around here until this fall when our little guy enters our world.

    My Pregnant Wife’s Top Ten Favorite Meals in Las Vegas:

    1. Chipotle chicken panini or chipotle + “anything”
    2. Thin crust no cheese pizza (yes, indeed, no cheese makes the sauce the focus so please order this from a “real” pizzeria
    3. Grilled chicken wrap or flatbread with hot sauce du jour
    4. French onion soup, no cheese, extra croutons
    5. Hummus and oven fresh hot focaccia bread
    6. Taco salad
    7. General Tso’s special chicken
    8. Fried rice sans onions and anything else aromatic
    9. Lemon chicken piccata lightly coated with lemon zest, pepper, and flour
    10. Traditional roast beef with carrots and potatos

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