September 27, 2011

A Scheduled Life...Making Time for Family Dinners

I grew up with a scheduled life. As a child growing up in the 50's and 60's, we knew our responsibilities and what was expected of us. We got up every morning and wandered sleepily into the kitchen. Mother would always have breakfast ready for us. Daddy usually had left much earlier having to be at the hospital for an early surgery case. Our breakfasts were often times, homemade oatmeal, egg on toast or banana's with sugar and milk. Funny.....I was thinking of this breakfast dish while the grandhcildren were visiting and they had never had that before. So I asked them if they would like to try this?  Well, it was a hit, something as simple, quick and easy as this! We then returned to our bedrooms, made our beds, prepared ourselves for school and out the door we went to wait for the school bus. Upon returning from school, Mother had a snack ready, and then it was homework time or off to numerous after school activities. I wanted to participate in everything I could....art lessons, piano lessons, dance classes (from elementary through high school), and horseback riding at Stockett Stables. Then it was time for dinner, our family dinner. We always began by blessing our food.

Mother liked cooking for her family. We loved her cooking and we enjoyed each other. I am certain we had our quota of family worries in the sixties, but I am thankful for the feeling of belonging at mealtimes. We grew up with a willingness to work and that there was a place and time for play. When we participated in these after school activities we learned to obey the rules and respect our teachers. We knew we were growing up safely and healthy with the freedom to make choices. My wish is that today's young children, grow up with similar values. Family structure, schedules, a secure feeling of being well  taken care of and enjoying each other during family dinners as they share stories of their day.

2 cups cooked egg noodles
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
3 cups grated sharp cheese, your choice, divided
1 (2 1/4-ounce) package slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup drained, chopped pimentos
1 (4-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss together the noodles, soup, broth, and sherry. Add the chicken, 2 cups of the cheese, the almonds, pimento, mushrooms, and salt and pepper, to taste, and toss gently to combine. Transfer the mixture to a greased 13 by 9 by 2-inch casserole and top with the remaining cup of cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly

Estelle's Roasted Asparagus
2 pounds fresh asparagus
Olive oil
Coarse Ground Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and, if they're thick, peel them. Place the asparagus on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat the asparagus completely. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender, but still crisp!

3/4 c. all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 c. light brown sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 c. quick cooking oats
3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. brown sugar, butter, oats and cinnamon; mix until large pieces form. (I cut the butter into the dry ingredients with my pastry blender.) Set aside. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 c. flour, 1/4 c. brown sugar, apples, pears, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 tsp. lemon zest. Spread fruit in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over top.
Bake @ 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until fruit mixture is tender and bubbly. Cool 15 minutes.
Top with fresh whipped cream!


  1. Your post is so on target. Family life for those of us who grew up during the 50s and 60s was so different from family life today. I wonder how many families anymore actually sit down at the table together for dinner...and if so, how often? And the next question is: do they talk to each other? Loved the recipes...all my favorites!

  2. Thank you Janice....love hearing from you. Hopefully, the family dinner will not become a thing of the past! Enjoy the recipes!


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