Invest in Regular Family Dinners (With Recipe)


Beans with Onions and Carrots 

Regular family dinners can bring you hours of delight and help strengthen your family for less than the cost of going to the movies. Include grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and those friends and neighbors that just feel like family. Serve a welcoming main dish like my Beans with Carrots and Caramelized Onions recipe below to keep the costs down and to avoid many allergy and dietary concerns.

A few months after I started dating the man who would become my husband and the Cook for Good Taster, he invited me to join his family for Sunday lunch. His mother served a Southern feast, complete with hot, homemade rolls, green beans from the back yard, and plenty of iced tea. Three generations came together every week to trade stories and discuss their interests, from karate lessons to computers. Fortunately, I fit in well enough to become a regular.

My niece and nephew who were in grade school then are grown up now, with a new generation on the way. We get together once a month instead of every week, with everyone who can bringing a dish and taking turns hosting.

This weekend as I set the table, I had a great sense of family continuity and investment. I have my grandmother's oak dining table, who got it from her mother. The linen table cloth with the hand-crocheted edging came from my mother-in-law. My sister-in-law, who is no longer with us, made the needlework cat coasters. Our wedding china came from family and friends. All their spirits join us around the table. Casual works just as well, of course, for the main purpose of bringing everyone together. But as I told my Taster, who else are we saving our “best” for?

Beans with Carrots and Caramelized Onions Recipe

Whether you splurge on heirloom Anasazi beans or scrimp with pinto beans, this bean stew makes a fine main dish for family dinners or potlucks. Get rich umami flavor without meat from caramelized onions, chipotle, and kombu, a type of kelp makes beans more digestible. Carrots add sweetness and color. Yield 6 cups or 10 servings.

2/8/2015 9:42:38 AM

Indeed! Saving our best for who, if not for those closest to us. And caramelized onions are the most overlooked cheap way of jazzing up any meal. What great ideas!

2/6/2015 2:10:46 PM

Every Linda Watson recipe I've tried has been both delicious and affordable, as well as quick and easy. I love her approach to affordable organic food. Can't wait to try this one. Linda, glad to see you here.

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