Our family loves eating dinner at the table together and we try our best to do so as much as possible. It’s something I grew up with – my mom had dinner ready every night by the time my father came home from work and we sat down soon after as a family to eat. We try to do the same now with our own family, though it may not always be perfectly timed or may not be a made-from-scratch home-cooked meal, we manage to share a family meal more often than not. The kids love sharing all about their days and even more so, they enjoy asking us about our days. It’s not uncommon for them to ask my husband, “How many meetings did you have today, daddy?” or ask me what I might have worked on for my blog. We love how involved they are!
For those nights that your schedule may be super hectic, whether it’s because you’re working outside the home or have many kids’ extracurricular activities, or for nights when you’re simply not feeling your best and need to take a break from the kitchen, an option may be to purchase frozen meals. Now, I’m a huge fan of menu planning and even precooking so that you can freeze your own cooked meals for just such occasions. But, I also know that there are times in our lives when things don’t go as planned and we have to improvise. For those moments, you could consider frozen meals supplemented with fresh ingredients to make a family meal your family can enjoy together – it will still be more affordable than take-out and you can sit down at the table to discuss the day’s events! Read on to see how we put together a family dinner using Marie Callender’s frozen meals (currently several varieties are on rollback for $2 at Walmart stores) by adding some fresh ingredients to supplement the frozen meals.
Since my oldest daughter is a macaroni and cheese fanatic, she chose Marie Callender’s Vermont White Cheddar Mac & Cheese as one of the meals. We also chose the Roasted Turkey Breast & Stuffing, Three Meat & Four Cheese Lasagna, and Grilled Chicken Alfredo Bake frozen meals. Marie Callender’s frozen meals have no preservatives or artificial flavors and use real ingredients such as, Vermont cheddar cheese, Fuji apples and tomatoes from California, all white-meat chicken and premium USDA Choice beef. The meals also include made-from-scratch sauces and gravies, freshly-made pasta that’s made on-site, and farm-fresh vegetables, all in an effort to give them a homemade taste.
To go along with our Marie Callender’s frozen meals, we purchased a Marketside organic salad mix, fresh seasonal fruit blend, and Marketside french bread loaf from the Walmart bakery department. I prepared a fresh salad using the salad mix and added cut-up cucumber (my daughter’s new favorite vegetable), cut up some bread slices, and set out the fresh fruit as a side item or even dessert. We had a nice mix of macaroni and cheese (which the kids loved!), lasagna, fresh salad, fruit, and bread for our dinner. We actually saved the turkey and chicken frozen meals for another time since we already had plenty of food for our family dinner – more than likely my husband and I will eat them for a quick lunch on a busy workday in the future. In the end, I was able to provide our family with an enjoyable and affordable meal without the need for take-out, so we could do what we love to do, talk about our day as we sat around the table together.
Have you ever thought about supplementing frozen meals with fresh ingredients for a family meal?
All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™