Episode 21: The Family Dinner Project with Dr. Anne Fishel

This interview with Dr. Anne Fishel is full of tips and tools to make family dinner easier for everyone.

Dr. Fishel is the co-founder of The Family Dinner Project. She talks about the research surrounding family dinner. She discusses the positive effect family dinner has on children, especially teens.

She also talks about some of the things you can do to make family dinner possible even when you are crazy busy and some tools you can use to make family dinner a pleasant experience even when your kids may complain.

Find out more about The Family Dinner Project.

Website:  https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefamilydinnerproject

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FDP_Tweets

Check out Dr. Fishel’s Book: Home for Dinner, Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for Happier Families and Healthier Kids

Get your free copy of the Feed Your Family Tonight Master Meal Planning Sheet.

Spinach and Hash Brown Breakfast Bake

This breakfast bake is one of my husband’s favorites. I make a large pan and then cut it into individual portions and freeze it. He reheats it in the morning for a quick and healthy breakfast.

Spinach and Hash Brown Breakfast Bake

2 10 oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed

5 Cups (about 15 oz) frozen hash browns

2 Tablespoons Butter, softened

1/3 Cup Four (I use White Whole Wheat.)

8 oz Cheese, Shredded (I like swiss but most types work well.)

2 Cups Milk

6 eggs

1 teaspoon dry mustard (powder found in the spice aisle)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided

Cooking spray (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Drain the spinach and then put in a kitchen towel and squeeze as much water out of it as possible.

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish with the 2 Tablespoons of butter. I like to use a glass dish so I can monitor the browning. Spread the frozen hash browns in the baking dish and up the sides to create a crust. Spray lightly with cooking spray and bake for about 40 minutes until the potatoes begin to brown.

Mix the drained spinach with 1/3 cup flour and 1 teaspoon of salt.

In a separate bowl, mix the milk, eggs, dry mustard, pepper and remaining teaspoon of salt.

When the crust has baked for 35 minutes and has started to brown, remove it from the oven. Spread the spinach and flour mixture over the the hot crust. Cover the spinach with the cheese, then pour the eggs and milk over the entire casserole.

Return the dish to the oven and bake an additional 30 minutes. The casserole will puff up and the cheese will brown on top. Let rest for at least five minutes then cut into squares and serve.


Episode 20: Clean Out Your Fridge with Rice Bowls

Do you have lots of “little bits” of food leftover ready to go to wast in your refrigerator? Rice Bowls may be the answer to keeping the food from going to waste and feeding your family.

The basic formula for rice bowls:





Marie explains how to turn leftovers into an entire new meal by following this basic formula for Rice Bowls.

Episode 19: School Break Survival Tips

School breaks are great, but if you are not prepared for feeding your family you can get caught off guard. Marie outlines a few tips to make meal and snack time easier during short breaks from school.

1- Plan your menu early and go shopping early.

2- Ask your kids what they want to eat and work out the compromises before you go to the grocery store.

3- Plan for treats and give your kids some filling food before the treat if you are afraid the treat will not be enough to fill them up.

4- Plan simple meals for dinner so you don’t have to stop your activities to cook.

5- Use cooking dinner as an activity by working together to make a special dinner that takes extra work to make.

Shamrock Smoothie

Growing up, our family didn’t eat fast food very often, but every March my dad would take me to McDonalds to get a Shamrock Shake. It was a treat of minty goodness and I looked forward to it every year.

This smoothie reminds me of the same green minty shake I had as a kid, but without any added sugar or food dye, I can enjoy it more than once a year.

Shamrock Smoothie

1 Banana sliced into 1 inch disks and frozen

2 Cups fresh baby spinach leaves

1/2-3/4 Cup Milk (dairy and non-dairy milks all work great)

1 Drop Spearmint oil

Combine frozen banana slices, spinach, milk, and spearmint oil in a blender. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.

**Note 1** I like to freeze several bananas at the same time by lining a tray with parchment paper and laying the banana slices flat on the tray. Once they are frozen solid, I place them in a plastic zipper bag and keep them in the freezer to pull out anytime.

**Note 2** I have found spearmint oil two places. The first is in the essential oil section of health food stores. The second is in the candy making section of craft stores. My favorite brand is Lorann, which I usually get a craft stores. I find it to not be as bitter as the essential oil form the health food stores.

Oatmeal Pancakes

Pancakes, for me, are nothing but comfort food. When I got my first apartment in college, my mother gave me a cookbook. It was a “healthy cookbook” and all the recipes were a little bit off. There was a recipe for pancakes that I would make on occasion. I will never forget one Sunday morning the summer before I graduated. I was leading music for church and everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. I was frustrated, embarrassed and very upset. I went home to my apartment and announced with great fervor that I was making pancakes. My roommates laughed and would often re-enact my dramatic proclamation. To this day, when life gets the best of me, I turn to pancakes to make everything better.

This is a recipe that has evolved over the years. Most of the time I just throw in a little of this and a little of that. Today I took the time to test and measure the ingredients to give you a light and fluffy whole grain pancake.

Oatmeal Pancakes

2 Cups Buttermilk (Or use 2 Tablespoons lemon juice added to 2 cups milk.)

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup Quick Oats

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, melted plus more for the griddle or skillet

1 1/2 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Table Salt

2 Tablespoons Sugar

Mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and oats in a large bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes to let the oats soften. Add the melted butter and stir. Sprinkle the flour over the wet mixture, then sprinkle the baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar over the flour. Mix gently, leaving a few lumps of flour.

Let the batter rest while you heat up the skillet or griddle. I prefer to use an electric griddle. Heat it to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Once heated, rub a stick of butter across the surface of the griddle or skillet and ladle the batter into rounds. (My kids like it when I sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top of the wet batter.) Cook until the bubbles just begin to burst, then flip and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. Serve immediately.

Greek Dressing and Marinade

Greek Dressing and Marinade

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

1/3 Cup lemon juice from about 2 large lemons

1 teaspoon oregeno

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sugar, (optional)

Add all ingredients to a 1/2 pint mason jar and shake well. This will last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. If the oil solidifies, just bring to room temperature and shake well.

Episode 17: I May Be A Knife Snob

Knives are a very important part of a good home kitchen. Marie talks about the knives in her house, how she chose them, what she uses them for, and how she takes care of them. She also talks about how important it is to sharpen your knives. She even talks about her obsession with sharpening other people’s knives.


Marie’s Knife Sharpener

Inexpensive Knife Sharpener

Henkel’s Professional S 8 inch chef’s knife, Marie’s favorite knife