Tackle Family Dinner Time with Quick & Easy Recipes

Written by: jodi hamilton

Oh Sweet Dinnertime!

Is dinnertime at your house fun or frustrating?  Children under the age of 6 can be picky eaters and, according to experts, they don’t grow out of it until around 8 or 9 years old.  This is part of normal development but it can be very challenging.  Once you throw after school activities and homework into the mix, all you want is dinner to be quick, easy, delicious and less stressful.  For many families, the success of dinnertime can often determine the success of the rest of the night!  No pressure parents!

To make dinnertime easier, always plan to have one item on the plate that you know your little one(s) will love.  Good examples are buttered cheese ravioli, macaroni and cheese, rice or bread. Then, build on items that might not be as popular – in small proportions of course; anything is doable even if it’s only a few bites.  Other studies have shown it takes 10-20 tastings to acquire a taste and you have to start somewhere!

Here is a dinner that is sure to be eaten, and it will take you no time to prepare! And, everyone around the table will ask for more!   PLUS - Depending on how adventurous your eaters are, think about pairing your Raspberry XOXO Chicken with one of these delicious and simple vegetables.


Raspberry XOXO Chicken (Serves 6; serve over rice or other grain) Time to Table: 25 minutes


  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup raspberry jam
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries (keep a few extra for garnish)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper                                   
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped  (note: hold this ingredient out if your family is sensitive to spicy foods)

Make-ahead instructions: In a one gallon reusable bag or glass dish, add all the ingredients together and store.  If you have time, marinade the meat in the sauce for 30 minutes or more.

Cooking directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Remove chicken from marinade (reserve marinade) and place on sprayed baking sheet
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes until browned (internal temp. 165°F).  If you choose to use bone-in and skin-on breasts, cook for 45 minutes, skin side up
  4. In sauce pan, bring marinade to boil to create a sauce.  Reduce heat and simmer
  5. Meanwhile, in sauce pan, add 2 1/2cups of rice and 5 cups of water.  Bring to boil, stir once, cover and cook on low heat for 20-25 min. Fluff with fork
  6. Place chicken over rice.  Drizzle with sauce and garnish with a few extra raspberries           

Brussels Sprouts with Maple (serves 4) Time to Table: 25 minutes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F 
  2. Toss 2 pounds of Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved (or quartered if large) with 1½ T extra-virgin olive oil and season with coarse salt
  3. Place sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until sprouts are browned in spots and tender when pierced with a knife; 20 minutes
  4. Stirring halfway through
  5. Drizzle Brussels sprouts with 1tablespoon of pure maple syrup, stir to coat and roast 3-5 more minutes

Maple Carrots with Brown Butter (serves 4) Time to Table: 25 minutes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F 
  2. Toss 2 pounds of carrots trimmed and halved if thick with 1 ½ teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil and season with coarse salt
  3. Place carrots on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, over medium heat, melt  1 tablespoon butter,  swirling till deep golden (~1min) 
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
  6. Drizzle maple butter over the carrots and roast another 10-12 minutes

Get cooking with fantastic NPN Member Discounts at Dream Dinners! Learn more about surviving dinner time with great food and fun with Jodi at Dream Dinners - located at Chicago & Damen.


Posted on January 08, 2013 at 2:39 PM