Bring Fall Comfort Food to Your Table

Outlaw Marinara ChickenCombat the chill in November’s air with good-for-the soul comfort foods that will make your whole family eager to gather around the dinner table. All of these dinners simply bake in the oven for about an hour, giving you enough time to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book.

Outlaw Chicken Marinara is an Italian-inspired dish layered with crispy chicken, seasoned marinara sauce and three kinds of cheese. This is a kid favorite! Continue reading

Have a safe and fun Halloween

kids_halloween_costumesDid you know that our celebration of Halloween actually dates back to Roman and Celtic traditions? The ancient Celts believed that on the day that separates the lighter half of the year from the darker half, spirits could pass through to the living world. To ward off unfriendly spirits, people dressed up in costumes and masks to disguise themselves as one. Nowadays, we don’t worry about protecting ourselves from evil spirits, but there are still many things to keep in mind in order to have a safe and fun Halloween.

Costumes:

  • Avoid all-black costumes or fasten reflective tape to dark costumes to increase visibility.
  • Use face paint instead of masks that can obscure vision. However, test the makeup for allergic reactions by dabbing some on the arm a day or two before Halloween. Make sure to remove all face paint before going to bed to prevent irritation.
  • Keep costume accessories, such as swords or knifes, soft and flexible.
  • Layer extra clothing underneath thin costumes to keep warm. Continue reading

National Book Month

grandpa_granson_readingAs the months get colder and the evenings get darker, encourage your kids to pick up a good book instead of reaching for the TV remote. Since October is National Book Month, this is a great time to focus on reading as a family. Check with your child’s school or your local library for any reading-related events and try out a few of our tips to get your kids excited about books.

  • Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Seeing you read will reinforce the idea that reading is valuable for your child.
  • Asking your child about the book he or she is reading can be a great way to start up dinnertime conversation. Continue reading

Cinnamon Apple Cake Recipe

In honor of National Cookbook Month, we’re sharing a recipe from our Dream Dinners Cookbook that is perfect for fall. Chunks of apple and a cinnamon crumb topping make this dense cake a breakfast treat or a delicious dessert that is also perfect for National Apple Month. If you have a little extra time this weekend, take the kids apple picking and then make this cake with your fresh harvest. 
 
Cinnamon Apple Cake, serves 6
 
You’ll need:
Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup canola oil*
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda Continue reading

Family Pizza and Game Night

family-scrabble-boardThis month, have a family pizza and game night to celebrate National Pizza Month. The Dream Dinners pizza kit comes with everything you need to easily assemble customized pizzas. Divide up the dough and let each person top their pizza however they please. Find some tips for baking your pizzas here.

As far as the games go, Susie Osborn, owner of the Clackamas, OR store, and her family love playing games together and they’ve ranked their top ten favorites for your family to try.

1) Settlers of Catan: This game was unanimously ranked as the whole family’s favorite game to play. They’ve been playing it for 13 years and it never gets old because it’s a different game every time and there are many modifications to mix it up.

2) Ticket to Ride: Europe: This is a great all-around game for a wide variety of ages. The Osborns play it with everyone from grandparents to the youngest cousins. It’s a quick and easy game to learn and can also be educational for young kids as they follow routes across a map of Europe, learning geography, counting, and strategy along the way. Continue reading

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Adults aren’t the only ones staying connected, informed and involved online. Kids are relying on the Internet more and more to connect with friends, classmates and teammates. While the web can be a helpful tool for communicating, accessing information, and even developing a sense of self and independence, there are downsides to the environment of online sharing that kids are growing up in.

Since October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we have some tips to help you keep your children safe online. Continue reading

Easy DIY Halloween Decorations

Halloween is the perfect holiday to have your kids’ help decorate the house. We found the best DIY projects that will allow kids of all ages to participate. They’ll have a ton of fun making these creepy decorations and you’ll save money with these super simple ideas.

Game Day Appetizers

chicken_bacon_ranch_stuffed_french_bread

Whether your fall football plans involve watching the big game with family and friends at home or having your son’s teammates over for a team party, we have a number of recipes this month that will help make your planning easier.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Stuffed French Bread is the perfect party food to please a variety of people. Just slice it into thin pieces and use toothpicks to hold each section together. Continue reading

October is National Pasta Month

layered_ravioli_bake

Not only is pasta the perfect comfort food on a cozy fall day, it’s also the foundation for an easy family dinner. Both of our pasta dishes from this month’s menu can be taken straight from the freezer to cook in the oven for an effortless dinner the whole family will enjoy.

Layered Ravioli Bake is a kid favorite. Cheese ravioli layered with seasoned marinara, mozzarella cheese, Italian sausage, and fresh mushrooms make up this one-pan dinner.

chicken_tortellini_florentine

Creamy Chicken Florentine Tortellini is a complete dinner all on its own with 31 grams of protein and a full serving of vegetables. Dinner doesn’t get any easier than that!

What is your favorite pasta dinner?

Chopstick Chicken Fun

When you’re busy shuffling kids to school, practice, music lessons, or a friend’s house, it can be hard to find time to do something special for your family. However, the time you spend at the dinner table is the perfect opportunity to create lasting memories.

In this video, co-founder Stephanie Allen shows us how to create a fun family takeout night right in your own kitchen with a sweet, simple addition to the dinner table. You’ll have plenty of time to create these cute takeout boxes of chocolate dipped fortune cookies while your Chopstick Chicken with Peanut Sauce is simmering on the stove. Continue reading