A great way of spending time with your loved ones
During regular days it’s becoming increasingly difficult to spend time with the people who matter most to you, or have everyone spend some time together. We all have busy schedules, and preparing a family dinner can be challenging, but we think it is one of the best things we can do, at least a few evenings a week, or the very least on the weekends.
With the arrival of these new difficult times of required social distancing, we have a unique opportunity to experiment more with cooking at home, and to turn it into a fun activity for the whole family.
So we decided that it is a good time to put together some tasty recipes that are fun, and easy to make, keep the family busy, all while cooking yummy and nutritious meals.
In this blog, you will find some of the best family dinner ideas you can try right away! You only use what you already have, so we love the versatility of these classic dishes. These are the perfect recipes for putting together something fast, easy, and more importantly, fail-proof.
At GATTO we try to use our wood oven as much as we can as we find it easier, flavorful, and a sometimes healthier way of cooking our dishes, so we tried to incorporate a few dishes baked in the oven, in the comfort of your home also.
Here we go with a few easy options for a delicious family dinner.
Table of Content
Cheddar or Sausage Quiches
Quishes are very popular, and it is a dish that you can turn into a brunch, snack or dinner item very easily by just switching up the fillings. To make it super easy, purchase one tube of the refrigerated crescent rolls dough, pull out any leftover veggies or meats you have in the fridge, cheese of preference (kids love cheddar, Parmesan, or Swiss cheese), and 4 eggs. All you need is a large skillet to saute any vegetables you decide to use, an oven, and an adequately sized baking tray, depending on how many people you are cooking for. For the families with younger children it's fun to use muffin trays so you make perfectly teeny quishes for tiny hands.
Preheat the oven at 375 degrees F, grease the pan of your choice, and place the crescent dough inside the tray.
If adding onions, saute them in a large skillet for a few minutes until they become translucent. Add your favorite sausage bits in the pan, and mix well with the flavorful chopped onions. Add the rest of the veggies you have, and saute everything until softened.
In a bowl mix the 4 eggs and the shredded cheese of your choice, add salt, pepper or paprika to taste.
Place the sauteed vegetables and/or meat in the tray lined with the crescent roll dough, than pour the egg and cheese mix on top. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 5 min and serve warm. Whip a fresh salad on the side!
Voila! Dinner served.
Pasta is always such an easy way of making dinner. Pasta doesn't have to be unhealthy. You can mix in veggies like mushrooms, or artichokes if you like, and it’s still a good and fast dinner choice when on the run.
If you cook for kids, you can prepare a simple white sauce pasta, with cheddar and Parmesan, or make a delish red sauce pasta, with tomato sauce that you saute with chopped garlic for extra flavor. Add a small cube of butter, or a spoon of cream to any of them, to make it extra creamy.
Not cooking for kids? Turn it into a more sophisticated dish by adding beautiful cheeses to your pasta, like Gorgonzola, Pecorino-Romano, or Parmigiana-Regiana. You can also add your favorite veggies like asparagus, forrest mushrooms, seafood, or your favorite meats. Just saute your veggies and meats while you are cooking your al dente pasta, and then toss everything together for all the flavors to come through. Serve warm with a glass of your favorite wine. Saluti!
At GATTO, we make some great pastas too. We use bacon, ground beef, seafood, or pesto sauce that we craft inhouse. We are lucky to be located in Bloor West Village, located between Etobicoke and High Park, where there’s a great choice of local fresh veggies, meats, and seafood markets.
Some evenings are just too busy, or maybe you just had a heavy lunch that day. Salads are perfect for when you need something light, and are one of the healthiest choices that you can make. It is quick, and nutritious, just don’t reach for that store bought dressing!
Use any type of salad you have in the fridge, like mixed greens, spinach, or arugula leaves.
You can keep things simple by just adding some chopped tomatoes, or you can add a variety of veggies, or meats that you can easily find in your fridge or pantry. Bell peppers, cucumbers, carots, ham, canned corn or tuna, or nuts, can be mixed in and can provide a truly tasty and nutritious meal.
For the dressing keep it simple and healthy. It only takes 5 minutes and you can make yourself a fantastic tasting, and nutritious salad dressing. In a cup add white vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a touch of honey, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything with a spoon and pour over the salad bowl. Serve immediately!
Veggies and Dip
Grilled or fresh, vegetables are well recommended to kids, because they pack a lot of nutrients, and are easy to serve right out of the bag, or easily grilled on the barbecue.
Make a great dipping sauce to serve on the side, and you got yourself a fast, light, and nutritious dinner that kids will enjoy. There are a few dips that kids love and you can easily make it at home.
All you need is a food processor, and the desire to try new things.Humus is one of the easiest things to make at home and tastes so much better than anything store bought.
You will need chickpeas (canned), olive oil, tahini paste, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Throw everything in the food processor and get a the best dipping humus out there. Another delicious and easy dip is a sour cream, or Greek yogurt base dip, whipped in a bowl with garlic, and olive oil for a super tasty creamy veggie dip. Add some fresh chopped cucumber bits, or dill for extra flavor.
Flatbread Fruit Pizza
Dinner done and kids still asking for something sweet? No problem!
If you have any berries on hand, and a couple of Naan flatbread you can easily whip something together that will take care of that sweet tooth. You can even use your toaster oven for a super fast dessert.
Sprinkle the Naan bread with some cinnamon and coconut oil if available, and warm it up in the oven for 5 minutes. For the spread you can use cottage cheese, luscious ricotta, mascarpone or even cream cheese. Mix the cheese spread with a bit of lemon zest, and a dash of honey. Spread on top of the flat bread, and close it off with fresh berries, coconut shavings, nuts, and even sprinkles. Enjoy!
All in all, dinner it’s a great way to stay connected with the ones that you care about the most. It is a lovely opportunity for socializing, communicating and finding out more about each other – and all of this while eating an amazing meal, inside or outside of the house.
Go for it!
Some days maybe we are not in the mood for cooking, or dealing with a sink full of dishes. You can always choose any of the great Italian restaurants in the great city of Toronto, or any other favorite cuisine from all over the world.
Try something new, experience different ingredients and combinations, that you can later on incorporate in your own recipes!
At GATTO we love the Italian cuisine which is abundant in variety, and so easy to love by the whole family.
And who can forget about pizza, which is one of the most popular Italian dishes, and an easy choice for eating out with the whole family. At GATTO, we use fresh vegetables, high quality meats, and Fior di Latte, which is a low caloric cheese, as well as a flavorful choice for topping
Our dough is made on site daily with only 3 ingredients, flour, water and yeast, and no additional oil is added, making it a light and crispy Neapolitan style crust.
We also serve a variety of appetizers, salads, pastas, and desserts, with many special dishes every day of the week.
If you haven’t been at GATTO yet, check our menu out! We are currently open only for pickup, as many of the restaurants in the city are at this time, but for the future you can easily make a reservation here, and try out something new! Looking forward to welcome you back in our dining room as soon as this health crisis will pass. Thank you for your support and for ordering takeout, for this really difficult times for the hospitality industri. GRAZIE!
Photo source: shutterstock.com