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Family has always come first for Martina McBride, and that means “family mealtime” whenever possible. But like most of us, Martina has to deal with active lifestyles and busy schedules. Martina and husband John have three young daughters, each involved in different school and social activities. And that’s not always conducive for planning sit-down family dinners at home. If this sounds similar to your situation, Martina is ready to help you out with some suggestions on how you can create special dinners with the family a lot more often.
Martina has teamed up with pasta makers Barilla to launch “Share the Table: The Barilla Family Dinner Project,” which encourages families to spend more focused, uninterrupted time at the dinner table. “With my busy schedule, I have to be creative about making time for the family to dine together,” explains Martina. On sharethetable.com , you can find more than 100 tips on the benefits of shared mealtimes. For each person who promises to “Share the Table,” Barilla will donate $1 to Meals on Wheels Association of America, up to $150,000, to support home-delivered meal programs.
In these busy, hectic times, Martina advises to plan family meals in advance. “Put the dates and times in your calendar and, unless it’s an emergency, don’t budge!” she says. And if you find juggling schedules to be a bit overwhelming, Martina suggests reserving at least one night a week as a “family dinner night.”
And here’s a timely tip for the working parent. “Make sure the people you work with know when you have a special family night planned––and that working late is off-limits!” Martina declares.
Family meals create the opportunity for those special moments of connection between parents and their kids, Martina adds. “I love preparing food together with my family,” she says. “It feels great to unwind and chat while you’re cooking.”
One of Martina’s favorite dishes to prepare with the family is Barilla cheese manicotti, which she shares with you here. Check out the recipe, and be sure to serve it up at your next family dinner night.
Get the Recipe