Numerous studies show that teens who eat dinner with their families regularly are less likely to smoke, to do drugs, to drink alcohol abusively, they get better grades and higher test scores, have larger vocabularies and better reading skills, have less obesity and eating disorders, and are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables than teens who do not.
Not to mention home-cooked meals are healthier and cheaper.
However, by the time evening rolls around, we are all tired and hungry. (And the poor kids are facing their nightly homework.) Not the time to start cooking an entire meal from scratch in the name of family harmony.
But if I can throw some ingredients into the slow cooker that morning, a meal like Norman Rockwell’s grandma might make can be waiting for us.
Like this pasta:
2 stalks celery
1 small onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
Pinch, dried oregano
Pinch, dried basil
1/2 cup red wine
1 pound, sliced mushrooms (Spring for presliced, saves time.)
28-oz. can diced tomatoes
28-oz. can tomato sauce
Salt to taste
1 ½ pounds whole-wheat rigate pasta
Chop carrot, celery, onion and garlic in a food processor. (You can chop these by hand, but the food processor saves time, plus it chops them so fine my vegetable-adverse son doesn't realize he is eating carrot.)
Saute the vegetables in the olive oil, along with the herbs.
Pour into slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with the wine; add that to the slow cooker, along with the mushrooms¸ the tomatoes and tomato sauce and the salt. Stir, cover and set on high.
Come back in 6-8+ hours to boil up the pasta.