Why settle for an average meal when you can prepare the perfect family dinner? How? It’s easier than you might think. By following a simple set of our tips and tricks, you can take mealtime up a notch and make everyone around the table experience an evening to remember. Read on to find out how in 10 easy steps with dinner ideas for family along the way!

1. Plan in advance

Planning in advance is everything. Sure, it’s possible to whip up something quick on a busy weeknight when you’re in a rush, but when striving for perfection, it’s all about being prepared. That means thinking about each family member and their dietary preferences. It’s also worth considering if any of them have a preferred drink.

Also, having all the right ingredients already in place makes the overall cooking process smoother, easier and stress-free. 

2. Choose a theme or cuisine

Opting for a specific theme or cuisine is a way of putting care into a mealtime. How? Because it’s the opposite of putting random ingredients together for a make-do meal. Rather, a themed dinner has a more special feel to it and helps to set the evening apart from others.

So, what theme to pick?

A holiday or celebration: Whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Canada Day, go ahead and make a meal of it!

A season-themed meal: As the temperature changes throughout the year, so do our food choices and different ingredients become in-season. This gives us opportunities for culinary creativity from comforting fall flavours to light summer dishes.

3. Get everyone involved

Preparing dinner isn’t only about the eating part. The cooking part is also an opportunity for the family to do something together. You can get the children involved by giving them little responsibilities from stirring to passing you ingredients and helping to set the table. 

There are also plenty of kid-friendly dinners that the kids can help out with, as long as you can keep them from eating everything before it reaches the table!

4. Think nutritious

The best way to feel well is to eat well. While you may be thinking that bringing veggies into meals that kids love isn’t the easiest of feats, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s more than doable! 

With our veggie-packed plates, you’ll find various ways to put some green on the scene! You could also try out this refreshing Confetti Pasta Salad or this brightly-coloured Skillet Gnocchi Vegan Buddha Bowl.

Confetti Pasta Salad

5. Get experimental with recipes

You can make dinner time more fun, creative and interesting by adding a twist to already familiar flavours. How exactly? One way is by substituting one ingredient for another that works just as well or better.

A prime example of that is this Skillet Gnocchi Stix with Bolognese that swaps out spaghetti for our family friendly Gnocchi Stix. The same applies to this Skillet Gnocchi Stix Poutine dish in which our delicious stick-shaped gnocchi makes a fabulous fries replacement.

Skillet Gnocchi Stix Poutine

6. Set the atmosphere

Little touches that require minimal effort can make the world of difference in this regard. When it comes to setting the atmosphere, the main things to think about are lighting, setting the table, and music.

Dim lighting helps to create a cozy atmosphere. An organized table not only looks nice but also helps to make everyone feel well-treated.  What’s more, some background music helps to shut out the outside world, make everyone relaxed and keep conversations flowing.

7. Hide devices away

These days, devices such as tablets and mobiles can too easily get in the way of sharing quality time with family members. It’s good to lay down the law of dinner here and ask everyone to put their devices on silent and away.

Not only is everyone likely to enjoy their meal more this way, but also, there’s nothing around to hinder communication between those at the table. Rather than have the little ones’ minds drifting off into some game, they could be telling you about their week at school instead.

8. Catch up on the week

Catching up on what everyone’s been doing that week is a simple, easy and effective way to get conversations started that often drift off into other more interesting and entertaining things. 

Perhaps someone needs help or advice with something that you or another family member around the table can offer. Have a chat and find out! Dinner time is about way more than just eating.

9. Take an interest in others

Taking an interest in others around the table makes them feel valued. The way to do this is simple: ask questions! Sometimes, with the little ones you have to be more specific and delve into their world of interests. Just remember not to leave anyone out – everyone at the table has their thoughts and feelings to share.

10. End with a sweet treat

You’ve had a delicious meal with a comforting atmosphere and a fun chat with the family. There’s only one thing left to top off the evening, a sweet-tasting dessert! Nobody knows your family’s preferences as well as you do, but if you’re looking for a suggestion, these Churro Style Gnocchi Bites are a fun and family-friendly sweet treat!

Churro Gnocchi Bites

Now that you know what to do for that perfect family dinner, the only question left is what are you going to prepare? The choice is yours! But be sure that for more inspiration, Olivieri® is delighted to help. See our recipes page for plenty of meal ideas or our blog for the latest culinary tips and tricks.