Eating Wisely: Family Dinner Ideas

Family having dinnerAutumn’s arrival brings with it the busyness of the return to school and additional activities for many families. It may sometimes be difficult to coordinate schedules to be able to sit down together to share a meal, much less have time to prepare it. We decided to dive back into the La Leche League recipe archives for a few new-to-you (hopefully!) dinner ideas that can be enjoyed together whenever you have the chance for a family meal. Two of these recipes allow for much of the preparation to be done ahead of time, and the other recipe can be tossed together fairly quickly, leaving you more time to focus on each other.

As always, we understand these meals and/or specific ingredients won’t work for every family. We always enjoy hearing how you adjust these much-loved recipes to meet your family’s preferences. Feel free to share your changes or your own recipes with us at [email protected].

Editor’s Note: After learning how to prepare all these delicious recipes, please read on to learn about a way to support families that want to continue nursing after returning to work.

Savory Baked French Toast – Feed Yourself, Feed Your Family, p. 138 – Serves 6

  • 8 slices firm whole-wheat sandwich bread
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups)
  • 2 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Butter an 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish.

Arrange 4 bread slices in the prepared dish in a single layer. Top with half of the spinach, asparagus, and cheese. Repeat the layering once.

Whisk together the milk, eggs, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Slowly pour into the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and gently press down so that the bread absorbs the milk mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Uncover the baking dish and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes, then cut into pieces.

Green Spaghetti – Whole Foods For The Whole Family, p.165 – Serves 6

  • 10 oz. fresh or frozen spinach
  • ¼ C. warm chicken broth
  • ½ C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ C. milk
  • 1 lb. spaghetti, cooked, drained
  • ¼ C. butter

Steam fresh spinach just until wilted or frozen spinach until warm. Combine spinach and cooking liquid with warm broth in blender container; process until smooth. Add cheese and milk. Toss spaghetti with butter in serving bowl. Add spinach mixture; toss to mix well. May substitute broccoli for spinach and cream or yogurt for milk.

If you cook the spinach while the spaghetti is cooking, this is about as quick as the commercial brands of macaroni and cheese and far better. Many children who don’t like spinach will eat Green Spaghetti; it is a bright pretty green. Green Rice can be made by substituting 3 to 4 C. cooked brown rice for spaghetti. (Recipe provided by Nadine Bowlus, Jackson, Miss.)

Cheese Enchiladas – Whole Foods For The Whole Family, p. 187 – Serves 8


  • 3 T. oil
  • 1 to 2 T. chili powder
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 C. water
  • 1 t. vinegar
  • ½ t. garlic powder
  • ½ t. oregano
  • ½ t. (or less) salt

Bean Filling:

  • 2 C. cooked pinto beans
  • ¼ C. chopped green onions
  • 1 C. cottage cheese
  • ½ C. chopped green bell pepper
  • ¼ C. chopped almonds
  • ½ C. wheat germ
  • ½ C. chopped black olives


  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 2 T. oil


  • 1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 C. plain yogurt
  • 2 T. chopped onion

Combine sauce ingredients in saucepan; mix well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Combine filling ingredients in bowl, mashing beans and mixing well. Fry tortillas briefly in oil in skillet. Spoon filling onto tortillas; roll to enclose filling. Place seam side down in shallow baking dish. Pour sauce over enchiladas; top with 1 C. shredded check. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, spooning sauce over top occasionally. Serve with topping of yogurt and 2 T. onion. May substitute shredded sharp cheese for cottage cheese, sunflower seeds for almonds or green olives for lack olives. May omit olives, wheat germ, yogurt or onion. This is a quick and easy meal if you prepare the sauce and filling ahead of time.

Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].

PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act
The U.S. House of Representatives is preparing to vote this week on the PUMP (Providing Urgent Maternal Protections) for Nursing Mothers Act (H.R. 3110). The PUMP Act would ensure that an additional nine million employees have the right to break time and a private space to pump breast milk and would strengthen the Break Time law by expanding coverage to all lactating workers who were left out of the original law. You can read the bill in its entirety at La Leche League USA has expressed support for this Act in a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives. We believe this is something that impacts many of our readers and wanted to share resources and the opportunity for others to express their timely support. If you would like to contact your representative(s) in the House, text PUMP to 747464 (provided by MomsRising) or call 1-855-880-2155 (provided by the ACLU) and you will be connected to your Representative.

Red heartSupporting Breastfeeding Families–Today, Tomorrow, Always

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