Reconnecting Families, One Meal At A Time


If busy schedules and digital distractions are getting in the way of family time, help is on the way. Unilever, maker of many leading food brands, recently unveiled The Family Dish, a program aimed at helping busy families discover the joys of cooking together.

Anna Marie Cesario and Lauren Dellabella, experts from the Unilever Consumer Kitchens, agree that cooking is a great creative outlet, and that the simple acts of mixing and measuring together can lead to amazing conversations and memories that last a lifetime. Their advice is:

• Get them to plug into you – Make the experience as meaningful as possible by designating the kitchen as a “technology-light” zone. Have them use their laptop or Smartphone to access favorite recipes, but no texting allowed. This is your chance to simply cook, connect and spend quality time together.

• Redefine Text(ing) – Demonstrate the basics by cooking alongside them. Start by teaching them to read a recipe all the way through. Show them the importance of paying attention to measuring and the difference between ingredients. And, be sure to touch on the importance of food safety with hand washing and proper handling of raw foods such as eggs, meat and poultry.

• Celebrate Success – Encourage and celebrate their culinary creations and remember it’s the effort, not the outcome that’s important. Remember that even the simplest of time spent together in the kitchen can turn into the best of memories ... and good food.

These easy-to-prepare recipes, from Unilever Consumer Kitchens, are designed to help families save time and money using quality staples likely already in their pantries. For information and inspiration, has tips, time-saving family-friendly recipes, and videos of real moms cooking with their families. Get additional inspiration by following Anna Marie and Lauren on Twitter @kitchendishin.


Photo courtesy of Family Features and Unilever

Succulent Chicken Parmesan

Succulent Chicken Parmesan

A delicious, easy to prepare dish the whole family will enjoy.

Prep time: 10 minutes; cook time: 23 minutes; makes 4 servings

1/4 cup Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 pounds)*

1/4 cup Hellmann’s or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise

1/2 cup Ragu Old World Style Traditional Pasta Sauce

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese in shallow dish; set aside.

Add chicken and mayonnaise to large plastic bag; shake to evenly coat. Remove chicken, then lightly coat in crumb mixture. Arrange chicken on baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Evenly top chicken with pasta sauce, then mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 3 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and cheese is melted.

  • For smaller portions, use an equal weight of chicken tenders.


Photo courtesy of Family Features and Unilever

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

A family-pleasing dish that’s also delicious with shrimp.

Prep time: 15 minutes; cook time: 15 minutes; makes 4 servings

3 tablespoons I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Spread, divided

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen broccoli florets

1-3/4 cups water

1/2 cup milk

1 package Knorr Pasta Sides - Alfredo

Melt 1 tablespoon Spread in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken and set aside.

Melt additional 2 tablespoons Spread in same skillet over medium heat and cook red pepper 1 minute or until tender. Stir in broccoli, water and milk. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in pasta sides Alfredo. Return to a boil, then cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Return chicken to skillet; heat through.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Parfaits

Great for an after-school snack or a fun dessert.

Prep time: 15 minutes; makes 6 servings

1/2 cup reduced sugar grape jelly

1-1/4 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup Skippy Natural Super Chunk or Creamy Peanut Butter Spread

1 cup low fat granola cereal

1 medium banana, sliced

1 cup sliced strawberries

Microwave jelly at HIGH 30 seconds or until melted. Drizzle 1 tablespoon down sides of each parfait glass; set aside.

Combine yogurt with peanut butter in medium bowl. Spoon 1/2 of peanut butter mixture into each parfait glass. Top each with 2 tablespoons cereal, then 1/2 of the fruit; repeat. Drizzle with remaining jelly. Garnish, if desired, with mint leaves.

Source: Unilever


Photo courtesy of Family Features and Unilever

Peanut Butter & Jelly Parfaits

whole grain solutions for back to school meals

For many parents, back to school time can be stressful and hectic. Luckily, healthy eating doesn’t have to be.

“As the mother of picky eaters, I am always trying to find ways to sneak nutritious foods into my daughters’ meals, especially during the school year when schedules can get packed and I don’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner,” said “Sneaky Chef” cookbook author Missy Chase Lapine.

“Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice is a great solution because I know I am providing a nutritious whole grain meal my girls will truly enjoy.”

Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice is the first and only whole grain rice that looks and tastes like white rice. Each serving contains nearly a full day’s worth of whole grains and has 4 to 5 grams of fiber per serving, meeting nearly 20 percent of the daily recommendation.

Lapine has created a number of kid-friendly, healthy and easy whole grain recipes that will help eliminate dinner table nutrition battles. This recipe for Chicken Parmesan Rice Casserole combines comforting flavors with whole grains in an easy one-dish recipe.

Find more recipes and tips on incorporating healthy foods into your family’s meal repertoire at


Photo courtesy of Family Features and Uncle Ben’s

Chicken Parmesan Rice Casserole

Chicken Parmesan Rice Casserole

Prep time: 45 minutes; makes 10, 1-cup servings

2 boxes Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice Chicken

1 medium sweet potato

3 carrots

3 to 4 tablespoons water

2-1/2 cups cubed roasted or rotisserie chicken, ideally white meat

2-1/2 cups store-bought tomato sauce

3-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare rice as instructed on box.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish with oil.

For simple homemade Sneaky Chef Orange Puree, peel, chop and boil sweet potato and carrots for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain and add to food processor with 3 to 4 tablespoons water, and puree until smooth. (Makes about 2 cups of puree. Leftovers can be kept in refrigerator for up to three days, or frozen for up to three months.)

Place cooked rice and chicken in the prepared baking dish. Mix tomato sauce, and 1 cup Orange Puree (or baby food carrots) in a bowl.

Toss chicken and rice with sauce mixture and 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Top casserole with a combination of Parmesan and remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese, sprinkling evenly over top.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover. Bake another 5 to 10 minutes or until top is lightly browned and bubbly.

Recipe created by Missy Chase Lapine, author of The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals.

Source: Uncle Ben’s

From Family Features


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