Sunday Dinner: Not Your Grandma’s Casserole Anymore

“The tradition of the Sunday feast accomplishes more than just feeding us. It nurtures us.” — Chef John Besh

Sunday Dinner is making a comeback, and while it’s true that good food is one of the key ingredients in most gatherings, some of the fondest memories are made as loved ones and friends are assembled around a table. Saturday nights may be a time for formal dates and sophisticated dinner parties, but Sundays are often thought of as the days to decompress, unwind, and relax; and by “breaking bread” together, friends and family share stories, laugh, and tell each other secrets that they entrust only with those seated around them.

While gone are the days of Grandma bringing out her best china, slaving over a hot stove for hours on end, baking from scratch, and working her fingers to the bone, some of Grandma’s labor intensive recipes are still around. However, the unwritten rules from the old “mom and pop” state-of-mind have been replaced by the new idea of finding better ways to enjoy the simpler things in life.

Reconnecting with family and friends, while rediscovering the art of verbal communication and the joy of the human spirit, ranks high on the innate values of the Sunday dinner “movement,” and recapturing the charm and magic of an “old-fashioned” Sunday dinner may very well be the icing atop everyone’s weekend dessert.


Here Are a Few Tips to Create a Successful Sunday Dinner

Keep the atmosphere warm, casual and relaxing.
Be open if a guest asks to bring someone.
Keep the menu simple, but have plenty of everything.
Have an activity ready, have the ball game on, or engage in conversation.
Say, “Yes” to any help offered.


Several years ago, in an effort to recapture the lost art of the Sunday dinner, the Sunday brunch came on the scene, but it never had the same appeal as the Sunday dinner. It had more or less a lost identity because it wasn’t really breakfast, lunch, or dinner — with its Eggs Benedict, Spring rolls, carved meat station, inexpensive Champagne. and cupcakes. Some may find it confusing and, therefore, easily forgettable — could be the Mimosas.

The interactive and social Sunday dinner experience cannot and shouldn’t be revisited as it once was; however, it should be recaptured in a modern way, with less preparation time and more time for bonding and enjoyment. The long forgotten Sunday dinner tradition doesn’t have to be elaborate, complicated, or even ceremonial, and it certainly doesn’t have to take much planning. Potluck is often the way to go; however, tossing up a plate of pasta, barbecuing some meat and vegetables, or making Hoagie sandwiches can easily fill the bill as well. The truth is that feeding our bodies and souls with love, good company, and good food on a Sunday evening is more important than expectations of grandeur from the Grandma’s kitchens of days gone by.

It may be time to make an old tradition somehow new again by making the world a better place, one Sunday dinner at a time.


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Martha Stewarts’s Easy Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (10 ounce each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 ½ cups part skim ricotta
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ cupped of jarred tomato sauce
  • 6 no-boiled lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella (4 ounces)

Method

  1. Start out by preheating your oven to around 375 degrees.
  2. Next, you are going to want to make the filling. Do so by grabbing a medium bowl, then stir together spinach, ricotta, garlic, teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Set your bowl aside until you need these ingredients again.
  3. In another mixing bowl, you’re going to stir together the tomato sauce and prosciutto. Set aside momentarily, you’ll use this sauce spread mixture in the next step.
  4. In an 8-inch square baking dish, you are going to want to spread the cup of tomato sauce spread you just made. Then you’ll layer two noodles, 1/3 filling, and 1/3 remaining tomato sauce. Repeat this process twice and top with Mozzarella cheese.
  5. Pop this bad boy into your preheated oven and bake until browned, about 35 – 40 minutes. I know this will be hard, but let stand at least five minutes before serving.

Recipe Courtesy of: Martha Stewart

 

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