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What Courses to Feed the Family for Sunday Dinner to Ensure Family Time

Updated on May 23, 2013
Cast your vote for 5--Course Sunday Meal for Busy Families

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: Serves 4 (can easily be adjusted)


  • 3 oranges, orange round fruit in produce section
  • 1 McD burger, or burger of choice
  • 1 lb. precut salad mix, produce section
  • 4 salad dressing packets, from last pizza delivery
  • 1 Banquet family-size turkey, sliced not pressed
  • 1 Banquet family-size Salisbury Steak, it looks like meatloaf
  • 1 pkg. frozen corn, for "fresh" taste
  • 1 pkg. dinner rolls, (8)
  • 1 lb. mashed potatoes, little lumps to taste homemade
  • 1/2 lb. brown gravy, must be deli
  • Enough Butter, margarine doesn't really taste like butter
  • 1 c. water, from tap, not Evian
  • 1 pkg. Oreos, Belmont is a knock-off that tastes the same
  • 4 glasses skim milk, I pour skim into whole container


  1. A light-hearted look at today's family recipes and great time management. A 5--course Sunday dinner for busy families.
  2. Time with Family 30 minutes to 1 hour Approximate Cost: $10-15, depending upon shopping skills
  3. Prov. 31:15, 27. She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness.

One-step at a time is the key

1st Course – Appetizer

Toss each kid and spouse an orange and send them “out of the kitchen” to clean car, mow yard, etc. Any 30 minute job will do. This keeps them from being underfoot and interfering with your true cooking skills. If you have a persistent husband, now is a good time to mention that noise you heard under the car hood. Tell them dinner will be ready by the time their assigned chores are finished. This effectively allows plenty of time in the kitchen. You do not eat an orange -- yuk! You eat the leftover McD burger from the fridge. Yummy!

2nd and 3rd Course – Salad and Main Meal

Take Banquet meals and cook in conventional oven according to directions on box. This creates a browning effect, makes the house smell good and frees up microwave for other uses. Cooks in less than 30 minutes if thawed, 45 minutes if frozen.

Place corn, water and butter in bowl and microwave high until cooked. Approximately 10 to 20 minutes, depending on age of microwave (warning—do not use stove top method, the stove top is needed as explained below.)

Next, prepare deli mashed potatoes and gravy, in original containers, by removing lids, and placing on top of stove (not on burners), next to plates. Sit down and read Bible while waiting. It’s important to stay in kitchen for this step: 1) No one interrupts when you are cooking their food and 2) so as not to become so absorbed in the Bible you burn the meat.

When meat is warmed, remove from oven and place on stove top, also next to plates. Remove corn from microwave.

Line up family at kitchen door and give them each a fork and a bowl of salad. Put dressing on salad for them to keep line moving, this avoids spills and prevents squabbling over varying sizes of packets. They will already be squabbling over the salad.

Shoo them off to watch Vegi-Tales or PBS, giving Dad the look to “spend quality time” with the kids.

One plate at a time, using only one large serving spoon, dish out meat, potatoes, gravy and corn. Make sure to divide evenly among kids and give husband a little extra because he is your special honeybun. This is an opportune time to provide controlled choices to your kids to train them up. Holler out “turkey or steak”; do not say Salisbury or they’ll know it’s not really a choice at all. Microwave each plate on high no more than 20 seconds for even heat distribution while you are preparing the next plate. Put on an apron (to protect your jeans and T-shirt), smile big and carry each plate to the living room, serving youngest to oldest; look lovingly into each precious face as you hand them their plate. Remind them not to eat this course until saying grace. They will each respond by saying “thank you for serving us.”

Quickly go back to the kitchen, and put leftover Banquet gravy (not the deli) into dog dish to occupy family pet during dinner. This is a good task for hubby during sweetheart time when he wants to help you now.

It is worth the hassle-free dinner and this gravy has no leftover use tomorrow. No dog? It’s okay, hubby will eat with bread right before bedtime. Do not serve Banquet gravy with dinner. There are two different kinds, three including deli gravy and that’s too many controlled choices for kids.

Put dinner rolls in oven, brushing tops with butter for added affect, I mean flavor.

Bring in your plate and using the remote control (if easily accessible), turn off the TV and announce whose turn it is to say prayer. If there is a conflict or sudden memory loss over who said it last time, have each one say their own (out loud) prayer. Click TV back on and enjoy family-friendly program of your choice.

4th Course – Bread

About the time you take your first bite, a child will loudly and clearly state “I’m still hungry.” This is your cue that the rolls are done. Laughing, say “oh yeah, the rolls.” (The children will never suspect you are actually using them as a timing device.) Remove rolls, buttering and serving each yourself, licking your fingers. This insures proper melting of the butter, good traffic flow and time management (3 important ingredients to a happy home.)

When everyone has finished, gently ask husband to gather all plates and utensils and stack in kitchen – he’s already on his way in there to scope out the stove top. There are no leftovers because you have balanced their dietary intake. I do not suggest paper plates for two reasons: 1) they are expensive for a family of four to use every day. Though I suppose you could use the paper plates only for special Sunday meals; and 2) Children will feel more important and included in the preparation of the family meal if they do the dishes.

5th Course – Dessert

As your husband sadly returns to the living room. Gleefully announce that you have dessert. Skip to the kitchen and place equal portions of Oreos onto plate for kids and again, make sure husband has a few (6-12) extras. As kids comment on the obvious lack of fairness you have exhibited, explain that it’s too late for all that sugar but you saved some dessert for tomorrow after school and Daddy’s bigger and worked so hard for the family today – you remember? Getting you ready for church and fixing breakfast. Give him the “knowing” look. Serve with milk. For added treat, dunk! Converse with family and praise them for getting their pre-dinner chores done (because I am sure they did).

Do not let the length of this recipe intimidate you. Timing is everything and with practice, meal time will run smoothly. Food will taste the same every time. It’s a full-proof meal and family will be so grateful they will offer to do dishes! Respond by stating “God is so good to give me such a wonderful family and He blessed you all too – there are no pans to scrub!”

If the children do not offer to do the dishes (because they’ve had a sudden lapse in good judgment), use leadership skills and delegate or use optional paper plates, bowls, cups and plastic utensils and go have some quality family time, as your schedule allows. Remember to praise God for teaching you to use your time wisely and providing for you and your family.



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    • Karre profile image

      Karre Schaefer 5 years ago from Eskridge, Kansas

      Thanks Anjili. Such is the life of raising boys -- never enough meal. I appreciate your comments and your vote up. Karre

    • Anjili profile image

      Anjili 5 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

      Hi Karre,

      Your 1st Course has enough humour to keep me laughing loud. "eat the leftover McD burger from the fridge." You are funny. Hubby should read this.

      Your 2nd and 3rd courses sound like a parade commander dishing it out upon a hapless family.

      Your 4th courses says the meal was not enough.

      Your 5th course has enough humour to tickle angels. You are indeed funny and interesting. Voted thus

    • Karre profile image

      Karre Schaefer 5 years ago from Eskridge, Kansas

      Thanks chuckandus6. For me, it was a matter of realizing moms don't have to be perfect, just be there for them. :-) --karre.

    • chuckandus6 profile image

      Nichol marie 5 years ago from The Country-Side


    • Karre profile image

      Karre Schaefer 5 years ago from Eskridge, Kansas

      Thanks -- just a typical day in a family. :-) Karre.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      This was GREAT! I laughed out loud and woke the hubby! Voting up!