A Weekend of Family Meal Ideas

Serve up family-friendly food for an entire weekend with this meal-by-meal guide.

The Menu

When you're lucky enough to have a weekend with your family, you don't want to spend all your time cooking alone. Try one (or all) of these family-friendly recipes that people of all ages will enjoy eating and preparing.

-- Breakfasts: Real Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs
-- Lunches: Sloppy Joes, Smashed Potato Chowder
-- Sweets: Triple Chocolate Cookies
-- Main Courses: Salsa Swiss Steak, Chicken with Skillet Gravy
-- Sides: Buttered Carrots, Farm-Style Green Beans, Italian Pork and Pepper Soup

Real Oatmeal

Introduce your family to oatmeal made with steel-cut oats. They're chewier and have a nuttier flavor than the quick or instant variety and they cook into a creamy, cozy breakfast.

Scrambled Eggs

Master the basic recipe for scrambled eggs, then personalize it to your tastes with Cheese-and-Onion, Smoky Chicken, and Greek-Style (pictured) variations. The next two slides give a step-by-step for scrambling.

Step 1: Beginning to Scramble

To cook the eggs evenly, lift and fold the partially cooked eggs toward the center of the skillet to allow the uncooked eggs to run to the edges. The next slide tells how to recognize perfectly cooked scrambled eggs.

Step 2: Finishing Scrambling

The egg mixture is done when it is set but still looks glossy and moist. Overcooking makes the eggs dry and rubbery.

Sloppy Joes

Enjoy this tangy classic as-is, or try a pizza, Tex-Mex, or veggie variation. Either way, top the sandwich with burger fixings for a hearty meal.

Smashed Potato Chowder

Smashed potatoes add thickness to the creamy broth of this comfort soup. Bacon, cheese, and green onions dress up the basic recipe, or add ham or beans for a soup with more bulk.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate chips buried in chocolate cookies and drizzled with melted chocolate -- this is truly a dessert for the chocolate devotee. The next four slides show the step-by-step highlights for this recipe.

Step 1: Melt the Chocolate

Heat chocolates and butter over low heat, stirring with a heat-resistant spatula until melted and smooth. Step 2 shows the sugar and egg batter.

Step 2: Beat the Batter

Setting aside the melted chocolate, beat the sugars and eggs with an electric mixer until well blended and the color lightens a bit. Step 3 shows how to prepare the dough to stand.

Step 3: Letting the Dough Stand

After combining the chocolate with the sugar and egg batter, press plastic wrap onto surface of dough. Let stand at room temperature so dough sets up. The next step shows how to drop the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet.

Step 4: Dropping the Dough

After the dough has stood, use a flatware teaspoon to "drop" or push a scoop of dough onto a cookie sheet with a second spoon.

Salsa Swiss Steak

Canned soup and salsa come together in a slow cooker to make a satisfying sauce for round steak. Serve with corn bread or mashed potatoes.

Chicken with Skillet Gravy

There's no reason to deal with the mess of deep-fried chicken when you can make this pan-fried version with boneless chicken breasts. The next five slides show the step-by-step highlights for making this recipe.

Step 1: Dip Chicken in Egg

Place egg mixture in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate, for easy dipping. Coat both sides of the chicken. The next step shows how to coat the chicken breast with crumbs.

Step 2: Coat the Chicken Breasts

Dredge the egg-coated chicken pieces in the bread crumbs, coating both sides. Step 3 shows how to test the skillet.

Step 3: Check the Skillet

Once the chicken breasts are ready, check to see if the skillet is hot by sprinkling a few crumbs in the oil. When they sizzle and bubble, add the chicken. The next step shows how to start the pan sauce.

Step 4: Start the Pan Sauce

After removing the chicken, melt the butter in the skillet. Stir the flour into the butter to create a paste. Step 5 shows how to finish the sauce.

Step 5: Finish the Pan Sauce

Add the broth to the butter-flour paste. Cook and stir the mixture until it is smooth and thickened.

Butter-Glazed Carrots

The sweetness of tarragon or basil is a natural complement to the sweetness of the carrots, but other more savory herbs, such as thyme, dill, or rosemary, can be a nice contrast to it.

Farm-Style Green Beans

Crunchy green beans loaded with bacon, onions, and mushrooms make this nutrition-packed side an easy sell to picky kids. The next two slides give tips for perfectly cooked green beans.

Step 1: Cut Stems Off

Place several beans at a time on a cutting board, lining up the stem ends. Cut off stems. Cut off pointed tips, if desired, or leave attached. Leave beans whole or cut or snap into pieces.

Step 2: Test Beans

To test for crisp-tender beans, bite into one a minute or two before the end of suggested timing. The bean should have a slight crunch to it. Or test by poking it with a fork.

Italian Pork and Pepper Soup

Packed with fresh veggies and tender chunks of pork, this simple soup is a perfect end to a busy day. Serve with an array of crackers and cheese.

Anyone Can Cook

Anyone Can Cook is an innovative cookbook that encourages those new to the kitchen to make simple yet tasty meals, while providing the tools to move on to more complex recipes.

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