I have started having my children “help” make dinner each night. One cooks while the other sets the table. I give guidance and tell them what to add. They are getting good at knowing different terms such as saute’, pan fry and sweat the onions. Tonight they are being a bit stubborn and picking at each other as they are working together.
Since my children are being snippy today let me count the ways they think I have deprived them of a “normal” childhood this evening:
- My daughter, age 15, does not have a smart phone. She has a texting phone. At dance the other night all the little girls were pulling out their I-Phones and I-Pads and my daughter just looked at me. No, no need for one yet. She has a lap top for school and that is all that is needed.
- My 12 year-old son does not have a phone at all. He knows our cell numbers and home number and can call from where ever he is if he needs to. There should never be a time that he is away from us that he “needs” a cell phone. Maybe in a year or so but not yet.
- We only have one television. Not such a big deal anymore, but we do not have cable or satellite and cannot get reliable local television with an antenna. So, they are deprived of all the television shows currently playing and have to wait for them on either Netflix or Hulu. To make this even worse the one television is in our room so they have to ask to watch television so we know how much they watch and what they are watching.
- We don’t have a gaming system in our house. No XBox, PSP, Wii, nothing. My son’s Autism counselor once asked me why I didn’t let him play video or computer games as a reward for working on his social goals. I asked her if she realized how wrong that was. Let me reward you with something that is a non-social preferred activity because you do the social activity we want you to? To me that only makes the non-social activity more desirable in the long run. My son does have a DS XL that he is allowed to use in the car on long car trips of at least one hour each way.
- We read together at least 4-5 nights a week. Yes, my teen, tween and I all read the same book out loud. This is so good for them. We can talk about plots, foreshadowing, characters and morals. I wanted to read Hunger Games, Divergent, etc… with them so I could talk about our perspective on social issues. I believe it is probably more important that I read with them now than when they were in grade school. From the first book we read, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” to “My Side of the Mountain” and “Divergent” each and every book has been an education in values, adventure and life.
- We eat family dinners. Where ever we are it is family dinner at least 5-7 nights a week. In a car, in a hotel room or at the kitchen table we are present with each other listening and talking to each other. No electronics, television, etc… at the table and we all stay until we are all finished with dinner. It is our family time.
I know that as we sit down to dinner all will be well again. It always is after family dinner.
When my daughter finished making dinner she was surprised at how easy it really was to make this dish. It doesn’t photograph well against the white plates but the lovely pink shrimp on top of the pasta looked really appetizing.
This was a hit! It was simple and flavorful. From start to finish it was on the table in less than 30 minutes.
For my mostly gluten-free son we made his with gluten-free pasta.
To complete the meal I served this with a green side salad and green beans.
- 1 (16 oz) box of pasta, cooked to al dente
- 1 1/2 lbs. shrimp, thawed, patted dry and tails off
- 4 TBSP olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 (15 oz) cans petite tomatoes
- 4 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1/2-1 tsp paprika, to taste
- salt and pepper
- 2/3 cup half and half (can be fat-free)
- grated Parmesan cheese and parsley for serving, if desired
- In a large skillet over medium heat cook the shrimp about 1-2 minutes per side in 2 TBSP of olive oil just until the shrimp begins to curl.
- Remove shrimp from pan to a plate. Add the onion to the skillet and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the crushed garlic and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and allow to heat through 3-5 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese to the pan and stir until melted.
- Slowly add the half and half, basil, oregano, paprika, pasta and shrimp to the skillet. Allow entire mixture to warm through.
- Once hot serve with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley sprinkled over the top if desired.