I’m excited to be a partner with Campbell’s Soup as a blog ambassador. Opinions are genuine and all mine.
Before I became a mother, I held clear image in my mind of what my future family dinners would look like. At the heart of the fantasy, my whole family gathered around the table to enjoy the magazine-worthy meal I had prepared, while we all took turns swapping fun stories about our day.
The reality of dinnertime with my crew is definitely a little more messy and a lot more real.
Sometimes it can feel like one big, chaotic rush to get dinner on the table in the evenings—especially on school nights. My favorite family dinners are quick, easy and no-fuss, like the cheesy pasta we made earlier this week.
It’s so simple, made with just pasta, cheese, milk, and Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup. I texted my husband and asked him to pick up a rotisserie chicken on his way home from work. I chopped it up and added it to the dish to make it a complete meal. You can grab the recipe below!
It’s also the perfect meal to assemble with your kids. Kara loves helping me cook, and on days when I’m feeling a little stressed, it’s moments like this that make me smile and remind me what matters most.
For the record, Kara wants to be a chef someday. She also wants to be a doctor and a princess.
I am eager to support her in all three of those endeavors!
I usually try to coax my 6-year-old into helping prepare dinner, but prying him away from Minecraft is all but impossible.
Evan usually maintains this pose until dinner hits the table. Who am I kidding, he usually maintains this pose until I very loudly remind him that if he doesn’t put his iPod down and eat, he’ll lose it for a week. That usually does the trick.
As soon as both kids are sitting at the table, the real fun begins.
Someone inevitably touches someone.
My solution to preventing an MMA match from breaking out on the dinner table is to create a dividing line with a piece of painter’s tape. It doesn’t keep them from looking at each other or pointing at each other, but it helps a little.
Side note, the photo below is absolutely un-staged. I wanted to capture an argument to illustrate my tape-trick, and for a second, I thought it wasn’t going to happen spontaneously. Then, I heard my daughter squeal like a banshee, “HE’S TOUCHING MEEEE!”
There are moments every single day when I feel like I should call my mother and apologize for the mental anguish I put her through squabbling with my little brother when we were kids.
Karma. Is. Real.
Of course, the cliché about picking your battles is true. I don’t dare tell my daughter that she can’t slop food all over Bitty Baby’s face during dinner. It’s fun to hear Kara coach her doll on proper nutrition.
“Eat your noodles, Bitty Baby, it’s healthy for your body.”
Sometimes I feel like I can’t get my babies to eat ANYTHING.
In a dream world, my kids are open to trying a variety of foods and dinnertime isn’t a fight. In reality, there are nights when I’m just thankful for cheesy pasta with chicken because it means bellies will be warm and full. I also find when I serve them food they love, like this cheesy pasta with chicken, the veggies on the plate go down a little easier. That’s a pretty big win in my book.
When we hit our stride, things start getting really good.
We do swap stories about our days. We do smile and laugh. We do enjoy just being together and having that time to unwind and eat some really yummy food. It’s noisy and hectic and intermittently frustrating, but that’s us right now. That’s dinnertime with my crew.
Before I became a mom, I had a lot of ideas about the way life with two kids might be. Those fantasies were warm, and fuzzy, and honestly—pretty perfect.
The funny thing is, even though real, real life is a WHOLE LOT OF CRAZY, it’s also warmer and fuzzier and about a million times better than I ever could have fathomed.
I’d like to thank Campbell’s soup for sponsoring this conversation. Opinions are genuine, and all mine.
Cheesy Pasta with Chicken
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
2 cups chopped chicken (I used rotisserie chicken breast)
1 cup 2% milk
8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked and drained
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and bubbling.