The Family Dish – Let’s Cook Together! (Giveaway!)

The walk home from school is always full of some kind of drama. My friend Kathy’s kids often walk home with us as well. Her oldest daughter is the same age as Jacob so it never fails that there is some kind of 3rd grade boy / girl banter going on. Heaven forbid you act like you are friends with a girl when you are a 3rd grade boy. Nooooo…. you have to make every attempt to distance yourself and make sure the entire world knows that there is no love between you two whatsoever.

Yesterday was the typical day… walking home, Jacob and Molly were arguing about something, I’m sure very important. The entire way home their intense banter was volleying, back and forth. Back and forth.

An interesting thing happened when we all got to our house. I corralled all 6 kids into the kitchen to cook with me. I had some kid friendly recipes to try and decided now was as good of time as any to put the oldest two in charge. Six kids, one kitchen, all assigned different tasks. Believe it or not, in that crammed little kitchen, magic began to unfold. There was laughter. There was cooperation. There was NO 3rd grade boy / girl arguing! Just a whole lot of fun and getting things done.

Unilever brands, the name behind kitchen staples like Skippy Peanut Butter, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Ragu Pasta Sauce, Lipton Recipe Secrets and Knorr Sides, is teaming with families across the nation to encourage them to not only make dinnertime a priority, but to get everyone in the kitchen cooking as a way to reconnect as a family.

As a part of their initiative, Unliever invited me to host friends in my home to cook up some recipes using their products. After flipping through the Fun Family Cooking cookbook, we chose Rayna’s Nutty Marshmallow Topped Chocolate Cake and a variation of Dan’s Chipotle Rice Burritos. We also made my mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs with one of her secret ingredients coming from a Unilever brand product (I’ll share that recipe next week!).

I am passionate about family mealtime, and teaching kids the valuable life long skill of cooking. As part of the effort to encourage Dine & Dish readers to cook with their friends and family, Unilever is providing 4 lucky readers with the Family Dish Fun Family Cooking Cookbook and coupons for one free package / jar of each of the following:

  • Ragu  Pasta Sauce
  • Hellman’s/Best Foods Mayonnaise
  • Skippy Peanut Butter
  • Knorr Rice and Pasta Side

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me the very first thing you ever remember cooking. All entries must be received by midnight CST on Monday, November 22nd. The four winning comments will be chosen by and the winners will be notified shortly after.

I think it is so important to spend time with your family in the kitchen and sitting around the dinner table. The nice people at Unilever sent me a gift card and Unilever products to try out some of their recipes as well as prizes for my readers. The views expressed in this post are my own.

Recipe: Knorr Fiesta Rice and Bean Burritos (adapted from HERE)

1 package Knorr® Rice Sides™ – Chicken or Knorr® Fiesta Sides™ – Spanish Rice
1 can (15 to 19 oz.) red kidney beans (I use Bush’s Kidney Beans)
1/4 cup chopped romaine lettuce
6 medium flour tortillas, warmed
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (about 2 oz.)

  1. Prepare Knorr® Rice Sides™ – Spanish Rice according to package directions. Stir in beans and warm through.
  2. Evenly spoon rice mixture onto warm tortillas; top with cheese and lettuce. Fold in sides, then roll up. Serve, if desired, with sour cream. *For a dinner version, simply add warm cut-up cooked chicken or steak to rice mixture!

Recipe: Rayna’s Nutty Marshmallow Topped Chocolate Cake

  • 1 box (18oz) chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup Hellmann’s or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs (I only used 2)
  • 1/2 cup Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 jars (7.5oz each) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Sprinkles for decoration (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 13/x inch cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Beat cake mix, mayonnaise, water and eggs in a large bowl with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed, scraping sides occasionally, 2 minutes. Evenly pour into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the peanut butter, marshmallow creme and whipped topping in a medium bowl. Frost cake with peanut butter frosting. Decorate as desired.

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  1. says

    Great post! A while back my 5 yr old daughter had 3 friends over to play, thinks started getting nuts so I said who wants to cook? Well needless to say we made 3 fun things that day now every time they are over as a group or individually – guess what they want to do! Kids they are so ritualistic but I love it! Love your collage of the kids!

  2. says

    That’s easy – for my Girl Scout cooking badge waaaaaay back when, we made an entire dinner and my contribution was au gratin potatoes. I thought they were as good as my mom’s, but today I’d rather have hers because things just taste better when someone makes them for you.

  3. says

    The first thing I ever remember cooking was an attempt at making fudge. It was a disaster. Yet it opened the door to a whole world of food for me. (I have since learned how to make it!)

  4. Rebecca says

    The first time I cooked something, I was trying to make bars. I can’t remember what I messed up on, but the cats wouldn’t even touch them.

  5. Zahra Duffy says

    The first thing I ever remember “cooking” was some sort of cake with my mom. I only remember sneaking spoonfuls of batter and my mom remarking how short the cake was after it was done baking. 😛

  6. jenn in tenn says

    The first thing I remember cooking was a scrambled egg. It was brown and rubbery, but it was great because I made it!

  7. says

    One of my favorite posts and some of my FAVORITE pics – especially that last one in the bottom left corner!

    My first attempt at cooking was either chocolate chip cookies or a boxed cake mix – can’t remember that far back Kristen!

  8. says

    I couldn’t agree more! The kitchen is the heart of a home!
    My first thing that I remember cooking would be…Christmas cookies! Sugar cut-out cookies with icing in a rainbow of colors that we would “paint on” with paint brushes! Still makes my heart sing when I think back on those times! LOVE this post Kristen!

  9. says

    I just love your adorable family :)

    The first thing I remember cooking (does this mean baking, too?) Cooking- would have to be helping Mom get a roast in the oven for dinner. Sweets- definitely spice cake from the box and the Jell-O Butterscotch pudding that you cook on the stove.

  10. Sierra says

    The first thing I remember cooking was “helping” my mom make Christmas cookies. I think I just helped make a big mess!

  11. says

    The first thing I ever remember cooking was an ice cream pie with graham cracker crust. It was from a kids cookbook and I remember being so excited to try it with my Mum and sister. I hope cooking with my kids will create the same memories :)

  12. says

    That marshmallow topped chocolate cake is looking crazy good right now. I too think that family meal time is so important. Thanks for sharing such an important program with us. I think some of my favorite cooking memories was “licking the batter!!”

  13. Kelli says

    I think the first thing I ever cooked was an egg. I also remember taking Home Ec in middle school, which I still wish they offered around here, where we made Jambalaya with sausage. I was shocked when it turned out tasty!


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