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. Sammie Q says

    The first thing I remember cooking was Baked Custard. It was about 68 years ago and we lived on a farm with fresh eggs and heavy cream in abundance and I was so proud of that easy dish. Been cooking ever since. Enjoy your blogs.

  2. Nikki says

    The first thing that I remember cooking was pizza with a Bisquick crust recipe on the back of the box and canned tomato sauce :) I made it quite often when I was young.

  3. Sue Collins says

    I remember very vividly making my first chocolate cake with my grandmother probably back in the mid 50’s. She was very particular to have me beat it with the addition of each ingredient and to this day I think of her when ever I make a chocolate cake. And yes, “Grandma in the City” I do blend every ingredient throughly!

  4. Marleen V says

    The very first thing I remember cooking is a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s also what my 9yo loves to make the most now :) I love cooking with my daughters and you’ve given me a great idea on what to blog about :)! TIA!

  5. Kelly S. says

    Brownies, I was so proud because I made the “best brownies ever” (from the box of course)…its funny to look back on now I was probably 10 or 11.

  6. Jen says

    The first thing I remember making by myself was a cranberry jello salad—I have not idea why I made it; I hated cranberries! But I was in 2nd grade and that was my contribution to our Thanksgiving that year!

  7. Cheryl says

    I don’t really remember the very first thing but I would guess cookies! I truly loved home ec class and all the recipes and fun with friends in Jr. High and High School…You are right we should all cook more as a family.

  8. susitravl says

    My grandma used to have me help her make Rice Krispie Treats. The first thing I probably ever made by myself was No Bake Cookies.

  9. Michelle says

    I agree & love your story! My kids- both the 7 yr old boy & 5 yr old girl (and even my 22 month old) LOVES to help me in the kitchen! They also will eat much better when they are a “part” of making it!

  10. says

    I think the first thing I ever made on my own was a sandwich – it used to be lunch that I took to school. In terms of cooking, the first thing I learned to cook was a big old pot of rice, boiling water and all!

  11. Whitney Schmale says

    I seem to remember Mac and Cheese as my first attempt. I ate half the pot by myself before I realized what I’d done!

  12. says

    The firs thing I ever remember cooking or trying to cook was an ice cream pie. I was pretty young and my mom told me to get the ice cream pie out the freezer and get it ready to serve. So, I got it out and asked my mom what temp I should set the oven too. Hello! It’s an ice cream pie, you don’t cook ice cream pie…lol. I’m 29 years old and I still get made fun for it.


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