What’s for Dinner? Potato Soup, Truly Hawaiian Teriyaki Fish, and Squash Casserole

I know I talk about the importance of the family dinner table, but I have had a lot of feedback from readers that the family dinner table looks different for everyone.  This is a great point and I agree.  As a matter of fact our dinner table looks different night to night sometimes.  One family I know eats on TV trays watching TV in the living room and while this would be anti-social for some families it is very social for them.  They discuss the show and also use this time to catch up.  For them this works.  For you it may be something else.  My main goal for Bringing Back Dinner is to bring homemade meals to you that you can feel like you can do without stress and to encourage you to spend time together building relationships.  How that looks will be different for each family.  Here are some ways it could look:

1. Finger foods and games

2. Movie night and homemade pizza

3. Picnics

4. A full dinner around the table

5. PBJ on a blanket in the living room

Any way you do it, do it so that you connect with someone and don’t just fill the hole and if it seems overwhelming just try one night and gradually add in more.  Even one night a month can bring you closer together.  You can do it and you can do it in your own style!

This Past week was for us was a busy one, but we managed to have a few good home-cooked meals.

Meatless Monday- Potato Soup

potato soup

Potato soup is something that I rarely make the same way twice.  This week I sauteed about 1/2 an onion in butter and olive oil until translucent and 1 small carrot.  I added 1 tsp thyme and sauteed until fragrant then added the potatoes and vegetable stock.  The amounts vary based on how much I want to make.  I served 4 people and use 5 medium sized potatoes and one large box of stock.

Once the potatoes were tender I added salt and pepper to taste and pureed.  I always pull out a cup or so, so that there will be some chunks in the soup and then I puree the rest until smooth.  Add cream/milk until the consistency you would like.  You can add cheese and serve with croutons if you like.

Time: 45 Minutes

Teriyaki Fish – Truly Hawaiian


One of my children won a bottle of Truly Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce and while I try to stay away from pre-made sauces and packages there are some great ones out there.  Truly Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce only has 6 ingredients in it and it they are real food items! Soy sauce is one of the ingredients which does up the sodium, but otherwise a great item. The rest of the ingredients are brown sugar, water, lemon juice, garlic powder, and ginger.  NICE!

I brushed my fish in the sauce and popped it in the oven until the fish was tender and flaky!  Can’t get much easier.  For a side dish I combined sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and red onion and tossed it in olive oil and rosemary and roasted them in the oven.

Time: 10 minutes for the fish and 45 for the potatoes

Ease: Simple

Review: This sauce is a very balanced sauce.  I thought it was versatile and tasty and have used it on several things other than fish.  I felt like it was made of basic ingredients that I might use at home if cooking from scratch.  Cons: High in sodium and sugar. Pros: tasty, easy, versatile, and real food.

Squash Casserole – or otherwise known as Paula Deen looks like she’s healthy compared to this casserole!


Oh, we also had pork chops, but really…it’s all about the squash casserole!

My sister-in-law makes the best squash casserole, which is very similar to this.  This is what she brings to our holiday dinners and we all eagerly anticipate it. It is special.  When I told my mother I was making it she said “but, it’s not a holiday!  Are you going to dress up?”

Why make it outside of a holiday?  Well, for starters it is just plain good, but I did it because of my husband.  My husband dislikes squash while I love squash.  What’s a girl to do?  Oh, wait!  My husband loves cheese like no other!  Hmmm, squash casserole has cheese.  Eureka!!!!  And there you have it, everyone is happy.  And it worked too!  He got seconds!

Time:  1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This is not healthy and sometimes you can spoil yourself, it’s ok!  This dish is greasy, filled with cheese, and filled with butter, but oh so good!   We love it!  It is easy to make, but does take a little time.


Tell us how you connect.  What ways have you found to connect over a meal?

You may add your suggestions and thoughts to the comment section or to facebook or twitter.  Use hashtag #bringingbackdinner




Do you need to go shopping in your Freezer? Chicken & Leeks, Vegetarian Chili, Soup, and BBQ Beef Tacos

Shopping in your freezer!
Shopping in your freezer!

If you are like me you find great deals on items and put them in the freezer or cabinets and then forget about them.  After a while I’m overflowing with items I  just don’t use on a regular basis.  When my kitchen gets too full I go shopping in my freezer and make my menus based on what I already have on hand.  You will be surprised how much money this can save you over time.  This week I was able to shop from home for everything but milk and fruit.  Not bad!

I managed to come up with lunches and breakfast for the week and also four meals from my freezer and cabinets: Chicken & Leeks, Vegetarian Chili, Potato Soup with Thyme and Slow Cooked BBQ Beef Tacos!  What can you make?  Go to Reply at the end and tell us what you had in you freezer.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.


The Meals:

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Chili

vegi chili

Learn more about how you can help your family go meatless on Mondays at www.meatlessmonday.com

Time:   45 Minutes

Ease: simple

Recipe Card: Vegetarian Chili

Review: We love chili!  In an effort to really embrace Meatless Mondays I try to find vegetarian dishes that are also hearty.  I had trouble finding a chili that felt meaty and not soup like and decided to create my own.  We were pleased with the end result.  I used bulgar to help make it more filling and it adds a sort of meaty texture.  It is a little mild, but can be served with hot sauce.

Potato Soup with Thyme

potato soup close

Time: 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Recipe Card:Potato Soup with Thyme

Review: Potato soup makes a regular appearance in our household, but it is almost never they same twice.  I love treating it like an science experiment. There are just so many wonderful spices.  This time I took the time to write it down after our guest commented that I should because it was good!  So, maybe I can make it just like this again.

Chicken and Leeks – The Food Network

chicken and leeks lemons

Time:  40 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This is an easy recipe that is great just the way it is written.  I found that I can buy frozen leeks at Trader Joe’s and keep them on hand for soups etc. without worrying about them going bad too quickly and most dishes I use them in cooked them down a little anyway.  If you can find it in the freezer section I recommend it.  The one difference is that it includes both greens and whites, but I find it still works well in most recipes.

Slow Cooked Chipotle BBQ Beef Tacos

chipotle bbq tacos

Time: 8 Hours in slowcooker on low

Ease: unbelievably Simple

Recipe Card: Slow Cooked BBQ Beef tacos

Recipe Card: Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Review:  The BBQ sauce from a few weeks ago is so easy to make and we like it for so many things that I often have it on hand.  When I did my shopping in my freezer, fridge, and cabinets I discovered I had a nice sized batch and used it in my tacos.  If you use a store bought BBQ sauce I recommend adding one pepper and a little sauce from a can of chipotle peppers.  It adds heat and a nice smokey flavor.  The only problem with this recipe was too many second and third helpings, so we ran out!  Serve it with traditional taco toppings.

Cucumbers and Tomatoes

cucumbers and tomato

Time: 15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This was not a main meal, but a dish I’d like to share. It screams summertime, gardens and freshness.  Chop one cucumber and a large tomato or a cup of cherry tomatoes and about 1/4 cup onion.  Red onion is nice if you have it.  Mix 1-2 Tablespoons mayonnaise into the cucumbers and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and let sit about 10 minutes.  That’s it!  It sounds plain, but the juice from the tomatoes mixes in with the mayo and makes it very flavorful. You can also add things like dill, oregano, basil, mint etc.  The proportions are really up to you if you you like more tomato add more etc.


  • What did you come up with from your freezer?
  • Do you have a recipe you would like Bringing Back Dinner to prepare and review?  Send your request and a link to us by using Reply, Twitter or Facebook. Use hashtag bringingbackdinner.
  • If you  make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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