In May, in about the second week of baseball season, with her three boys all up to their eyeballs in their summer activities, Beth-Anne emailed me to say, “I knew that you were busy with three boys in hockey during hockey season. I knew it, and I heard you when you said how busy it was, but I didn’t really hear you.”
Sometimes you just have to live it to get it, and when “it” is three boys in sports almost every night of the week, one thing we don’t always get is time around the dinner table.
Whether it’s summer sports, winter sports or just plain year-round busy-ness, one of the biggest challenges for families is to find time to sit and share a meal together. That time to connect and to share details about the day is so important, and Beth-Anne and I both felt the same regret that we miss out on that time when the schedule is so full. That is why we did not hesitate to help spread the word about Barilla Pasta and their Share the Table initiative. Check out the link for lots of great advice about how to maximize quality family time around the dinner table, even on the busiest of nights.
I rely heavily on pasta on hockey nights. It’s quick, the boys love the leftovers after the game, and it gives them the energy they need. I love Barilla’s line of PLUS pastas that pack roughly 25% more protein and fibre into each serving than traditional pasta. I like foods that work hard so the kids can work harder. It’s a staple in our cupboard, and the kids can’t tell it apart from their favourite classical pasta. (Whole grain pasta, which I love, is sometimes a tougher sell to the kids.) Barilla also has a line of gluten-free pastas, so even those with gluten allergies can enjoy the convenience of a quickly-cooked meal.
And here is one of the fastest pasta recipes you will ever make. Ready in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, this recipe will minimize prep time and will leave you with more time to sit and eat and share the table before you have to run off!
Pasta with Salmon in Cream Sauce
OK, so this “recipe” happened one night when I invited my in-laws for dinner and I had no food in the house and no time to shop for it. What I did have was a package of smoked salmon in the freezer and cream in the fridge. Bada-boom bada-bing, smoked salmon in cream sauce over pasta. It was delicious, easy, and fast.
1 package of frozen smoked salmon, sliced into ribbons
1 cup of cream (whip what’s left over and serve with berries for dessert or after the game)
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh dill (optional; not all kidlets are fond of herbs, so if your kids are not dill fans, omit this or just sprinkle the dill on your own pasta)
freshly ground pepper (you should not need salt because the salmon is really flavourful)
one package of pasta, whatever shape takes your fancy
Boil the water for pasta and cook pasta according to package instructions.
Take the frozen salmon out of the package, and with a large carving knife, just slice that frozen fish into ribbons of equal width (about 1-2 cm). Put the cream and salmon slices into a frying pan over medium high heat and stir. The salmon will defrost quickly because it’s so thin. Warm them through gently until the salmon slices separate and the cream begins to thicken. Stir, stir, stir. Increase heat if it’s not thickening, but don’t let the cream boil. Once the sauce has thickened and reduced, remove it from the heat. If it reduces too much, just add another splash of cream.
Serve over pasta with freshly ground pepper and a side of your favourite greens. Done and delicious.