The Importance of the Family Dinner


When looking at my Fall schedule of appointments, meetings, activities {and everything else in between} – I feel faint. Summer is over and the ‘back to the routine’ chaos is super thick.

Yet, as busy as we are, we can’t forget the little yet important things that should be a priority each day. Things like: slowing down life and checking out flowers with the kids instead of dragging them quickly to the destination, reading that calming book before bed instead of rushing them to bed so that you can fill out those school forms before you forget. Also on my priority list: family dinners.

It may sound like a simple thing, yet sometimes life pulls you in so many directions that you lose sight of the significance that this time brings. Having family dinners gives all the chance to catch up on what happened through the day. This time to connect keeps those loving ties strong.

In fact, one of my u things to do during dinner time is to ask each child what part of their day they loved most and what they are looking forward to the next day. Not at all trivial, but a time to replenish and fill the body with food and the heart with family.

Which is why I love this: On Thursday, September 19, 2013, M&M Meat Shops will once again step up to the plate and encourage Canadians to enjoy the tradition of the family dinner, for the 9th year in a row.

FamilyDinnerNight _MMmeatshops_Banner

Sadly, a recent national study completed for M&M Meat Shops reveals that fewer families than ever before are making family meal time part of their daily lives. Nearly 10% of Canadians say that they never have dinner with their partner or their family, and fewer than 40 per cent sit down with their family for a daily meal.

I have to wonder if this alarming statistic is by choice {dinner in front of the tv perhaps}, or if our schedules are so busy that there just isn’t the time. In any case, knowing this is the first step in making a conscious effort to lower these percentages.

So what can we do? What brings everyone to the table?

That’s right – special meals. Think Christmas, Easter, birthdays .. Yet, it doesn’t have to be fancy nor a ton of work, just a break from the ordinary. A new recipe that gets everyone excited and their taste buds watering.

M&M Meat Shops logoIn hopes of encouraging people to enjoy a family meal, M&M Meat Shops is challenging Canadians to share their own family-favourite recipes that feature M&M Meat Shops’ products.

With a fun contest!

From Sept 13th – Oct 11th, 2013, Canadians can submit their recipes on the M&M Meat Shops Facebook page to be entered for a chance to win 1 of 3 prizes of a $100 M&M Gift Card.

Winners will be selected by a panel of M&M food and recipe experts and the winning recipes will be featured on!

Sharing your favourite meals, getting incredible meal idea to enjoy with your family PLUS the chance to win?! I call that a recipe for success, for everyone!

As a reminder: The store has COUNTLESS pre-cooked meals and already seasoned/sauced meats, veggies, potatoes and more. Oftentimes while there for my staples, I try a also pick up a few new items to try when time-crunched.

The last meal-crush? The Slow Cooked Beef Pot Roast was to die for! I cooked it in the oven, yet there’s also the option for heating in the microwave as well. The gravy included with the meat is incredible, I will get this again. Best thing? By the time I had potatoes and some veggies cooked, the meal was complete. Easy peesy.

Sorry, I got side-tracked by deliciousness … get back on topic, Tammi.

To help celebrate National Family Dinner Night, I made a new meal for my family using the main ingredients found at M&M Meat Shops, which indeed got us all to the table.

The meal I created is Baked Chicken & Cheese Marinara Ravioli.

Baked Chicken Cheese Marinara Ravioli myorganizedchaos

The main meat in this recipe is M&M Meat Shops Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts. Remember me mentioning my ‘staples’? Open my freezer and at all times I have a box {if not 4} of these chicken breasts.

MM Meat Shops Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts

The chicken is breaded to a crisp perfection and then slathered in delicious marinara sauce and mozza cheese. The combination of the coating ingredients and the classic Italian taste of the sauce and cheese? MOUTHWATERING!!

Once cooked, this ‘heaven chicken’ is then served on a bed of Bel Canto Five Cheese Ravioli, in the refrigerator section at M&M Meat Shops. Once boiled, they puff into perfection, and who can resist having one more type of cheese on their plate!

MM Meat Shops Bel Canto Five Cheese Ravioli

Mama says eat those veggies, which is why this meal is complete with some Bean & Carrot Medley {steamed}, also found at M&M Meat Shops in the freezer section. Adding some nice colour but also great taste, even my picky eaters smile when they see this bean blend.

I think I won the SuperMom award {if there was such a thing} on the first night I made this recipe. At many requests from the family, it was made again the next week.

What’s the saying? Great food, great company, great conversations? Check, check and check! Get your family to the table with this recipe, in full below for you to bookmark, share & print. Also, don’t forget to enter the National Family Dinner Night Contest at M&M Meat Shops!


So, what foods found at M&M Meat Shops will get YOUR family to the table?


Baked Chicken & Cheese Marinara Ravioli

  • 4 M &M Meat Shops Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (sliced in half to make 8)
  • 1 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tsp Oregano
  • 3 tbsp Butter (or olive oil, melted)
  • 3/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
  • 1 1/2 cup Marinara Sauce
  • Fresh chopped Basil for garnish {optional but recommended}
  • 2 Pkgs M&M Meat Shops Bel Canto Five Cheese Ravioli
  1. Preheat oven to 450° and spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and oregano in a shallow bowl or deep plate
  3. Melt the butter in another shallow bowl or deep plate
  4. Dip the chicken into the butter and then into the dry mixture.
  5. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
  6. Cook for 20 minutes, turning over at the 10 minute mark.
  7. Remove from oven and spoon marinara sauce over each piece of chicken and top each with preferred amount of mozzarella cheese
  8. Place back in the oven and cook for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted
  9. Serve warm over cooked M&M Meat Shops Bel Canto Five Cheese Ravioli, with a sprinkle of Basil on top
~ You have to half each chicken breast to make 2 thinner pieces – or else it won’t cook evenly and you might have an undercooked middle with burnt edges.
~The chopped basil is optional yet it does give a really nice flavour to the meal.
~ Side with cooked 1/2 pkg M&M Meat Shops Frozen Bean & Carrot Medley {boiled or steamed} as a vegetable group and you have a complete meal!


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, opinions are my own.



  1. My family would absolutely love this recipe! It has something for each of them! Definitely adding this to my meal plan!

  2. thats’ my kind of meal, I’d never miss a chance to try that and I’m sure my family wouldn’t either. Eating together is so important, we have it as a rule in our house and make it priority. great initiative, those stats are alarming!

    1. Agree and agree. Happy this post spoke to you Hailey. Now, what ‘cha making for dinner tomorrow?

  3. Yum! That looks amazing. We eat dinner together just about every night. Whether it be at home at the table (5 nights a week) or enjoying a treat of watching a movie together and eating together in the living room (1-2 nights) or a treat of eating out. The kids know dinnertime is family time.

    1. That is awesome Danielle, glad you guys make the time, I know how busy the school and activity season is!

  4. that looks so good Tammi, wow! I’m a pasta nutbar, I’ll have to try those ravioli next time I’m at M&M Meats. Entering the contest too, thanks!

  5. Dinner at your house tonight ? lol That looks delicious! I love when we have set down together dinners. You really get to talk and know about how the others day went. You connect with them child or adult and think that means a lot

  6. Thanks for the heads up on the contest, I must enter, I have a great recipe in mind that my son loves. Also going to try this one, looks amazing.

  7. That baked chicken and cheese marinara ravioli would definitely get my family to the table! Mouth watering!!

  8. can you tell my hubby that he never eats with me. always eats in his office while working

    1. You need to get that man to the table!! I suggest enticing him with some M&M Meat Shops desserts. Guaranteed to work!

  9. Wow, that meal looks so yummy! Will have to try out your recipe. Family dinner is something we try and have at least 5 nights a week, it is important to take time to connect and dinner is a great time to do it.

  10. this looks amazing! M&M is great for fast family dinners. we do extended family dinners every Sat nite- usually 20 or so people. we love it

  11. Wow – Just Wow! – Looks amazing! The best part is =) It doesn’t look or sound complicated but at the same Time Looks moth watering and Health! This will be a must try in our home
    Thank you so much for sharing!!!! =)

  12. Thanks for such a delicious recipe! I have always believed in the importance of a family dinner. Growing up, we always ate dinner together sitting around the table without the TV on and no phone calls. It was a time for us as a family. I hope to have the same thing once we have children of our own!

  13. It is so important to take time each day to connect with our kids!
    We rarely have dinner without all of us being present. We are lucky though in that we both work out of our home and can be flexible with our time, not all families have that option. With so many people working shift work, retail hours, etc, etc it can be really hard for a lot of people. Even when we both worked outside the home though, we still had dinner all together. It gives us time to unwind and get ready for whatever activities need to happen that evening and get prepared for the next day.

  14. It is so important to take time each day to connect with our kids!
    We rarely have dinner without all of us being present. We are lucky though in that we both work out of our home and can be flexible with our time, not all families have that option. With so many people working shift work, retail hours, etc, etc it can be really hard for a lot of people. Even when we both worked outside the home though, we still had dinner all together. It gives us time to unwind and get ready for whatever activities need to happen that evening and get prepared for the next day.

    1. So true Amanda, it’s something that these days, has to be made a priority or it could get pushed aside so easily.

  15. Oh my goodness! That baked chicken and cheese marinara looks absolutely delicious!! Our family definitely has to make more of an effort to eat together, however our problem is usually schedules!

  16. I think eating in family is very important you can talk about the day and have a good meal together. I like m&m but found them a little bit expensive so I buy only when they have sale but I love the chicken tenders.

  17. thanks for the recipes , i always try to get the kids to sit and have dinner as much as i can , cuz with 6 kids and 3 of them teenager its not always easy with busy schedules

  18. We made a point of eating dinner with each other and the kids as often as we possibly could. Its a great time to catch up on everyone’s day.

    This dinner looks so good, I doubt anyone would talk through it though lol

  19. That really is sad that only 10% of families eat dinner together. We always try to eat supper at the table at the same time every night, but sometimes it can be hard if my husband finishes work late. The kids have to eat at a reasonable time, not at 8:00 at night.

  20. Love M&M! We always try to have dinner together every night, Dad’s schedule permitting.

  21. OOOH that looks delicious!!! I love M&Ms so many great options for a quick dinner, this looks amazing! thanks for sharing!

  22. You have the best recipes! I too believe in the importance of family dinners. My daughter and I had dinner together last night and since she moved out on her, it is even more necessary. I have always loved dinner time not just to share a meal but to talk and listen to one another.

  23. I also love m&m’s! We also buy their chicken breasts, but you should really try the pot roast, cook it in the slow cooker, its sooo delish!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.