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Published: Thursday, 10/20/2005

Family Dinners Endure

Quick-cooking recipes with short ingredient lists mean less time in the kitchen and more time with family. Quick-cooking recipes with short ingredient lists mean less time in the kitchen and more time with family.
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Flash back to 1996. Beanie Babies were the must-have collectible, casual Fridays were creeping into corporate America and all things dot.com were on the rise. Today, cause bracelets are the rage, business casual is the everyday norm and blogs are a high-tech hot topic.

While so many things have changed, one comforting constant is the importance of family dinnertime. A recent survey revealed that nearly four out of five respondents (78 percent) feel that it is very or extremely important for their family to eat together. And though busy schedules may not make that possible every night, it's refreshing that more than half of survey participants (52 percent) eat dinner as a family five or more times per week.

To help your family foster togetherness through mealtime, the National Pork Board offers the following tips:

A Few Moments of Peace

Establish a quiet place for meals and make a habit of temporarily eliminating interruptions such as telephone, television and toys. By carving out a moment of peace in the day, you communicate that dinner is a special, family time.

Teamwork at the Table

Begin teaching the fundamentals of menu planning (and guarantee the kids' "stamp of approval") by providing children with the opportunity to search for recipes in cookbooks and online and by delegating meal preparations such as setting the table or washing the vegetables.

Celebrate Simplicity

Build your "mental menus" around crowd-pleasing recipes that feature short ingredient lists and can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Less time in the kitchen means more time with the family. Try this dish.

Pork Medallions with Blue Cheese-Chive Stuffing

1 pound pork tenderloin

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 ounces crumbled blue cheese (1 cup)

3 tablespoons finely snipped fresh chives

1 tablespoon plain bread crumbs

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut tenderloin into 1-inch slices. Sprinkle with pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork slices and cook for 2-4 minutes or until brown, turning once. Transfer pork slices to baking sheet.

Mix together blue cheese, chives and bread crumbs in small bowl, breaking large pieces of cheese into fine crumbs. Top pork slices evenly with cheese mixture. Bake in heated oven for 10-12 minutes or until internal temperature is 155 degrees F. Makes 4 servings. (NAPSI)



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