10 Recipes to Help You Spend More Time at the Dinner Table

When we share a meal, it’s the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with our kids, our significant others, or even our roommates. And if we could extend the time spent at the table? Take the time to chat, laugh and have fun while enjoying a meal that can be assembled (or even cooked) while you’re having dinner. Fondue and raclette are perfect examples, as well as sharing platters that can be enjoyed by all and seafood you can shell right at the table. Here are 10 ideas to try with your household bubble.

1. Japanese Fondue (Shabu-Shabu)

 Fondue is the first on our list when it comes to the pleasures of eating slow. This homemade, Japanese-style broth includes soy sauce, ginger and nori seaweed.

2. Creamy Ravioli Raclette

 When enjoying a raclette dinner, time does the cheese! Prepare this mini pasta au gratin by placing store-bought ravioli in a tiny skillet and then topping it with mushrooms, dried sausage, crème fraiche and raclette cheese.

3. Family-Style Appetizer Platter

When the table conversation is so animated that you don’t notice the hours going by, be sure to plop down this appetizer platter consisting of pantry ingredients. Marinate the onions for a few minutes, then place them along with sardines, artichoke hearts and roasted red bell peppers on a large plate, and garnish with parsley and lemon zest. There’s no cooking required for when you want to munch with good company.

4. Lentil and Beef Tacos

Kids and adults alike can build their tacos as they choose. A bit of sour cream for the children, some cilantro for the grown-ups. Everyone can customize to their heart’s content when all the ingredients are placed directly on the table.

5. Oysters with Pomegranate and Pink Pepper Mignonette

Oysters are always a good start to a fun evening. Shuck the oysters and then drizzle on a chic mignonette made with pomegranate juice, cider vinegar and pink pepper.

6. Mussel and Potato Casserole

Mussels are way easier to work with than you may think. Simply dump all your ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil until the molluscs pop open. Then spend the evening happily shelling them at the table.

7. Mezze-Style Tofu with Onion Confit

Mezze is a combination of various small dishes served together on a plate. This vegetarian version is composed of grilled tofu, hummus, tabbouleh and store-bought antipasti.

8. Warm Brie with Strawberries, Figs and Almonds

Warm brie becomes even more decadent when you top it with strawberries lightly soaked in raspberry vinegar. Dig in with bread slices and enjoy the rest of the night.

9. Duck Confit Crepes

Reinvent and simplify the traditional Peking duck by using duck confit thighs instead. Simply combine them with hoisin sauce. Place the shredded duck, julienne veggies and mint on the table so that everyone can customize their crepes as they wish.

10. Maple and Ginger Fondue

  To extend your meal even further, cap off the evening with a dessert fondue that includes cream, maple syrup and ginger. (It’s a change of pace from the usual chocolate!) Dunk chunks of fruit or cubed pieces of pound cake.