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Get Back To The Table

Recipes to Fall Back Into Your Routine

Summer is officially over, and as we transition into a new season, it’s time to “fall” back into our routines, whether it be adjusting to the kids back at school, late night study sessions, or gearing up for holiday season. The transition back to those long and hectic days can be a struggle and as schedules fill up – certain priorities, such as preparing a nutritious meal and spending quality time with family can begin to slip.

We know the importance of eating meals together, which is why we’ve rounded up some of our favorite recipes to get you back into the swing of things and back to the table!

Get Your Greens

Easy Three Bean Salad

You don’t have to search too hard for a simple, delicious, and nutritious meal with this Easy Three Bean Salad made with Libby’s® Cut Green Beans. This salad is perfect for serving up a quick family weeknight meal or as an appetizer during football Sunday.

Get Cozy with Soup

Thai Coconut Corn Curry

As the temperatures will begin to drop, there’s nothing like warming up on a crisp autumn day with a hearty bowl of homemade soup. However, some recipes can take hours to make, leaving you with less time to spend with family and friends. This Thai Coconut Corn Curry will allow you to savor the flavors of fall, while spending quality time together.

Wrap up in Healthy

Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Just because schedules get busy again and vacation is over, doesn’t mean enjoying nutritious meals has to be as well. These Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps combine important nutrients, vegetables, and savory Asian-inspired ingredients making for the perfect appetizer or lunch. Even better, they require minimal kitchen labor! To compliment the wraps, try whipping up a Quinoa Salad with Corn and Peas – also perfect for next day leftovers.

Get Back to the Table with Libby’s: National Family Meals Month

As the days of summer come to an end with Labor Day behind us, there remains a few more weeks of sunny days to spend time outside in the evenings and weekends. Why not enjoy the last moments of warm weather in September by celebrating National Family meals Month™ – the perfect time to get the family together to enjoy wholesome meals.

Here at Libby’s® Fruits and Vegetables, we know how important and cherished time spent together as a family around the dinner table is. We are proud to support this movement for the second year, and encourage your family to do the same.

So, now that a new school year has started, football season is among us, and the temperatures outside are perfect to dine al fresco, it’s time to get back to the table! We’ve rounded up some tips and recipes to help get you started.

Southern Style Green Beans

Did you know that numerous studies have shown that home-cooked meals nourish the spirit, brain and health of all family members? There’s no better reason to fire up your grill one last time this season and cook up some delicious BBQ with a side of Southern Style Green Beans made with Libby’s® Cut Green Beans. Talk about a juicy, nutritious meal.

Family Meals Month

Interesting enough, according to The Hartman Group, 70% of families say they usually or always eat the same things when they’re together! To cherish meals spent together, try getting creative and whipping up new recipes for everyone to enjoy. Libby’s Recipe Box has several delicious, simple, and nutritious meals – including appetizers, side pairings, entrees, desserts, and more.

Pea Pesto Salmon

Throughout the month of September, you can get involved by making a commitment to have at least one dinner spent together as a family a week. Get the table set outside, candles lit, and music playing for the ultimate dining experience. We can’t forget about the most important part – food, of course! The kids will love these Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps as an appetizer, and for the main course try this light Pea Pesto Salmon to get your taste buds going.

Pledge to Raise Your Mitt to Commit™ and share your experience on social by using #familymealsmonth. Remember to follow us on Facebook @LibbysTable and Twitter @LibbysTable for more family meal inspiration this month and throughout the year.

Haylie Duff Shares Her Secrets For a Successful Back to School Season

A Q&A Discussion with the Actress, TV Host and Mother

It’s that time of year again–time to send the kiddos back to school! While a new school year brings promise and excitement surrounding what’s ahead, it also can be a time of uneasy transition and stress. Between getting your kids ready in the morning to running around for afterschool activities, how do you ensure they’re still eating healthy? How can they–and you–ease in to their new schedule? What’s the best way to ensure you’re still squeezing in as much quality family time as you can? Haylie Duff of Real Girl’s Kitchen sat down with Libby’s recently to share her favorite tricks and helpful tips for making the back to school transition as seamless, healthy and fun as possible!

We can’t believe it’s already time for another school year! The transition from the beach to classroom can be a bit bittersweet as we say farewell to summer break. What are your tips for lessening the stress of back-to-school and making the transition smoother?

Well, since this is my first time “getting ready for back to school,” I’m getting lots of tips from other moms! One thing I have cracked down on is nap/bedtime routine. During the summer, we love to have long, leisurely meals outdoors. Since the sunlight lingers in the summer, Ryan’s bedtime has become later and later. I really believe that a scheduled kid is a happy kid so I am trying to stick with our normal hours in prep of the extra energy needed for school!

My other tip for getting rid of school prep stress is to pack everything the night before. I make most of Ryan’s lunch the night before so we can run out the door in the morning!

Planning ahead is key to smooth mornings, especially as you’re getting back into the swing of things. What’s your go-to make-ahead lunch?

I actually just made a cold pasta salad with Rotini pasta and Libby’s® Peas & Carrots Vegetable Cups. It was very simple and delicious and it holds up perfectly in the refrigerator. It is a perfect make-ahead lunch for kids!

Having tasty, fun and nutritious recipes can help us break free from lunchbox boredom. What are some ways to get creative and spice up lunch for the next day?

I have been seeing lots of creative lunches now that Ryan has started preschool…even pizza!

I really feel inspired by the colorful lunches. A classic and fun way to spice up lunch can mean a bunch of different things: cookie cutters for sandwiches, a surprise pop of color like purple carrots, or even their favorite little cookie tucked away somewhere.

After-school snacking = key to curing crankiness. What are your go-to snack recipes that will satisfy, but also leave room for dinner?

cheesy sweet corn and hatch chili muffins

We love seaweed snacks in our family! Fruit is also always a good idea, or something a bit creative like my Hatch Chili & Cheddar Corn Muffins! Sometimes they play so hard at school that their snack needs to be amped up a bit!

When entering a new school year, weekends are often cherished with quality family time, whether it be a short getaway, or lounging around in pajamas all day. What are some of your favorite weekend activities for the new season?

Ryan has been in her little baby pool NONSTOP! I think swimming is always a great idea because it really wears them out so that they are ready for bedtime! Even if the sun is still shining bright!

Between extracurricular activities, studying and homework, it can be a bit challenging and hectic to balance the never-ending to-do list. How do you manage everything, while also fitting in nutritious meals for the family?

A well-stocked pantry is my best friend when things get hectic over here! If you keep things like Libby’s® Vegetable Cups or Libby’s® Vegetable Pouches, good broths, pasta, rice, lentils, tomatoes, etc. in stock at all times, you can usually pull just about anything together!

Veggies are key to ensuring kids have a nutritious, balanced diet – but it can be tricky to get the youngsters to eat them. What are some tricks to sneak in vegetables?

lentil shepherd's pie

I think smoothies are a great way to sneak in greens! Sadly, Ryan won’t drink a smoothie. My Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Libby’s® Vegetable Cups is a veeeery popular dish in my house! Ryan has loved lentils ever since she was a baby and I always sneak in as many more veggies as I can! I usually get away with it…unless I add broccoli, then that’s a no-go!

The Ultimate Holiday Hack: Libby’s® Vegetable Pouches

‘Tis the season of juggling between creating the perfect holiday dinner menu, planning travel to visit relatives, and finding memorable gifts friends and family will love. Getting back to the table with a hot, nutritious meal can be challenging when your days are filled with holiday prep – and we could all use some short cuts to help us navigate through the chaos.

Here at Libby’s®, one of our favorite time-savers is cooking with new Libby’s® Vegetable Pouches. Whether it be weeknight dinners or recipes for your holiday party, the new Pouches are perfect for any nourishing meal. The best part? They’re microwaveable and cook in less than 60 seconds – helping you prepare dinner in a flash! With five different varieties, including Sweet Peas, Cut Green Beans, Sliced Carrots, Whole Kernel Sweet Corn and Mixed Vegetables – there’s plenty room to make a wide array of meals. To help fuel some inspiration and reduce holiday stress, follow these quick and easy recipes made with Libby’s® Vegetable Pouches.

Side Dish Perfection

Rosemary Ricotta Corn

While turkey or ham is often the center of attention for majority of holiday meals, they wouldn’t be complete without the perfect side dish. This Rosemary Ricotta Corn is pure comfort with its creamy texture and delightful taste. Ready in only 7 minutes, this recipe can be used as a companion to the main dish, or as an easy weeknight meal.

Cheesy Peasy

Cheesy Mushroom and Pea Orzo

Looking for a hearty side dish or entrée to get everyone warmed up from the bitter cold this season? Serve up some Cheesy Mushroom and Pea Orzo for dinner, or at an upcoming holiday gathering. Filled with a mixture of cheeses and vegetables, this recipe will bring plenty delight among all. 

Change Up Your Salad Game

Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad

If you’re searching for a lighter fare that will also awaken your taste buds – look no further. This Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad will kick up your typical salad recipe a few notches and is made with delicious and unique flavors that will be sure to satisfy hunger. This recipe will save time in the kitchen and requires minimal effort!

Donatella Arpaia on Holiday Mealtime Traditions, Christmas Breakfast and Impromptu Entertaining

A Q&A Discussion with the Iron Chef America Judge, NYC Restaurateur and Mother 

Can you share a few holiday mealtime traditions that are unique and special to your family?

In our home, I would call it a long feast rather than just a meal! It always begins at 3pm. Since it’s typically a 7-course meal, we rest in between courses, then eat again. There is a lot of reminiscing and storytelling, and towards the end of the evening, we break out the old films of when we were growing up.

Christmas on the whole is about being around the table enjoying the food and reminiscing. The kids’ table is the place to be at my house! Crafts, crackers/poppers and plastic champagne glasses filled with sparkling cider make them feel special! We give a big toast and everyone goes around the table and gives thanks as we eat our meal.

What is your favorite classic holiday dish to serve when you’re entertaining and why? 

Italians eat a variety of fishes on Christmas Eve, so Christmas Day is all about the meatballs! They’re cooked with a slow braised ragu and we top our homemade pasta with the red sauce from the meatballs. It’s a classic everyone craves, including all the non-Italians we invite over! Everybody loves meatballs—they’re the ultimate family celebratory comfort food.

Holiday dining is almost exclusively focused on the big dinner (or late lunch). But breakfast is important too! What do you usually like to serve on mornings before the big meal? 

I actually make a point of having a good breakfast! Many people skip breakfast because they want to overindulge later on, but that just makes you ravenous by mealtime. I make scrambled eggs with shallots and truffle zest for me and my husband. On Christmas morning only, I make Elbe skivers – the Danish pancake – with confectioner’s sugar. My son calls them “elf “pancakes!” Great coffee and freshly squeezed juice round out the morning.

Holiday meals typically involve tried-and-true family recipes. But sometimes it’s fun to add a new twist to old favorites. Any tips for jazzing up the classics?

Yes, I pretty much stick to the classics that my mom made for holiday meals, but I love to experiment with salads. I recently added a new twist to one with my Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad!

Green Bean and Blood Orange Salad

 Many of us may be trying to plan a holiday menu for both meat eaters and vegetarians. How do you suggest balancing everyone’s demands?

Write the menu down before the meal and count how many items are vegetarian versus meat. Menus should always be balanced. I like to include a vegetarian dish that’s hearty and that has some protein like my Vegetable Fried Rice — the egg adds a nice protein for the vegetarians!

Vegetable Fried Rice

When playing the holiday hostess, what are your essentials for creating a warm, inviting ambiance? 

Creating a calm, clean environment for guests is the first step. The temperature of the room, background music and lighting are all important elements. Make sure you dim the lights a bit, and I personally love to have lots of lighted candles all around! But the most important thing is that even if you’re stressed or a recipe didn’t turn out the way you wanted, when guests arrive, let it go! The holidays are about being together and making memories, and your guests feed off your energy. Be happy and warm and your guests will feel welcome. After all, a happy host is the best kind. Lastly, a welcome cocktail never hurts. 🙂

Unexpected visits from family, friends and neighbors tend to happen more often this time of year. Do you have any tips for fabulous, fast appetizers to feed a hungry crew?

My family is famous for arriving on Christmas a little early and starving! Dinner often isn’t ready, so I like to create appetizers that won’t ruin their appetites, like this Peas and Ricotta Crostini. It’s satisfying without being too heavy and is also so elegant and easy to make!  

Peas and Ricotta Crostini

Donatella Arpaia Talks Turkey, Family Traditions and Fuss-Free Entertaining

A Q&A Discussion with the Iron Chef America Judge, NYC Restaurateur and Mother 

Can you share a few Thanksgiving traditions that are unique and special to your family?

Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather and traditions—new and old—to be formed. In my family, we always had a tradition where each of us would tell everyone what we are thankful for.  Two years ago, my son, still a toddler, insisted that he should select who gives thanks, so we made him the “conductor” of giving thanks! He alone selects the order of who gives thanks and often provides commentary if he isn’t satisfied with the answer.

I also make the dreaded “kids table” the coolest place to be with arts and craft projects and little presents.  Every year, I provide kids with the task of making place cards for the table. Last year, the place cards were leaves and this year, they will be pinecones!

Let’s talk Thanksgiving prep. How far in advance do you begin planning the menu? What do you do the week before—and also the day before—to ensure the actual holiday is as seamless and stress-free as possible?

Can’t stress this enough – you must plan ahead otherwise you will not enjoy the holiday! Two to three days before, I get all shopping done. As a rule, I try to get all sides, stuffing and gravy done one to two days before. On the day of, I focus on turkey and desserts! For my veggie sides, I measure and organize all ingredients and then label them and put them in fridge. That means that on the morning of Thanksgiving, I am just assembling my veggies with the help of Libby’s canned vegetables. It’s so easy! One of my favorite quick—and delicious—dishes that you can make the morning of are these Sautéed Peas with Honey and Feta!

Sauteed Peas with Honey and Feta

Hosting the Thanksgiving meal doesn’t mean that all the work should fall on you. Many hands make light work, especially many little hands. 🙂 Any tips for getting kids involved in the cooking?

It’s a shame that in rush of trying to get everything done, we miss golden opportunities of making memories with our little ones.  Like most moms, I try to get my son to eat his veggies, I found that when I make him part of the process, he is proud and wants to eat them. I love this easy festive carrot recipe for Southern Candied Carrots with Gingersnap Crunch. I take a large zip lock bag along with a rolling pin and make him crush the gingersnap cookies instead of using the food processor. I then have him sprinkle the crumbs on top! He loves this activity and proudly tells everyone that he made the dish!

Southern Candied Carrots with Gingersnap Crunch

Another great project is to provide small individual cakes.  Provide each child with his or her own mini cups of frosting and decorations! Don’t micromanage or look for perfection – just set them up with their own work station and provide paper “chef” hats. They’ll feel important and proud of their individual creations.

What is your favorite classic Thanksgiving dish and why?

My stuffing! It’s made with Arborio rice, sausage and mushrooms – it brings me back to my childhood. Every year, I say I will do it differently, but I always crave the original that my mom made for me growing up.

Here at Libby’s, we’re all about honoring traditions and savoring those classic dishes, but also love learning new ways to make our meals even more wholesome. What tips do you have to make the big feast a bit healthier?

I think the sides are just as important as and sometimes even more exciting than the main event. Thanksgiving is a time of variety and abundance. The easiest way to make it healthier is to eat your veggies!  Libby’s makes it easy to prepare a wide variety of sides and do it in a fun and tasty way that isn’t boring! Case in point: my recipe for Brown Butter Green Beans with Garlic Almond Bread Crumbs.


Brown Butter Green Beans with Garlic Almond Bread Crumbs


Final—and most important—question: what are you especially grateful for this Thanksgiving season?

This past year, there were plenty of health scares within the family, especially with my parents. I am so grateful that we weathered the storm together as a family.  I am grateful that my siblings and I were able to be there for our parents as our parents have always been there for us.