We grew up with family dinner time being a very important part of our day. 30 years ago when our family business was tiny and operated out of the family basement, we would help our mother with the jams & jellies (in the summer) or go to school in the other seasons, while our dad worked at a local cabinet shop. When he came home from his day at the cabinet shop, it meant supper time was close. In those days, our mom made a lot of simple traditional dishes, and if you asked her for her recipe you would be hard pressed to get one. She would either go off of memory, guess, or taste. And in many cases, the leftovers of the previous evening dictated the menu for the following dinner.
Now that we are all grown up, the responsibility of providing dinner for our own families falls to us. We do live close to Grandma Miller and I suppose we could still wander over there and demand dinner, but that doesn't seem right. Just like in our kitchen growing up, family dinner is an important part of our day. Our family dinners generally take place in the kitchen at the family island or bar, just like they did in our home growing up. Our dining room table ends up being used as an arts and crafts table more so than a dinner table.
As our family contemplates dinner recipes, we do still utilize the old traditional staples such as meatloaf, noodles, & mashed potatoes. But the internet has also given us a vast database of new recipes right at our fingertips. Because of this, many of our dinner dishes take on new flavors. Online sites have given us insights into experimenting with recipes such as Korean Beef, Sesame Chicken, and Zucchini Rice among others. Another resource our family has enjoyed are the online meal subscription/ recipe services.While these are generally too pricey to utilize on a regular basis, we have enjoyed trying out their recipes on occasion. And one of our favorite discoveries with these is their creativity in transforming traditional dishes by adding sweet and savory pan sauces. Recently we received a Balsamic Fig Chicken recipe like this from Hello Fresh. Naturally this sparked our interest, because it utilizes Fig Jam....and we have access to some great Fig Jam! Fig Jam would not generally be a flavor that our family would be first to pick off the shelf (the kids like Seedless Black Raspberry and Apple Butter) but we were excited to try it in this new way. The recipe was not difficult to follow and sure enough, the Fig Jam, in the form of a pan sauce, turned the chicken into the star of the dish. We loved it, went back for seconds, and maybe thirds. We will definitely add this to our rotation of favorite recipes and have added it to our website recipes, in case you want to try it out for yourself. Balsamic Fig Jam Chicken Recipe. And the possibilities of mixing these recipes up with other sweet jam varieties is endless! Now our family is looking forward to adding our sweet jam flavors in the form of pan sauces to our various chicken, pork, and burger dishes throughout the year.