Eating dinner as a family is important.  We've all seen the articles and news reports touting the benefits of regularly sitting down together for a family meal. Family dinners can lead to healthier eating habits, less obesity, kids that are getting better grades and less likely to drink or do drugs (source WebMD).  That sounds great, but easier said than done.  Between school work, after school sports and intense work schedules, its unrealistic for most of us to have a nightly sit down family dinner.

We still want to reap those benefits, so what can we do about it?  There are a lot more factors that go into the well being of our children and close relationships can be fostered in more ways than just a nightly dinner.  Starting with just one family dinner can be a good start to creating a dialogue with your kids and build a strong family bond.  For our family this is Sunday Night Dinner.  Carving out time once a week just for family. Starting late Sunday afternoon we spending the rest of our day at home with no friends, no activities, just us preparing and eating a meal together.

Get the whole family involved in the process and make it a group effort.  Give everyone a turn to choose the menu or a different part of the meal.  We have a lot of varying tastes in our home and letting them each have a say gives them something to look forward to when its not their favorite dinner.  Create jobs for everyone, kids included, from helping to prepare the meal to simple tasks like setting out the napkins for the little ones,   When it comes time to sit down, turn off the TV, put away the DS and phones and focus on talking and eating without rushing - you can DVR the end of the Giants or Jets Game (I know, easier said than done!).  Turns out its now our favorite part of the week. 

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Homemade Cravings has many ideas to get you started on a Sunday Family Dinner tradition, from this Roast Beef recipe to Spaghetti and Meatballs and Roast Chicken.  Many of them provide large servings, enough for Monday night leftovers to save you on a busy night.  Check out the Homemade Cravings Sunday Dinner page for more ideas.

Roast Beef with Madeira Wine Sauce


Roast Beef 

4-5 Lb Top Round Roast

2 TBSP Kosher Salt

2 t Canola Oil plus 1 TBSP


Madeira Wine Sauce 

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1 Large Shallot, minced

1 C Madeira Wine

2 TBSP Unsalted Butter

1/2 C Cream or Half and Half

Salt and Pepper to taste


Roast Beef 

  • Cover roast with salt and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • Remove roast and unwrap. Pat it dry with paper towels and season with pepper to taste. Rub 2 t of canola oil over the roast to coat evenly.
  • Heat oven to 225 degrees.
  • In a large oven proof skillet or dutch oven, heat additional oil until shimmering. Add the roast and brown on all sides (4-5 minutes per side).
  • Place the pan with the roast in the oven and insert an instant read thermometer into the center.
  • When the roast hits 125 degrees turn off the oven and let the roast sit in the oven until it reaches 130 (or 135 for medium). This should take about 1 hour 45 minutes but go by your thermometer, time with vary based on the size of your roast.
  • Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before carving. Slice as thin as possible and serve with sauce.

Madeira Wine Sauce 

  • In a small sauce pan heat olive oil on medium. Add shallots, cook, stirring until softened.
  • Turn heat to high and add wine, reduce to about 3/4 of a cup. Add butter. When melted add cream and bring to a low boil, then remove from heat and serve over sliced beef.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated Slow-Roasted Beef

© Homemade Cravings 2013