With summer comes new routines and exciting activities, as our kids head to camp, play and splash at pool parties, stay up later, and spend long, sunny days outside. Of course, not everything changes during the summer, especially a Mom’s routine. We still get up early, do laundry, pack lunches, and get dinner on the table, no matter the season or day of the week.

To bring some variety to meal-planning this summer, Unilever teamed up with the author of the “Kitchen Coach” cookbook series, Jennifer Bushman, to create the ultimate Family Fun Book, filled with delicious recipes and affordable meal ideas perfect for the whole family to enjoy – together.  The Family Fun Book can be downloaded for free at

Bushman recommends making meal time “family time” by bringing the kids into the kitchen to help prepare the meal.  By keeping a well-stocked refrigerator, freezer, and pantry with versatile and easy-to-prepare ingredients, it’s simple to get the whole family involved in the cooking process.  In addition to kid-friendly recipes, Bushman suggests, add in a little fun with creative themes and recipes like these:

  • Have an at-home dinner picnic. Spread a blanket out in the living room and prepare simple sandwiches or wraps, like a delicious Chicken & Basil Sandwich. Opt for Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise, which has the great taste but half the calories and fat of Hellmann’s. Get the kids involved by letting them pick the sandwich fixins and spread the mayo!

  • Save on cooking and clean-up time by choosing easy, delicious, one-pot dips and recipes. Use sweet potatoes or yams to prepare Spicy Oven Fries and pair with your favorite dipping sauce. To sneak in some nutrition and receive 20 percent of your daily value of Vitamin D, top with melted Shedd’s Spread Country Crock Calcium Plus Vitamin D. With just three steps, this recipe is perfect for setting loose your child’s inner chef.

  • To make nights in even more enjoyable, pair meals with fun at-home entertainment. Spend less time in the kitchen by using Knorr Rice Sides to make an easy one-dish meal like Grilled Chicken & Veggies Over Rice, then create a show by letting your kids sing their favorite songs in your very own “kitchen cabaret.”

  • Host a camping-inspired sleepover for the kids and create a kitchen retreat with campfire meals. Use whole grain tortillas as a healthy and easy dipper for your favorite one-pot recipes like Super Easy Slow-Cooked Chili with Ragu Pasta Sauce, which packs a full serving of vegetables in every half-cup of sauce. Not to mention that a slow cooked meal leaves more time for “camping” activities!

  • Use versatile ingredients from your well-stocked pantry. Wish-Bone Dressings can do double-duty as delicious salad dressings and simple, great tasting marinades for chicken, pork, beef and fish. Pair with soy sauce for a delicious Asian Grilled Steak. You may want to keep your children away from the grill, but they can help by preparing the steak ahead of time.

  • Summer and iced tea go hand-in-hand to stay hydrated. Did you know those tea bags can also spice up your cooking?  Use Lipton Teabags to create Tasty Tea Baked Apples – a delicious desert with an extra helping of antioxidants for just $1 per serving.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Unilever/Making Life Better. Mom Central sent me a gift card and a copy of the Family Fun Book to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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