How we do regular family dinners w/ our adult children

It can be tough to gather regularly as a family as our children become adults and lead their own lives. For Troy and I, our kids are quite literally our favorite people to hang out with. They are interesting and hilarious and there’s never any drama- we always have such a great time. We have a day set aside each week for a family dinner. It’s a day that will easily flow with everyones work and social schedules and I try to create a laid back but “special” atmosphere that is something we can all look forward to.

Family Dinners

I wanted our family dinners to seem unique from our norm. Something a little better than our every day meals and something that would give everyone a chance to really unwind in conversation. But I didn’t want it to feel stuffy or overdone. It has progressed as we go, but I thought I’d share how it looks now and what we are currently enjoying in these family dinners.

Happy Hour

I think this is what really sets the stage. I like to have several types of appetizers set out when they arrive and we always kick off the night with champagne. What is it about a glass of champagne that just sets the mood for a celebratory evening?! The entire ceremony of popping the cork and pouring the sparkling bubbles into pretty glasses and a quick ‘cheers” has set the stage for a lovely evening. You just CAN’T be gloomy while drinking champagne!

I do different types of hors d’oeuvre’s each week. Usually just scanning pinterest for ideas. But without fail, there is always a cheese tray with about 3 types of cheeses, cornichons, olives, nuts and some fruit. Always simple, but a nice variety to keep things interesting. Here are some others I’ve made:

Appetizer Ideas for Family Dinner

Red Caviar toasts

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Bites

Bacon Horseradish Deviled eggs

Sliced French Baguette w/ premade tapenade

Sliced and buttered French Baguette topped w/ thinly sliced radishes and sea salt

The act of sharing champagne and hors d’oeuvre’s is a great ice breaker in any crowd, but it’s especially nice when shared with loved ones! Our adult children live their own lives with it’s own stressors so this is always a great time for everyone to just unwind and catch up. I’m usually making final preparations for dinner so I set this up in our open kitchen area so that I’m involved in the conversation as well!

Family Dinner

Later in the evening comes dinner. I’m a big fan of no fuss, simple, flavorful, rustic cooking. Most of the dishes that I cook are hearty, classic dishes from regions all over the world as well as some American family favorites. I like to set a nice table with pretty dish ware, all the glasses and the napkins. We often have candles to light as well. Our dogs are always lounging around nearby our lovely dinner setup and that suits us all just fine! It’s not “formal”, it’s just special, and made with love. Here are some main courses I’ve made recently:

Family Dinner Recipe Ideas

Classic French Hunters Stew

Cod Provencal

Tomato, Spinach and Sausage Pasta

London Broil w/ caramelized onion & Blue cheese cream sauce

Greek Sheet Pan Chicken

Family Dinner

Scotch and Cigars

Still later in the evening, Troy and our sons like to head out to the deck and overlook the beautiful city lights with a glass of scotch and a cigar. This is when I really miss Savannah being home because this would be our time to chat (without them, lol). Troy likes to keep a nice bottle of scotch on hand just for this occasion and the guys bring their own cigars. I don’t know what it is about cigars, but there’s always some deep discussions being had out there!

That view though!

Dessert and Coffee

Still later in the evening, everyone comes back in for dessert and coffee before heading home. I usually just pick something up at the bakery since we have some nice ones in town, but when I have extra time I sometimes make a loaf cake or something simple. We have a choice of regular Nespresso coffee or Espresso.

Family Dinner

At this point in the night we are tired, relaxed and ready to wind down and call it a night. We will have laughed and talked so much all evening that we all end the night with such a great feeling. Like a coming together, a meaningful reconnecting before we all head back out into the world.

I don’t know how long this particular stage of family dinners will last but we really enjoy them while we have them. Who knows what will come next? But suffice it to say that I will always be looking for ways to create that special time to come together to acknowledge and remember the bond we have. It’s important to know that you have someone who will always be in your corner in this world. There’s a lot of stability in that and I hope that we can continue to provide that to our adult children.

Do you have any ways that you like to spend time with your adult children? I’d love to hear what that looks like in your family. You may also enjoy this post on our Scandinavian inspired living room.

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Family Dinner