Grow Closer to Your Family by Eating Meals Together

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Gathering together around the table provides us with the opportunity to celebrate the most important things in lifeÂ?love, family, good health, and good friends. In the new paperback edition of her popular cook "The Family Table," chef, cooking teacher, mother, opera singer, and registered nurse Christy Rost shows her passion for family meals

Besides flexibility, the key to successfully preserving the family meal is an arsenal of family-friendly recipes that emphasize the beauty of simple foods, fresh, wholesome ingredients, and reasonably priced wine selections.

In this paperback edition of her popular cookbook "The Family Table," Christy Rost offers 250 mouth-watering recipes, well-balanced and do-able in a reasonable amount of time, and invites readers to gather everyone around the family table on a regular basis.

Recipe selections range from all-American favorites to Caribbean, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, and Mexican cuisine. "The Family Table" is divided into four sections: Everyday Meals, Weekends, Entertaining at Home, and Holidays. Within each section, recipes are grouped by type (salads, entrees, side dishes, etc.) Also included are wine suggestions with many of the entrée recipes. "Eric’s Wine Notes," written by a wine expert, contain three wine suggestions in order of least to most expensive.

Have a taste of "The Family Table" by trying the following recipe for a hearty, warm fall dish:

Southwestern Casserole

Recipe serves 6.

"Serve this spicy Tex-Mex casserole straight from the skillet on busy nights, or spoon into a casserole dish, top with shredded cheese, and bake. Great for parties, too."

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds ground chuck

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 ¼ cups medium or hot picante sauce

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup shredded Longhorn cheddar cheese

1/3 cup crushed tortilla chips

½ cup shredded Longhorn cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese

1 20-count package warm flour tortillas

1 ½ cups shredded lettuce

1 cup sour cream

Sauté ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium heat until meat is brown. Drain fat, reduce heat to low, and add minced garlic; sauté 1 minute. Pour in picante and tomato sauce and stir to mix. Stir in kidney beans, ¼ cup of the shredded longhorn cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Cook the mixture until it's bubbly. Serve immediately in flour tortillas or spoon into a casserole dish, sprinkle with additional cheese and cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. To serve, spoon Southwestern Casserole into warm flour tortillas; top with shredded lettuce, cheese and sour cream.

Christy Rost is a cooking and food expert, who has cooked her way around the country in national media, including WGN’s "News at Noon," The Chicago Tribune’s Mature Adult magazine, FamilyNet’s "At Home Live," "NBC-4 Midday" (WCMH-TV, Columbus, OH), Phoenix Home & Garden, FOX 4-TV’s "Good Day" (Dallas, TX), WOAI-TV’s "San Antonio Living" (San Antonio, TX), WFAA-TV’s "Good Morning Texas" (Dallas, TX), WIXT-TV’s "Bridge Street with Rick & Julie" (Syracuse, NY), and more. Since 1992, Christy has been the food editor for The Park Cities News in Dallas, TX. She has hosted cooking seminars with Macy’s and Kaufmann’s, held cooking classes for Sur La Table, and hosted her own television cooking show, "Just Like Home." Christy is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and a registered nurse. Christy lives with her husband in Dallas, Texas. Visit her on the Web at her website, http://www.easyentertain.com.

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Jennifer Hughes