September is National Family Meals Month, and we couldn’t be more excited! Gathering our families, filling each others’ cups, and prioritizing togetherness over perfection is at the heart of everything we do at The Busy Bee. In honor of National Family Meals Month, we’re sharing fun ideas to do with your family to get #BackToTheTable. This week, we’re sharing our ideas for a High/Low Dinner–going all-out in one area and taking a shortcut in another. Think gourmet meals served on disposable plates or cereal in your grandmother’s fine china! The point is to get creative, have fun, and get #BackToTheTable.
What’s the Back to the Table Challenge?
To encourage The Busy Bee community to get creative with their family meals this month, we’ve created our #BackToTheTable Challenge! The winner will receive a $50 APIARY gift card. Entering the contest is easy: simply tag The Busy Bee on a social media post of you participating in the challenge and use the hashtag #BackToTheTable. Each challenge entry is a bonus entry. Shannon and Jenna will randomly select a winner on Instagram Stories on October 1st. To be sure your entry counts, have a public profile and/or send us a DM with a photo of your entry (if private).
Jenna’s Fancy Meal and Disposable Plates
We had such a good time with this! I had our High/Low dinner on the calendar a few days ahead of time which had the whole family looking forward to this dinner. Nick and I worked together to create an elevated meal, something a little more special than usual, and I was really excited to use our Dried Areca Palm Leaf Plates to make cleanup a breeze.
The kids and I spent some time setting the table while Nick grilled the steaks. We used disposable plates, but also kept it special by adding candles to the table. I think it turned out really nice! It was fun to talk about the “fancy” meal we were about to enjoy as we worked together.
In addition to the grilled steaks, I used our air fryer to make homemade fries for all of us and a bit of salmon for myself since I don’t eat very much red meat. We love using our air fryer as much as we can. The air fryer has become a staple of our weeknight meals! It’s a quick, easy way to make healthy food for our whole family.
Make it Easy on Yourself
This High/Low dinner challenge was a great way to add an extra twist to our regular routine. I loved the conversations we had as a family and the special connections we made with one another. It seems like a small thing, but I think knowing there weren’t piles of dishes waiting for me at the end of dinner helped me to be present and enjoy the meal more than usual. I love the idea of embracing shortcuts where you can to make your gatherings more meaningful. A lot of the time I think we equate “special” with high-effort and this dinner made me realize that our low-effort place settings probably made this one of our more special family meals!
Looking for some conversation starters for your own dinner? Download our free PDF of ideas!
Jenna’s Simple Meal on Fine China
For this version of the High/Low challenge, we borrowed Mimi’s fine china. Mimi was excited because the china had only been used TWICE. Mimi’s excitement was only matched by the kids’ who kept saying “We’re going to eat dinner on fine china tonight!” I was honestly surprised by how excited the kids were to eat on fancy plates–who knew?
The goal of this menu was to create a simple, easy-to-make meal that we would all enjoy. We decided on homemade wings and fries and loved the juxtaposition of that with Mimi’s fine china! Our sports-loving family loves wings and Wing Stop is our go-to place if we’re ordering takeout. Takeout would be another great option for this version of High/Low.
Since we decided to go the homemade route, I found some fun ways to dress everything up. I placed ranch dressing in a gravy bowl and we poured water and lemonade into wine glasses. It was fun to get creative with our serving pieces and the kids had a blast!
Even if you don’t have fine china of your own, I encourage you to ask to borrow some from a relative for this challenge (or even a friend or neighbor). Mimi was honestly thrilled to have her special dinnerware be put to use! I also love the idea of inviting and including anyone you borrow from; it’s kind gesture and gets even more people #BackToTheTable.