(BPT) – Just how important is mealtime with your family? A recent study conducted by Wakefield Research found that the overwhelming majority of families in the U.S. feel more connected to loved ones after sharing a meal together.
However, for families who serve our country in the U.S. military, the opportunity to connect over a meal and reap its positive benefits for well-being presents a unique challenge. Unfortunately, nearly 3 in 4 active-duty military parents (73%) often or always go two or more weeks without being able to enjoy a family meal.
To support military families, Bob Evans Farms, best known for its farm-fresh refrigerated mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, sausage and liquid eggs, is partnering with the United Service Organizations (USO) to give back to those who serve through its Our Farm Salutes® program. As part of this effort, celebrity chef and U.S. Army veteran Andre Rush is creating simple yet elevated comfort food recipes that the whole family will love.
“I’ve dedicated my life to giving back and supporting the mental health and wellness of our military heroes,” Rush said. “Food has helped me and saved my life. It brings us together and connects us to family and friends like nothing else.”
Chef-crafted recipes bring families together
Here are two dishes perfect for the entire family.
1 container Bob Evans® Family Size Macaroni & Cheese
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups bread crumbs
2 cups vegetable oil
NOTE: You can substitute 2/3 cup Bob Evans® Liquid Egg Whites for the large eggs.
2 large avocados, pitted and peeled
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 fresh limes, squeezed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1/2 cup spinach, chopped
1. For macaroni croquettes, start by using your hands or an ice cream scoop to scoop out macaroni and roll into 1- to 2-inch balls. NOTE: You can scoop macaroni balls and put them on a tray in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to become firmer.
2. Next, beat eggs in a bowl.
3. Add flour, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs in another bowl.
4. Roll macaroni balls in flour, then in the egg mixture, and finally in breadcrumbs.
5. Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry the balls until golden brown. Drain excess oil and serve with avocado sauce. NOTE: You can use an air fryer instead of oil for a healthier option. Serves 4-6.
6. To make avocado sauce, place avocado, sour cream or yogurt, red onion and lime juice in a blender. Pulsate until completely smooth, then add salt and pepper along with flax seeds and chopped spinach.
7. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. NOTE: Sauce will last up to three days.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1 pound Bob Evans® Original Sausage Roll
1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup spinach, chopped
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
7 large eggs or one 16-ounce carton Bob Evans® Liquid Egg Whites
1/4 cup milk/heavy cream or half and half
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium and add peppers and onion. Cook a few minutes until transparent, then add sausage and cook thoroughly until no pink remains. Next, add tomatoes and cook 1-2 more minutes. Stir in chopped spinach and set aside.
3. Line a muffin pan with 12 individual parchment muffin liners. NOTE: If you don’t have muffin liners, spray cups with olive oil and put mixture directly in the muffin cups.
4. Arrange the ground sausage mixture in the muffin cups. Add cheese on top.
5. In a bowl, mix together eggs, milk, salt and pepper, then pour the egg mixture into the muffin cups over the sausage and cheese, making sure not to fill to the top, as it may overflow.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until eggs are firm. Serves 12.
Select packages of Bob Evans® dinner sides and breakfast products and Owens® Sausage products will proudly turn purple to symbolize all branches of the military in an effort to raise awareness of the need for services supporting the mental well-being of our military heroes. Learn more at BobEvansGrocery.com/Our-Farm-Salutes.