Robert Irvine Cookbook 2 Photoshoot

(Photo courtesy of “Family Table by Robert Irvine.”)

For busy families, finding time to eat together isn’t always easy, but coming together around the dinner table regularly isn’t just about keeping hungry bellies full. Family meals nourish the spirit, brain and overall health.

Children who grow up sharing family meals are also more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness and respect. Research has also shown that with each additional family meal shared during the week, adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression and suicide; less likely to use or abuse drugs or run away; and less likely to engage in risky behavior or delinquent acts.

In addition, adults and children who eat at home more regularly are less likely to suffer from obesity, and increased family meals are associated with greater intake of fruits and vegetables.

You can find inspiration to make one extra family meal happen each week with recipes like these Meatballs from the family-focused cookbook “Family Table by Robert Irvine.”

Look for more tips and meal planning resources at your favorite grocery store.


Serves: 6

Recipe courtesy of “Family Table by Robert Irvine” on behalf of the Food Marketing Institute Foundation

1 Spanish white onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups diced bread (such as baguette)


2 large eggs

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 pound ground pork

1 pound ground veal

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

3 cups basic tomato sauce

In small saucepan over medium heat, sweat onion and garlic.

In large bowl, soak bread in water 1 to 2 minutes. Strain excess liquid.

In separate large bowl, add eggs, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and onion-garlic mixture. Combine then add ground meat, soaked bread, extra-virgin olive oil, parsley and oregano. Mix thoroughly.

Divide mixture evenly to form 10 to 12 meatballs and use hands to roll into shape.

In large saute pan over high heat, brown meatballs in grapeseed oil on all sides.

Place browned meatballs in separate saucepot with basic tomato sauce. Bring to simmer and finish cooking, about 1 hour.

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