brainfood family dinnerDinner is a great time to get together with your family and sit down together. Use this time to chat about your day and interests with each other. Dinner is time to bond . . .but it can also be time to nourish brains and bodies, not just hearts.

The recipes in this section will give you a better idea of how to prepare meals that will feed your family and prepare them for thinking and problem solving.

Salmon Spring Rolls

These rolls are packed with superfoods, but the salmon is what provides your brain with omega-3 fatty acids.

Makes 6 rolls

12 asparagus spears

4 oz. Smoked salmon

6 8” rice paper wrappers

½ avocado, sliced into 12 slices

½ cup carrot, shredded

½ cup mint, chopped

½ cup basil, chopped

Trim the asparagus spears to 6 inches long and steam until tender. Slice in half.

Cut the salmon into 6 six inch strips and set aside.

In a shallow pan with boiling water, soak the rice paper wrappers one at a time. Drain each wrapper and lay out on a board. Arrange the salmon and asparagus in the center of the wrapper and add two slices of avocado, plus some carrot and herbs. Fold the ends over and roll the wrapper tightly.

Repeat with each wrapper until you have six spring rolls. Cut in half to serve.

Tuna Pasta Bake

Gramma was onto something with that tuna and pasta casserole. The fish helps boost brain power, along with the dairy, while the pasta fills you up.

Serves 6

3 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk, divided

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

½ cup Pepper Jack cheese, grated

1 ½ cups cottage cheese

1 tin light tuna, drained and flaked

2 cups tomatoes, diced

¼ cup breadcrumbs or crumbled tortilla chips

Preheat your oven to 450º.

Cook the macaroni according to the directions. Drain and rinse the pasta.

In a bowl, mix flour with two tablespoons of milk and then heat the remaining milk in a pot. Add a little hot milk to the flour mixture and then whisk it all together, cooking and stirring until you have a smooth sauce. Add the cheese and season to taste.  Set aside.

In a food processor, blend the cottage cheese until smooth and mix with the cheese sauce. Toss the sauce with the tuna and the pasta in a medium casserole dish. Spread the mixture out and top with the tomatoes and breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes.

Beet and Potato Gnocchi

These pretty little pastas are packed with nutrients and brain food, thanks to the beets used.

Serves 4

1 lb. potatoes, baked and mashed

½ lb. beets, grated

2 tablespoons olive oil

¾ cups flour

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium low heat and cook the beets. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for 30 minutes or until very tender. Puree in the food processor.

Heat a large pot of salted water.

Use a food mill to rice the potatoes and mix with the beet puree. Again, season to taste .

Spread a little flour on a board and knead the mixture, gradually adding the remaining flour until the dough just forms. Drop a small piece into the boiling water to test. If it holds together you’re done. If not, add a little more flour.

Roll the dough into thin snakes, about half an inch thick and cut into half inch lengths. Roll each piece over a fork to give it grooves and then set aside. Boil the gnocchi until they start to float, then remove and serve with your favorite sauce.