Cookbook Review and Recipe: The Whole Family Cookbook

mommeal time

Michelle Stern is the author of the recently released cookbook, The Whole Family Cookbook. Michelle is also a good friend of mine.

Since meeting Michelle, I have always been impressed with her passion and dedication to school lunch reform as well as her encouragement for families to get into the kitchen and cook, together. When it was announced that Michelle would be creating a cookbook, I knew that it was something I wanted to get my hands on.

The reason I started my own blog many years ago was to, in some small way, challenge and encourage parents to cook with their kids. From cracking the eggs, to stirring the brownie batter, kids are capable and so eager to help out with meals. Asking your kids to join you in the kitchen is teaching them life-long skills that are so essential to their growth as well-rounded adults.

Michelle's cookbook is a resource for families who have those same beliefs... that kids should be involved in all facets of meal preparation from food selection to actually creating the recipe. The Whole Family Cookbook is packed full of recipes that are kid-friendly to eat and also easy for kids to help a grownup make.

From delicious breakfast recipes (Sweet and Salty Glazed Bacon, Breakfast Anytime Pizza) to "Mom Approved Treats" (Frozen Choco Bananas, Sweet and Crunchy Strawberry Cups),  The Whole Family Cookbook is a cookbook the whole family will benefit from and enjoy.

Recipe: Wish for a Fish Pasta

Serving Size: 6


  • 1 lb. pasta, penne or fusilli
  • 3 (6-ounces each) cans albacore tuna packed in oil, undrained, pole-caught
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh herbs, parsley or chives, chopped
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • parmesan cheese, (optional, to taste)


  1. Put a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil.
  2. Cook the package of pasta according to the directions.
  3. In the meantime, wash the lemon then zest the lemon with a lemon zester or with a microplane. (If you are using a zester, you may want to chop the zest or cut it in smaller pieces with scissors.)
  4. Once the lemon is zested, cut it in half and squeeze the juice into a large serving bowl.
  5. Open the cans of tuna and drain the oil from two of the cans of tuna. Empty the contents from all 3 cans into the serving bowl.
  6. Use a fork to break up the tuna into small flakes.
  7. Rinse the herbs and pat them dry with a clean dish cloth.
  8. If you are using parsley, pick the leaves from the stem.
  9. Snip the herbs into small pieces with clean scissors.  Older children or adults can use a knife, of course.
  10. Add the herbs to the serving bowl with the tuna.
  11. When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it in a colander in the sink.
  12. Pour the hot pasta into the serving bowl.
  13. Mix the pasta with the tuna and lemon mixture so that the noodles are evenly coated.  The heat from the noodles will cause some of the flavors in the herbs to infuse into the pasta.
  14. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  15. Add parmesan cheese, to taste (if desired).

Do you invite your kids to help you prepare meals? What is your favorite dish to prepare together? Why do you think it's important to have your kids help in the kitchen?

Photos courtesy of Michelle Stern

Kristen Doyle is a mom of 4 young children and the face behind the food blog, Dine & Dish. Kristen’s mission is to help others make family mealtime a priority, where families gather around the table each night to engage in great food and conversation. Sharing recipes that are quick and simple to get on the table, Kristen’s goal is to provide a resource for others looking to simplify their lives in order to reconnect with their family, one meal at a time. Besides her food blog, you can connect with Kristen on Twitter, Facebook or follow along with her Project 365 on her Photo Journey Blog.

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