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Creamy seafood cheddar melts

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Here's what family dinners look like in my house: One end of the dinner table is scattered with homework, empty grocery bags, random toys and various plugged-in electronic devices; the kids aren't so much sitting as they are kneeling on chairs and jabbing forks noisily into the large wooden table; and our napkins are really just pieces of paper towel ripped off the roll and passed around. Yeah. It's not pretty and it's not perfect, but it's real and it's our life. I know so many of you can relate. The important thing is we're sitting down (or kneeling down, anyway) to a meal together during our busy lives.

National Family Dinner Night is coming up on Thursday, September 19th, 2013. For the 9th annual event, M&M Meat Shops is encouraging Canadians to take time out to honour the tradition of the family dinner. Plus, this year Canadian home cooks are challenged to share their own recipes featuring M&M Meat Shops products for a chance to win 1 of 3 prizes of a $100 M&M gift card! You can submit your recipe between September 13 and October 11 on the M&M Facebook page

I already came up with my recipe idea! I used frozen cooked shrimp and haddock fillets in a creamy bacon sauce on sliced ciabatta buns and topped with melted cheddar cheese. Served with a side salad, this is just the kind of simple family meal I love.

Here's my recipe:
makes 4 open-face melts

4 strips of bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup / 80 ml finely diced onion
1/3 cup / 80 ml cup finely diced red pepper
2 tbsp / 30 ml all-purpose flour
¼ tsp / 1.25 ml black pepper
½ cup / 125 ml heavy cream
½ cup / 125 ml water
300 g / 10.5 oz M&M haddock fillets (still frozen)
250 g / 9 oz M&M medium cooked shrimp (still frozen)
1/4 cup / 60 ml chopped fresh parsley
2 ciabatta buns, sliced in half
½ cup / 125 ml grated sharp cheddar

Add the bacon, onion and red pepper to a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the bacon is lightly crisp. Stir in the flour and black pepper. Add the cream and water. Nestle the haddock fillets into the sauce and bring it up to a bubble, still over medium-high heat. Cook 5-7 minutes until the fish is fully cooked, using a wooden spoon to gently flake apart the fish as it cooks. Add the shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes more just until the shrimp is no longer frozen. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley. Place Ciabatta halves on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Spoon the seafood mixture equally onto the buns and sprinkle equally with the cheddar. Broil on high for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is bubbling.

How important are family dinners to you?