SOURCE: Nestle

August 29, 2011 05:00 ET

Budget-Friendly Family Fun

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Aug 29, 2011) - (Family Features) These days, enjoying one another's company on a budget is even more important for families. So take a break from the ordinary and settle into the comforts of the best playground around -- the home.

Remember that family time should be silly, lighthearted, and above all, about creating special bonding moments with the kids. Following are a few entertaining at-home activities the entire family can enjoy without dipping into savings.

  • Explore the great indoors. Everyone loves a good scavenger hunt. Divide the family into teams and race to see who can find the most items on the list first. Don't forget to have prizes for the winners. Better-for-you treats, such as Dark Chocolate Nestlé Raisinets, which provide real fruit antioxidants and 30 percent less fat than the leading chocolate brands, make for the perfect scavenger hunt prize or for snacking on-the-go.

  • Switch it up with backwards day. Shake up the evening routine by doing everything backwards. Put on your comfy pajamas right after school and even flip them backwards or inside out. Get together for a board game with a twist and move the pieces from finish to start. Make your end of day meal more festive by serving breakfast for dinner or eating dessert as the first course. The kids will certainly get a kick out of bending the rules.

  • Create a backyard obstacle course. Collect some old produce boxes from your local grocery store; they're usually available free of charge. Then, stagger the boxes on your lawn for the kids to run through in different patterns. Set up a backyard bowling game with recycled empty bottles just before the finish line. You can add other obstacles such as a limbo stick, hopscotch with ropes or anything else you like from materials around the house - the sky is the limit.

  • Make dinner a family affair. Research consistently shows that families who regularly eat together are closer and happier than those who don't. Try a one-pot dish such as this White Chicken Chili made with fiber-rich beans, tender chicken and creamy Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk for a hearty dinner ready in 30 minutes or less.

For more budget-friendly family recipes and activities, visit

White Chicken Chili
Makes 8 servings - about 1 cup each
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 - 1 ½ cups mild salsa verde
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained
1 cup water
½ cup loose-pack frozen corn
1 can (12 fluid ounces) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Low-fat 2% Milk
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
Baked tortilla chips and light sour cream for serving (optional)

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook on each side until golden. Transfer to plate; cover.

Add onion to same saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in cumin and coriander; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in salsa verde, cannellini beans, pinto beans, water and corn. Cook for 10 minutes or until hot.

Cut or shred chicken into bite-size pieces and add to saucepan along with any accumulated juices on plate. Stir in evaporated milk and spinach; cook for a few minutes just until heated through and spinach is slightly wilted. Serve topped with crumbled tortilla chips and dollop of sour cream.

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