Q&A With Sara Evans

Get Back to the Table sat down with the country music superstar to learn about her new family of nine.

Get Back to the Table (GBT): Congratulations on your recent marriage to sports talk radio host and former Alabama quarterback, Jay Barker. How’s it feel to be a family of nine?

Sara Evans (SE): The more the merrier. Together Jay and I have one nine year-old, two eight year-olds, two six year-olds, one five-year-old and one three-year-old - we’re the Barker Bunch. I’m actually one of seven myself, so I’m glad my kids get the experience of having so many brothers and sisters.

GBT: What’s your favorite part about being a mom?

SE: Everything. I love being a mom. I love spending time with the kids doing anything, whether it’s just hanging out on the tour bus or making dinner together in the kitchen. One of my favorite parts of the day is waiting for the kids to get home from school and tell me how their day was.

GBT: How often do you have dinner with your own family?

SE: It’s really important for me to get everyone together as many times a week as possible. It’s a great experience because the kids are really involved in helping out from start to finish - they even enjoy cleaning up together. We always go around the table and ask everyone what their favorite part of their day was and what they are looking forward to doing tomorrow.

GBT: What’s your favorite meal to make with your kids?

SE: For me, the most important part of cooking is that we’re all together in the kitchen, enjoying some family time. We love Southern food like fried chicken, but I must admit one of my favorite meals to make is macaroni and cheese - it’s a classic and a favorite. Recently I put a twist on it and made what I call a Libby’s version of Mac ‘N Cheese. I just add some canned peas and corn - the kids loved it and so did I because I was able to get some extra veggies into their day.

GBT: You’re a pretty busy mom - what’s your secret to getting family dinner out on the table?

SE: It’s simple - a very stocked pantry. Every time I come home from a tour, I start with the best intentions to plan out my meals, but then my schedule somehow gets in the way, like every busy mom’s. I wish I was a planner, but I learned that filling up the pantry with staples works best for my family. I always keep it filled with everything from canned vegetables to pasta to baking supplies. When it’s time to make dinner, I can pull from the pantry for our favorite meals, and we make it together. Quick, easy and nutritious!

GBT: Do you use Libby’s canned vegetables in your family meals?

SE: Of course! My mom cooked with Libby’s, and so do I. My kids love hot dogs and chicken fingers, so I’ll always add some Libby’s canned corn or peas to make it more nutritious. There’s some great tips for making quick, yummy meals for the family at GetBacktotheTable.com. That’s where I got the idea to add canned veggies to my Mac ‘n Cheese.

GBT: How does your busy schedule affect family dinners?

SE: I’m fortunate because the entire family often joins me on tour, so we try to have family dinner every night. At 5 pm we all drop what we’re doing and head to catering. Not only does my immediate family join me, but I am lucky to have my sisters and brothers who are part of my band and crew join us... so it's as if we are back on our parent’s farm in Missouri having dinner. It’s a really special time.

GBT: What were family dinners like growing up?

SE: Really fun, although my mom would probably say hectic. With six siblings, it was always a busy time of day, but we all pitched in – we helped my mom cook, set the table and then clean. It’s still like that whenever I go home, except now we have a lot of little helpers. My family dinners growing up are what inspire me to make it a point to have dinner with my family at least three times a week. I was blessed to have a mother who made suppertime a priority, and I want my kids to have the same experience.

GBT: Do you use any of your mom’s recipes with your family?

SE: Chicken pot pie - that was always my favorite - although no matter how many times I follow her recipe, nobody makes it as good as mom. I even use Libby’s canned vegetables like she did, but I guess it’s just her special touch. But all of my mom’s recipes are great, and I try to use a lot of them because they remind me of my childhood.