Just a qualifier, are you trying to run everything off one receiver? I might recommend starting there if you must, but multichannel receivers are never going to do for you what even a modest dedicated two-channel system can. With that said, here are my two cents on 5.1 plus 2 plus 2.
I think for the money, in multichannel recievers you get more from Onkyo/Denon/Yamaha/Sony ES than Rotel or NAD. NAD has a different and slightly warmer house sound than any of these others that may appeal. I do suggest that you listen to the biggest Onkyo you could afford with decent cables hooked directly to a good pair of speakers and not through the showroom switching boxes, and I guarantee you will be pleasently surprised. Whatever you get, look for the feature of being able to shut off DACs, lights and other noise makers when you don't need them to provide the cleanest possible sound when using your receiver as a simple amplifier for music listening.
Some people like Emotiva electronics which provide separates at a very reasonable price point, although their new surround processor has had some reported firmware snags out of the gate. Their amps are certainly very reasonably priced for the level of reported performance. You could combine one/some of their big amps with one of the big Japanese AV receivers for more kick, or get a used McCormack, Odyssey, or other higher quality amp if you can find one.
As for speakers, I really like the Totem columns and the B&W CM series - good choices. For surround system, Paradigm Special Edition 5.1 system is hard to beat and their Monitor series speakers are also very good if you can live with the vinyl wrap. PSB Imagine series are very nice, and of course the Synchrony series are excellent, but also very expensive. One curve ball - have you listened to Vandersteen Model 1c or 2ce Signature II's. Not the prettiest speakers, but a completely different and some feel more engaging presentation than the typical wooden boxes.
In the $200 range, both PSB and Paradigm make excellent budget bookshelf speakers that could serve your Kitchen/Dining room application. PSB Alpha B1 and Paradigm Atom Monitors both have got it going on for very little money. The Monitor Audio Bronze BR1 is also very nice sounding, as is their Radius R90HD "lifestyle" speaker which is small and has huge WAF.
Good luck, I am in a similar situation and am thinking about setting up several systems for a new house.