Green garlic, asparagus, early (hothouse) tomatoes, evening sunlight, outdoor concerts…happy almost summer!
I am smiling… can you tell? Because we’re entering my favorite time of year. Temperatures have been rising here in the Northeast and the whole city of Boston seems lighter, brighter and more vibrant.
Last week we had several decent days in-between bouts of spring rain and the farmer’s market near my office has helped me support local farms, reduce grocery store runs and mix fresh spring flavors to the dinner system.
I knew we’d be out and about a lot over the weekend…school event for my son and free outdoor concerts in our town, so I prepped a BBQ whole chicken for the slow cooker. Yes… yes, you can make a whole chicken in the slow cooker and it turns out wonderfully, differently. Although it does not match the oven roasted chicken’s crisp skin, it takes on a very moist flavorful texture and of course, can be ready when you get home. What’s better than that?
- Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken over onions. (Feeds your family 2 – 3 X)
I discovered this recipe on Food.com’s website and it’s a huge help when you want to cook a whole chicken but need everything ready when you walk through the door. This takes my slow cooker (note you need a large, i.e. 6 quart size) 4 hours so it’s not a good weekday recipe (unless you happen to be working from home). On the weekends it’s lovely. I use my own Dry Rub, but the Food.com recipe has a solid dry rub and the great reviews attracted me to try this (I’ve now made this dozens of times).
- Tomato, cucumber, corn & pea tendril salad. Note the BEAUTIFUL farmer’s market yellow tomato!
- Wheat bread with hummus for the kids. I’ve steadily increased vegetables and proteins while reducing the amount of grains my husband and I eat, even though I mostly cook with healthy grains. When the meal looks light overall and I’d rather not cook a full serving of rice or barley, I’ll bulk it up with wheat bread or a wheat tortilla and hummus for the kids.
Slow cooking continued because like Saturday, Sunday was action packed — errands and due to the gorgeous weather, tons of park & playground time which is my priority when the weather is nice. Well… even when it’s not really… we can be found on the playgrounds in the snow and drizzle, but the sunshine version is so much nicer.
- Slow Cooker Asian Style Short Ribs. (2X, feeds my family twice)
This is an America’sTest Kitcen recipe and rock solid as is. Last week I didn’t want to defrost chicken stock for just 1/4 cup so I omitted it. It still turned out delicious and despite the use of chili sauce and hoisin, even my youngest (2.5 year old) loved it. I hadn’t made this in quite a while (as I also tend to limit red meat) and it’s a wonderful yet super-easy weekend item. This same marinade would also likely work well with pork although I haven’t tried it yet.
- Egg Noodles with Olive Oil — I used pappardelle. Cook according to the package instructions and reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to add to the finished noodles, generously add extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup if you’re making a full package) and for the kids, I included shredded cheese on the side.
- Asparagus & tomato salad with green garlic – Hah! No my children don’t eat green garlic so much, I just sprinkled it onto the top after serving the kids and neither of them are big asparagus fans. As with all dishes, I vary according to preferences and also added carrots to boost their veggie intake.
Monday’s are always a bit wild, readjusting to the work and school schedules — hence I made a very fast 15 minutes to the table kind of dinner with burritos and a simple, pea/spinach salad.
- Burritos using left-over short ribs from Sunday night. (1 X – feeds my family once)
- For the kids, Quesadillas (with hummus and cheese) and leftover short ribs on the side.
- Leslie’s Peas & Baby Spinach
Note, the peas are separated and on the side for the kids. My daughter likes spinach my son, not so much so I don’t bother to force him to eat it regularly (I usually rotate the disliked foods into the mix for him once every 3 or 4 weeks).
Was my husband’s birthday and we visited our favorite neighborhood restaurant to celebrate. The kids were thrilled! Restaurant outings mean a change of scene, indulging in fresh pasta (which is mostly a weekend lunch treat at home) and lots of fresh bread covered with ricotta cheese. If I were at home, I would have made the Brazilian Chicken and Rice that ended up being part of Thursday’s menu.
- Brazilian Chicken and Rice
- Avocado and Tomato Salad (slice avocados and tomatoes, sprinkle a little kosher salt on top for the adults. Delicious!)
- + Carrots (for the kids). You may have noticed that I like to have 2 vegetables or more for the kids each meal and my oldest is not a fan of tomatoes.
- Brazilian chicken & rice take 2!
Have you tried anything from this menu? Leave me a comment and let me know how it turned out. Also, if you have questions, just let me know in the comments and I’ll respond.
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