I'm away at a conference for most of this week - Monday I'll be at home, but Tuesday-Friday the boys will have to fend for themselves. Not to generalize, but I know in this case it means KD, pizza and eggs on toast, so I've chosen some meals that can be prepared ahead of time and either frozen or refrigerated, then assembled at the last minute. Fortunately summer means not a lot of heavy meals - no big roasts or stews or long cooking times. I think they'll survive.
Summer is (almost) here! We're getting close to the summer solstice, which means long sunny evenings, and a struggle to get kids to bed when it doesn't seem like bedtime. It also means plenty of opportunity to dine al fresco, in the back yard, and be silly as we wind up the school year and summer vacation is in sight. I still enjoy spending time in the sunny kitchen, so this week I'll be using some of the first greens of the season.
Things are starting to grow! Fields of asparagus outside the city are ready for harvest, and spinach is popping up all on its own in the raised beds in our back yard. I'm diving right in, starting to use ingredients as they become available - at their brand-new, green and growing peak.
Everyone is getting run down, catching spring colds, tired of school and ready for summer holidays. This week is going to be simple, comforting, low-stress and easy to eat - nothing complex if at all possible. I'm hoping for some happy, relaxed mealtimes with minimal prep that will rejuvenate tired kids (and parents!) so that we can focus on resting and reconnecting, taking dinner to soccer or eating at the park. Nothing some bare feet in the grass won't cure.
I've had negligent Mom guilt this week - working and traveling too much - and so I'm trying to focus more attention on my 6 year old. That includes dinnertime, so I've come up with some recipes that I know will make him happy - pasta and burgers and French toast on a stick. Because sometimes it has to be all about him… and satisfying my inner 6 year old at the same time.
I have the travel itch. When spring shows up, everything thaws and blooms and the days get longer, I want to stay outside - and hop on a plane, train or automobile, if at all possible. The travel bug translates well to the kitchen, fortunately - if I can't make it to Asia or Greece myself, I can always use my imagination. Right? I'll go for a walk and visit some interesting ethnic groceries - much cheaper than a plane ticket.
May came speeding up all too quickly - my New Year's resolution to organize the house and Be Prepared has not stuck, but the arrival of spring does make me want to clear the cobwebs and clean out the pantry. In the back I found packages of rice noodles, tamarind paste, crunchy Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) about a dozen pasta shapes and altogether too many Mason jars. This week we're going to try to use up what we have - and have some fun in the process.
As I start to ponder the fact that shorts weather is imminent, I'm trying to eat healthier with summer in mind - and so this week will see a veggie-rich rice bowl, lean and spicy-sweet beef lettuce wraps and grilled cheese with braised kale.
This week our meals will be interesting yet simple; springtime is an inspiring season, yet tends to be extra-packed with extra-curricular activities. So while I like to be able to make dinner from scratch every night, sometimes I need to streamline things a little bit. None of this week's dinners taste rushed - a springy risotto with peas and asparagus is one of those dishes that looks and tastes like it took longer than it actually does; ditto the crispy Panko fish sticks that come together in about ten minutes.