It has been interesting these last six months hearing from people about how weekly menu planning does or doesn’t work, learning about other families’ food challenges, and receiving feedback on recipes. The answer to the most frequent question (“do you children really eat all those things?”) is still NO, and the rule in our family is still the same: try three bites, and if you really don’t like it then you may have a peanut butter sandwich.
The most comforting part of discussing family eating is learning that we’re not the only family struggling to corral everyone around the dinner table nightly, especially come summertime. The main point of having family dinner is having enjoyable time together; in the summer, our family would prefer to enjoy family time together outside while the sky is bright instead of sitting down to dinner.
For the next six weeks, until school resumes, we’re going to have the same scheduling challenge that we’ve faced for the past four. So in a departure from weekly dinner planning, I’m switching to the safety default: prepare a few simple but delicious foods each week and have them ready in the refrigerator when people get hungry. Instead of daily dinners with recipe links, the food plan for this week has five simple recipes. Make them over the weekend, and enjoy them during the week.
With the bounty of the early summer harvest, I’m going to prepare a classic basil, tomato, mozzarella salad, some blueberry and peach fruit medley, corn salad and broccoli slaw. I’ll poach some chicken breasts, too, and get a few loaves of fresh bread throughout the week. With all of these things ready to go, we can plate a dinner (or lunch) on the fly.
- Sliced poached chicken breast with tomato, basil, mozzarella on toasted sourdough bread
- Broccoli slaw in pita bread (or in a spinach wrap), with or without sliced chicken
- Fruit, smoked salmon and crackers for a light early dinner, followed by ice cream for dessert
NOTE: Wondering why that luscious yellow squash isn’t on the recipe list? That would be because one of the dogs ate all the squash and earned a trip to the vet. Life’s never dull at our house!
All produce featured in the photos came from the Cooper Young Farmers’ Market.