The time has come once again for pools to close, for leaves to turn and for the weather to change. While we still have a few weeks of summer left (at least here in Chicago), there’s a definite shift in the air – in our attitudes and habits. We attribute this, of course, to the inevitable end-of-summer tradition: back to school night.
Weekday Kitchen Warriors
Not everyone has children, or children of school age, but most of us are affected in some way by the mass return of students to school. Be it extra traffic during your morning and evening commutes, or the empty shelves of convenience food at your local super market, everyone is touched by the end of the summer holiday.
Changes to your evening schedule are always hard, and when you have more responsibilities, you’re naturally left with less time in the kitchen. Too often healthy, nutritious meals are thrown out the window when school starts, simply for lack of time. But they don’t have to be! To make your kitchen transition a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite easy meals that are weekday are a snap to make and kid friendly.
We find having a meal theme not only helps kids get more involved (if that’s what you’re going for) but makes planning much easier. Below are three of our favorite meal themes and recipes to go with them. Check ‘em out!
Breakfast for Dinner
There isn’t much not to love about our Cinnamon Apple Kefir Oatmeal. You can make a big batch of it to eat all week, and you can customize it with whatever fruit and nuts you have. If sweet dinners aren’t your thing, make your oatmeal savory by swapping the apple and honey with mushrooms, spinach and cheese – anything you’d like.
Kefir Apple Pancakes are another one of our favorite customizable meals. Pancakes can be made in all shapes and sizes (which kids love) and when paired with roasted vegetables and eggs make a complete meal.
If you’re running really low on food (or time), fancy toast is always a great option! Our Avocado Tomato Farmer Cheese Toast can easily be converted to kid-friendly fare by using sliced apples, peanut butter or lean meat. Make a Toast Bar for a hands-on family event.
We’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like tacos, nor have we met someone who doesn’t like our Kefir Fish Tacos! If you’re kids aren’t into eating fish just yet, you can choose any grilled meat or protein you know they’ll eat. Be sure to top your tacos with our Ancho Chili Avocado Kefir Dip, diced tomatoes and roasted peppers.
If you’ve got a crowd that’s hungry (and is on the verge of becoming Hangry), nothing is easier than putting water on the stove and boiling a vat of whole-gain pasta. It’s easy to overdo it with pasta, so practice portion control by adding lean protein and crisp vegetables to the mix before serving. We love our Spring Vegetable Pasta with Kefir and our Penne with Vegetable and Tomato Kefir Sauce. Choose any vegetable you have on hand (or any your kids will eat) and serve with a big tossed salad.