There are so many traditional cookout foods – and so many of them are light on vegetables. I love a good potato salad but I also love my greens so I’m always excited when they find their way into an outdoor party menu. Thus, it seemed appropriate to wrap up #BBQWeek with a hearty salad that’s still perfect for an outdoor gathering.
This salad is full of the bounty of summer and make-ahead friendly which is perfect for entertaining. Simply dressed greens, tomatoes, and grilled onions are topped with grilled steak, avocado, basil, and almonds in this drool-worthy dish. It will serve four as a meal in itself – or more as part of a larger spread.
For Christmas, my cousin gave Jake his own set of cooking tools – a mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, a whisk, an apron… the works. He’s absolutely enthralled with it. We rearranged a cabinet so all of his stuff could be kept where he could reach it and – you guessed it – he’s been begging to help with dinner nearly every night since.
I love cooking with the kids. I really do. But on a Thursday evening when I’m just trying to get something on the table before everyone start melting down, the last thing I want to do is slow down enough for toddler hands – so I’ve been working on giving him his own, supplemental project to help with.
Like guacamole as I work on the burritos.
This, by far, isn’t the fanciest guac recipe out there, but it’s perfect for a kid to help with (or do mostly themselves – Jake did!)
Scoop out and mash the avocado
Stir everything together
Older kids can measure the lime juice and salt, younger kids can add in pre-measured ingredients
Adults will need to:
Cut the avocado and remove the pit
Chop the tomato
Measure ingredients, if working with a younger child
Easy Guacamole (from Jake’s Amazing Chef set!) Makes about 1 1/2 cups
2-3 ripe avocados
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
Tortilla chips, for serving
Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash.
So far, Jake is not a picky eater. I know we’re just getting into toddler-battle territory so it may change but for now we’re still happily surprised every time he tries and loves a new food. One of our recent finds is pomegranate. I bought one to make this salad and tossed him a few arils while I was prepping things. He devoured them and screamed for me.
At this point, the kid would probably eat his weight in pomegranates if we let him. I’ve bought more pomegranates in the last few weeks than I have in all my previous years of grocery shopping combined.
While the pomegranate was the standout for Jacob, he did eat some of the bacon, goat cheese and avocado too. The adults happily ate everything, of course! This salad is going to make a repeat appearance at our Thanksgiving table this year.
Seven months into motherhood and I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that I can’t do everything. It been a lesson in “OR” lately.
You can spend time making dinner OR go visit the adorable new twins across the street OR get another load of laundry done.
You can make that nice stew that simmers all day OR go to the baby play date OR run errands at the mall.
It seems that more and more, I’m pushing dinner to the back burner so I’ve been trying to plan easier, more hands-off meals. This slow cooker meal was a huge win – healthy, flavorful and quickly prepped before my busy day got out of hand. It was so nice to plop on the couch for baby cuddles instead of starting dinner after running around!
1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup pineapple juice
2 lbs. pork sirloin roast
6 cups of cooked rice
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
Pineapple, sliced into rings
In the slow cooker, whisk together the first 11 ingredients (tomato sauce to pineapple juice). Add the pork and turn to coat. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove pork, shred and return to slow cooker, stirring to combine with the juices.
When the pork is just about done, heat a grill pan. Grill peppers and pineapple until peppers have char marks and the pineapple is starting to caramelize.
Serve pork in bowls with rice, peppers, pineapple and avocado.