So, let’s talk about school. Are you going back? Distance learning? Homeschooling? Something else? It is, for sure, an emotional minefield for so many people. If you’re still figuring things out, I’m sending you big, virtual hugs.
One thing I’ve been hearing a lot is about lunch – some schools are requiring packed lunches, some are sending the kids home early so there will be no lunch served. Lunch so often feels like an overlooked meal – but I believe it’s one we’re all going to be thinking about this year.
I’m a huge fan of make-ahead lunches. Something I can whip together in a big batch and serve all week – and this pizza-inspired pasta salad is just that.
We put in a big garden this spring. It’s something we’ve had plans for but with quarantine, we finally made the jump and did it. We knew it would be a learning year – and it is. I’m having more fails than successes.
One huge success? Our tomatoes.
This simple salad is one of my favorite ways to use up our tomatoes. If you’re going to make this, I highly suggest using tomatoes from a farm or your garden – they’re just so good right now!
Today marks three weeks of social distancing for us. We are trying to stay home as much as possible in this weird, temporary normal, which means my 2-3 grocery trips per week have been severely cut back – we made it 18 days before our first grocery run and we’re hoping to make it another 2-3 weeks before going back.
If you’re trying to space grocery trips, this is an ideal meal for week two. The vegetables used here hold up pretty well to a week in the fridge – and even if they start getting a little soft, you’ll never be able to tell after roasting them!
This post is sponsored in conjunction with#NationalSlowCookerMonth. I received complimentary product from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #NationalSlowCookerMonth recipes. All opinions are mine alone.
I’ve been making a lot of soup lately. A lot. And to me, there’s no better accompaniment to a bowl of soup then a warm roll. But warm, fresh rolls made in the slow cooker? Total game changer.
Yes, these awesome, cheesy dinner rolls are made in the slow cooker! It is #NationalSlowCookerMonth after all!
We have a few more weeks of summer here, so I haven’t quite wrapped my head around back-to-school. We’re entering a brave new world this year – Kindergarten! – and I’m not ready to give up our relaxed summer schedule.
I know a lot of our friends are starting to head back, though, and I’ve gotten quite a few requests for easy back-to-school dinners. This dinner is perfect – easy, but still full of the fresh flavors of the season.
This dump-and-bake pasta couldn’t be easier – you don’t even have to pre-cook the pasta! We used leftover grilled chicken, but you could use a rotisserie chicken too. This is also easily made vegetarian by skipping the chicken and using vegetable broth instead.
A few minutes to chop and assemble and then your hands are free to help with homework or spend some quality time with the little ones who have been at school all day!
I am in total denial that it’s Labor Day weekend. Where did my summer go?!
The bucket lists we created at the beginning of the summer still have a lot that needs to be checked off, so we’re spending the long weekend concentrating on family time and checking off a few last items. Oh, and there will be plenty of grilling.
If you’re looking for something fun-but-easy to make this weekend, these burgers are a great candidate – especially if you have a whole bunch of basil to use up. The addition of the basil makes these fresh and perfect for the end of summer.
Basil Burgers with Sundried Tomato Mayonnaise (adapted from Taste of Home) Serves 6
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (the dried kind – not packed in oil)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
Fresh mozzarella, for serving
Hamburger buns, for serving
Add the dried tomatoes to the water and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Drain and add the tomatoes to a food processor, along with the mayonnaise. Process until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the Worcestershire, basil, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper. Break up the ground beef over the spices, and mix until well combined. Divide into 6 equal balls, and form into patties.
Grill over medium-high heat for approximately five minutes per side. Add mozzarella during the last minute and allow to melt.
In the food blogger world, we’re often working ahead. Like, I’m currently working on Christmas cookies, as absurd as that sounds on this 80 degree summer day. Sometimes I feel like I’m living three steps ahead, not in the moment, so I was super excited that more than 80% of you were still up for summer recipes when I asked on Facebook this week.
I feel like I’ve missed most of it, honestly. The move chewed up so much of my time that I feel like I’m frantically playing catch up now before school starts. Grilling is something I’m catching up on – we finally got our grill ready to go this week. This was the first thing I made.
This “recipe” is really flexible – it’s more of a method. You can use any vegetables you have on hand. Want it to cook faster? Cut the pieces smaller. Want the veggies to caramelize a little more? Don’t stir as often. Sub the balsamic for fresh Parmesan. Add a nice, crusty loaf of bread and serve it as a meal. So many options!
It can also be served warm, cold, or at room temp which makes it so flexible for potlucks or entertaining.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables (adapted from Stop & Shop) Serves 6-8 as a side
I love pancakes. And my toddler has inherited that love. They used to be something I only made occasionally – on a lazy weekend morning or special occasion – but with Jake requesting them they’ve been in the rotation much more frequently. And, of course, my favorite recipe includes a heavy dose of sugar – and then I slather them in syrup.
Perfect candidate for a recipe makeover!
Instead of sugar, this version is packed with protein – eggs and Greek yogurt make these a great, filling option for the morning. Instead of being slathered with syrup, they’re topped with a compote of fresh strawberries and basil – and just a little honey.
The result is a fresh, filling breakfast that satisfies the pancake cravings in a much healthier fashion.
Strawberry Basil Pancakes (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens) Serves 4