Happy Sunday, friends! I hope that you're enjoying another relaxing summer weekend. We've had a relatively quiet past few days, but we still managed to enjoy the County Fair, some delicious desserts, and plenty of easy weeknight dinners. Let's catch up with a quick roundup of Our Week in Meals!
For those of you who are new to the blog, Our Week in Meals is where I share a little bit about what we’ve been up to over the past week — as it relates to our dinners each night. This series gives you a glimpse “behind the scenes” at some highlights from our life, shows you how I balance a busy schedule with feeding my family, and offers a few new ideas for your own weekly meal plan. Now let’s back up to last weekend…
I took a walk nice and early on Sunday morning before it got too hot, and then spent the rest of my morning in the kitchen testing new recipes for the blog.
We had a World Cup Final "viewing party" in our living room at lunchtime, so the boys enjoyed eating their meals picnic-style on the floor.
The rest of the afternoon was a productive combination of various house chores. We had planned on a trip to the pool, but summer thunderstorms (and very tired little boys) changed the agenda. Instead, I did laundry and cleaned out cabinets full of pots, pans, and dishes -- a task that I had been putting off for months.
Keith grilled steaks for supper that night,
so I prepared a batch of Shrimp and Avocado Pasta Salad to have on the side. With fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, chives, and corn, this is a perfect side dish or light entrée for the season.
Plus, it's a nice make-ahead option if you have a busy schedule. Try it!
Ice cream sundaes for dessert!
Monday was a fun one! I took the kids to the trampoline park in Charlottesville, which is a great way to wear them out when the weather's too hot to be outside for very long.
My boys are so ridiculously competitive, though.????
They spent 99% of the time engaged in an intense dodgeball match -- even little Spencer (I'm not sure that he actually knew the rules).????
The kids were starving by the time we were done, so we met my mom for lunch at Panera while we were in town.
Green Goddess Chicken Cobb Salad
Only Casey would order a giant bowl of hot chicken noodle soup on a 95-degree day!
After lunch, my mom took Spencer home with her for a sleepover, while the older boys and I returned to Madison.
Gibbs and Casey had lacrosse practice that evening and Keith was working late, so I kept our early dinner really easy by taking advantage of the leftovers in our fridge.
I finished off the Cheesy Turkey, Tomato and Zucchini Casserole from Saturday night, Gibbs and Casey had the Dump-and-Bake Chicken Pot Pie Pasta left after my recipe testing on Sunday, and Keith made himself a bowl of cereal when he eventually got home (real life, friends!).
I will share the Pot Pie Pasta recipe on the blog next month, so stay tuned for that!
Mary Kate watched the boys for a little while on Tuesday morning so that I could meet Mollie for a hot and humid walk.
When I returned home, we headed into Charlottesville to pick up Spencer from my parents'. But first: lunch at Qdoba!
This was the Adobo Chicken Burrito Bowl with guacamole, of course.
We also ran in to Costco next door. Have to take advantage of the trip into town!
Do you see Gibbs holding the Kleenex to his face? Poor kid had a nose bleed the entire time we were shopping. I think he was most annoyed that he couldn't eat the samples!
Thunderstorms rolled through that afternoon, which meant plenty of indoor playtime.
To his credit, he did clean up this "parking lot" when he was done...
I bought some fresh salmon at Costco that afternoon, so we made The Perfect 15-Minute Grilled Salmon for dinner. Served with salad and French bread -- super simple!
I actually dressed the salad with the leftover vinaigrette from Sunday evening's pasta salad (the recipe makes a relatively large batch and it keeps in the refrigerator for at least 1 week).
We stayed close to home on Wednesday, which meant that I spent a good deal of time in the kitchen.
The boys entertained themselves indoors (with games like Battleship, which usually end in a fight because nobody wants to lose) and outdoors, since the weather was finally less humid.
We went to the school playground to ride bikes that afternoon, where Gibbs cautiously made sure that he didn't run into anything:
Casey sped around at 100 mph doing as many daring stunts as he could without regard for his safety:
and Spencer just kind of tooled around in his own world and did his best to avoid getting mowed over by his older brothers.????
Our dinner turned out to be quite the feast (which is what happens when I have a few extra minutes at home, I suppose). I prepared most of this in advance, and then just reheated Keith's portion when he got home from work late that night.
We had a 4-Ingredient Cider Roasted Pork Loin,
which I served with biscuits and Fried Cabbage with Apples and Onions. My house seriously smelled like a cozy fall day!
I will share the pork and cabbage recipes on the blog in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can hustle off to enjoy our delicious summer dessert right away: a Blackberry Cobbler!
This is a very old recipe from the early days of my website, which was due for some updated photos. When I realized that (1) I had a couple of pints of blackberries in our fridge that still needed to be enjoyed; and (2) I had all of the cobbler ingredients sitting in my pantry; this was bound to happen. Fortunately, it only takes about 10 minutes to throw together.
I hope that you'll try it with your favorite summer berries soon!
Spence had been battling a little stomach bug all week, so our one goal on Thursday was to stay home and let him rest.
I met Mollie for a walk at the park in town that morning while Mary Kate stayed with the kids, and with low humidity and 66 degrees, it felt like a crisp autumn day (not like Virginia in July)!
For a variety of reasons, I knew that I needed to put some nourishing comfort food on the menu:
- I had just purchased two organic whole chickens at Costco;
- Spencer was sick;
- and Casey had been begging me to recreate the homemade chicken noodle soup that he loved at a delicatessen in New York City.
As a result, I loosely followed the recipe in this book for homemade chicken broth.
Love that cookbook, and the broth turned out perfectly! I just added some thin noodles to the strained broth and the boys were in Chicken Soup Heaven, polishing off multiple bowls each.
And speaking of comfort food, I used the other whole chicken from Costco to make a simple Oven Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Potatoes for supper.
The older boys had lacrosse practice that evening, so I roasted the chicken in the afternoon and served everyone a very early dinner at 5:00.
Simple is always best, and boy -- that chicken tasted so good! Here's what I did, in case you want to try it yourself:
Simple Oven Roasted Chicken
- 1 whole chicken (about 4 - 4.5 lbs.), rinsed and patted dry; giblets removed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 stalk celery, quartered
- 1 bunch fresh thyme (about 10 sprigs)
- 1 bunch fresh rosemary (about 10 sprigs)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled but not chopped
- 2 T butter, melted
- 6-8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
- 6 carrots, peeled and quartered
- 1 Vidalia onion, quartered
- 2 T olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Season chicken cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff chicken cavity with lemon chunks, celery, half of the thyme sprigs, half of the rosemary sprigs, and garlic cloves. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wings underneath the bird. Place chicken in a large roasting pan.
- Drizzle melted butter over the outside of the chicken. Season chicken liberally all over with salt and pepper.
- Place potatoes, carrots and onion in a large Ziploc bag. Add olive oil to the bag, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
- Place the vegetables in the roasting pan around the chicken. Tuck the remaining sprigs of thyme and rosemary in the pan with the vegetables.
- Roast the chicken and vegetables in the oven for about 1 ½ hours, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Scenes from a cool, beautiful Friday morning walk before the rest of the house was up for the day...
Spence was feeling back to himself again (must have been that homemade chicken noodle soup!), so he was happy to join me in the kitchen to prepare a batch of M&M cookies.
We just used the recipe on the back of the bag, which the kids have been requesting for months. You can find the recipe on the M&M website here.
I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the dough, which yielded 18 giant cookies. I baked them for 11 minutes, and the end result was perfectly soft and chewy treats! BIG HIT around here.
While our dough chilled in the refrigerator, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the pool. It was only in the mid 70's outside, so I chose to sit on the pool deck under an umbrella and observe -- rather than freezing in the pool. The boys didn't seem to mind the temps, though!
Keith was out of town for the night and the boys and I had plans to meet our friends at the County Fair at 6:00, so I kept our meal really simple.
I served the leftover roasted chicken from Thursday evening with a pan of roasted zucchini and squash that my babysitter brought us from her family's garden, as well as some reheated buttered noodles that were in the fridge from earlier in the week.
Not glamorous, but it cleaned out the fridge!
Then it was Fair Time! The boys look forward to this all year long, and they had a blast (as usual).
My childhood friend, Cameron, his wife Molly, and their baby Claire were visiting Charlottesville for the weekend, so I was lucky enough to sneak out on Saturday to meet them at a winery.
It was cloudy, but the rain held off and it wasn't too hot, so we sat outside and enjoyed the views at Moss Vineyards,
while catching up and sipping on rosé. Not my typical Saturday afternoon, but I'll take it!
While I was gone, Keith took the boys bowling with friends, and then we all reunited at home for grilled hamburgers and salad.
And that's it for now! Another summer week is in the books, and we have another action-packed week ahead. I hope that you all enjoyed your weekend, and I can't thank you enough for stopping by to read the blog today. Check back tomorrow for another easy, delicious dinner recipe!
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