You guys, it’s light outside! After 5:00 pm! I can’t believe it. I’m so excited, that I’m taking my family to the back porch for dinner every night this week, if possible. So I wanted to plan some easy dinners for the family that we can take outside. My kids can graze from their plates while they throw a Frisbee, and my husband and I can eat off our laps while watch them. I’m actually not dreading cooking, for once.
In fact, I may splurge on some melamine dinner plates for our al fresco dining, and some fresh non-breakable tumblers (and wine glasses) for the backyard. And if you don’t have a backyard grill, it might be time to splurge on one. Yay, springtime!
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Have you all ever tried this trick of grilling an entire chicken before? I’m excited to try this whole grilled chicken recipe at Halfbaked Harvest, because her food always turns out great and I can use the extra chicken two more times this week. That’s right, go ahead and cook two of these so you don’t have to cook more later. Note that the recipe takes a total of 2 hours, but only 35 minutes of cook time. And that’s on the grill, so you can sit around and chat on the back porch while you wait.
Warmer weather means it’s time to pull out the pimento cheese, and these ultimate pimento cheese sandwiches at Peas and Crayons look scrumptious. The only thing I’d add is some crispy bacon, TBH. These can be packed up in a picnic basket for dinner at the park, or piled up on a serving tray to take to the backyard to munch on while you enjoy the nice weather.
Keep cleanup simple so you can spend more time outside, and make a one-dish meal like this loaded chicken ranch pasta salad at The Forked Spoon. Make the pasta salad earlier in the day when it’s convenient, then at dinner time throw some chicken (or, honestly, whatever protein you like) on the grill to add to it at the last minute, or use the leftover you have from the whole grilled chicken earlier in the week. You have your complete meal—protein, carbs, and veg—all in one dish.
My kids request burgers any time of the year, but they’re just so much better straight off the grill. Lately, half of my family has been requesting plant-based burgers, and I make regular beef for the other half. If you’ve been curious about cooking with plant based meat, you can get Beyond Meat or Impossible Meat at most groceries now. (Personally, I much prefer Impossible Meat.) This burger recipe at Munchkin Time has some great tips on cooking the perfect burger with Beyond Meat. But, of course, you can use the exact same seasonings and toppings for beef burgers too.
To keep things a little lighter, I like to mix a big salad into my spring dinner rotation. This Strawberry Spinach Salad at Damn Delicious is a favorite. Use more of the leftover chicken from the whole chicken you grilled earlier, and you don’t even have to cook anything. You could also grill steak or salmon instead, if you prefer. And, of course, when I plate mine for younger kids who are picky about food touching, I just give them a toddler plate with diced chicken, avocado slices, strawberries, and some nuts all separated out.