Few things signify that summer is finally here as much as the easy availability of fresh and juicy stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Now that we're seeing delicious peaches at the farmers' market and in the produce section of the supermarket, why not make a fantastic dessert like peach crumble? This recipe is a summertime staple in our house, especially when my mom brings over a load of peaches fresh off the tree in her front yard.
Fruit crumbles don't look as pretty and require less work than pies, but are just as delicious. Born out of the need for rationing flour and sugar during World War II, crumbles, in their basic form, involve a fruit filling covered with a crumbly flour, sugar, and butter topping. It's something that's easy enough for the kids to help make, too. They love to mix up the crumble topping and spread it on top of the fruit filling.
When the weather warms up, one of the things we often cool off with are aguas frescas, those refreshing traditional Mexican-style drinks made from various kinds of fruit. You don't have to go to your local taqueria to get them, either—they're inexpensive and really easy to make at home. Kids love them, and they're a healthy alternative to sodas and other soft drinks.
We often make aguas frescas with melons like cantaloupe or watermelon; whatever we happen to have on hand. It's a great way to use up all that watermelon that's been sitting in the refrigerator, which is what we made out latest batch out of. You can use other fruits, like strawberries and even pineapple, but melon is an economical choice and a delicious one, too.
Whenever we get Chinese take-out, my kids love to order cashew chicken. Like many Chinese-American restaurant staples, cashew chicken is actually easy to make at home, and requires only a couple special ingredients, which you should be able to find in the Asian foods aisle of your local supermarket. Accompany this with stir-fried green beans and steamed brown rice for a healthy weeknight meal.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
This Mother's Day, why not make an old school dessert for Mom—pineapple upside down cake. Pineapple upside down cake is really old school, dating back to the 1920s when canned pineapple from was introduced to the US market by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which would eventually become Dole Foods.
Featuring moist and light cake topped with sweet pineapple and a caramelized brown sugar topping, it's no wonder this dessert has been popular for nearly a century. In our recipe, we use fresh pineapple, but you can substitute canned if you don't want to mess around with cutting up and trimming a fresh one. It's equally good with both.
Cinco de Mayo is coming up, so why not make a classic Mexican recipe for dinner? Pozole, a hearty soup based on nixtamalized corn, also known as hominy, is considered one of Mexico's national dishes. Usually you'll encounter it in its red form with red chiles and pork, but I think the green version is just a delicious.
Instead of using dried red chiles to flavor the broth, this green pozole feautures tomatillos, jalapeños, and ground toasted pumpkin seeds. This is definitely not a throw-it-together-after-work recipe. It's slow food at its best, and you can use even use your slow cooker if you like. While you can make this with canned hominy and it will still be delicious, definitely try to prepare it using the real deal, which comes dried. You need to cook it slowly for hours, but the texture and flavor are superior.
It's fun for each diner to customize their bowls of pozole: add crisp lettuce and radishes, creamy avocado, crushed tortilla chips, tart lime juice, Mexican oregano, sliced jalapeños, and spicy ground red chile.
My kids love to have a sweet treat when they come home from school, and I always try to make them as healthy as I can. These berry-filled oatmeal bars are really delicious, and I sometimes even use whole-wheat flour in them. Use either strawberry or raspberry preserves—they're both equally delicious. Even apricot would work! The sliced almonds can be replaced with chopped walnuts, too.
1 3/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces (plus more for greasing the pan)
After seeing all the fantastic spring produce at the Marin Civic Center Farmer's Market, I've been determined to create a recipe that showcases some of the season's best vegetables. I made this spring pasta dish this weekend, and my kids loved it. It's built around the organic English peas that I picked up, and is fresh, light, and delicious. I also found the first of the season's white corn, which I usually think of as a summer thing, and I decided that would go well in this dish too (and it did).
Put the kids to work in the kitchen shelling the peas and shucking the corn. It's always fun for them to get involved in cooking a meal. If you don't have the time or inclination to deal with the fresh peas and corn, frozen would work fine, too.
This dish subverts the traditional chicken pot pie and makes it into an easier but no less delicious weeknight meal. Make a chicken pot pie filling, with plenty of chicken and vegetables, then spoon it over buttermilk biscuits. It's a dish that everyone in the family loves!
You can use either homemade or refrigerated biscuits to make this—it's great with either. Feel free to mix up the vegetables in the "filling"; broccoli and mushrooms are great additions. This recipe makes 6 servings.
2 cups diced cooked chicken (leftover rotisserie or roast chicken works great)
These cute and clever bird's nest cookies are the perfect treat for Easter. Light and airy coconut-filled meringues really look a lot like birds' nests—you can complete the illusion by adding a few egg-shaped Easter candies. We like the Cadbury mini eggs, but malted milk eggs or even jelly beans will work equally well.
The kids love to help make these, and of course love to eat them. These treats are a great addition to Easter baskets, too. Give them a try, and you'll probably find that they earn a spot in your spring baking repertoire.