Summer Recipes from Local Moms

We all have our strengths as parents and cooking is not one of mine. I want my children to have a varied and healthy diet but I find the process of meal planning to be daunting and more often than not, I make the same few meals over and over again, which is resulting in picky eaters! Moms who incorporate a rainbow of fresh ingredients and exotic sounding grains into their toddlers dinners never cease to amaze me, so I called upon a few of them to share some favorite summer recipes.

A typical meal at my house! source

These local ladies admit wholeheartedly that even though they present their little ones with impressive meals, it does not mean that they are gobbled up readily. We are still feeding the same species of notoriously discerning and stubborn small people. The difference is, these talented moms see cooking as a creative outlet and are not swayed by rejection; they consider even a mouthful of salmon and cous cous to be a triumph worth the effort! Even if you are already thriving in the kitchen while maintaining harmony among your children, these dishes will be fun to try. And if you are like me, serving frozen meatballs too often, these options will be inspiring, but may take courage to create!

Sally: Grilled Thai Curry Chicken Skewers with Coconut Peanut Sauce

A mutual friend made this dinner for Sally, then she made it for her own family the next week. It was a hit! She likes to serve it with roasted broccoli and coconut rice.

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For the Chicken you will need:

2–1/2 to 3lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast pounded to 1/2 inch thickness and cut into chunks. Place them into the following marinade for at least four hours or overnight:

1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
  • Zest of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Place chicken on skewers and grill on medium high heat for about ten minutes, turning once.

For the coconut peanut sauce:
Whisk together the following ingredients, except lime juice, bring to a simmer and then cook over medium heat for about three minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the fresh lime juice. Top chicken with the sauce and use it as a cold salad dressing for any left overs!


1 (13-oz) can coconut milk (do not use low fat)

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from 2 limes

A mother of two girls, ages 9 and 3, Sally is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Wellesley College. She loves to cook and to bake with the girls. During a playdate, I remember asking her for the method to preparing amazing weeknight meals for her family while working. She said that she usually does breakfast for dinner on their busiest night and takeout on Fridays, but otherwise, finds her recipes for the week in advance, makes her shopping list and shops on the weekend with her 3 year old, who loves grocery shopping!

and usually goes to three different grocery stores with the girls to accomplish that list!

Shalini: Roasted Veggies Reinvented

She begins with an assortment of roasted vegetables and then uses them to make dinner over two nights: first as individual pot pies; second as a side dish with homemade pizza!

For the Roasted Vegetables:
Combine yellow carrots, pepitas, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes with sea salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes covered with aluminum foil, and 10 minutes off. 



Meal #1 Individual Pot Pies
Shalini used Martha Stewart’s recipe for pie crust, called Pate Brisee



Fill two oven-safe soup bowls with the roasted veggie filling below, and top with the Pate Brisee crust. Bake at 375 for twenty minutes. For her pre-schooler, Shalini cut the crust into dinosaur shapes and served them alongside the pie filling. 

For the Pie Filling:

  • Make the roux in a stock pot by warming 3 tablespoons of flour with 1 stick of salted butter, add any chopped mushroom and salt liberally
  • Add about 1/3 of the roasted vegetables 
  • Pour in 2 cups of vegetable stock, tossed in a sprig of rosemary, and let that boil down for about 15 minutes. Take the rosemary out! 
Meal #2 Roasted Veggie Side Dish with Homemade Pizza:

Shalini begins with homemade pizza crust, but you could also use a prepared crust or roll out fresh dough from the grocery store.  


For the pizza topping:
  • Chop sweet, vidalia onions and combine with a balsamic reduction
  • Add mozzarella and basil 
For the Roasted Veggie Side Dish:
  • Add chopped cherry tomatoes and avocado to freshen up the roasted vegetables
Shalini is a lawyer, taking a break from her corporate bankruptcy practice to raise her four year old son and seven month old daughter. I noticed the beautiful meals she was making for her family from pictures posted on Facebook! Shalini says that her mother never really cooked and that she prefers to approach meal planning by working with whatever ingredients she has in the kitchen.

Maggie: Grilled Rainbow Veggie Skewers served with black bean salad and dip!



For the Rainbow Skewers:

Choose any assortment of vegetables that will give you ROY-G-BIV, cut them into chunks, stir them in a bowl with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill on skewers until tender!

For the White Bean Dip: 

In a food processor, coarsely chop the ingredients below, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Use this as a dip for the veggie skewers and you have an interactive dinner!

  • 1 15 oz. can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • salt
  • pepper

For the Black bean salad:

In large bowl, whisk avocado, cilantro and lime juice together until blended. Add beans, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, pepper, pumpkin seeds and toss until evenly coated.
  • 1 ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 2 15oz cans no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups shredded romain lettuce or spinach
  • 1 c grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 c corn kernels, fresh or thawed if frozen
  • 1 small red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 c toasted pumpkin seeds
Maggie is a dietician and has a three year old daughter and a one year old son. I first noticed her creativity with food when she started her own Facebook page called, Tomorrow’s Lunch, featuring fun and nutritious options for her daughter to eat at preschool. Maggie had this to say about preparing healthy dinners for her family: “I think my kids are pretty good eaters, but even they won’t eat a lot of most things. They’ll try bits and pieces of what I make and I have to round out their meals with fresh, but plain, fruits and veggies, steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower, pasta with pesto. My thought is as long as they keep trying bites of real, healthy adult food, eventually they’ll want to eat more. But I realize, this is a frustrating process for parents.”

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