Quick and easy salads kids will love - mixed veggies
One of my favorite ways to make my weeknights easier is to do a whole roast chicken on a Sunday. I’ll usually pair it with roasted potatoes/sweet potatoes, and I’d like to say I keep some leftover roasted veggies for a cool salad (like this)… but I love love roasted veg and they usually don’t last in our house. If I buy a big chicken, I usually have enough leftover chicken for a whole other meal, sometimes two - perfect time-saver too as I find that the protein is usually the most time-consuming part of a dish. I enjoy cooking, so I’ll roast my own chicken (so easy, seriously five min prep and the oven does all the work) but a supermarket chicken is a good little hack if you prefer. We will usually eat the dark meat and wings/legs and save the chicken breast to shred through a great recipe, though when I looked online I found mostly pasta dishes. So, these recipes, although delicious on their own, are a good way to use up that shredded chicken, whatever is floating around the fridge, AND try out some cool salads.
The first of these salads uses cous cous, which I love mostly based on the cooking time (five minutes!). I have had to substitute quinoa in a pinch, so that works too but I do prefer the fluffiness of the cous cous. I like to use this recipe (couscous salad with avocado and bell pepper) as a jumping off point, because I generally try and use up what I have in the fridge and of course with kids there is generally a few things that go over better than others. The main thing that I try and stay true to: my fave easy dressing (lemon/lime and olive oil), which I like because of convenience but also because the acidity helps brighten up the salad – though if you’ve only got lemons (or limes) at home, don’t let that deter you; just use what you have! I also try and incorporate avocado as much as possible as I feel great when my little one eats up all that avo goodness, and if I have feta at home, I’ll usually throw some in mine, though my kid isn’t the biggest fan. Depending on what veggies you use - sometimes I’ll put in some zucchini or different color bell peppers (capsicums) - feel free to lightly sauté the veg before adding to the cous cous.
The second of these is one of my own recipes which I’ve tweaked from my previous hunt for a good salad recipe for using up leftover roast chicken - this sweet and spicy Asian style salad. I rarely create Asian-inspired recipes, as growing up with a Colombian mom in the U.S., we hardly ate any Asian cuisine, but this recipe uses ingredients I nearly always have at home, and I’ve found it easy to whip up; not to mention, I sell it to my kid calling it the brown sugar salad (whatever works, right?). Plus, watching my kid eating raw veggies makes me feel like a supermom (and my body feels great too!). I’ve created the recipe with the vegetables I feel work best, but again, most crunchy fresh vegetables will work (red or green cabbage is another great one), and the flavorful dressing helps the salad to stand up on its own, as a side salad, or would also go beautifully with fish if you’re not using chicken.