I’m in the habit of buying rotisserie chickens whenever I’m at the supermarket. Super convenient for lunches and quick dinners, then I stash the bones in a freezer bag until I’ve accumulated enough and I made delicious chicken stock.
Another habit… is occasionally feeding the kids at 5 o’clock and then waiting until 7, when they’re in bed, to enjoy a peaceful dinner with my husband.
I’m a huge advocate of the family meal, for bonding and modelling healthy eating for kids. And just because coming together at the table is a sacred ritual to share with the ones you love, and I want my babes to grow up with that. But oh my god the chaos. And they truly require a personal wait staff. Plus, they are famished at before the clock strikes 5.
I consider dinner the main event of the evening – maybe even the day – and I’m not prepared to rush through it that early. Five PM is wine o’clock, not dine o’clock (can I get a what what?).
So, although I never thought I’d do it, a few times a week I make a very simple dinner for the kids (a quick omelet, leftovers or rotisserie chicken and veggies), and serve it to them before they get truly hangry, wait on them hand and foot during the meal (Can I have more milk please? Oops, I spilled it. I dropped my fork, Mama. Thanks. Actually… can I have a spoon instead? Can you please cut my chicken smaller for me? Can I have some ketchup? Uh oh, my hands are sticky. May I have a wet napkin? I’d like some more rice please, Mama… it goes on. And that’s just the one with words). Then I get to enjoy a truly lovely, quiet dinner with my husband later. It’s almost like a date. I think our *marriage meals* should be prioritized just as highly as the family meals at this preschool/baby stage. Not every day, I still do want to share the special time with them, but often.
So yeah, rotisserie chickens. They’re my jam.
Here a juicy, Costco-cooked bird saved my hiney at 5 pm when the munchkins came home in raging hunger, then later turned a Middle Eastern Fattoush-inspired farmer’s market salad (lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, field cucumbers, parsley, fried pita bread, feta, olives) into a filling grown-up meal.
Also, I am totally hooked on these pita croutons – you just roll up a pita bread and thinly slice crosswise into pinwheels, then fry them very quickly in hot oil and salt them as soon as they come out. So quick and yummy. I make a bunch and store the leftovers in a ziploc bag – they’re good on the counter for about a week or in the freezer for a few months. We eat dinner salads at least twice a week and these are usually in them.
Chicken Fattoush Salad with garlic-yogurt sauce
- 1/2 cup plain full-fat yogurt
- 1 medium clove garlic minced
- Oil for frying
- 1 pita bread
- Torn lettuce 6-8 cups
- Handful cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 medium cucumber sliced
- Chunk of feta crumbled
- Some thinly sliced red onion
- Handful of olives
- Handful of fresh parsley leaves
- Shredded cooked chicken I used rotisserie
- Lemon wedges
- To make sauce, whisk yogurt and garlic together and season with salt.
- Heat about 1 inch of oil in a small saucepan with deep sides until shimmering hot (350º - 375ºF if you want to bust out a thermometer). Lay pita bread flat, then roll it up jelly-roll style, then slice thinly crosswise. Fry in hot oil until crispy and golden, about 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Season immediately with salt.
- Arrange remaining salad ingredients on two plates and squeeze some lemon juice over. Top with pita croutons and drizzle with yogurt sauce.