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Super Simple Side Dishes

I. dread. dinnertime. Being a working mommy, making dinner for three little ones right when I get home is the last thing I want to do, but we need to eat! I’ve been successful using a rotation of a few quick and easy dinners; however, with the warmer weather I’m ready to mix it up.

This weekend we finally took the cover off the grill, and that means mommy is off the hook for the main meal most nights. My husband is a self-proclaimed grill master. He makes the most amazing burgers and BBQ chicken, with no complaints from me (except for all the dirty dishes left behind). So, I’m left in charge of whipping up a few side dishes. In order to keep things as quick and easy as possible, here are a few of my go-to super simple sides that I’ve mastered to accompany any meal.

Corn & Bean Salad

What you will need:
1 bag of frozen corn or about 4 cobs of corn
1 can of black beans
1 can of pink beans
Italian dressing

3 quick steps:
1. Mix the cooked corn, black beans, and pink beans in a bowl. Don’t forget to drain the beans!
2. Add a few squirts of Italian dressing for added flavor (the recipe works fine without).
3. Chop a handful of fresh cilantro to sprinkle on top.

You can substitute with any beans or add additional veggies like peppers or onions. It’s fun to experiment with different combinations. My three year old can’t eat this fast enough, so he often tosses his fork aside and stuffs his mouth with huge handfuls. I love to serve it along with grilled chicken, and we’ve even used it as a topping for turkey tacos!

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 8.25.29 PMCaprese Salad

What you will need:
Cherry tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese (fresh is best!)
Balsamic vinegar

3 quick steps:
1. Cut the mozzarella cheese in small cubes.
2. Add the washed cherry tomatoes and chopped basil.
3. Toss together with oil and balsamic vinegar, adding salt and pepper to taste.

This side is super fresh and takes less than 5 minutes to make. I like to add yellow tomatoes for some extra color. Again, this can be served with anything, or it can even be a meal in itself. I like to make a huge bowl knowing there will be leftovers to take the next day for lunch.

Pesto PastaScreen Shot 2014-05-13 at 8.25.53 PM

What you will need:
Any type of pasta (I like to use bowtie or tricolor pasta)
1 package of pesto mix (I use McCormick and follow the directions on the package)
Cherry tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese

3 quick steps:
1. Cook the pasta and pesto mix in separate pans.
2. Mix together the cooked pasta, pesto and halved cherry tomatoes.
3. Let cool and then add cubed mozzarella cheese (I’ve even used shredded cheese too).

This side dish can be served warm, but I prefer it cold along with a nice juicy burger. I always cook the pasta for an additional minute when I plan on serving it cold so that the pasta stays soft.

I like to alternate between these sides depending on what the main meal is. And, whenever I’m really in a rush I always toss up a Dole Salad Kit. I love that they now have packaged chopped salad kits. My favorite is the BBQ Ranch!

Please try them out and let me know what you think. What simple sides do you love to make?


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