My cooking time shrank considerably when my son started walking, and I needed to devise what I call "Mom Meals" (find more Mom Meals here). In my quest for the simplest meals, I also discovered some simple, kid and crowd friendly sides. These sides flow well into our summer lifestyle, with less time overall spent in the kitchen, and more time spent talking and playing with friends and family.
Kentucky Biscuits - I found these simple and delicious biscuits on Pinterest and have made them several times. The recipe doubles easily, the biscuits taste great as leftovers, and, the best part, I can prepare the entire recipe with a baby on my hip (I just need help to slip the biscuits into the oven).
Seasoned Kale - I paired the kale with lamb chops, but this savory side would fit nicely alongside ribs, burgers, or other summer meals. We grew a full crop of kale this year and needed ideas beyond kale chips and smoothies. A friend recommended this side, which includes pine nuts, garlic, and dried fruit, and I would make it again.
Grilled Zucchini - Many urban farmers find themselves with too many zucchini. While I do love a good chocolate zucchini bread, I find that this simple grilled zucchini satisfies all of my guests. This is another side that fits my requirements of being fast and simple. I can do the prep, and someone else can do the grilling.
Sweet Potato Fries - We belong to a CSA, and we get many, many sweet potatoes. In the summer, I do not crave a baked potato, really anything in the potato casserole family. Sweet potato fries, however, offer an appealing alternative. I skipped the soak in water recommended in the recipe, just to shorten the prep time, and the fries were still crispy and delicious.
All of these sides help me get through an abundance of produce and enjoy my time with family and friends.