Menu: End of School Picnic

This past spring semester, I taught the Gifted and Talented Education program kids at our neighborhood elementary school: we spent 8 weeks on Mandarin Chinese and 8 weeks on Nutrition. At the end of each session we had a dinner party to celebrate, and last week’s event was a combination of the two sessions: together we cooked a nutritious Chinese meal from scratch, using (mostly) whole, close to the source ingredients. I did think that 4th and 5th graders would probably be capable of doing most of the preparation, but for liability reasons, I did most of the work that involved knives, and I left the grilling to my husband. This would be a great menu to prepare with your family – younger kids will get into the rinsing and drying of ingredients, while older kids can measure and mix the dressings. If you prepare for more than 4 people, you can also have them do the math of increasing the recipe amounts.

the recipes:

the strategy:

  1. up to 1 day ahead: make bbq sauce, parcook the ribs, marinate
  2. up to 4 hours ahead: cook and chill tofu; blanch and shock asparagus, roast the bell peppers, peel and slice them; mix all dressings and the sauce for the tofu
  3. up to 2 hours ahead: cook and season the edamame
  4. up to 1 h ahead: shred cabbage, salt and set aside; slice cucumbers, salt and set aside
  5. up to 30 m ahead: combine asparagus, peppers, cucumbers, and cabbage with their respective dressings
  6. party time: set all cold dishes out on the table; grill the ribs


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