Quick and Easy Meals for Back to School

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Life is getting busy ’round these parts.  School has started back, the girls have cheerleading twice a week, we meet weekly with our church small group, and all the little things in between.  And as much as I love meal planning, and I love cooking, I have to adjust my meals a bit because my energy level is just not quite there like it was during the summertime!  So, I have compiled a list of quick and easy go-to recipes that take very little time to make, and not too much thought, so they can be made for your family on even the busiest of school nights!  I’ll be adding at least two of these to my meals plans each week, and hope you can find a few new ideas too!

Ham, Green Beans, and Mac and Cheese– About $8 and 15 minutes is all you need for our family favorite!

Pizza– Add a salad if you’re feeling like an overacheiver 🙂

Bread and Cheese Antipasto Plate (shown above)– One of my favorite dinners!  Buy a baguette, some cheeses, salami or proscuitto, and a few dips or spreads (we got a spinach dip and an olive tapenade above).  Add some grapes or apple slices, broccoli or sugar snap peas, roasted beets, olives, pickles, almonds or other nuts, and you have one heck of a spread!  I’d add a  it of wine too… 🙂

Chicken Parmesan Casserole– Buy some fried chicken tenders from the deli at the grocery store.  Cut them up into chunks and put them in the bottom of a greased casserole dish.  Top with a jar of spaghetti sauce, about a cup or two of shredded mozzarella, and then a sprinkle of breadcrumbs.  Bake about 20 minutes at 350, and done!  Add a salad and you’ll have a realy great dinner that is seriously so simple.

Breakfast– I almost guarantee that any mom who has a husband that travels keeps this one in their back pocket.  My kids think it is SO FUN to have pancakes, eggs, and bacon for DINNER (crazy!!), so if it’s a hit for the kids, it’s a hit for me.

Meatball Subs– Buy a bag of frozen meatballs, and add them to a frying pan.  Add a jar of spaghetti sauce, and cook the meatballs until they’re warmed through.  Heat up your broiler.  Add the meatballs to a hoagie roll, top with shredded mozzarella cheese, and broil until the cheese is melted.  Add french fries or chips and dinner is ready!

Spaghetti– Seriously, all you need is spaghetti sauce, groud beef/turkey (or not!), and noodles.  You can add diced onion, diced peppers, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, etc., but do you realllllly need it when you’re going for quick and easy?  Nope.  If you want to be really fancy, put your finished spaghetti into a casserole dish and top with mozzeralla cheese and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes for baked spaghetti.

Hot Dogs– I mean, I seriously love a good hot dog.  Ketchup and mustard, relish, chopped onions, and a can of chili, or just naked!  Add chips and pickles.  Maybe some Bush’s Baked Beans.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup– Pretty sure this will be on our meal plan next a week.  So easy, but SO GOOD.  Also a total kid crowd pleaser!

Quesadilla Idea #1: Chicken Quesadillas– I have 3 favorite quesadilla dinners!  The first is basic.  Get those tyson pre-cooked chicken strips where you find deli meat, and add them to your tortilla with shredded cheddar.  Top with another and heat it up (microwave or skillet). Boom.  Add chips and salsa and guac.

Quesadilla Idea #2: Pizza Quesadillas– Add a little pizza sauce to your quesadilla, and shredded mozzarella.  Then top with your favorite pizza toppings!  I usually add a few slices of pepperoni, diced green peppers, and mushrooms.  Top with another tortilla and heat up!

Quesadilla Idea #3: Philly Cheesesteak Quesadillas– Might be my favorite??  Saute some sliced green peppers and onions.  Add to tortilla.  Top with deli roast beef and shredded cheddar.  Top with second tortilla, heat and serve.  SO GOOD.

Chicken Caesar Salad and Breadsticks– Buy a bag of caesar salad mix (or your favorite!) and the tyson grilled chicken strips in the deli section.  Add a box of frozen garlic breadsticks (taste just like Olive Garden!), and dinner is ready in the time it takes the breadsticks to bake.  SO EASY and delicious!

Loaded Baked Potatoes– Bake a fw potatoes, and top with sour cream, butter, chili, cheese, and add a veggie on the side.

KFC Bowls– Easy, good, and kid friendly!  Layer cooked mashed potatoes (either thr Ore-Ida Steam and Mash or the Country Crock premade mashed potatoes), cooked chicken nuggets or popcorn chicken, and warmed canned corn, and top with brown gravy.  Comforting, quick, and easy.

Greek Flatbreads– Layer flatbreads or pitas with hummus, and top with chopped cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.

Baked Ravioli Lasagna– The last time I made this, I decided I wouldn’t make lasagna any other way!  Layer spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish, then top with a layer of cheese ravioli, then mozzarella cheese.  Repeat the three layers three times, and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.  Done!  And SO much easier than old fashioned, labor intensive lasagna!  And just as good!

Rotisserie Chicken– I love picking up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for dinner.  Grab a couple deli sides, or a bag of salad, or some frozen steam-in-bag veggies, and dinner is ready in NO time.

Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Sandwiches– Okay, so not technically quick since it’s in the slow cooker all day, but the prep time is SUPER fast and it’s so, SO good.  Toss a bottle of BBQ Sauce in the slow cooker, and a pork tenderloin, cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Shred the pork and mix with sauce.  Put BBQ on hamburger buns and top with coleslaw (coleslaw cabbage mix and coleslaw dressing) and pickles and serve some fries on the side.

Sausage, Pepper, and Potato Hash– Buy your favorite polish sausage or kielbasa, and chop it into small pieces with a few potatoes, an onion, and 2 bell peppers.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread evenly on a greased sheet pan.  Roast at 400 for about 30 minutes.

More Ideas– Sloppy Joe’s, Nachos, Tacos, Chopped Salads, Stir Fry, Fish Sticks, Sandwiches, and so much more!

What are your favorite quick and easy recipes?!  What are your weeknight go-tos??

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