A Month of Easy Back-to-School Dinners
Back-to-school season is one of the busiest times of year, as kids settle back into classes, homework, and after-school activities, and parents rejigger schedules to accommodate. So, your family is going to need delicious, fast, and easy meals that will satisfy everyone on your crew. And since no one will have the bandwidth to make yet another series of decisions, we've pulled together a full month of complete back-to-school dinner menus to get you through the first 30 days with your sanity intact.
Chicken + Sausage + Green Beans
Sheet pan suppers make everything easier on the cook in your house. They usually only need some sort of green vegetable to round out the plate, too! This one has the bonus of both chicken and sausage, so there is something for even the pickiest eater in your family, and some bright lemony green beans are the ideal accompaniment.
Italian Chicken + Caesar Salad
Fajitas + Rice + Beans
If your family loves Taco Tuesdays, they are going to be all over Fajita Fridays. This calls for a sheet pan version for minimal muss, and a terrific baked rice and beans side dish that is both healthy and delicious. Leftovers of the chicken and vegetables can be chopped up and stirred into leftover rice for an all-in-one dish that makes a great packed lunch the next day.
Stroganoff + Mushrooms + Spinach
Stroganoff always feels fancy, and the usual recipes are special occasion expensive, calling for pricey tenderloin. This is a weeknight stroganoff, perfect for after a sports practice. The spinach and mushroom dish is the ideal accompaniment to round out the plate.
Pork Chops + Baked Potatoes + Carrots
If your kids love that magic combination of sweet and salty, they will love this menu. Pork chops get cooked with caramelized onions, and rich savory twice-baked potatoes are balanced with sweet glazed carrots. Even better, it can all be made ahead and reheated!
Tuna Casserole + Broccoli
Casseroles are always a welcome make-ahead weeknight dinner. Plus, they're a meal in one dish, usually needing only some kind of green vegetable or a salad to fill out the menu. This super easy take on a tuna noodle casserole is a reminder that it is a classic for a reason. The fresh broccoli salad will be a welcome break from the same-old same-old steamed broccoli that we all rely on.
Chicken + Potatoes + Corn + Zucchini
Chicken, potatoes, corn, and zucchini are a match made in heaven, but all of them get an upgrade in this menu. The corn is breaded using a secret weapon that prevents the chicken breast from drying out; the potatoes are roasted with less oil and more herbs for fabulous flavor with less fat; and the corn and zucchini pair up in a simple quick sauté that is sure to please.
Pasta + Kale
Beef Cups + Coleslaw
If you want some of that summer barbeque flavor but don't have time in your busy back-to-school schedule to fire up the grill, these barbecue beef cups will save the day. Paired with a slaw that can be made all the easier with store-bought spiralized vegetables, it's a fresh take on an old favorite.
Chicken + Rice + Broccolini
Chicken + Ratatouille
It's Mediterranean night at your house! This simple sheet-pan supper is balanced with a stovetop simmer. All you need is some pita bread or a crusty baguette, and you have traveled to Europe without leaving your table. Be sure your children have seen the movie Ratatouille and we guarantee they won't balk at this usually very adult side dish.
Green Beans + Quinoa + Black Beans
Whether you have a budding vegetarian or vegan in your family, or are just committed to Meatless Mondays, this is a plant-based menu that will satisfy even the omnivores at your table. If someone needs extra protein, both of these dishes make great sides for a piece of fish or a chop.
Fish + Garlic Bread
When your whole dinner, from protein to potatoes to vegetables is all on one sheet pan, you have time to add a little something special to your menu. This all-in-one supper stars a kid-friendly fish, in the form of mild flaky cod. The fact it's a hands-off dish gives you plenty of time to knock out a show-stopping garlic bread to accompany it.
Pot Pie + Snap Peas
If making pastry from scratch keeps pot pies off your weeknight menu, you will love this casserole version, which uses a store-bought biscuit dough crust. Add a simple sauté of snap peas with mint on the side, and you have a wonderful meal without breaking a sweat or breaking out the rolling pin.
Barbecue + Rice
Spaghetti + Salad
Some of us remember that Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day. Let your slow cooker make a meaty sauce that Nonna would be proud to serve, and all you need to do at the end of your workday is boil some pasta and toss together this salad, and dinner is on the table.
Pot Roast + Mashed Potatoes + Brussels Sprouts
If pot roast and mashed potatoes sound like a Sunday meal that needs tending, welcome to your back-to-school versions. Your slow cooker can handle the meat, while the potatoes can be made ahead for reheating, and when your green vegetable is this crunchy salad that starts with bagged shredded Brussels Sprouts, you can give your family a Sunday supper any night of the week.
Meat Loaf + Mac and Cheese + Spinach
Chili + Corn Pudding + Salad
Nothing says fall like chili, and this mild version is kid-approved. Paired with a simple baked corn pudding that is easier and more fun than plain cornbread, plus a punchy avocado salad, it is a great meal for a crowd, perfect when one of the kids brings home a pal for dinner.
Stir-Fry + Fried Rice
Sloppy Joes + Salad
Chicken Drumsticks + Cauliflower + Sweet Potatoes
No one has time for frying on a weeknight, with all the mess and cleanup. But these crispy drumsticks are oven baked, and paired with simple sweet potato wedges and caramelized roasted cauliflower that might just flip the script on this vegetable for your favorite picky eater.
Pizza + Salad
Pizza and salad are everyone's back-up plan when they are up against a wall, but homemade is always more fun and better for you. This simple version uses a frozen store-bought crust to make it manageable, and we all know the wedge salad is the best lazy salad on the planet. Change up the toppings to suit your family.
Fish Sticks + Fries + Salad
If your kids have been assigned any British readings for homework, fish and chips and mushy peas are likely on their minds. This is a new take on that English tradition, with oven-baked fish sticks and fries, and a fresh bean salad with arugula.
Lo Mein + Broccoli
Veggie Burgers + Pea Salad
Chili Mac + Salad
We cannot recommend one-pot meals strongly enough during back-to-school time; they are a lifesaver. Everything you need cooks together, and you only need a salad to complete the meal. This chili mac is a terrific example of the one-pot dinner wonder, and the BLT salad is the ideal accompaniment. Because, well, bacon.
Pulled Pork + Antipasto
Frittata + Pancakes + Salad
Brunch for dinner is always a fun crowd pleaser, and kids especially seem to love it. This frittata means that you don't have to become a short-order egg cook, and this sheet pan pancake recipe will likely become your new favorite way to get pancakes to the whole family, hot and fresh. Dinner does need a vegetable; this roasted radicchio salad is the perfect thing to help cut through the richness and sweetness of the rest of the menu.
Chicken Salad + Bread
Back-to-school time is often a time of weather craziness — one day it is fall; one day summer's heat returns. On those hot days, a hardy salad with juicy fruit and veggies might be all you want or need for dinner. This salad stars grilled chicken for protein, and fresh fruit of any type, which will delight your children. Store-bought dough makes weeknight fresh bread not just possible, but practically an imperative.