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5 Back to School Dinner Ideas

5 Back to School Dinner Ideas

September 13, 2020 / Gabby Coles

Summer is over, and school is back in session. After a long day of work and daily stresses, the last thing anyone needs is the pressure of procuring a filling, fast, and healthy meal in time for dinner.

That's why we've gathered up a list of recipes for every night of the week. Easy recipes are key for making dinners at home, and avoiding unhealthy additives that take out and drive-thru meals include. Focusing on minimum prep, less mess, and big flavors, these five recipes are just what you're looking for to end your day on the right note!

Veggie Enchiladas

Substitute the cheese in these vegetable filled enchiladas, and you can have a vegan friendly meal! Either way, kids won't mind eating their ever important vegetables when they taste this good!

Ingredients:

  • 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yam,  diced small 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ear of corn, kernels cut off, or 1 8oz can of corn, drained
  • 1  teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1  14oz can black beans rinsed, drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups  homemade or store bought enchilada sauce
  • 8 x 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 cups grated cheese (8-10 ounces pepper jack, Mexican blend, cheddar, Mozzarella) or sub vegan cheese!
  • Optional Garnishes: cilantro, sour cream, avocado, pickled red onions and hot sauce.

Putting it together: For the filling - Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Lower heat to medium add bell pepper, yams, garlic and salt. Saute this until yams and peppers are tender about -7-9 minutes. If mixture gets dry, add a splash of water, lower heat and cover and gently steam until yams are fork-tender. Fold in the fresh corn and cumin, coriander and oregano. Saute 3 more minutes. Remove from heat. Add the black beans, taste for salt, adding more if you like. Stir in half the cilantro.

Assembly - Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce and spreading around so the bottom of the pan is nicely coated. Place 1/2 cup filling down the center of the tortilla add 2-3 tablespoons grated cheese over top and wrap it up tightly. Place enchilada seam side down over the sauce. Repeat with the remaining 7 tortillas nestling them side by side. Pour the remaining Enchilada Sauce over the enchiladas, leaving the edges exposed if you like (for crispy edges). Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese.

Place in the hot oven, foiled for 20 minutes then uncover for the last 6-10 minutes until cheese is nice and melty. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving ( tented with foil). Serve with garnishes. Makes 8 enchiladas. | recipe via feastingathome.com

One Pot Cheesy Chicken Alfredo

Home cooked dinner can't get any easier than a one pot meal. This tasty chicken alfredo is a crowd favorite, and results in little mess in your kitchen sink. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning 
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups Penne pasta (cooked)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Putting it together: Add oil to large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper and Italian seasoning. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until chicken starts to lightly brown. Add in garlic and saute for another minute. Pour in chicken broth, cream, pasta and basil and mix to combine. Bring to a boil, then cover pan and reduce to a summer. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until pasta is fully cooked. Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and fully mixed in. Serves 6. | recipe via sixsisterstuff.com

Easy Smokey Chicken Tortilla Soup

This easy and fast soup also requires only one pot to make, and is perfect for the cooler weather that the school year brings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Rotisserie chicken
  • 1 (15 oz) can Fire roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (10 oz) can Red enchilada sauce
  • 1 Small onion, chopped
  • 1 Zucchini, chopped
  • 1 (4 oz) can Green chilies
  • 4 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Creamed or sweet corn
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Corn chips, crushed
  • Optional Garnishes: cilantro, lime, sour cream, corn chips, avocado, extra cheese

Putting it together: While rotisserie chicken is still warm, pick all meat off the bones. Place chicken meat in a large soup pot. Discard bones, or save if you like to make homemade stock.

Place all ingredients from roasted tomatoes through bay leaves in the same pot as the chicken. Turn heat to high. As soon as soup begins to boil, turn to medium-low heat and continue to cook until onions as translucent and zucchini is tender. About 30 minutes. Serve soup with crushed corn chips and other garnishes. Serves 6. | recipe via themodernproper.com 

Sheet Pan Honey Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli

Hankering for some take out, but don't miss the hidden sodium? This crazy flavorful sheet pan meal is fast to cook and totally fuss free when you need an easy dinner on a week night.

 Ingredients:

  • 2 lb thawed or fresh raw shrimp (cleaned/peeled/deveined)
  • 12 oz broccoli
  • drizzle of olive or avocado oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For sauce:

  • 4 cloves garlic (approx 1.5-2 tablespoons minced)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste or minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • Optional Sides: Basmati or jasmine rice brown rice quinoa extra veggies

Putting it together: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk together your sauce ingredients and set aside.

Roughly chop broccoli into florets, leaving a bit of a stem on each. Place broccoli on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive or avocado oil, and massage oil into florets. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 400 F for 15 minutes.

Prep shrimp as needed; tail can be left on or off based on preference. In a bowl, combine 1/2 of your sauce with the shrimp and toss to coat. Allow to marinate until 15 minute mark has passed for the broccoli, then mov e the broccoli to one side of the sheet pan and add your shrimp to the other side. Return sheet pan to oven and bake an additional 8-10 minutes until shrimp turn pinkish, opaque, and curled. The remaining sauce may be heated in a saucepan until simmering and reduced into a thick sauce (2-3 tsp of corn starch diluted in water can help thicken it even further if desired or you can add extra honey) or drizzled over your shrimp as is. Plate and enjoy immediately while hot. Serves 4. | recipe via peasandcrayons.com

Lemon Parmesan Gnocchi with Mushrooms

Another sheet pan dinner, this gnocchi dish is packed with veggies and can be modified for vegans. The lemon juice and olive oil is enough liquid to plump up the dried gnocchi while it cooks in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces dried gnocchi
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Parmesan cheese, or vegan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional Garnish: 5-6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced 

Putting it together: Heat your oven to 450ºF. In a large mixing bowl, combine the gnocchi, mushrooms, asparagus, lemon juice, olive oil, parmesan, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Pour the gnocchi mixture onto a baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Scatter the lemon slices over top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the gnocchi is plump and tender and the asparagus is slightly charred.

Remove the gnocchi from the oven and discard the lemon slices. If desired, Stir in the fresh basil. Serve with extra Parmesan. Serves 4. | recipe via healthy-delicious.com

Bon Appetit! 

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- Gabby

 


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