School is starting soon, and I am sharing with you a few of my easy, stress free, kid-approved meals to fill little (and big bellies) after a long school day.
As a kid I remember that dinner time was important, and we were always bugging mom my to know what to expect on the dinner table that evening. My sister and I were always excited when the response was baked meatloaf with mashed potatoes on top, chicken, mushroom, and rice casserole, or spaghetti pizza. We were not thrilled when we knew stewed tomatoes were on the menu. I love tomatoes, but these were, and still are, a no-go for me.
What makes a meal worthy of going on the "weeknight rotation"? To me, the meal needs to be easy, have a comfort element, minimal mess, and makes solid leftovers (if there is any left!). The recipes I selected today are a mix bag from muffins, to soup, to sandwiches. I like to have a little variety and I know it helps to keep my kiddos open to trying new foods.
Raisin Bran Muffins: Perfect for an on the go breakfast. Dense, filling, and a perfect way to use the last bits of cereal from your raisin bran box!
Instant Pot Cola BBQ Chicken: The Instant Pot is an amazing kitchen tool that can bring a meal that normally has a longer cook time to a weeknight favorite by drastically reducing the cook time, but keep the flavors intact. This chicken is delicious, and we eat it on buns with a little pepperjack cheese and sliced dill pickles.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Tot Casserole: chicken, bacon, and ranch is a favorite flavor combo for many. My kids love this, and it is a great variation to its' ground beef cousin. Sometimes I will make my own cream of chicken soup, and other times I appreciate the simplicity of the canned variety. This is a creamy and rich casserole, and I like to round it out by serving it with a salad or steamed green beans.
Meatball Sub Casserole: This recipe is a favorite of my kids. They love the meatballs, and pieces of saucy biscuits. My favorite thing about this recipe, aside from the taste, is that it is soooooo quick to put together. The ability to go from zero to a meal in the oven in 10 minutes makes this a quick favorite for me.
One-Pot Chili Mac: My chili takes awhile to make, and is not exactly weeknight friendly (unless I can quickly grab a bag from the freezer). I came up with this recipe so I could enjoy one of my favorite meal one a weeknight with hardly any fuss or clean up. An added plus for me is the delicious lunch leftover it makes for Ron and I!
Individual Pepperoni Pizza Pot Pies: My kids are pizza freaks. I think they could eat it for dinner every night if I let them. I created these fun pot pie variations to make an upside down pizza my family loves. I make mine in 16 oz french onion soup cups and it is the perfect fit with a golden biscuit baked right on top.
French Onion Chicken and Rice Casserole: This recipe is one of my favorites. I find myself excited for dinner when it is on the menu. I use ground chicken in this casserole versus bite-size pieces because I think it is a better texture and gets chicken flavors into every bite. My kids favorite part are the crispy onions on top!
Instant Pot BBQ Ribs: If someone told me that ribs could be done in under an hour, and perfect for a weeknight meal I would have called them nuts. However, that was before I bought an instant pot and this recipe became a household favorite. The prep is under 10 minutes and the result is perfect fall of the bone ribs in under an hour. If you don't have an instant pot you need to get one. They are a time saver!
Crockpot Cheesy Potato and Smoked Sausage Soup: Before the instant pot crockpots held the of weeknight time saver on their own. In my house my crockpot still gets a lot of love, and I love using it for recipes like this one. This soup is hearty and perfect for a fall evening. The set it and forget it quality of the crockpot will never be replaced.
Baked Crispy Crunch Taco Spaghetti: This recipe is a new addition in my house, but it is impossible not to include it. Combining my kiddos two favorite meals was a happy moment at our dinner table.
That rounds out my list of my favorite back to school meals. What are some of your favorites back to school recipes?