We’re now 3 weeks into our new *extremely busy* school routine! (Remember–I told you what all we have on our plate in my last easy-meal post?) Everything is starting to fall into place now, however, and I thought it would be great to share with you a little more about how I manage to throw menu planning into our crazy life mix since I have a few tricks up my sleeve!
5 Ways to Make Back-to-School Dinners Easy
1. Get Inspired – It’s all too easy to fall into a rut of the same old same reliable meals–or to resort to the pizza guy or drive through for dinner! These days there’s really no excuse for that, however, as a world of new delicious recipes are just a click away! One of my personal favorite tools for getting inspired is using Pinterest–I organize my recipes to try into 4 boards Dinner, Dessert, Bread, and Other but you can set yours up however makes the most sense to you! Another thing to keep your eye out for is a free cookbooks from your favorite brands–like this Pillsbury recipe booklet! They’re great for finding delicious meals using ingredients that you normally cook with! I usually try to cook or bake a new recipe at least once every week or two weeks–this helps me find new favorites all the time and even the ones that aren’t “keepers” help us from falling in a “Pork Chops for dinner…again???” rut.
2. Get Organized – In order to keep track of the meals that your family loves and save time it’s important to stay organized and keep track of what you’ve eaten, when. Nothing wastes more time than sitting down to meal plan and staring blankly at the paper (trust me–I’ve been there!) I solved this problem by creating a super simple Google Doc Spreadsheet that I keep track of all our favorite recipes in. I broke these into categories and when I menu plan I put the date that we’re going to eat the meal–that way when it’s time to write up the next menu plan I can quickly glace through and see what we haven’t had in awhile! I’ve already talked about How To Organize Cookbooks and in addition to that I use, surprise, Pinterest yet again! On my Elliott Family Favorite Recipes board I keep-you guessed it-our favorite meals that are found online. Although I always print out a copy this makes it easy for me to find one of my favorite recipes whenever I might need or if I’m not home.
3. Get a Routine – I have a certain day and time each week that I come up with a menu plan, and then I go shopping the next day. For me personally if I have a set time to do something it’s much more likely to happen and when I plan out a week at a time I’m never left scratching my head and asking “what on earth do I do for dinner tonight?!”
4. Get Planning – When I’m planning I try to structure my meals according to what we have going on that night–Monday and Fridays are busy days so I’m more likely to pick a “cheat night” meal that night (what I call my fall back on easy night meals). Ballet days I always make a crock pot meal since her class is right when I usually cook dinner. By planning ahead I’m able to make sure we not only get a good variety of meals, but also that they fit into our schedule!
5. Get Help – Depending on how old your kids are them helping might slow you down more than it will actually help you, but it never hurts to start! I’ve found that my 5 year old loves to bond by helping with dinner, and even my 3 year old can set forks on the table if I hand them to him and stir easy things. Instead of making dinner a time where I’m shut away from my family doing a chore I try at least a few times a week to turn it into a bonding experience with my kids and my hubby!
Since I am always on the lookout for great new, easy recipes I fell in love with this recipe from the Pillsbury website and just had to share it with you! It’s one of those things that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before! These were simple and easy and I loved that the kids could help make and personalize them!
- 1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated biscuits
- 1 cup marinara/pizza sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
- 1 package (3.5 oz) sliced pepperoni
- Additional toppings such as olives, mushrooms, bell pepper, Canadian bacon, pineapple, red onion
- Chop up toppings into bite size pieces
- Press each biscuit into 6-inch round. Place on 2 large or 3 small greased cookie sheets.
- Top each round with pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni.
- Bake at 375°F 10 to 15 minutes or until bottoms are deep golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
Don’t forget to download your free Pillsbury recipe booklet and leave me a comment letting me know which recipe you’re most excited to try out!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills. Compensation was provided by General Mills via Clever Girls Collective.