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Kevin Curry

42 Back to School Dinner Ideas

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It’s that time again! School is in session.

As backpacks come out of hiding and school bells start ringing, the hustle and bustle of back-to-school season can be one of the busiest times of the year.

And ain’t nobody got time to sit down for back-to-school family meal planning and prep right now. 😅

So, instead of mac and cheese or sloppy joes every night, let me help you out with 42 quick and easy back-to-school dinner ideas that will keep your family’s taste buds happy and their bodies healthy for a whole month – whether you’ve got kiddos headed back to school or not.

After you get a handle on the new schedule, consider making your life easier with some meal prep.

With meal prepping, wave goodbye to last-minute dinner dilemmas and say hello to stress-free evenings.

You can even throw in a little back-to-school lunch meal prep to save you from the stress of packing school lunches.

Try batch cooking one of the recipes below and eat part tonight and save part for later. Finding ways to stock the fridge and freezer blesses your physical AND mental health!

Check out our Meal Prep Guide for Beginners or our Guide for Meal Prepping a Week of Meals to get you started.

42 Back to School Meals

Picture this: juicy chicken breast seasoned to perfection, combined with a creamy blend of reduced-fat cheese and lite coconut milk for a comforting and nutritious sauce. Toss in some brown rice and your kids’ favorite veggies like broccoli or asparagus, and voilà – a wholesome meal that’ll leave everyone satisfied!

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Whether it’s a quick weeknight dinner or a weekend family treat, this Maple Air Fried Chicken will win hearts and taste buds. These chicken breast tenders are marinated in a delicious blend of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and a touch of maple syrup for that perfect hint of sweetness. The best part? This recipe is air-fried to crispy perfection, so you can enjoy guilt-free and without the hassle of deep frying.

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Taco Chicken Salad - No Cook Recipe

Looking for a quick and delicious recipe that requires no cooking? This Taco Chicken Salad is not only quick and easy but also packed with goodness. Grab a rotisserie chicken to save you time in the kitchen. The real star is the zesty sauce that brings it all together. With a delightful combination of mild red enchilada sauce, cumin, honey, lime juice, and olive oil, this sauce elevates the salad to a whole new level of deliciousness.

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Canned Chicken Curry Bowl Recipe

Craving flavorful and fuss-free weeknight meals? Look no further than our Canned Chicken Curry Bowl – a quick and satisfying dish that’s perfect for any busy day! This recipe is as easy as popping open a can of chicken. Or if you happen to hit the store, you could also use a rotisserie chicken. Drop the cayenne pepper from the recipe if your family isn’t a fan of a little heat.

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Celebrate the end of summer with a bowl of summer flavors like no other! Our mouthwatering Summer Corn Chowder is the perfect dish to bid farewell to the season. Get ready to elevate this chowder with succulent shrimp seasoned in a tantalizing Cajun blend, adding a burst of zesty goodness that will transport your taste buds to the heart of Louisiana. Each spoonful of this dairy-free and gluten-free delight brings you the essence of fresh vegetables, hearty potatoes, and the sweetness of corn on the cob.

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Tex Mex Canned Chicken Bowl

Looking for a quick and tasty Tex Mex meal? Say hello to our Tex Mex Canned Chicken Bowl – a one-pan wonder that’s bursting with smoky flavors and satisfying goodness! Who doesn’t love some enchilada sauce and cheese? And if you want some heat, add a bit of chipotle sauce as well. This crowd pleaser comes together in minutes.

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Enjoy your favorite takeout dish made at home. This Beef & Broccoli comes together faster than driving to pick up takeout AND without all the sugar! Enjoy the juicy lean beef, tender broccoli, and the perfect balance of flavors in every bite. With our no-sugar recipe, you can indulge guilt-free and treat yourself to a healthy and satisfying meal that’s sure to become a family favorite.

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This is a delightful twist on a classic Mexican favorite. This recipe takes tender chicken breasts (or a vegan option with canned jackfruit) and infuses them with a luscious blend of spices and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, creating a smoky flavor. Whether you choose the convenience of the Instant Pot or opt for slow cooking on the stove or in a crock pot, the sauce becomes a symphony of taste, ready to embrace the tender meat. Make a large batch and freeze some for later to get multiple meals out of one!

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Get ready to love every bite of our Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken, a dish that brings the essence of the islands right to your dinner table. Ready in 20-minutes, this is a flavor adventure you won’t want to miss! This quick and easy recipe combines succulent chicken breast with a delightful pineapple teriyaki sauce that’s both sweet and savory. If you’re a fan of a little heat, feel free to add a touch of Sriracha for a spicy kick.

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Packed with nutritious red kidney beans and creamy white cannellini beans, this recipe elevates the traditional red beans and rice to a whole new level. The overnight soak and long cooking time on this recipe make it a better fit for the weekend. But prepping a large batch over the weekend gives you quick and easy access to this hearty meal, as well as an easy bean and rice combo to add to other weeknight Mexican dishes.

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This delectable dish features tender rotisserie chicken, creamy coconut milk, and a medley of aromatic spices that create a flavor explosion in every bite. Ready in an easy 20 minutes, this curry goes perfectly with some broccoli and a bed of cilantro-lime rice.

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Enjoy a fusion of ingredients that will transport you straight to the Mediterranean coast. This savory dish combines garbanzo beans and zucchini, seared to perfection, with the richness of sun-dried tomato olive oil, garlic, and onions, creating a symphony of tastes.

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Who said eggs are just for breakfast? Try a delightful twist on the classic omelet with our Air Fried Omelette Loaded Potato. This recipe combines the goodness of baked Russet potatoes, fluffy eggs, and a medley of fresh ingredients, creating a delightful potato bowl packed with deliciousness.

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Keep dinner simple with an easy sheet pan meal. Try this combination of tender halibut filets, lemony crust, and perfectly roasted asparagus, all cooked to perfection on a single sheet pan.

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Try the comforting flavors of our Meatloaf & Mash – a hearty and wholesome dish that brings together tender ground turkey meat loaf and creamy cauliflower mash. This healthy twist on a family classic lets you enjoy a full belly of comfort food guilt-free. Just use these ingredients and follow traditional cooking instructions for Meatloaf & Mash for a quick and easy meal the whole family will enjoy.

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As the colder weather approaches, this soup becomes the perfect go-to for its soul-soothing goodness, reminiscent of the cherished memories of homemade chicken soup. In our version, we’ve embraced the creativity in the kitchen by replacing traditional cow’s milk with almond milk and all-purpose flour with oat flour, making it a nourishing and dietary-friendly choice for everyone to enjoy.

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This recipe takes the beloved stuffed pasta shells and adds a healthy twist, making it a delightful and nutritious meal. Instead of the typical heavy and calorie-laden ingredients, we’ve made mindful choices to create a healthier version without sacrificing taste. Whether you’re hosting a family gathering or simply treating yourself to a comforting dinner, this recipe is the perfect choice.

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This delightful recipe will warm your soul and satisfy your taste buds in just a fraction of the time it takes to prepare traditional pho. With a blend of aromatic spices and fragrant herbs, this pho soup bursts with exquisite flavors that will transport you to the bustling streets of Vietnam. The secret lies in the carefully chosen spices, such as coriander seeds, cloves, cardamom pods, star anise, and cinnamon sticks, which infuse the broth with their rich essence. So, whether you’re craving comfort on a chilly day or seeking a delightful culinary adventure, this recipe promises a delicious and satisfying experience.

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Taste the heartwarming flavors of the Mediterranean with this Quick Chicken Chickpea Soup, a delightful and nutritious dish perfect for a nourishing meal any time of the day. Inspired by the famed Mediterranean diet, this recipe combines the goodness of rotisserie chicken, chickpeas, and an array of vibrant vegetables and spices. Within minutes, you’ll have a nourishing and flavorsome Quick Chicken Chickpea Soup ready to serve. Whether enjoyed as a comforting lunch or a hearty dinner, this Mediterranean-inspired dish is sure to become a regular on your menu.

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This hearty dish combines tender red potatoes, succulent center-cut salmon, and vibrant green peas, all enveloped in a creamy and cheesy blend that will leave your taste buds craving for more. This recipe takes your weeknight meal and turns it into a luxurious experience – think melted gouda 🤤 – without adding any extra work than a typical weeknight dish.

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Treat your taste buds to a burst of Mexican-inspired flavors with this Fried Rice recipe. Packed with vibrant ingredients, this dish takes traditional fried rice to a whole new level with the zesty and spicy essence of Mexican cuisine. To elevate the dish further, toss in some fresh chopped cilantro for a burst of freshness and color. This scrumptious Fried Rice brings together the best of Mexican and Asian cuisines, offering a truly delightful and satisfying meal.

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These scrumptious Stuffed Tomatoes offer a different take on the more familiar stuffed peppers. They feature a delicious combination of lean ground beef and lamb, along with plenty of aromatic seasonings. With a blend of Mediterranean flavors, these Stuffed Tomatoes will transport you to the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean with each heavenly bite.

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This White Chicken Chili is the perfect make-ahead meal prep option, allowing you to enjoy its delectable flavors throughout the week. Bursting with tender and flavorful rotisserie chicken, cannellini beans, and aromatic spices, this hearty chili will warm your soul and satisfy your taste buds. Serve the White Chicken Chili by itself for a comforting and filling meal, or pair it with brown rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa for a nutritious feast.

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Introducing the Ultimate Texas Brunch Casserole, a hearty and flavor-packed dish that brings the spirit of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders to your brunch table. This delightful casserole is perfect for feeding a crowd, making it an excellent choice for your weeknight crew. Breakfast for dinner is sure to be a hit. And this meal is quick and easy to whip up, making it a favorite for the cook as well.

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BBQ Pulled Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato combines the rich flavors of tender pulled chicken with the natural sweetness of roasted sweet potatoes. This Instant Pot recipe allows you to effortlessly create a mouthwatering meal that will please your taste buds and leave you feeling fully nourished. To complement the flavors and add a refreshing touch, serve the stuffed sweet potato alongside a side salad or add diced pickles for a tangy twist.

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This guilt-free and flavor-packed dish satisfies your cravings for creamy Alfredo sauce without the heavy calories. With a creamy cauliflower-based Alfredo sauce, chicken or Portobello mushrooms, and fresh asparagus, this dish is a delightful and nourishing choice for any mealtime.

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This colorful and yummy dish brings the flavors of ratatouille and the comfort of spaghetti into one delightful meal. With a hearty meat sauce and a medley of vibrant vegetables, this recipe offers a wholesome and satisfying option for lunch or dinner.

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This slow-cooked chicken casserole is not only yummy but also packed with nutrients, making it a perfect option for a balanced and satisfying meal. Enjoy the goodness of chicken, broccoli, and brown rice for the perfect family-friendly weeknight dish.

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final meal

Ground turkey meal prep gives you instant access to three different tasty burritos. With simple and easy-to-follow recipes, you can whip up these burritos in no time, adding variety and excitement to your weekly meal rotation. Whether you’re looking for a zesty and tangy Asian twist, a bold Cajun kick, or a classic Tex-Mex fiesta, these burritos are sure to be a hit with your taste buds. So, get ready to elevate your meal prep game with these irresistible ground turkey burritos.

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AIR-FRIED-HERB-CHICKEN

This recipe takes the classic fried chicken dish to new heights with a medley of flavorful spices like thyme, cumin, and oregano. The result is a tender, juicy, and herb-coated chicken that will have your taste buds dancing with joy. Not only is this dish incredibly delicious, but it’s also a healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken, thanks to the air fryer magic.

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This grain bowl is a delightful fiesta for your taste buds with a medley of perfectly cooked quinoa, hearty black beans, diced peppers, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy arugula. The star of this show is the tangy dressing! With a tantalizing blend of green chilis, lime juice, and zesty lime zest, it adds a burst of freshness that will leave you craving for more. So, whether you’re meal prepping for the week or looking to treat yourself to a flavorsome lunch, this grain bowl is your perfect companion. Don’t forget to top it off with protein-packed pepitas for that extra crunch!

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Whether you’re seeking a soul-soothing meal or a healthy option for your weekday lunch, this soup is the answer to your cravings. Enjoy the traditional flavors of chicken and rice soup, now with a lighter twist. Double the recipe and freeze half for an easy meal next month.

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Indulge in the sensational flavors of our No Sugar Added Lighter Orange Chicken – a guilt-free twist on the classic favorite! With tender, bite-sized pieces of chicken, crispy panko coating, and a luscious orange sauce, this recipe promises to delight. Say goodbye to heavy, sugar-laden takeout, and say hello to a healthier, homemade alternative that will leave you satisfied and wanting more.

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Straight from the kitchen of Momma’s magic –get ready to experience a dish that’s made with love and packed with flavors that will transport you straight back to your childhood. Add a medley of zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper on the side and you’ll have the perfect meal for either dinner or meal prep.

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Made with love and carefully selected ingredients, this stew is a true celebration of simple and rustic cooking. The fire-roasted diced tomatoes and creamy white beans bring a burst of rich and robust flavors, perfectly complementing the earthy notes of the uncooked farro. The stew’s heartiness is enough to satisfy any appetite, yet its lightness leaves you feeling energized and content.

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Get ready to experience a burst of fresh and zesty flavors with our Lemon Tarragon Chicken! Chicken thighs come to life with the vibrant taste of lemon zest and fresh tarragon. Pair this chicken with a fragrant jasmine rice, kissed with the flavors of lemongrass herbal tea and lemon zest. And together, this duo is perfect for a side of roasted veggies. You’ll love this explosion of citrusy and herby goodness.

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Take your stir-fry game to a whole new level with Brussels sprouts, red bell pepper, radish, red onion, and baby carrots. But what truly sets this stir-fry apart is the sensational glaze that elevates the umami experience. A flavorful combination of miso paste, reduced sodium tamari, maple syrup, and sesame oil comes together to create a sweet and savory symphony that coats every veggie with irresistible goodness.

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This delightful Panera Copycat recipe brings all the cozy flavors you love right to your table. Creamy, cheesy, and brimming with wholesome goodness, this hearty soup is sure to become a new family favorite.

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Looking for a delicious and budget-friendly meal that the whole family will love? Look no further than our Broccoli & Cheese Tuna Casserole! This dish brings together the goodness of brown rice, tuna, and a creamy cheesy sauce. Your kids won’t even mind the veggies covered in sauce.

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This hearty and satisfying dish features a filling packed with meatless crumbles, black lentils, and a medley of veggies. It’s topped with cauliflower whipped with vegan butter and nutritional yeast for a creamy and flavorful finish. This plant-based recipe is sure to win the hearts of vegans and non-vegans alike.

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Start by roasting eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper, and onion. Once perfectly tender and seared, combine them with chickpea penne, creating a gluten-free pasta masterpiece. The roasted vegetables add a delightful smokiness, while the chickpea penne offers a satisfying and protein-rich twist on traditional pasta.

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With just a handful of ingredients, you can create a weeknight dish that everyone will enjoy. The combination of miso paste and ginger adds a depth of umami and a hint of spice. Plus, this versatile recipe can be easily customized by swapping chicken for tofu to cater to all dietary preferences.

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Check out Fit Men Cook for back-to-school lunch ideas, meal prep tips, and more!

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About Kevin - author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hey, I'm Kevin

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.

By experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my meals on Tumblr, I learned healthy eating is not boring! By making a few adjustments to my favorite foods, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my wellness goals while satisfying my desire for BANGIN food! 😅 Now I try to help people around the world realize that same level of freedom in eating regardless of budget. Welcome, let's #DemocratizeWellness together!