15 Easy Weeknight Dinners for Back to School Season

Life is filled with stressors during back-to-school season, but dinner should not be one of them.

With the planning and changing routines that come with the kids being back in school, it can feel impossible to find time to get dinner on the table, let alone enjoy it. Dinner should be a time where you can spend quality time with your family without having to spend hours shopping and cooking first. That is why we are providing you with a list of 15 easy weeknight dinners that cook in under 30 minutes. Make your time around the dinner table this school year delicious and stress-free with these innovative and effortless recipes the entire family will love. Don’t forget to place a September Dream Dinners order to stock your freezer with our easy weeknight dinners.  

1. Sirloin Stroganoff Over Egg Noodles

This brand-new family-approved dish is the perfect weeknight dinner for when you do not have a lot of time but have many hungry mouths to feed. Sirloin strips are cooked in a classic mushroom sauce and served over egg noodles.  

Instructions: 

Thaw in the refrigerator. 

1. Bring a large, covered pot of water to a boil, add noodles and cook for 6-7 min. Drain and set aside 

2. Preheat a large sauté pan over med-high heat and add 1 Tbsp. Of oil to pan. Add sliced sirloin to pan and break apart with a spatula; cook for 2-3 min. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

3.Remove sirloin from pan and set aside. Discard excess liquid. To the same pan, add mushroom mix and 1/2 cup of water, stirring to combine. Cook for 5-7 min. or until sauce has thickened. 

4.Return sirloin to mushroom sauce and cook 1 additional min. 

5. Meanwhile, place sour cream mixture in a bowl and add several Spoonfuls of sauce to sour cream mixture. Whisk thoroughly to combine. 

6. Remove pan from heat and add entire sour cream mixture to the pan and stir to combine. 

7. To serve: Place egg noodles in the bottom of the bowl and spoon sirloin and sauce over the top. 

Prep time: 25-30 min. 

2. Sweet Cider BBQ Chicken

This guest’s favorite is a great weeknight dinner for when the football game is on! Throw our Sweet Cider BBQ Chicken on the grill, and it will be ready in less than 30 minutes. This dish consists of tender chicken breasts in a cider herb marinade and is finished with a Dream Dinners’ special cider BBQ sauce. Bonus points for this meal because it is under 400 calories! If you are watching your weight, this is a low-calorie meal the kids will love as much as you do.  

Instructions: 

Thaw in the refrigerator. 

STOVETOP: 

1. Heat a large sauté pan with 1 Tbsp. Olive oil over med. Heat. 

2. With tongs, remove chicken from marinade and brown chicken for 4-5 min. Per side. Discard marinade.  

3. Add BBQ sauce, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, 5-6 min. (Internal temp 165°F).  

GRILL: 

1. Heat grill to med-high. 

2. With tongs, remove chicken from marinade, brush chicken with BBQ sauce, and grill on med-high for 5 -7 min, per side. (Internal temp 165°F). 

3. Bring remaining BBQ sauce to boil and simmer for 3-4 min. Serve with chicken. 

Prep time: 20-25 Mins.

3. Louisiana Po Boy Sandwiches

Travel to Louisiana without leaving your home with our famous Louisiana Po Boy Sandwiches. Marinated shrimp tossed in smoky cornmeal, baked and sandwiched in a French roll with a remoulade sauce. With a total prep time of only 10-15 minutes, this is an easy weeknight dinner you don’t want to pass up. 

Instructions: 

Thaw in refrigerator. 

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In preheating oven, place a baking sheet to become hot. 

2. Remove shrimp from marinade and place directly into seasoned cornmeal bag, seal, and shake. Discard marinade. 

3. Carefully remove heated baking sheet from oven and spray thoroughly with nonstick spray. Place shrimp on a baking sheet. Spray top of shrimp with nonstick spray. Bake 5-7 min., flipping shrimp halfway through, and bake until golden brown and crispy. 

4. Meanwhile, open French rolls and place in oven to toast until golden, 2-3 min.  

5.Remove remoulade sauce from bag and place in bowl. Add the desired amount of hot sauce from the portion cup (Hot-entire contents, Med-half, Kid Friendly-none) and stir to combine, set aside. 

6. To assemble: Slather bottom half of roll with remoulade sauce. Evenly distribute shrimp on top of sauce. Slather top half of roll with remoulade and close sandwich. Enjoy! 

 Prep time: 10-15 min. 

4. Fully Loaded Chicken and Potato Soup

This easy crockpot dinner will be a favorite amongst the kids. Throw our Fully Loaded Chicken and Potato Soup in the crockpot in the morning and have it ready for dinner with no effort at all. This creamy soup contains tender chunks of chicken and potatoes and is topped with bacon and cheese.  

Instructions: 

Thaw in refrigerator. 

1. In a large pot over med-high heat, cook bacon until crispy. Set aside in a paper towel-lined small bowl. 

2. Add contents of potato soup bag to same pot and whisk to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low 4-5 min.  

3. Add chicken and potato mix. Simmer an additional 4-5 min, stirring occasionally. 

4. Ladle soup into bowls, then top with cheese, green onions, and bacon. 

CROCKPOT 

1.Add contents of potato soup bag to crockpot and stir to thoroughly combine. 

2.Add chicken and potato mix. Cover and set crockpot on low for 6-8 hours. 

3.10 min before serving, cook bacon over med heat in a medium pot for 2-3 min until bacon crisps. Set aside in a paper towel-lined small bowl. 

4. Ladle soup into bowls, then top with cheese, green onions, and bacon. 

Prep time: 25-30 min. 

5. Blackened Cod Fish Tacos with Lime Crema Slaw 

Throw our Blackened Cod Fish Tacos with Lime Crema Slaw on the grill for an easy weeknight dinner on that patio that will be ready in under 30 minutes. Flaky spiced-rubbed cod with bright cabbage slaw, honey-lime crema, and a warm corn tortilla. Taco Tuesday has never tasted better. 

Instructions: 

Thaw in refrigerator. 

1.Remove cod from bag and pat dry. Add desired amount of cayenne pepper to spice rub. Generously coat cod fillets in spice rub on both sides.  

2. STOVETOP: Heat 1 Tbsp oil in sauté pan over med-high heat. Add fillets to the hot pan. Cook fish for 3-4 min. On all sides or until flaky and cooked through. Remove from pan. 

2.GRILL: Preheat grill to med-high heat. Place seasoned fillets on foil and transfer to grill. Close grill lid and allow to cook for 6-8 min. Fillets should be flaky and cooked through. 

3. TORTILLAS: In the microwave, place stacked tortillas on a plate and microwave in 30-second bursts until heated. 

TO ASSEMBLE TACOS: 

4.Divide cooked fish onto heated corn tortillas, about 1/2 fillet per tortilla. Top tacos with dressed cabbage slaw and drizzle of honey-lime crema. 

Prep time: 10-15 min 

6. Southwest Steaks with Ancho Butter

The global flavors found in our Southwest Steaks with Ancho Butter will impress the entire family. Cook this dish for a fancy weeknight dinner that doesn’t require hours in the kitchen. Tender steaks in an ancho chili marinade are topped with seasoned butter and finished with crispy french fried onions. 

Instructions: 

Thaw in refrigerator. 

1.Preheat broiler or grill to med-high heat. Remove steaks from marinade. 

2.Grill or broil on med-high to desired temperature for doneness: 

NOTE: Shape and thickness of steaks may vary. Adjust cooking times accordingly: add time for thicker steaks. 

125°F for rare (about 5-6 min. per side) 

135°F for medium-rare (about 6-7 min. per side) 

145°F for medium (about 7-8 min. per side) 

155°F for well done (about 8-10 min. per side) 

3. Remove from heat, let rest 5 min., and serve. 

4. Place steaks on a serving platter. Top steaks equally with chili butter and French fried onions. Serve. 

Prep time: 15-20 min. 

7. Sage and Mozzarella Chicken over Creamy Polenta

Chicken breasts baked with sage and garlic are topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and served over creamy polenta. This dinner is perfect for any busy weeknight where you don’t have much time but still want a delicious meal. Ready in under 30 minutes, the family will think you spent a lifetime in the kitchen preparing this dish.  

Instructions: 

Thaw in refrigerator.  

1. Bring 2 ¼ cups of water to boil in a large saucepot.  

2.Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Preheat a medium sauté pan over med-high heat, add 1 Tbsp,. Of oil and brown chicken breasts 5-6 min. On one side.  

3. Flip chicken and dot each breast with half butter mixture (NOTE-if spice is a concern; compound butter can be added on the side when the dish is complete). Reserve the remaining butter for polenta.  

4.Cook for 5-6 min. Reduce heat to low and top each breast with 1 slice of mozzarella. Cover with lid to allow cheese to melt.  

5. When water is boiling, gradually sprinkle in polenta, stirring constantly. Lower heat, simmer and stir until thickened (3-4 min.). Add a bag of half & half and cheese to polenta and stir until cheese is melted. Before serving, remove the polenta from heat and add remaining butter, stirring to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.  

6. To serve, spoon polenta into a shallow bowl, top with chicken, and enjoy! 

Prep time: 20-25 min. 

8. Thai Coconut Shrimp over Jasmine Rice

Another easy weeknight dinner with some global flavor, these flavorful shrimps are cooked in a velvety coconut sauce and served over Jasmine rice.  

Instructions: 

Thaw in refrigerator. 

1. In saucepan, add rice and 1 1/8 cups water. Bring to boil, stir once, cover and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes. Fluff with fork. 

2.Meanwhile, drain and rinse shrimp. 

3. Over medium heat in a medium saucepan, add a bag of Thai coconut sauce, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes to thicken. 

4. Add shrimp and gently simmer until the shrimp is pink and thoroughly cooked (internal temp 140°F), 4-6 minutes.  

5. Serve Thai Coconut Shrimp over jasmine rice. 

Prep time: 25-30 min. 

9. Chicken and Pasta with Lemon & Artichoke Sauce

This easy and classic dish will have every belly at the dinner table happy and full! Natural chicken breasts are lightly coated in a parmesan crust and served with a light, fresh lemon Alfredo sauce, and cavatappi pasta.  

Instructions: 

Thaw in refrigerator. 

1.Fill large covered pot 3/4 full with hot water. Add 1 tsp. Salt and cover with lid. Bring to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook 10-12 min. or until desired tenderness. Drain, return to pot, and add alfredo sauce mix to pasta. Cook on low for 5 min. Remove from heat and keep warm. 

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F, spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. 

3.Using two-thirds of breading, make three piles onto baking sheet. Remove chicken from bag and press chicken into breading to coat both sides. 

4. Sprinkle with remaining breading, and for a crispy golden crust, spray tops of chicken with nonstick cooking spray. 

5.Bake for 12-15 min. (Internal temp. 165°F). 

6.Serve chicken with lemon and artichoke pasta. 

Prep time: 20-25 min. 

10. Firehouse Three Cheese Pasta with Meatballs

The following three dishes on our list cook from frozen, making easy peasy lemon squeezy for your weeknight dinners. Order off our menu, and we provide you with the foil pan and all! All you have to do is throw it in the oven for a delicious, easy dinner the entire family will love (even the picky eaters!). Our Firehouse Three Cheese Pasta with Meatballs includes penne pasta tossed in marinara sauce with meatballs and ricotta cheese. 

Instructions: 

THAWED: 

1.Preheat oven to 375°F.  

2.Remove lid and discard. Sprinkle desired amount of red pepper flakes on top of pasta. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray and tightly cover the pan. Cook on middle rack of oven for 40-45 min. 

3. Remove foil and place it on the top rack of the oven. Cook for 7-10 min. Until golden and cheese is bubbly. 

FROZEN: 

1.Preheat oven to 375°F.  

2.Remove lid and discard. Sprinkle desired amount of red pepper flakes on top of pasta. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray and tightly cover the pan. Cook covered on middle rack of oven for 55-60 min. 

3. Remove foil and place on the top rack of the oven; cook for 7-10 min, until golden and bubbly. 

Prep time: 50-55 min. 

11. Southwest Pulled Pork with Confetti Cornbread

This dreamy dinner is perfect for tailgating this football season! Layers of pulled pork, black beans, corn, and colorful confetti cornbread are topped with cheese and baked in a pan to perfection. 

Instructions: 

Thaw in refrigerator or cook from frozen. 

THAWED: 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 

2.Remove lid and discard.  

3.Bake 40-45 min. Until a toothpick inserted into cornbread comes out clean. 

FROZEN: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Remove lid and discard. Cover pan with foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

3.Bake for 1 hour 15 min. 

4.Uncover and bake an additional 25-30 min. Until a toothpick inserted into cornbread comes out clean. 

Prep time: 45-50 min. 

12. Pesto Chicken Lasagna

This brand-new Dream Dinners dish is a favorite amongst our tiny customers! The kids will love this one as much as the adults. Pillowy layers of diced chicken, a duo of Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and a creamy pesto sauce make this the perfect comfort lasagna.  

Instructions: 

Thaw in refrigerator or bake from frozen. 

Preheat oven to 375°F.  

THAWED 

1.Remove lid and discard. Cover pan with foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and bake covered for 45-55 min. 

2.Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 min. Until golden brown and bubbly. 

3.Let rest 5 min. Before serving. 

FROZEN: 

1.Remove lid and discard. Cover pan with foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and bake covered, for 1 hr. 15 min. 

2.Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 min. Until golden brown and bubbly. 

3.Let rest 5 min. Before serving. 

Prep time: 60-75 min. 

13. Mexican Pizza

This dish is great to cook as an appetizer to one of the above dinners or serve as dinner itself! It’s a quick 10-minute recipe from the soccer mom blog that is perfect for picky eaters in the family. Bring the kids to the kitchen to help with this quick and easy recipe. Head to The Soccer Mom Blog to get the complete cooking instructions with step-by-step photos! 

Ingredients: 

  1. Ground beef — cooked and drained 
  2. Taco seasoning — We love Old El Paso Original Taco Seasoning, which comes in convenient  1-ounce packets. 
  3. Flour tortillas — Grande or burrito size 
  4. Refried beans — Warmed.
  5. Old El Paso Shredded Cheese (Mexican Style Taco Blend) — A delicious blend of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses with taco seasonings adds so much flavor to our taco pizza (or any recipe!) 
  6. Red enchilada sauce 
  7. Tomatoes — Chopped or diced 
  8. Cilantro & sour cream — Or any of your favorite taco toppings

14. Salmon Nuggets

These gluten-free salmon nuggets from My Kids Will Lick The Bowl are an easy family dinner idea the kids will love. Another reason this dish is excellent? It’s a fun way to feed the kids salmon, which is packed with health benefits. Stacey’s tasty recipe only includes three gluten-free ingredients and is extremely easy to bake. Head to her blog for the complete cooking instructions and ingredients list! 

15. Family Pizza Party

Order our Family Pizza and Game Night off the September Menu and receive a FREE game! This is a fun and easy weeknight dinner perfect for a weeknight that you want to spend quality time with the family. Your family will have fun customizing individual pizzas while making memories around a family-friendly game. Head to our blog for instructions on how to play the fun Left Right Center game that comes free when you order Family Pizza and Game Night on our September Menu. Post a photo of your family enjoying your pizza night, tag Dream Dinners, and be entered to win a $50 gift card and the game Ticket to Ride! Winner will be announced in mid-October.

Instructions: 

Thaw in refrigerator. 

Makes 2 pizzas (1 dough round each). 

1.Preheat oven to 450°F. Place thawed dough on floured cutting board, roll dough to cover with flour, let rest 10-15 min. 

2. Flatten dough round and roll with a rolling pin to form a 10-12″ circle. 

3.Place dough on sprayed baking sheet. Pinch edges of pizza dough over to form a crust. 

4.Spread pizza sauce to cover dough. 

5. add toppings and cheese. 

6.Bake for 15-20 min, until golden brown. 

7. Enjoy your Dream Dinners Family Game Night! 

Prep time: 20-30 min. 

 

We hope this school year will be a breeze with these easy weeknight dinners the entire family will love. Make sure to place your Dream Dinners order so your meal prepping is done for the month without any effort at all.

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