When I was a kid, the first day of school was always pretty exciting. My friends and I would figure out what we were going to wear – typically a new outfit saved just for the occasion – and plan to meet at least an hour before the first bell so that we could claim lockers all in a row. Bagging the best lockers was a strategic process. First, we’d talk through the prime location, ranking the top three. As soon as we reached the best location, we slapped our combination locks on a group of six lockers before anyone else could descend on the area. Mission accomplished.
Both of my boys are in middle school this year (ack!) and the process is a heck of a lot more boring for them. Lockers are assigned and posted on each person’s private account on the school district website. Not only do they miss out on the plotting and planning inherent with “locker takeover”, but they typically end up far away from their friends. Where’s the fun in that?!
While they’re talking about lockers, friends and classes, my attention is focused on getting back into a routine. Waking up early, homework in the backpacks, breakfast in the bellies, school dropoff and pickup, homework, activities, lunches packed. Lather, rinse, repeat.
It always takes a couple of weeks of growing pains before we have the routine down to a science. It’s hard to leave summer behind and jump back into the reality of the school year! For me, the most challenging part is getting a healthy meal on the table on time, without breaking the bank and without boring my family with the same meals week in and week out.
As a food blogger, it seems that I would have a huge variety of meals “at the ready” because I’m always making something new for the blog. But on those days when I’m not cooking for the blog, I just want something easy. And easy usually means something that I’ve made 4057 times before. There’s comfort in familiar meals but, man, things need a little spicing up around here sometimes.
So, here are my favorite healthy school night recipes, the ones that I’ve made 4057 times. They are tried and true, tested recipes and are adored by my family (as long as I don’t overdo it). Hopefully your family loves them just as much as we do!