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Back to School Meal Plan – 7 Easy Recipes for Busy Nights

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In just a few short weeks, summer will be over and the hustle and bustle of back to school will begin. That means long days spent at school and short evenings at home. Then there’s homework and sports and activities that leave little time for anything else. Throw in my husband’s off the wall schedule and that leaves us with nights that are hectic to say the least. To help our nights run smoother, I find it easier to plan out our dinners for the week. That way I can focus on my oldest with his homework and not have to worry about what I’m making for dinner. With a meal plan in place, it allows me to know what I need to do ahead of time, either during the day when he’s at school or on Sunday when I’m getting things ready for the week. 

Growing up my parents and grandparents put a heavy emphasis on our education. My grandfather never finished school and he made it a priority that we did well in school and worked hard at our studies. My parents were brought up with the same mentality. My mom would spend hours after work sitting down with my sister and I practicing our flash cards or helping us with different assignments. Even when we wanted to stop and play or give up, she was there encouraging us along. There was no TV or playtime until our school work was completed.

My children’s education is equally as important and I try to instill in my oldest the same values my familia taught me growing up. One opportunity that I have thankfully been able to do is volunteer at his school. Growing up my parents worked hard and weren’t able to get time off like I have to attend school functions. My mom came to what she could but more often than not, it was usually after school functions that she attended. Even so she made sure to dedicate her nights and weekends to helping us with our schoolwork.

Whether I’m volunteering as room mom for his class or sending in extra supplies for the classroom, I enjoy doing what I can to help support his school and education. Even if you don’t have the time to commit to joining a committee or volunteering at events, there’s still something everyone can do. Like collect the Labels for Education found on the back of Campbell’s products.  These labels add up to money for participating schools to purchase equipment or supplies they need. Our Labels for Education program purchased all new playground balls and equipment for the kids one year.

Now back to my meal plan! I like to try and keep meals during the week to under 30 minutes. Depending on what I’m making, I may even do some prep work on Sunday which means I’ll only have to re-heat dinner and throw together a salad. These easy meals are delicious and can be made in under 30 minutes!

Stocking up on the essentials and having them on hand makes sticking to a meal plan easy. I’ll sit down before I head out to the store and plan our meals for the week so I know exactly what I’m going for.

Shopping List:

  • One Cooked Rotissiere Chicken (this can be your best friend on busy nights)
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 lb. thin sliced chicken breast
  • 1 package sausage links
  • Taco shells
  • Slider rolls
  • 1 box thin spaghetti
  • 1 box Penne Pasta
  • 1 box elbow noodles
  • 2 brick of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Bread
  • Swiss Cheese
  • 1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
  • 1 bag Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers
  • 1 cartoon Campbell’s Soups for Easy Cooking Mexican Tomato
  • 1 carton Swanson’s Chicken Broth

Sunday: Tacos
  • 2 lbs Ground Beef (Use one pound for Tacos & one for sloppy joes another night. Save time by cooking the same way)
  • Taco shells or mini shells like I used
  • lettuce
  • diced tomato
  • cheddar cheese
  • 1 carton Campbell’s Mexican Style Tomato Soups for Easy Cooking
Brown ground beef and drain. Return to pan and add 2 cups of the Mexican Style Tomato Soups for Easy Cooking. Set aside half of meat mixture for dinner tomorrow. 
Use remaining to assemble tacos. Top with lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese
Monday: Sloppy Joes
  • 1 lb ground beef cooked the night before
  • slider rolls
  • cheddar cheese
Re-heat ground beef and spoon onto slider rolls. Top with cheddar cheese and serve with a side salad. 

Tuesday: Baked Mac & Cheese

  • 1 box elbow noodles
  • 2 8 oz. bricks Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers

Cook noodles for about 8 minutes or until tender on the outside and still uncooked in the middle (they’ll cook more in the oven). Shred cheese and set aside. Grease bottom of 9 x 11 baking pan with butter and set aside. When noodles are done cooking, drain and return to pan. Mix in flour, cheddar cheese (minus 1/2 cup for topping) and mix well. Pour into pan and top with milk. In a food processor, crush Goldfish crackers and mix with remaining cheese. Top macaroni with Goldfish and cheese mix for a nice crunch topping. Bake for 30 minutes – 40 minutes. 

Wednesday: One Pot Lemon Chicken Pasta
  • Cooked Rotissiere Chicken
  • 1 lemon – 1/2 lemon zest and 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Cup fresh baby spinach chopped 
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 box thin spaghetti
  • 3 cups Swanson’s Chicken Broth
Add 3 cups of chicken broth to frying pan (make sure it has deep sides). Add in pasta, spinach, garlic, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 lemon zest. Cook until pasta is tender. Add Chicken once there is only a little juice remaining to heat it through. Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately. 
NOTE: If you prefer to use uncooked chicken, chop chicken into bite sized pieces. Cook in pan for 3 minutes on each side until almost cooked. Follow directions above. 

Thursday: Cheesy Chicken Nuggets

  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed Goldfish Crackers
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cut chicken into nugget sized pieces. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in frying pan. Dip chicken into eggs then into cracker/cheese mixture. Press down to coat al sides. Place in frying pan and cook 5-7 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked through. 

Serve with side salad and some BBQ sauce. 

Friday: Grilled Cheese Roll-Ups and Tomato Soup
  • 1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
  • Pepperridge Farm Whole Grain Bread
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Butter
Add 3 tablespoons of butter to pan and melt. Take one slice of bread and cut off crust. Using a rolling pin, roll out bread to flatten. Cut Swiss Cheese in half and place on bread. 
Roll up and place in frying pan turning to brown on all sides. Heat Campbell’s Tomato Soup in pan and serve with grilled cheese roll-ups for dipping. 

Saturday: Sausage and Penne Pasta.
Get the directions HERE for this recipe. Serve with an easy spinach salad made with baby spinach leaves and cherry tomatoes with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. 
You can easily follow this meal plan for a week or use any of these recipes to add to your existing meal plan to change things up. 

Since I save all my Campbell’s Labels for Education labels, I picked up a pretty jar to keep on my counter. This way I can easily snip the labels off the products as I use them and I have somewhere I can put them (and won’t forget). Then when the jar is filled, I just put them in an envelope for my son to take to school.

You can find Campbell’s Labels for Education points on over 2,500 of your favorite products from Walmart. Be sure to check out more participating products at I’d love to hear your favorite!

Don’t forget to enter the Grand Stand for Schools contest. Now through October 9, 2015 you can enter for your school’s chance to win one of 100 prizes of $10,000 being given away! 

CLICK HERE to enter the contest (English)

CLICK HERE to enter the contest (En Español)

Oriana from Mommyhood's Diary

Friday 7th of August 2015

The jar is a great idea to collect the label!! Thanks #client