4 Easy Dinner Ideas for Busy School Nights

From dance classes and sports practices to clubs and lessons, kids’ schedules can become jam-packed during the school year. With numerous weeknight activities and events to juggle, it can be challenging for parents to get weeknight dinners on the table. When you’re pressed for time on those hectic weeknights, use these quick and easy ideas to whip up satisfying, stress-free family dinners.

  1. Depend on the Pantry

The refrigerator and pantry are the first places you’ll turn to for dinner ideas after a long, busy day. No matter what ingredients you find, get creative with combining kitchen staples and use dressings and seasonings to elevate simple ingredients. If you have salad greens or vegetables, toss them with quick-cooking whole grains, whole-grain pasta or make a salad with fruits, vegetables and your favorite dressing. If canned beans, vegetables and tuna are stocked in your pantry, combine them to create a convenient, nutritious, affordable meal that requires little to no prep.

  1. Rotisserie Chicken to the Rescue

Rotisserie chicken is recipe-ready and helps get protein-packed meals on the table in a flash. Use rotisserie chicken to top salads, pastas, whole grains, veggie noodles, and your favorite soups. You can also incorporate it into tacos, lettuce wraps, roll-ups and quesadillas for filling, flavorful meals. If you have time to plan ahead, try making these Asian Chicken-Jasmine Rice Bowls that feature rotisserie chicken as the main ingredient. Or, add it to this Power Boost Salad or simple Chicken & Mushroom Stir-Fry.

      3. Pizza Party

Ordering a pizza always sounds like a perfect solution at the end of a hectic day. Instead of takeout, stock the freezer with your favorite frozen pizza varieties and dress them up with fresh ingredients you have on-hand. Whether it’s peppers and mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach or even a fried egg, there are ways to add homemade touches to this fast family favorite. If you have pepperoni, olives, feta cheese and Italian seasoning in your kitchen, give this Pepperoni, Olive & Feta Pan Pizza recipe a try.

  1. Slow Cookers Save the Day

The slow cooker is an efficient cooking tool that helps transform simple ingredients into delicious, flavor-infused meals. A night or two before, decide on a meal you want to slow cook. Add the ingredients to the slow cooker before you leave in the morning, and let the magic happen! With minimal effort, you’ll have a mouthwatering meal ready for you when you get home. What’s more? Slow cookers are easy to cleanup; consider picking up some slow cooker liners to make the cleanup even more efficient. For a fun, fall-inspired meal, try our Slow Cooker Carne Asada Cubed Steak Chili recipe.

No matter what the schedule looks like for the week ahead, keep these valuable tips in mind to create weeknight dinners that are quick, effortless and satisfy the whole family.