Janet's Notebook
Janet's Notebook: Easy Back-to-School Dinners


Easy Cheesy Mexican Stuffed Shells


Until you get in the groove, back-to-school time is chaotic. I remember those days of parent-teacher conferences, sports practice, loads of homework, etc. On those nights, getting a meal on the table is not an easy feat. That's when having a few easy dinner recipes in your recipe box is key.

Instead of picking up the phone and calling your local pizza parlor, try Jennifer Bass' (Richmond, KY) Farmer's Market Style Personal Pizza when you have an urge.

"We love fresh vegetables almost as much as we love pizza," explains Jennifer. "For a healthier pizza rather than delivery, we make personal sized pizzas and top them with our favorite ingredients."

Not only are these individual pizzas fun to make, but they are tasty too. The garden veggies are fresh and delicious and the bacon on top gives you that nice smoky flavor. It's a recipe kid's can help prepare which is always fun.

If your family loves BBQ and bacon (and who doesn't) they will love this Bacon BBQ Grilled Cheese Sandwich. It's one of Christine Schnepp's (Sarasota, FL) husband's favorite sandwiches.

The sweetness of the BBQ sauce and the savory bacon go really well together. Smoked provolone is a great addition. This is a quick, easy, and yummy dinner. A nice change from a plain grilled cheese.

"Great for kids," is how Penny R. (Atoka, TN) describes her Chili Dog Casserole recipe. "This basic dish can be altered to add any ingredients you like," she goes on to say. With four ingredients (that you already may have in your fridge), this simple casserole is a kid favorite. It's prepped in five minutes and on the table in 20. It doesn't get much easier than that.

Jennifer J. (Seattle, WA) puts a Mexican twist on stuffed shells with her Easy Mexican Stuffed Shells recipe. "My kids love these stuffed shells," shares Jennifer. Filled with cheese, what's not to love?

This is cheesy meaty goodness stuffed inside these jumbo shells bursting with Mexican flavors. It is just the right about of cheese. The taco sauce and salsa are perfect for baking the shells and adds so much flavor. This is a fairly quick dish to throw together that the whole family will love.

A slow cooker can be your best friend on a busy day. Prepping dinner before the craziness begins helps alleviate the "what's for dinner?" dilemma. A fantastic recipe is Teresa Carter's (Harlan, KY) Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches.

"These sandwiches are SO easy and delicious," says Teresa. "We have them at least once a week. The kids LOVE them and so do I." These sandwiches couldn't be any easier to prepare and when complete is a filling meal.

The meat comes out of the slow cooker so tender. Placed onto French bread, topped with melted provolone and flavorful au jus for dipping the whole thing is over the top delicious. And, really, what kid doesn't love to dip their food.

These easy meals are so good, your family will be asking for them year around. If you need more dinner ideas, we have a collection of back-to-school recipes to add to your menu. Happy Pinching!



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