15 Quick Back-To-School Dinner Recipes

Quick weeknight dinner recipes with twists on kid-approved classics.

Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Photo: Greg DuPree

Back-to-school season is already a hassle, so we rounded up some kid-friendly recipes to help with meal prep. These quick back-to-school dinners will keep the entire family happy with delicious classics like grilled cheese, tomato soup, or shrimp fried rice

We've even included a few recipes with clever twists to please the grown-up palate, like our Sheet Pan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. Whatever your schedule is like, these quick back-to-school dinners can be ready in an hour or less. We've got your weeknight dinner menu covered with these quick recipes.

01 of 15

Chicken and Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings

Chicken and Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Move over chicken noodle soup. There's a new recipe in town. This dish will be your favorite go-to dinner with only 40 minutes of prep and cooking time.

02 of 15

Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice
Greg DuPree

Fresh green beans and shrimp combine for an easy weeknight dish. Store the leftovers in the fridge for a quick lunch later on. This skillet dish comes together in 30 minutes.

03 of 15

Grilled Chicken Tacos

Grilled Chicken Tacos
Wynn Myers; Prop Styling: Lauren Smith Ford

Here's a delicious (and healthy) change of pace from the usual ground beef tacos. Let the slow cooker do the work, and have enough chicken for leftovers. Leave out the chipotle chile in the adobo sauce if you prefer.

04 of 15

Pizza Spaghetti Casserole

Pizza Spaghetti Casserole
Beth Dreiling; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey

Your kids will love this combo dish of their two favorite meals, and you'll love that you can make it ahead and store it until it's time to dig in. This dish will be your new go-to weekday meal with only seven ingredients. Turkey pepperoni helps avoid a greasy appearance.

05 of 15

Chicken Fingers Coated With Cheesy Snack Crackers

Chicken Fingers Coated with Cheesy Snack Crackers
Sheri Castle

You probably already have the ingredients for this recipe in your kitchen. After just 15 minutes in the oven, these chicken fingers are golden and delicious. Pro Tip: Let them cool for five minutes before serving.

06 of 15

Quick BBQ Chicken Pizzas

Quick BBQ Chicken Pizzas
Jason Wallis; Styling: Cindy Barr

Pizza is always a family-favorite dish. Why not step it up a notch with sautéed veggies and BBQ chicken? Bake them on the oven rack for a quicker cook time.

07 of 15

Buttermilk Chicken and Waffles

Buttermilk Chicken and Waffles
Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia Degaris Pursell

If your kids like breakfast, they'll love this twist on waffles for dinner. These bite-sized chicken and waffles are easy to prepare when craving something sweet and salty. Top with a Peach-Horseradish Maple Syrup.

08 of 15

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Ham-And-Cheese Sliders
Photography and Styling: Karen Rankin

Ham and Cheese Sliders are a classic dish for any day of the week. Baking these sandwiches in one pan makes cleanup a breeze. Pair with a side of veggies for a simple weeknight dinner.

09 of 15

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup Image
Southern Living

Your kids won't even know they're eating veggies in this warm, creamy Broccoli-Cheddar Soup. In 30 minutes, you'll have a velvety and smooth meal, ideal for chilly evenings. Top it off with some croutons for added crunch.

10 of 15

Classic Grilled Cheese

Classic Grilled Cheese
Stephen DeVries, Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Some nights call for the easiest of meals. Pair our Classic Grilled Cheese with the best tomato soup recipe for the ultimate comforting dinner.

11 of 15

Sheet Pan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Sheet Pan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

You can't beat a creamy mac and cheese recipe. This one even has a surprise ingredient: Butternut Squash. This recipe combines a classic comfort dish with fresh autumnal flavors.

12 of 15

Air Fryer Popcorn Shrimp

Air Fryer Popcorn Shrimp
Southern Living

Crispy, poppable, and ready in just 30 minutes. You'll never pan-fry shrimp again after trying this recipe. To avoid soggy fried shrimp, toss some breadcrumbs into the oil—this helps the shrimp get brown and crispy without steaming.

13 of 15

Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Greg DuPree

Consider this your healthier alternative to fast-food chicken tenders and fries. The best part? It's just as tasty. The secret is to marinate the chicken tenders (and any other vegetables to accompany them) in seasoned buttermilk.

14 of 15

Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas

Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas
Southern Living

Bite-sized and customizable, these Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas are a fun way to get the kids involved in the kitchen. Miniature tortilla boats leave plenty of space to fill with your favorite pizza toppings. Chopping the toppings into smaller pieces will help fit more into each muffin tin.

15 of 15

Sheet Pan Meatloaf

Sheet Pan Meatloaf
Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Loren Wood; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Start with a layer of panko crumbs on the bottom of the sheet pan. Next, evenly press the meatloaf mixture. Top with the brown sugar and ketchup mixture and bake.

Now that you have dinner covered, here are 23 Healthy School Lunch Ideas That Your Kids Will Love.

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