Meal-Prep Tips for a Manageable Back-to-School Menu

The hustle and bustle of back-to-school season can cause chaos in households. Class time, field trips and homework typically rule each day, which can make sitting down for a meal seem like a far-off dream. One easy way to save time is simplifying family recipes and prioritizing meal-planning.

Consider these meal-planning tips from the experts at Healthy Family Project, whose partners are donating $16,000 to the Foundation for Fresh Produce to support children’s accessibility to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Choose the meals you plan to make for the week. Cut down on prep time by planning dishes with overlapping ingredients then write out a grocery list to keep from overbuying. Recipes like this Southwest Quiche Muffins Bento Box that include a brief list of widely used ingredients can help you avoid buying items you may only use once.

Stock the kitchen with ingredients your family often uses. Ensure you have the spices, seasonings, condiments, sauces and canned foods to prepare favorite meals at a moment’s notice.

Save time by washing and prepping produce once each week. For example, if you’re using sweet peppers in these Mini Sweet Pepper Sheet Pan Nachos and again in another meal that week, prep all at once so they’re ready when it’s time to cook – just be sure to store in an airtight container.

Serve quick snacks that won’t spoil dinner. Kids often need a little fuel for homework, but complicated snacks can cut into already busy schedules. Keep ingredients on hand for simple options like trail mix, fruit parfaits and meat and cheese wraps.

Use kitchen tools that speed up the process. Pressure cookers and air fryers can help you put nutritious meals on the table faster while slow cookers let you prep in the morning and come home to a hot, delicious dinner.

Visit HealthyFamilyProject.com to find more back-to-school recipes.

Mini Sweet Pepper Sheet Pan Nachos

Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 8          ounces Pero Family Farms Mini Sweet Peppers, cut into chip shapes
  • 7          ounces tortilla chips
  • 1/2       cup sweet or red onion, diced.
  • 1/2       cup canned or fresh corn
  • 1/2       cup queso fresco cheese
  • 1/4       cup black olives
  • 1/4       cup jalapeno peppers, fresh sliced
  • 1/4       cup cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • 1          lime, cut into thin wedges, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place peppers and tortilla chips on sheet pan. Layer onion, corn, cheese, black olives and jalapeno peppers. Bake 3-5 minutes.
  3. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Southwest Quiche Muffins Bento Box

Recipe courtesy of Healthy Family Project
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 8          large eggs
  • 1/2       cup milk
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3/4       cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2       cup chopped Nature Fresh Farms Tomz tomatoes
  • 1/3       cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4       small RealSweet sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2       cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4       cup granola
  • 1/2       Zespri SunGold kiwi, chopped
  • 1          Bee Sweet Citrus mandarin, peeled and segmented
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. In large bowl, whisk eggs and milk.
  3. Coat 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or use silicone muffin liners. Evenly divide beans, tomatoes, cheese and onion among cups. Pour eggs over top.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until eggs are set and lightly browned.
  5. Remove from oven and cool in pan 2-3 minutes. Use knife to loosen edges and remove.
  6. In cup or bowl, mix yogurt, granola and kiwi.
  7. Assemble bento box with two quiche muffins, kiwi parfait and mandarin slices.


SOURCE:
Healthy Family Project (Family Features)

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