Back to School Recipes

August 23, 2016 7:50 am

Photo courtesy of Laura Fuentes.

Before we know it, it will be all permission slips, homework, and chasing down the bus in the morning. The school year is almost upon us. As the days get shorter with the fall season, it always seems like it takes an extra hour along with it. Lunches are packed in a rush, those leisurely summer suppers turn into a rush to get dinner on the table, and shared family breakfasts are a thing of the past. Here are 12 time saving recipes to ease you back into the school schedule. From breakfast to dinner, you will be armed with swift and tasty recipes.

Breakfast

When struggling to herd the kiddos out the door on time, having a quick breakfast can be a lifesaver! These Perfect Breakfast Burritos which are made once and then stored in the freezer, come in clutch. Just a quick minute in the microwave stands between you and a nourishing breakfast.

Skip the tardy slip with these Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast Bars. These grab and go bars are filled with antioxidant rich blueberries, protein packed quinoa, and contain no refined sugar. Their portable bar shape makes it easy for kids to munch on while in the car on the way to school.

For an impressive, but easy breakfast, break out these Granola Cups for Hectic Mornings. Whip up these cute cups over the weekend and then just fill with yogurt and top with fruit. Voila, an instant breakfast that is sure to be a big hit.

Lunch

Keep the kids interested at lunchtime with these easy peasy Baked Ravioli. Not only are these bites a welcome change from the traditional sandwich, they are easy to boot. With just 30 minutes, you can have a batch cooked that will last all week.

Sandwiches are a lunchbox staple for a reason, but when the kids get tired of the same old, switch it up for Sandwich Sushi. Though this recipe uses the same basic ingredients as a regular sandwich, the new presentation is enough to fake out the kids and make them think it is a whole new meal.

If you have time on the weekends and love to cook, consider making these Healthy Homemade Hot Pockets. This recipe uses store bought pizza dough to save time, and the kids can customize the pockets with their favorite flavors. Store them in the freezer, and reheat as you would store bought Hot Pockets.

Snack

These Nut-Free Snack Balls are the solution to the afternoon snack dilemma. They are a great snack for nut-free schools. Plus, they are no-cook, no-bake, and can be whipped up in 10 minutes flat with only 6 ingredients, many of which are probably sitting in your pantry right now.

Now, these Whole Wheat Pretzel Bites do take more time and aren’t for the faint of heart, but can you just imagine your kids’ faces as they get to munch on soft pretzel bites for their afternoon snack? You get the satisfaction of knowing that these crowd pleasing bites are a nutritious option that will keep them satisfied until dinner.

If you ever have a surplus of bagels, not a lot of time, and the need for a homemade lunchbox snack, try making these Garlic Bagel Chips. They can be made ahead of time, ready and waiting, for when a snack attack hits.

Dinner

After the end of a long day, nothing tastes better than dinner. Correction: Nothing tastes better than a quick dinner. It is almost too hard to believe that these gourmet Loaded Greek Goodness Pita Chip Nachos are a quick and easy dinner, but they are warm and ready in just 30 minutes.

If I was challenged to make a from-scratch weeknight lasagna in 45 minutes, I would tell you it was impossible. Then I met this Easy Skillet Lasagna recipe. The whole thing gets cooked in one pan right on the stovetop. This recipe isn’t only fast, but having only one pan to clean after dinner, priceless.

These Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps prove that a small amount of time (25 minutes!) doesn’t have to equal a small amount of flavor. Store bought rotisserie chicken gets tossed with veggies and herbs for flavor and crunch and then slathered in a smooth and creamy peanut butter sauce. It is like bringing a restaurant meal right to your dinner table.

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Back to School Shopping

August 16, 2016 10:50 am

In just a few short weeks, the kids will be back in the classroom. Which means one thing… back to school shopping. There will be hunts to find the cutest notebook, quests for the perfect pencils, and searches for a superb lunch box. As the cart piles high with supplies, so can the dollar signs. Here are some deals and discount resources to stay on budget this back to school season.

PriceGrabber.com is a great resource for snagging supplies at the best possible price. On their website, you can search for items and the site will let you know which store has the best deal. They also have a mobile app to make on-the-go deal hunting a breeze.

The popular budgeting blog, Pocket Your Dollars, publishes a weekly article titled Back to School Supply Deals. It includes an up to date price comparison chart so that you can scope out the best deals on individual items. This list is updated weekly, so check back often for new deals.

There are also a number of military discounts that will come in clutch this season. Cross off items on your shopping list at Michael’s or CVS. Michael’s offers a 15% discount, and CVS, 20%. Both retailers offer this discount to active duty service members, dependents, retirees, veterans, and reservists.

If you need to purchase some electronics, Dell and Radio Shack offer 10% off to active duty service members.

Lastly, don’t forget about the Exchange price match policy. Both the Navy Exchange and the Marine Corps Exchange will match the regular shelf price or advertised price of a local competitor. So if you see something on sale, but would rather pick it up at the exchange, bring in the ad and cash in on that deal.

Know of any other discounts? Leave a comment to let us know!

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July Recipes

July 19, 2016 11:30 am

Photo courtesy of Get Inspired Every Day.

Mangos

A sweet, ripe, juicy mango might be the perfect summertime snack, but this tropical fruit can also be used to make everything from cake from curry. Or take this Sweet and Spicy Mango Salad Dressing, it is the perfect way to enjoy the sweet taste of mangos at nearly every meal. The mango pairs perfectly with the kick of heat from the chili. I suggest making a big batch and storing it in the fridge, that way it is available whenever a craving strikes.

For a quick summer-inspired lunch, try this Mango Chicken Salad Sandwich. This fun twist on the quintessential lunch favorite is as simple as combining pre-cooked chicken with mango and a quick homemade chicken salad dressing. And don’t you forget the buttery croissant that it gets served on. One bite and you are basically in the tropics.

This Summertime Mango Chicken Curry with Coconut Rice is a dish that can be on the table in 30 minutes. It is perfect for those nights when you want to spend the evening out on the patio, not slaving away in the kitchen. It strikes the perfect balance of sweet and savory and is light yet filling – summer food perfected.

Finish the slow summer evenings with this Moist Mango Pound Cake recipe. Enjoy a slice as is, or take this cake to the next level by topping it with slices strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream, and a scattering of powdered sugar.

Cucumber

Who doesn’t love cool, crisp, and refreshing cucumber on a warm day? Spiced shrimp top marinated cucumber slices in this quick weeknight-friendly recipe for Blackened Shrimp & Crispy Chilled Cucumbers. Start to finish, this dish only takes 30 minutes to prepare.

If you are looking for a filling – yet light – dinner, please whip up this Smoked Salmon and Farro Salad Bowl. It might sound intimidating, but farro is a simple rice-like grain that can be cooked in as few as 20 minutes. The smoked salmon can be purchased ready-made at the store so that all that is left to do is assemble the bowls and serve once the farro is done cooking.

To really switch things up, add cucumber to this Cool Kiwi Lime Cucumber Refresher. Since cucumber is 95% water, enjoying a tall glass of this kind of tasty juice is a flavorful way to effortlessly up your water intake.

If you are watching your carb intake, you can even use cucumber as a stand in for bread. No, it doesn’t taste the same, but these Low Carb Smoked Turkey Cucumber Sandwiches are happy little layers of cream cheese, turkey, and fresh dill.

Melon

When melons make their debut in the grocery store, you know it’s summertime. Use this sweet and juicy fruit to make effortless Raspberry Melon Breakfast Bowls. It is as simple as filling a halved and seeded cantaloupe with Greek yogurt, topping it with bright raspberries and crunchy granola, and then drizzling it with honey. No dish washing required.

Melon often favors sweet preparations, but also pairs well with salt. This Cantaloupe and Mozzarella Caprese Salad has that wonderful sweet and salty thing going for it. It can also be tosses together in 10 minutes flat.

As the summer days get warmer, make these Strawberry Watermelon Popsicles for a refreshing afternoon treat. If you a fan of creamy frozen desserts, this no-churn Melon Ice Cream is sure to hit the spot.

Eggplant

Eggplant is most known for iconic Italian dishes like Eggplant Parmesan and Ratatouille. Both dishes cook eggplant in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce and feature hearty Italian flavors like basil, garlic, and melty mozzarella cheese. There’s a reason these dishes have stood the test of time.

Eggplant lends itself well to many different flavor combinations, not just Italian. This Baba Ganoush recipe will take your taste buds to the Middle East. Think of Baba Ganoush as a cousin to hummus. Baba Ganoush is a creamy spread that is made from roasted eggplants. The eggplants soften during the cooking process and create the creamiest texture when blended. Use this as a dip for pita and veggies, a sauce for grilled chicken, or as a sandwich spread.

If you are looking for a crisp and crunch snack that is still healthy(ish), make these Crispy Baked Eggplant Fries. Eggplant is coated in breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and then baked to crispy perfection. What’s not to love here?

Another healthy swap is using eggplant as the base for mini pizzas. You can sneak in an extra serving of vegetables and still retain most of the pizza flavor. I have discovered that kids will eat pretty much anything if it is pizza flavored, vegetables included. Consider these Eggplant Pizzas your new secret weapon.

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