Dinnertime is supposed to be a relaxing time with family, but who has the time to cook elaborate meals after a long day at school? Or cook at all, for that matter?
If you find yourself in the “if it isn’t easy, it isn’t happening” mode more often than you would like to admit, you need some go-to simple dinner ideas, that will let you get back to that grading or lesson planning that has to happen by tomorrow. These recipes are perfect for teachers because they can be made in a pinch, or ahead of time. As a busy teacher, the crockpot can be your best friend.
Using crockpots, instapots, and prepping ahead of time can be real lifesavers for keeping your meals healthy and delicious.
Slow cooker chicken fajitas – Healthy, simple, and a crowd-pleaser! Chicken fajitas are so delicious, but who feels like doing all that chopping and slicing after working all day? This meal is perfect because you can do all the prep work ahead of time and set it to be ready when you get home from work. You can simplify this recipe by using packaged fajita seasoning mix.
Turkey stuffed pepper casserole – This is a new take on an old favorite, stuffed peppers. This recipe is a healthier, and easier way of getting the same great taste. Instead of ground beef which tends to be fatty, this recipe calls for ground turkey. Prepare this casserole ahead of time. You can bake it and then just reheat for dinnertime, or refrigerate it uncooked, and bake when you get home. Allow approximately 90 minutes for this to fully cook.
Crustless caprese quiche – If you are tired of chicken and beef, this is the perfect alternative to the typical dinner menu. Crustless caprese quiche is a light and healthy meal that can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or frozen and heated when needed. This is essentially a baked omelette large enough for the whole family.
Ground turkey and sweet potato skillet – Sweet potatoes make any meal better! This is a complete one-skillet meal that is unique to what you normally do with sweet potatoes. All you need for this delicious meal is ground turkey, sweet potatoes, onion, pepper, cheese, and spices. Chop the veggies ahead of time to save you from having to do so after school. This is great reheated for lunch the next day.
Crockpot white chicken chili – Crockpots are fantastic because they do all of the work for you. Come home from work and imagine smelling this deliciousness cooking in your kitchen. Add your favorite toppings like sliced avocado, sour cream, chives or cheese. Serve with crackers, bread or tortilla chips.
One pan chicken stir fry – One pan is all you need to create this meal. If you have time, chop the veggies and chicken ahead of time. You can even coat it in the delicious teriyaki sauce and leave it sit in the refrigerator until you get home and bake it. If you would like to add a carb to this dish, serve over brown rice or pasta.
Slow cooker spaghetti squash and turkey meat sauce – Spaghetti squash is a delicious alternative to traditional spaghetti, and doesn’t involve adding a carbohydrate to the meal to fill you up. It actually tastes like pasta, except it’s a bit sweeter. Totally delicious! You can cook the squash and meat sauce together in the crock pot while you are at work. When you get home, all you have to do is serve and enjoy.
Sausage and potato sheet pan dinner – One pan dinners are the best! This meal doesn’t even involve much slicing (only apples and potatoes). The sausage and potatoes take only 30 minutes to bake. Simply place all ingredients on a sheet pan, bake for 30 minutes and serve.
Slow cooker chicken and wild rice soup – Soups are delicious any time of year, but they can take so much time to make. Not too many people have 3 hours to stand around making a batch of soup in the morning before work. This recipe is done in a crock pot, so you literally just have to throw the ingredients in, and go about your day. When you get home you will just need to shred the chicken and make a roux. Serve with bread or crackers.
BLT pasta salad – Okay, this falls more in the “easy” than in the “healthy” category, but sometimes you need a little bacon in your life. BLT’s are like the ultimate comfort food. Adding a BLT to a bed of lettuce is pure genius! Make this ahead of time the morning of, especially if you are making bacon for breakfast anyways. Cook the pasta, let it cool, chop the salad and crumble bacon. When you get home from work you will just have to mix it all together and serve with dressing.