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Simple suppers for busy back to school season

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

Ready, set, dinner!

The transition from the lazy days of summer to the hectic days of the school year can be tough. You go from anything goes, where lunch gets fixed when you need it, to having to plan square meals, meet the bus and be on time to practices. Don't let supper be a part of that stress, though. With a well stocked pantry and a few easy recipes, you can have dinner down pat.

Family dinner

the well stocked kitchen

The key to tackling dinner is to have your kitchen ready for it at all times. That means stocking your fridge, freezer and pantry with just the right goods. Here's a list of must-haves:

Pantry: rice, pasta, all-purpose flour, breadcrumbs, canned tuna (solid white in water), canned salmon, assorted canned beans (such as black beans and garbanzos), herbs and spices, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, canned tomatoes (puree, paste and diced), marinara sauce, bread, stock/broth, onions, potatoes, garlic

Fridge: milk, a lemon or two, soy sauce, salad dressing, lettuce, carrots, two to three bags of shredded cheese, American cheese, eggs

Freezer: boneless chicken breasts, ground beef or turkey, stew beef, chicken sausage, easy-peel uncooked shrimp, fresh ginger (peeled), corn, peas, spinach, pie crust

This list is merely a suggestion. Tailor it to your preferences.

So, now what do you do with those staples to make a meal? Here's what. >>

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