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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.

Chicken paremesan

Quick chicken parmesan

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

    Directions:
    1. Place one chicken breast in the middle of a long sheet of waxed paper. Fold the paper over the chicken. Using a meat mallet, pound to 1/2-inch thickness. Repeat with second breast. Cut each breast into two pieces.
    2. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the chicken has been breaded. Set aside.
    3. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the chicken breasts and cook for three to five minutes on each side until browned. Pour in the marinara sauce and sprinkle with cheeses. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until cheeses are melted. Serve over pasta.

      Mini turkey meatballs

      Serves 4

      Ingredients:
      1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
      1/4 cup low-fat milk
      1 shallot, finely minced
      2 cloves garlic, finely minced
      1 egg, beaten
      1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
      2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      1/4 teaspoon pepper
      1-1/4 pounds ground turkey

        Directions:
        1. Preheat oven to 375F.
        2. Stir the bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in the shallot, garlic, egg, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add the ground turkey and knead together until completely combined.
        3. Roll the turkey mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet that's lightly sprayed with cooking oil or covered with easy-release aluminum foil (preferred).
        4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the meatballs once. Meatballs are done when they are lightly browned outside and there is no pink inside.

          Easy broccoli quiche

          Serves 6

          Ingredients:
          1 frozen pie crust
          1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
          2 cups broccoli florets, boiled until tender (save time and use leftovers from last night's dinner)
          5 large eggs
          1 cup skim milk
          1 teaspoon salt
          Dash of pepper

            Directions:
            1. Preheat the oven to 375F and set the frozen pie crust on a baking sheet.
            2. Spread the cheese in the bottom of the pie crust and evenly distribute the broccoli on top of the cheese.
            3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, until completely combined.
            4. Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust, evenly distributing it.
            5. Place the pie crust on the baking sheet into the oven and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, until cooked through. You can test its doneness by sticking a knife in the center. If it comes out clean, then the quiche is done.

              More on the benefits of home-cooked meals

              Preventing childhood obesity

              A special segment on childhood obesity and how sitting down for a home-cooked meal can make kids healthier

              More family meal ideas:

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