CLICK HERE for information on Hurricane Ian School Operations & Updates.

FIND A SCHOOL

Back to School Meals: Recipes for Busy Families

We understand that life becomes busy within a blink of an eye – between work emails, doctor appointments, and drop-offs, finding healthy foods to feed your family can feel absolutely daunting. This is especially challenging when your throw Back to School into the mix!

Here at The Nest Schools, we prioritize finding new avenues to explore overall wellness – including delicious, simple, and easy meals to make! Here are our favorite recipes that we have found that you are able to whip up in 20 minutes or less! 

Teriyaki_Chicken_post_1
  1. Laura Fuentes’ Homemade Healthy Chicken Stir Fry 

Yummy and delicious, this recipe is sure to produce a few “mmmmmm”s at the dinner table! Laura does a fantastic job at building recipes that pack a lot of flavor, but aren’t super complicated to execute.  

Here’s what you need: 

  • 1 ½ pounds of chicken thighs: boneless, skinless thighs have great flavor, stay super tender, and overall lean. You can also use chicken breasts for a leaner option, but make sure they are boneless and skinless.  
  • ½ cup of honey: is sweeter than table sugar and reduces the amount of added sugar necessary.  
  • ½ cup of coconut aminos or soy sauce: coconut aminos taste very similar to soy sauce but have less sodium and no soy.  
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated: is an aromatic that gives the sauce a savory flavor and delicious smell.  
  • ¼ tsp of grated fresh ginger: slightly sweet and peppery, it’s aromatic like garlic! 
  • 2 tbs of oil: use a neutral oil such as vegetable oil or canola. It prevents the chicken from sticking to the skillet and gives it a golden sear. 
  • 3 cups of cooked rice: steamed and served with teriyaki chicken. You can use regular white or brown rice. 

How to Make: 

  1. Make the sauce: 
    Whisk the honey with the coconut aminos, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl. Add the sauce to a large zip bag and set aside.  
  1. Prep the chicken: 
    Using a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken thighs or breast into ¼-inch thickness on a large cutting board. *This tenderizes the meat and helps it cook evenly.  
  1. Marinate: 
    Slice the chicken into ½-inch thick strips and place them in the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight for extra flavor.  
  1. Cook the rice: 
    Before cooking the chicken, cook 1-2 cups of rice according to package directions.  
  1. Grab a skillet: 
    Place the skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Working in batches, add the chicken to the hot skillet and cook for 3 minutes per side. Once the chicken is browned on the edges and cooked through, transfer it to a plate.  
  1. Add the sauce: 
    Pour the reserved marinade into the skillet and bring it to a low boil. Cook for two minutes on low heat or until the sauce is thickened. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the chicken.  
  1. Grab a bowl and fork: 
    Scoop some cooked rice into a bowl, top with teriyaki chicken, and enjoy! 
  1. Pesto Rainbow Pizza for Toddlers by Baby Foode

These pesto rainbow pizzas will entice even the pickiest of eaters, and it only takes fifteen minutes to make! 

Ingredients Needed: 

  • 2 English muffins cut in half (pre-made mini pizza crusts or bagels work as well) 
  • 1/3 cup pesto, pre-made or homemade 
  • 1/4 cup each red, orange and yellow peppers, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese blend 

How to Make: 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  • Taking one half of an English muffin, spread roughly 2 tablespoons of pesto on top and then sprinkle with cheese. Taking the peppers, make a small rainbow or any design you would like on top of the cheese. 
  • Repeat with all of the English muffins. 
  • Place the topped English muffins onto a baking sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes, then heat oven to broil and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. 
tortellini_post_1
  1. Laura Fuentes’ Creamy Spinach Tortellini In A Skillet

Who doesn’t love pasta? This recipe will provide a warm and comforting meal for the entire family in under twenty minutes! 

Health Benefits of Spinach: 

  • Lower Blood Pressure 
  • Excellent source of Lutein, which protects our eyes and helps with cognition 
  • Vitamin K, Vitamin A 
  • Excellent source of Iron and Fiber 

 

What You Need: 

  • 12 ounces cheese tortellini 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes 
  • 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper 
  • 1 ½ cups half and half 
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 

 

How to Make: 

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions, drain, and rinse. 

Heat the oil in the bottom of the large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute, careful not to burn it. 

Stir in the tomatoes, spinach, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. 

Gradually whisk in half and half and Parmesan cheese, stir and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tortellini to the sauce and gently toss to combine. 

creamy_garlic_broccoli_pasta
  1. Easy Cheesy Garlic Broccoli Pasta by Baby Foode!

This Garlic Broccoli Pasta comes together in one-pot in less than 20 minutes. 

What You Need: 

  • 1 16oz box of pasta, any shape you prefer 
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen 
  • 4 tbsp butter 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated 

How to Make: 

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in the pasta. When there are 3 minutes left in the cooking time, add in the fresh broccoli. If using frozen broccoli, add in when there are 4 minutes left in the cooking time. 
  • IMPORTANT: reserve 2 cups of pasta water before straining. 
  • In a large colander, strain the pasta and broccoli. 
  • Place the same large pot over medium-low heat and add butter. Once melted, add in the minced garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until light brown, stirring often. 
  • Add the pasta and broccoli back into the large pot. Add in the Parmesan and 1 cup of reserved pasta water. Stir for 1 minute or until the cheese is completely incorporated. If pasta is too dry, add in more of the reserved water 1/4 cup at a time. Depending on the brand and type of pasta you may need to add in the full 1 additional cup. I had to add a total of 1 1/2 cup of the reserved water to the pasta in the photos. I find that I have to add in more water for some brands of gluten-free pasta. 
  • Serve and enjoy. 

FUN ADD-INS: 

  • shredded chicken 
  • other chopped veggies such as asparagus, green beans, peas, corn or cauliflower 
  • canned tuna 
  • toasted pinenuts 
  • crumbled sausages 
  1. Butternut Squash Thyme Baby Food Puree by Baby Foode!

Baby foode’s reasons to love this butternut squash puree 

  • creamy and smooth 
  • great for 4-6+ months 
  • stage one baby food 
  • healthy — full of essential nutrients for your baby 
  • easy to make — requires only 5 minutes of hands-on time 
  • babies will love the sweet and earthy taste 
  • homemade 
  • freezer-friendly  
  • budget-friendly 

Health Benefits of Butternut Squash: 

  • High levels of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, which boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation 
  • A good source of potassium that helps keep bones healthy 
  • Contains a protein that may be a potent anticancer agent 
  • Provides calcium to help strengthen bones and folate to help with brain development 

How to Make: 

  • Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet. 
  • Prep Squash: Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place them on the baking sheet with the flesh side down, and brush with olive oil (optional). 
  • Bake: Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until easily pricked with a fork. 
  • Scrape:  Let it cool, and then scrape off the skin until you only have the butternut squash left. Add to the blender or food processor. 
  • Add Herbs: Add in a pinch of thyme or rosemary to the butternut squash. 
  • Puree: Turn on the blender and puree until smooth, adding liquids if needed. 
  • Serve or freeze for another meal. 

Don’t sweat dinner this Back to School season! Try out these easy and quick recipes that your child will surely ask for more of in the future (Plus, they’re nutritious!)