I bet you’ve seen signs like this in your auto mechanic’s office. “Fast, cheap, good: pick two.” If it’s fast and cheap, it won’t be good. If it’s good and cheap, it won’t be fast. During Back to School time, when it seems like every moment counts, this saying can feel especially true at dinner. 

But I call foul.

You can have that magic trio: quick, delicious, and affordable. And bonus: healthy too! You don’t have to go to bed regretting the dinner you resorted to serving the horde amidst cries of “I left my book at school!” or “My teacher says I need the right color notebook. Can we go to Target?” I get it. Back to School time can feel chaotic, so more than ever, your family’s bodies need the energy, nutrition, and right macros to keep learning and adjusting to new routines. But let’s stay realistic. Wednesdays are no time for Beef Bourguignonne.

I have some not-so-dirty tricks up my sleeve to share with you. How about we use recipes that utilize leftovers, allow you to prep ahead of time, create minimal dirty dishes, and cut some corners to save yourself the time you need to help your eldest with Algebra II homework (once you remember it yourself)? You and your family will feel much better when you feed your bodies and brains with quality meals, even when the local drive-thru is calling your name. Check out these dinner recipes for the Back to School nights ahead.

Healthy, Easy, and Fast Back to School Dinner Recipes

My ham and veggie pasta makes for a delicious back-to-school meal. www.lillieeatsandtells.com

Quick Skillet Ham and Veggie Pasta

Soo many veggies! Bell peppers, spinach, cherry tomatoes, green onion, roasted red peppers…skip the salad, and go for this instead. This Quick Skillet Ham and Veggie Pasta is easy to make and even easier to clean up. You’ll have one dirty dish from cooking: a skillet. This recipe is also excellent for those with dietary restrictions. The pasta can be gluten-free and the cheese can be dairy-free. It’s just the kind of comfort food you’ll want when those blustery autumn nights start appearing.

You can put these delicious pork tacos together in five minutes, making them perfect for back to school time. www.lillieeatsandtells.com

Shaved Pork Tacos with Spicy Mango Slaw

I promised easy. Take this scenario. Everybody’s home from school, and they all say they’re starving. You have some leftover pork tenderloin in the fridge. Maybe you’ve got a jar of Spicy Mango Slaw you keep on hand for your chips. (If you’ve read my posts before, you know that you don’t take away my chips. I’ll sacrifice a lot of macros before then). Grab some grain-free cassava flour tortillas by Siete®. They are great on macros. Assembly time for these Shaved Pork Tacos with Spicy Mango Slaw: three minutes. You’ll have time for that extra episode on Netflix tonight.

These Blackened Fish Bowls with Cilantro Pepita will make you feel like you're at a nice restaurant, but only take ten minutes to put together at home.

Blackened Fish Bowls with Cilantro Pepita Sauce

You’re going to be pro-Blackened Fish Bowls with Cilantro Pepita Sauce if you don’t mind prepping a few quick things on a quiet Sunday afternoon that you can have in the fridge all week. Because when it’s time to assemble it all in a bowl on whichever weeknight you choose, all you need is five minutes. You’ll be getting what is going to taste like a restaurant-quality meal. Imagine cilantro zucchini rice, air-fried blackened Mahi Mahi, arugula, sweet potato, and corn and peach salad. We’re way beyond the days when Back to School just meant a milk carton and a peanut butter sandwich.

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A dinner recipe that uses rotisserie chicken will save you so much time. Try this Sweet Potato Chipotle Chicken Skillet.

Sweet Potato Chipotle Rotisserie Chicken Skillet

I love dinner recipes that call for a rotisserie chicken. It makes things so much easier. I just pick one up at Costco on our way back from school and rip it up at home. My Sweet Potato Chipotle Rotisserie Chicken Skillet is so cozy and hearty (although light too if you can believe it). You can’t go wrong with sweet potatoes. They’re low in calories, full of Vitamin A, C, B-6, potassium, and fiber. And you’re going to love the chipotle flavor in this recipe. Plus, this dinner recipe will leave you with just the skillet to clean again!

The kids are back at school, but you can still pretend you're on vacay in Mexico, right? This delicious taco salad is a breeze to make. www.lillieeatsandtells.com.

Fresh and Healthy Taco Salad

Okay, you’ll have to bear with me, but this Fresh and Healthy Taco Salad takes ten minutes to put together, not five. But…ten minutes is still pretty fast, right? Grab your Romesco sauce, hummus, avocadoes, pickled onion, ground turkey, cucumber, and crumbled cheese of your choice. See, even with Back to School officially here, you can still pretend you’re all on summer break somewhere near the Gulf of Mexico. You’re not going to have to trick anyone into eating healthy here. This taco salad is way too yummy for that.

Earning A’s on Dinner Recipes

There are so many things that are outside your control when it’s time for Back to School. Will your child like their teacher and/or the subject? Will they make the sports team? But you can control whether or not your child is being nourished by a macro-balanced and healthy diet. Just keep things easy on yourself with these kinds of Back to School Dinner Recipes. If a recipe has a quick assembly, can be prepped days earlier, or uses something as simple as a rotisserie chicken, go..for…it. The end result is the same: happy and healthy kids. 

If you want to stay up to date on my latest creations, make sure you are hanging out with me on Instagram and TikTok. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on anything. Fall is coming and I always find its flavors inspiring. Expect a lot of new recipes coming down the pipe.

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read the full privacy policy here.

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About the Author

Hello. My name is Lillie. I’m not a registered dietitian, or a macro coach, or a public figure or culinary genius. I’m a mommy of four who FOUND macro-counting and fell in love with this balanced approach to food...

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