Thursday, August 1, 2019

Happy 1st day of August!  This is the month that many of us dread.  It is our hottest month and it’s just plain BUSY.  There’s so much to prepare and it’s time to change routines which is always hard no matter what your age!  

One of the things I’m doing to prepare is making a “back to school meals” list on my computer.  These meals will be super easy for the most part and still pretty much summer meals.  I will add the chili, soups, and more fall type foods later.  Having a list helps me immensely.  When I’m making my grocery list I seem to forget every meal I’ve ever made.  I’m hoping my list will help you, too.   My list is based on what my family will eat and you may have to slightly adjust.  

But, first, how about an easy recipe?  

Turkey Sausage Alfredo


This sausage is precooked so you don’t have to do this step, but I like to brown it in a skillet or you could also do the oven if you want.  Boil your penne while you are doing this.  

Put those two things together and now it’s time for the sauce.  

I used the same pan for my sauce because i thought it would add extra flavor.  You can start with a new skillet if you’d rather.  Just make a simple alfredo sauce.  I melted 3 T. butter and then added about 3/4 cup cream, brought it to a boil, then simmered for maybe 10 minutes.  Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, and I also added a bit of cajun seasoning.  I also threw in a bit of mozzarella cheese, but I don’t think I will do that next time.  It really didn’t need it.  

Pour the sauce over the penne and sausage and sprinkle a bit of parmesan and you are done!  You guys, this tastes like something you would order at a restaurant.  It’s really good.  Feel free to use andouille sausage or another type of sausage.  

When I went to my friend’s house last week she bought a bottle of already made sangria, and simply added her own fruit and gingerale and it was some of the best sangria I’ve ever had.  So easy!  


O.k., moving on to other meal ideas…One thing that worked for me last year was to have themes – Monday pasta, Tuesday Mexican, Wednesday chicken, etc.  Another thing that I did last year was to cook two meals on Monday night and Wednesday night and that way on our late nights – 6:30 arrival at home on Tuesday and Thursday and it was simply just heat and eat.  I will have that same schedule this year so I am going to shoot for that again. I will tend to make spaghetti and taco meat at the same time.  I start cooking around 5:30 and dinner is ready at 6:15 on Mondays and Wednesdays.  

Tip:  I run my dishwasher while I’m cooking dinner and the boys unload right after dinner and then reload.  We have been doing this for a few years and the system works well for us.  

The other thing I do is take out on one weeknight a week most weeks and then cook one of the two weekend nights at home when I have more time to make a nice meal.  I am also creating a computer list of our take out options.  And, of course, I will be doing online grocery shopping and pick up!  Game changer in the busy fall!  

Disclaimer:  I don’t own an Instapot nor do I want another gadget right now and I mostly use the crockpot on weekends.  I feel that I’m gone too long during the weekdays and all the crockpot meat ends up being overcooked or all tasting the same.  Maybe it’s me but that’s how I feel.  

Back to School Meals:  (For me, I will sub out rice for cauliflower rice, turn things into a salad, easy swaps like that)

Frozen orange chicken (we like Costco’s the best), rice, broccoli

Frozen fish (panko tilapia from Costco), okra (roasted on sheet pan), little red potatoes(boiled or roasted on sheet pan)

Ham (slices that are fairly thick), mashed potatoes(can be ready made), green beans (canned)

Prepared BBQ, Texas Toast, baked beans, side salad (prepared mix)


Tacos, rice 

Taco Salad with Doritos

Southwest Bowl (Andrea from Momfessionals) (search my blog and you will find it!)

Mexican Lasagna (search my blog)

Fettucine Alfredo with chicken (use above recipe but sub chicken and fettucine noodles)

Bacon Alfredo (this is from Grace and Love Blog but I have also posted it here!)  

Hot sub sandwiches, frozen potato wedges or fries, green salad

Baked Ziti

Hawaiian ham and swiss sliders, chips, salad

Faux Thanksgiving – thick cut turkey from deli, Stove Top stuffing, green beans


What are you go to back to school meals?  Let’s help each other out!  I’m so happy that we start on a Wednesday this year so I will get to ease into the routine.  

Thanks for reading!





13 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts on Back To School Dinners Plus Turkey Sausage Alfredo and an Easy Sangria “Recipe”!

  1. Ooooh I need to try that sangria! Great tips and ideas. I don’t want an Insta Pot either – too big to store. I do love my crock pot though and used it already twice this week. Made a super delish pot roast last night and white chicken chili on Monday. I learned that any meat has to have lots of sauce or it is dried out. My boys love a lot of meat and noodle recipes I use it for – but they’ll be leaving soon and I’ll have to remember how to cook for just us two!
    Meal planning is a time saver!


    1. Try the sangria and let me know what you think! The fizz of the ginger ale and the fruit make it! Maybe I don’t put enough liquid in my crockpot but it works better for me on weekends when I can watch it! And that is not the point of it! Lol! I know – my meal planning will change after this year – I think both boys will live on campus – and my husband and I will eat more lunch type stuff I think. It will be a big change. I bet your grocery bill will go down soon! Thanks for commenting!


  2. I like to make a large pork butt or shoulder in the crockpot and then freeze the shredded meat in bags to have on hand for sandwiches or quesadillas etc. Lots of good recipes out there but super simple to cook the meat with one can of coke and a sliced onion. Drain, shred, and add a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce.


    1. That’s a great idea and I should do that. I made BBQ tostadas early in the summer that would work with that. There’s so much you can do with the shredded meat.
      Thank you for the tip! I have done root beer!


  3. I don’t use the crockpot often. I do own an instant pot because it was gifted to me. I don’t use it often either. Some of my go to weeknight meals are sheet pan dinners, chicken fajitas, smoked turkey sausage with potatoes, apples, carrots, onions. Pioneer Woman has a recipe for Tex mex fried rice that we like and I use the frozen rice from Trader Joe’s and the TJ frozen fire roasted corn to make that a quicker weeknight meal.
    The sangria looks awesome! You always have the best cocktail ideas!


    1. I love sheet pan dinners – talk about easy clean up. I need to do them more often! I love all Pioneer Woman recipes and I’ve asked for her new cookbook for Christmas because my mom shops super early. I hope you try the sangria and like it! I do a lot of swaps to save time too. I’m getting ready to stock up before school starts on those items. Thanks for your suggestions!


  4. Thank you for great tips, I love your blog! Our life is so similar (work wise), so I really get a lot of inspiration from you. We even start on a Wednesday both of us! 😀
    My regular school night dinners are mostly spagetti courses, always with a mixed salad on the side. We don’t have good take out food around here, with the exception of a thai “kiosk” (had dinner from them yesterday, too jet lagged to cook).
    Thanks again for all the inspiration you give!


    1. You’re welcome and thank you! It’s interesting that we have such similar work lives from so far away! I don’t have to bike 10 miles round trip though! What time do you go to work and get home? Thai kiosk sounds great! I bet you were so jet lagged! What Swedish food did you miss most? I bet you will enjoy grocery shopping now that you are home but you are going to your cabin I think!


      1. I leave for school around eight in the morning (later than most other schools) and my days end around three. I do most of my correcting and grading at home, so I leave school directly after classes end.
        Yes, jet lag is still on, it’s worse to go back against the clock… Today I woke up att eleven and was really confused…
        I love the American food stores, but it was nice to enter my own food store where I know where everything is!


      2. Very similar to me – I leave at 7 and home by 3 but I do most of my work at school from 7-8:30 and during lunch and after school from 2:20-3
        I bet you did miss knowing where everything was!


  5. I agree about the crockpot. I only use it on the weekends and I usually make a double batch of whatever it is so I can freeze the rest. That’s my tip: I always spend weekends in the late summer batch-cooking so I have things to pull out of the freezer for weeknights.
    That orange chicken sounds like something I should check out.
    I used to run the dishwasher randomly, whenever. Then, the original dishwasher in our CO house was so loud (we had it for 2.5 years before we replaced it) that I started running it right before I went to bed and now that’s the habit I have.


    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels that way about the crockpot! I should freeze more! The orange chicken is not that bad – only 6 g fat? It comes with a sauce and you can sub cauliflower rice if you want. You could get four plus meals out of the box which is like $12? Great dishwasher habit. It’s funny how once you start these it becomes automatic.


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