Easy weeknight meals for back-to-school season


Easy weeknight meals: One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni and more:

Monday: Meatless meal

Pretend you’re in Paris tonight and serve a Bacon and Egg Bistro Salad for dinner. Dress mesclun greens with a mustardy vinaigrette and top with chopped and fried bacon and a fried egg. The warm egg helps to wilt the leaves a bit and the runny yolk makes the dressing more creamy. Serve a toasted slice of French bread on the side.

Tuesday: Back to school

Add One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni (recipe below) to your school-night dinner repertoire.

Wednesday: Rotisserie chicken

Open-face Chicken and Avocado Sandwiches make good use of the store-bought bird. Cube the chicken breast meat and set aside. Make a dressing of mayonnaise and smashed avocado brightened with fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the chicken and spread on slices of toasted whole wheat bread or an English muffin.

Thursday: Schmeckt gut!

That’s German for tastes good. Sausage with apples and sauerkraut: In a large skillet with a lid, melt some butter and add several links of smoked sausage -- kielbasa or bratwurst will do -- cut into 3-inch lengths. Brown on each side, then add apple slices and slightly drained sauerkraut. If it’s too dry, add a splash of beer. Cook until the apple has softened slightly and sauerkraut is heated through.

Friday: Take heart

Chicken and Artichoke Hearts is a simple stove-top dish for which you need 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a 6-ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts and any variety of condensed cream soup you have. Drain the artichoke marinade into a hot skillet, using the liquid to brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Add artichokes and soup and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.


2 pounds lean ground beef

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1 cup chopped red, yellow, orange or green bell pepper (about 1Ž4-inch


1 cup peeled chopped carrots

1 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes in juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 to 3 teaspoons chili
powder (optional but

Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

3Ž4 pound dried elbow

2 cups (8 ounces) grated cheddar cheese

Heat a very large skillet over medium-high heat (it should be a deep 12-inch skillet). Add the beef and cook it until browned, stirring until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Place the browned beef in a strainer and let the fat drain off, then set the beef aside. Wipe out the skillet, add the oil and heat it over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, carrots, onion and garlic and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes.

Return the beef to the skillet and add the basil, oregano, tomatoes with their juice, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, if using, and 2 cups of water. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Increase the heat to high and let it come to a simmer. Add the elbow macaroni, stir and cover the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or black pepper as necessary.

Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top, then cover the skillet and cook until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Serve this right out of the skillet.

Serves 8 with lots of leftovers.

Source: The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman (Workman Publishing, 2012)


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