Buffalo Chicken Tacos

A simple family dinner suitable for children returning to school

Our little learners are heading back to school! They’re a whirlwind of emotions: excited for new adventures, maybe a little nervous, and definitely sad to see summer go. As moms, we feel the pressure too – paperwork, supplies, and busy schedules filled with homework and activities.

Making life easier starts with dinner. Forget fancy new recipes – we all need comforting favorites right now. But that doesn’t mean boring! Let’s keep things interesting with fun twists on our family classics. Think a new stir-fry combo, fun-shaped pasta, or a sprinkle of different spices.

Here are some quick (30-minute!) dinner ideas that will hopefully make everyone’s back-to-school transition a little smoother. Let’s lean into these easy favorites and focus on what matters most – spending time together as a family.

1、Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts
Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

Coating chicken breasts in flour is a genius move. It helps keep the moisture in and forms a crust for added texture. The dish is finished with a buttery lemon pan sauce that will wow everyone at the table.

2、Garam Masala Fish Sticks

Garam Masala Fish Sticks
Garam Masala Fish Sticks

It’s been a minute since I’ve eaten fish sticks. This homemade version beats the freezer section hands down. Cut cod into even pieces, coat in spices, and then bake until crispy. Use the air fryer for an even crispier option.

3、Burger Salad

Burger Salad
Burger Salad

Keep all the parts that make a burger delicious (the patty, toppings, and sauce) and turn it into a dinner salad. Iceberg lettuce adds a nice crunch, but use your favorite lettuce and whatever tomatoes you have on hand. Sit down and enjoy the freshest tasting burger you’ve ever had.

4、Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Enjoy the classic buffalo chicken flavors tucked into a tortilla, no oven required! Rotisserie chicken and a bag of coleslaw mix make this exactly the type of low effort/high reward weeknight dinner we all crave.

5、Chop Suey

Chop Suey
Chop Suey

Grab your wok and make this satisfying Chinese American favorite. Loads of vegetables and chicken thighs are stir fried and coated in a pantry sauce that will have you licking the plate. Serve with rice.

6、Microwave Red Curry Poached Salmon

Microwave Red Curry Poached Salmon
Microwave Red Curry Poached Salmon

Poaching salmon in an aromatic curry sauce sounds like it will require multiple pans and an oven, but the microwave does all the heavy lifting in this family meal. Serve with jasmine rice and chopped herbs.

7、Ultimate French Bread Pizza

Ultimate French Bread Pizza
Ultimate French Bread Pizza

Soft, wide French bread is a welcome change from pre-baked pizza crusts. It gives off deep dish vibes without the added work. Top with your favorite toppings and make an extra one for tomorrow’s lunch.

8、Skillet Cacio e Pepe Tortellini With Wilted Greens

Skillet Cacio e Pepe Tortellini With Wilted Greens
Skillet Cacio e Pepe Tortellini With Wilted Greens

Make an easy dinner even easier by skipping the pot of boiling water. Frozen tortellini is cooked directly in a skillet with olive oil. Stir in your favorite greens, such as baby spinach or chopped kale, and top with cheese before serving.

9、Paccheri with Quick Sausage Ragu

Paccheri with Quick Sausage Ragu
Paccheri with Quick Sausage Ragu

Get the family talking with a new-to-them pasta shape. Paccheri is a thick, tubular pasta that can stand up to thick and meaty sauces like this ragu. In this version Italian sausage is browned and then mixed with spices, tomato paste, pasta water, and heavy cream for a comforting, hearty meal.

10、Easy Beef Bulgogi

Easy Beef Bulgogi
Easy Beef Bulgogi

Salty sweet beef is always a weeknight winner. “Bulgogi, a marinated and grilled beef popular at Korean restaurants, is easy to make at home,” according to recipe developer Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee. Look for marbled beef and let the cast iron skillet get super hot for the best results. Serve with banchan and rice.

11、Creamy Miso Mushroom Pasta

Creamy Miso Mushroom Pasta
Creamy Miso Mushroom Pasta

Add an flavorful twist to pasta with miso. White miso is made from fermented soybeans and adds a touch of umami without overwhelming the pasta and mushrooms. You’ll find it in the refrigerated section, most likely near the tofu in a grocery store.

12、Creamy Chicken Florentine

Creamy Chicken Florentine
Creamy Chicken Florentine

Quick, easy, and lusciously creamy, this skillet chicken recipe is a fresh way to serve chicken breasts. As an added bonus, spinach is added to the sauce so you don’t have to make a salad if you don’t want to.

13、Instant Pot Eggplant Chickpea Stew

Instant Pot Eggplant Chickpea Stew
Instant Pot Eggplant Chickpea Stew

The Instant Pot is in heavy use once the weather cools and I need super fast and easy meals. Eggplant isn’t known for being an easy vegetable to cook, so let this be the recipe that encourages you to go ahead and try it. Make the meal vegan by using plant-based feta cheese as a topping.

14、Sheet Pan Shrimp and Asparagus

Sheet Pan Shrimp and Asparagus
Sheet Pan Shrimp and Asparagus

Both shrimp and asparagus cook notoriously fast. The garlic butter sauce spooned over top brings it all together into a mouth-watering family meal. Serve it with pasta or rice.

15、BLT Wraps

BLT Wraps
BLT Wraps

Take advantage of warm weather and ripe tomatoes and make easy back to school meals. Leftovers would make tasty lunches, too. Add sliced turkey for a heartier meal.

16、Creamy Cavatappi

Creamy Cavatappi
Creamy Cavatappi

Though it sounds fancy, this is similar to a simple mac and cheese. No roux, just a creamy, cheesy sauce made right on the stovetop. Set a timer once the pasta comes to a boil so that you don’t accidentally overcook it.

17、Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Bell Peppers

Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Bell Peppers
Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Bell Peppers

Not all pasta is the same and gnocchi is like none other. Roasting gnocchi on a sheet pan cooks the pasta without it becoming overladen with moisture. Using quick-cooking vegetables ensures that everything is done at the same time.

18、Antipasto Salad

Antipasto Salad
Antipasto Salad

This no-cook salad is full of flavor. It’s also a great emergency meal because you can stock all the ingredients in your pantry and have dinner ready in minutes.

19、Easy Avocado and Black Bean Quesadillas

Easy Avocado and Black Bean Quesadillas
Easy Avocado and Black Bean Quesadillas

I’m always looking for ways to get my family to eat more beans and spreading them between a crispy tortilla is one of the best ways I’ve found. This black bean filling will forever banish bland canned beans and have them begging for more.

20、Sheet Pan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Sheet Pan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Sheet Pan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I make grilled cheese on the regular and making them all at once seems like a dream come true. Preheating the sheet pan helps toast the bread quickly and evenly.

21、Easy Pork Fried Rice

Easy Pork Fried Rice
Easy Pork Fried Rice

Fried rice is a quick and easy option for weeknights. This recipe uses pork loin and frozen veggies, resulting in barely any chopping. Make the rice on the weekend so that it has a chance to chill and dry out before frying.

22、Hot Ham and Cheese Sliders

Hot Ham and Cheese Sliders
Hot Ham and Cheese Sliders

Slider buns get a buttery upgrade in this easy meal. Compound butter is brushed on top of the buns before getting baked until the ham is warm and cheese is melted. Pair it with crunchy carrot sticks and watch dinner disappear in a minute.

23、Air Fryer Salmon

Air Fryer Salmon
Air Fryer Salmon

We know that the air fryer can make a mean tater tot but it can also save your weeknight. Buy salmon filets that have the skin on them to help reduce the risk of overcooking. No air fryer? Try this easy brown sugar salmon recipe.

24、Smashburger

Smashburger
Smashburger

Get out the griddle and serve up smashburgers for dinner. Have the kids stir together the sauce and get out the toppings. These burgers are done quickly and will need your full attention while cooking.

25、Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

I like marinating the chicken and chopping the lettuce the night before so that dinner takes mere minutes when we’re all hungry and tired.

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