I try to limit the amount of packaged and processed foods in our diets. I do use cooking soups and bottled sauce, but try to pick the lower sodium or organic varieties when I can. My husband still enjoys eating like a teenager and hasn't grown out of the conveinence food phase. The one item I will agree to having is tacos. I've "healthified" the dish a bit by using lean ground turkey and lighter dairy products. Truth be told, I enjoy taco night because I know it is quick and easy + depending on the night before, I can usually cook up the meat part while something else is in the oven and get the toppings prepped.
I don't start my meal planning until September, since school starts in late August. However when getting ready to go back to work, one of my teacher friends and I always put aside a day to cook together. We make casseroles and divide them into two 9X9 containers and freeze them. That way most of our meal prep is already done and is one less thing to have to think about during this busy time of the year. If you enjoy cooking and can link up with a buddy, I highly reccomend this idea. We've even toyed with the idea of co-oping with some other teachers at school and doing a big share. Depending on how many people are in the group, that is how many amounts of your recipe to make. For instance if you have 4 people, make your recipe X's 4 and keep one for yourself. Give the other three to the other participants and receive a dish from the other memebers. Now you have 4 items in your freezer, but you've only cooked one day.
Linky Party Day 4 over at cfclassrom.com asks for our favorite recipe for back to school. Here is something my husband has coined "The Best Pasta Ever." I have made this so many times, the recipe is ingrained in my head and I can make it from memory. I think it was something I got through a Pampered Chef party. Needless to say it is quick, low on ingerdients and freezes well.
The Best Pasta Ever
1 28 oz. jar of your favorite pasta red sauce
3/4 box of your favorite dry pasta shape - penne works well
1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
2 T cream cheese
1 c shredded mozzorella cheese
add ins during the meat browning process: green peppers, fresh mushrooms, onions - any or all, depending on your tate.
In a large, deep skillet or dutch oven:
Brown meat with veggies
Dump in sauce + one sauce jar of water
Add dry pasta
Bring to a simmer and cover until pasta is done - at my house that is aldente.
Stir in 2T cream cheese.
Sprinkle with mozzorella cheese.