This one is for all the busy super-parents, it's back-to-school time which means mornings filled with early alarms and lunch-packing madness, and afternoons filled with homework and extracurricular activities. We know that the last thing you want to worry about after a busy day is what's for dinner, so we’ve cooked up 3 easy and delicious back-to-school dinners. These recipes are the superheroes of weeknight dinners, from one-pan wonders that save on dishes to speedy pasta delights that'll please even the pickiest eaters. So gather your Doe A Deer kitchen supplies, stock up on your ingredients, and let's make school dinners a breeze. 


Pumpkin Tomato Soup With Grilled Cheese

This is a Fall twist on a classic go-to dinner. Best part? Pumpkin is full of nutrients like Vitamin A and antioxidants to help boost your family’s immune system for those pesky back-to-school germs. We recommend serving the soup with one of a bowl bestie, so no one has to worry about eating with a hot bowl. 

Soup Ingredients: 

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can of tomato puree

1 can of pumpkin puree

1 ½ cups chicken broth

½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ cups of whole milk

¼ tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

Grilled Cheese Ingredients: 

8 slices of your favorite sliced sandwich bread 

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

4 slices medium cheddar cheese

Soup Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté the onions, for about 6-8 minutes then add garlic and sauté until fragrant, for about 1 minute.
  2. Add tomato puree, pumpkin puree, broth, salt, and paprika. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soup starts to thicken, about 8 minutes. Add milk, paprika, and oregano, let those flavors combine by stirring on medium heat for a minute then serve. 

Grilled Cheese Directions:

  1. Preheat a nonstick skillet pan over medium heat. Take a slice of bread and fully butter one side of it. Put the buttered side of the bread down in the pan. Add 1-2 slices of cheese (we like it extra cheesy, so we do 2). 
  2. Take another slice of bread and fully butter one side of it. Take that slice and put it on top of the cheese with the buttered side facing up (not touching the cheese). Grill the bread until it is slightly brown and cheese is melted then flip the sandwich and grill the other side until it is slightly browned.
  3. Repeat with remaining bread. 

Taco Casserole

Calling all taco enthusiasts who crave a quick and hassle-free meal! Get ready to indulge in taco heaven with this easy dish that the whole family can dig into. Pair it with our Taco Tuesday collection for some festive fun!


1 refrigerated puff pastry sheet 

1 lb. ground beef

1/4 cup white onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper - seeded, chopped

1 packet taco seasoning

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup water

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 cup black olives, sliced

Sour cream




  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper. 
  2. In a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat, add your ground beef, chopped onions, and chopped bell pepper. Slightly brown your ground beef then add your favorite taco seasoning, tomato paste, and water and simmer until water has reduced. Then add 1 cup of cheddar cheese to the beef mixture, mix together well, and set it aside.
  3. Roll your puff pastry sheet onto your prepared baking pan then pierce a few holes throughout the puff pastry with a fork. 
  4. Evenly layer your beef mixture from earlier on top of puff pastry then sprinkle  some cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then remove and let cool. 

**We recommend keeping the optional toppings from above separate and let people individually add toppings to their plate. By keeping the toppings separate, any leftovers will warm up nicely and you won’t scare away any picky eaters. Use our baking dish cover to protect any leftovers. 

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

Say farewell to the dreaded dish mountain because this pasta dish requires minimal dishes which means minimal cleanup, leaving you more time with the family. We're downright obsessed with this delectable creation, and we know you will be too! 


16 oz fettuccine noodles

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups broccoli florets

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the fettuccine pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet or pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they are browned and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and set it aside.
  3. In the same pan, add the broccoli florets and minced garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the broccoli is tender-crisp.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the heavy cream or half-and-half. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and dried oregano. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes until it thickens slightly.
  5. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked chicken back into the pan, mixing it with the sauce and broccoli.
  6. Add the cooked fettuccine pasta to the sauce and toss everything together until the pasta is coated in the sauce.


Liked these recipes and want more? Check out our Good Food Good Mood Cookbook.

August 08, 2023 — Polina Raykov

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