Back to School Recipes from Dinner Solved!

by Katie Schlientz
back to school meals

Back to school is coming.

If you’re a parent with elementary and middle school-aged children, you have a lot on your mind: back to school shopping, school supplies, and (of course!) the busy fall meal schedule. If prepping those weekday dinners between school meetings, team practices, and late night evenings at the offices isn’t stressful enough, in the AM you have the challenge of packing those school lunches. Will they eat it? Are they trading that apple for fruit snacks? What are they serving in the cafeteria?

dinner solved

Don’t worry. I’ve rounded up a few experts to help you with innovative lunch ideas and offering tips to make those weekday meals a little easier (not to mention healthier!). Exhibit A: Katie Workman, blogger and author of Dinner Solved!, a cookbook directly aimed to help busy families create quick and easy dinners. Check out just two of her back to school recipes below:

back to school meals

Savory Zucchini Puff Pastry Tarts

Prep time: 30 minutes • Servings 8+


  • 2 sheets puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • Kosher or coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and thaw according to the package directions.
  2. Unfold both of the puff pastry squares onto a clean surface and cut them into thirds (it will probably be very easy to cut along the folds). You will have 6 pieces. Place them onto 1 or 2 rimmed baking sheets—whatever will fit the pieces without them touching. Use a fork to prick holes all over the pastry, leaving a 1/4-inch border unpricked on all sides (see the Cooking Tip).
  3. You can continue with Step 4 to make the zucchini topping, or see the Fork in the Road for some other topping suggestions.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the oregano.
  5. Spread each piece of pastry with 1 teaspoon of the Dijon mustard, if using, leaving the borders plain (again about 1/4 inch on all sides). Spread the sautéed zucchini evenly over the mustard, still maintaining the border.
  6. Bake until the border of the puff pastry is nicely browned and puffed, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the pastries cool for a couple of minutes, before cutting each into pieces.

Fork in the Road: Simple, or with a sprinkle of your favorite cheese.

Savory Continued: You could also sprinkle grated Parmesan, Gruyère, or crumbled goat or blue cheese on top for the last couple of minutes of baking. Use about ¾ cup of cheese for the 6 rectangles.

And, you can use this as a blueprint recipe for about five million different tarts. It’s that simple, and it’s that flexible. Thaw puff pastry and cut the sheets into thirds, smear them with something delicious, like pesto or mayonnaise or a flavored aioli, layer on some quick-cooking, thinly sliced vegetables, and sprinkle or crumble something else on top, such as chopped nuts or pumpkin seeds.


Today (Aug. 20th) on Fork This with IntoxiKate:

Heather Stouffer, east coast mom and the creator of Mom Made Foods, is chatting about quick and easy ways we can shop, prep, and make dinner on busy school nights. We also have Amanda, the director of marketing communications of Produce for Kids. We’ll be chatting about innovative ways you can pack those lunches and take the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge to support Feeding America® children’s programs. Tune in to 1490 WGCH or listen live at at 1 p.m.

back to school meals

Puff Pastry Breakfast Egg Tarts

Prep Time: 15-30 minutes • Servings: 4


  • 1 (17.3 oz.) pkg. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry sheets, thawed
  • 1 (10-oz.) pkg. Bird’s Eye frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 tsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup shredded Borden’s cheddar cheese
  • 8 large Eggland’s Best eggs
  • 4 pieces crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled
  • Chopped chives to serve (optional)


1. Thaw the puff pastry and the frozen spinach according to package directions.  Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Heat the butter in a medium sized skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions for 4 minutes until golden brown, then add the spinach and sauté for another 4 minutes or so until cooked and the moisture is gone.  Allow to cool to room temperature.
3. While the spinach mixture is cooling, on a lightly floured surface, lay out one sheet of the pastry, sprinkle lightly with flour and lightly roll it just a little thinner, preserving the shape of the dough.  Use a sharp knife to cut it into two even pieces, transfer the pieces to the prepared baking sheets, then use the same knife to score a ½-inch border around the edges, making sure not to cut all the way through the pastry.  Use a fork to prick holes in the middle part of the pastry, within the border.  Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry, so you end up with 4 scored pieces of pastry.
4. Bake the puff pastry for about 10 to 11 minutes until lightly browned and slightly puffy.  Remove from the oven, and press within the border lightly with a fork to deflate any puffed up areas, then spread the spinach evenly over the four pieces, keeping the border clear.  Sprinkle the spinach with the cheese.  Use a spoon to make a little hollow in the spinach and cheese mixture both ends of all four the rectangles.  Carefully crack an egg into the depressions in the spinach mixture.  Repeat until all four pastries have two eggs each.  Sprinkle over the bacon, and return to the oven.
5. Bake for another 8 to 10 minutes until the pastry is fully cooked and the egg is done to your liking.  Serve immediately, with chives sprinkled on top if desired.


For more quick and easy dinner recipes, pick up a copy of Dinner Solved!

The photographs and recipes are courtesy of  The Mom 100.

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