A back to school menu that really makes the grade

Our $2 Dinners look at back-to-school menu ideas continues this week with more easy recipes for delicious school-week meals. This week’s recipes complete our fantastic menu with a wonderful dinner and dessert combo that are a snap to prepare and budget friendly too. Our Easy Overnight Meatball Casserole is a busy cook’s dream because it comes together in minutes and then hangs out in the fridge overnight to work its’ magic. Then, when you get home after a busy day, just pop it in the oven and let it bake until the pasta is tender and the cheeses are melted and golden brown, while you help the kids with homework, pack lunches, etc. It couldn’t be easier and your family will love it! And, because at $2 Dinners we believe that every delicious dinner needs an equally delicious dessert, we have a recipe for Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies that are the perfect ending for the perfect meal. Full of chocolate and peanut buttery goodness, these chewy brownies are sure to be a hit at your house.

Click on the orange boxes for a printable version of the recipes

Easy Overnight Meatball Casserole (makes 6-8 servings @ about $1.82 per serving)

Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies (makes 24 brownies @ about 18 cents per brownie)

Want another great meatball casserole recipe that's budget-friendly? Check out this recipe on Foodista...the cooking encyclopedia that everyone can edit!

Meatball Casserole

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Get an A+ on savings with this back-to-school menu

It’s back-to-school time, and for many of us that means the annual “back to school” frenzy and all that goes with it. As parents, while this might mean relief that peace and quiet will return to our homes during the day, it also means the stress of planning before-school breakfasts, packed lunches, after-school snacks, and dinners that are quick, and easy. While it’s true that meals must also be planned and prepared when the kids are home for the summer, somehow it seems like a bigger deal when you know you have to accomplish multiple meals in the midst of all the school-related chaos like getting your kids to the bus on time, finding lost books, shoes, coats, etc., not to mention helping with all that homework! It can be stressful and exhausting.

Our budget-friendly back-to-school menu brings you easy and delicious ideas for preparing a whole day’s worth of school-week meals, without all the stress and without spending hours in the kitchen. This week’s recipes cover breakfast, lunch, and an after-school snack, and in our next column we’ll bring you recipes for a wonderful school-week dinner and dessert. Your family will love these tasty recipes, and kids will love helping with the preparation, especially the “Beary” Delicious Snack Mix.

Click on the orange boxes for a printable version of the recipes

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins (makes 12 muffins @ about 23 cents per muffin)

Hearty Hoagies (serves 4 @ about $1.95 per serving)

"Beary" Delicious Snack Mix (makes 5 1/2 cups, serves 5 @ about 85 cents per serving)

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Zero in on savings with zucchini

I don’t know what it is about zucchini, but this scenario happens to me every year, and I know I’m not alone: Early in May or June, you plant “just a couple” of harmless-looking zucchini plants in your garden, figuring you’d grow enough of the tasty green squash to enjoy for a few meals, right? But, little do you know that those small zucchini plants have other ideas...for they proceed to grow enormous and to produce enough zucchini to feed your whole family...and half the neighborhood! As a result, by mid-August you’re knee-deep in zucchini, and your friends, neighbors, and co-workers are running in the other direction when they see you coming with another bag to give away. Sound familiar?

So what can you do with all those zucchini once you can’t even give them away anymore? Here are a couple of easy and economical recipes your family will love that make delicious use of the zucchini bounty from your garden.

Click on the orange boxes for a printable version of the recipes

Zucchini Salad (serves 4 @ about 71 cents per serving- if zucchini is purchased)

Fried Zucchini (serves 6-8 @ about 45 cents per serving- if zucchini is purchased)

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