Back in the swing of school again! What with all the nurturing creativity, facilitating skills, and imparting wisdom to our children…we often get to the end of the day without any good ideas for actually, you know, feeding them.

Last year, I shared five recipes that help me get a hot meal on the table even in the midst of the busy school year. With the fall schedule up and running again, I thought I’d share five more:

Slow Cooker Beef Stew is one of our favorite family meals. (That means that 4 out of 6 people will eat it. That’s really good odds for our household.) It’s also very forgiving; you can put in frozen beef in the morning and cook it on high, and it will be done by evening.

My recipe is very basic:

  • 2 lbs stew meat
  • 2 cans tomato soup
  • ½–1 cup water
  • 1 envelope French onion soup mix
  • 2 carrots, sliced in coins
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker, mix. Cover and cook on low for 6–8 hours, high 4-5 hours.

Add or alter as you like with vegetables. We serve it over rice because I’m from Mississippi where we put anything thicker than soup over rice. That’s your cultural education for today.

Curried Lentils

Have you discovered Indian cuisine? It’s fantastic. Not only is it very flavorful, but it’s full of vegetables. In fact, it’s very easy to make a satisfying meatless meal. Best of all, many Indian dishes cook up very quickly—half an hour or so—without a lot of fussing.

Okay, I admit, the recipe I linked to looks as fussy as a toddler who needs a nap. Since Darren and I often cook Indian dishes, we keep most of these ingredients on hand (curry powder, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, curry paste, and ginger paste). Once you’ve got those, the dish is basically a sauté-and-simmer type of thing. Serve over rice to make it go farther—preferably far enough to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Lemon Chicken Spaghetti Squash

I’m a very big fan of spaghetti, so I don’t pretend that spaghetti squash is in any way a substitute for pasta. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, this is a good vegetable-dense—yet flavorful—meal.

What makes it so time-friendly, though, is that you don’t cook the squash like it says in the recipe. No indeed. Here’s what you do:

Poke holes in a spaghetti squash and put it in a slow cooker with about a cup of water. Leave it to cook on low for 3–4 hours. When it’s time to cook supper, your squash is soft and ready to be scooped.

I’ve adjusted the recipe to our liking, so you do the same. But don’t omit the lemon because that’s what makes life worth living.

Dublin Coddle

I feel like a woman of the earth when I serve this meal—all hearty vegetables and sausage and broth. It goes together quickly, especially since you don’t have to fry up the bacon ahead of time (yes, it has a little of both sausage and bacon in it). We serve it over rice, but I didn’t have to tell you that, did I?


I was scared to attempt meringues for years. I had the idea that they took a long time, were difficult, and would completely fail if the humidity was high and the position of Jupiter was wrong. I couldn’t even spell it right.

I found this recipe and decided to give it a try—and discovered a quick and special dessert in relatively little time. It’s great for something sweet without a lot of ingredients or a lot of cleanup.

These recipes might be helpful. But even if your homeschooling fills up all your time so that your supper is convenience food more days out of the week…it’s okay. Do what you can. It usually averages out in the end.

(But do try the Indian dish.)


Photo Credit: First graphic design by Anna Soltis; all other images courtesy of author.