Yes, we have returned to the school schedule along with many families across the country. It is the time of year when I go from minimal attempts at making my family dinner to hardly ever. I would be OK with cereal and peanut butter every night; TheRoomDad is not. It is perplexing to him the lack of interest I have for preparing food during the school year. Preparing meals is such a time suck, and I am not up for it after a day of teaching.
There is a quick meal that I will cook when I have the ingredients. My kids love the recipe I have for Italian Chicken Soup. It is a lot like chicken noodle soup but with a twist. Any time we have a leftover cooked chicken breast, there is a good chance I am making Italian Chicken Soup for an easy weeknight dinner.
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 T. dried basil
- 2 t. fennel seeds
- 1/4 t. dried crushed red pepper
- 6 c. canned chicken broth
- 2 medium zucchini, diced (optional)
- ~9-oz. pasta (egg noodles, mini penne, mini bow ties, macaroni…)
- 1 1/2 c. cooked chicken, diced
- Heat oil in large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add red bell pepper, onion, carrot, garlic basil, fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper. Saute until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add broth.
- Cover pot and simmer 10 minutes.
- Add zucchini (if using), cover, and simmer about 5 minutes.
- Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Add pasta and boil until pasta is tender.
- Add chicken and cook until heated through about 1 more minute.
- Season soup to taste with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls, and serve.
- You can replace the zucchini with yellow squash (and probably celery, but I have not tried it). Red bell pepper can be replaced with green bell pepper.
- The original recipe called for cheese ravioli, but my family likes non-stuffed pasta better.
- The recipes makes 4-5 servings, so we usually don’t have many leftovers.
You would think after all of my first days of school that I would not get that sinking feeling in my stomach when it is time to begin the school year again; I should be a first day of school expert. But I get the dark, scary feeling. Every year. My back-to-school-blues started about a week ago when we arrived home from our mini family vacation, and the box with the uniform shirts I had ordered for Mr. Star Wars was on the front porch.
Because so many of us experience the same emotions on the first day of school, there are a lot of good chapter books about starting school. And, it does not matter if you are returning to the same school or starting a new school altogether. We all get nervous. Reading about a character who has the same worries you do helps make the transition to the new classroom a little easier. Is there somebody at your house worried about your first day of school? Try a few of these titles to help ease the anxiety.
- Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
- The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
- Julia and the Art of Practical Travel by Lesley M. M. Blume (at the end)
- Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume
- Superfudge by Judy Blume (beware the Santa Claus reveal)
- The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (April character)
- Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
- A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
- The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
- Hound Dog True by Linda Urban
- Midnight for Charlie Bone Jenny Nimmo
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
- The 100-Year-Old Secret by Tracy Barrett (Sherlock Files series)
- Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
- The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm (the grandfather)
- Maggie Malone and the Mostly Magical Boots by Jenna McCarthy and Carolyn Evans
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Tarantula Shoes by Tom Birdseye
- The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
- Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea (Jessica character)
- Knightly Academy by Violet Haberdasher
Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway for two Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits.
Congratulations to the winner, Laura S! Laura, please look for an e-mail from me, so I can get your kits in the mail to you promptly.
For those who did not win, it is easy to make your own Teacher Emergency Kits. Find a small zippered bag (like a cosmetics bag), a little box with compartments (like a bead box from Michael’s Crafts), or a simple gift bag and fill with items that would be helpful to have in your desk or bag that would not be readily available at school.
- travel toothbrush and toothpaste
- dental floss
- cough drops
- Sharpie pen
- safety pins
- travel comb
- quarters (for the soda machine)
- hair ties or clips
- Tide to go stick
- travel sized hand lotion
- Smart phone charger