As we get back into the school year, it’s important to make a weekly dinner plan with your household that everyone will enjoy. This practice will bring everyone together to share stories, reduce stress at mealtime, and promote everyone’s good health. Here are four back-to-school healthy, hassle-free meals that everyone can help put together!

Caramelized Onion Soup


  1. To start your soup, choose 1 large yellow onion. Chop off top and bottom, peel skin and slice in half width-wise.
  2. Place two halves flat on cutting board and slice each one into thin crescent moons. Follow the ridges of the onion when chopping.
  3. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet that has a matching lid.
  4. When oil is hot, add onions, stir briefly with spatula, turn burner down to medium-low, and cover.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add salt and any desired spices and simmer for 15 more minutes, until onion starts to brown.
  7. Add water if onion is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.
  8. Combine all the ingredients above in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook gently for ½ hour.

…Meanwhile, assemble your favorite salad. Serve with sourdough bread and breathe in the deep nourishment.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes


  1.  Choose 2 large sweet potatoes (jewel yams) for a 9×13 glass baking dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Chop  sweet potatoes in half, first length-wise then width-wise.
  4. Chop each section into cubes. Throw cubes into baking dish after they are chopped. (If you would like extra sweet potatoes for soup, chop two extra, roast in a separate baking dish, and refrigerate once they have cooled.)
  5. When the bottom of the dish is covered with one layer of diced sweet potatoes, sprinkle over the top 2 teaspoons salt & 1 Tablespoon each cumin and coriander.
  6. Pour  ¼ cup olive oil over the top and toss with a spatula until sweet potatoes are well-coated.
  7. Slide dish into oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove dish from oven and toss potatoes with spatula.
  8. Bake for 15 more minutes, cool and enjoy!

Serve with corn tortillas (I like Ezekiel sprouted corn tortillas), beans, sliced avocado, and any other toppings that you all enjoy.  Assemble at the table and savor the results!


Ingredients Needed

  • Tempeh
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Olives
  • Spinach
  • Garlic


  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add ¼ pound of tempeh to the skillet.
  3. Add salt, pepper, thyme and oregano.
  4. Mince garlic. Add to skillet.
  5. Sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes. Flip or stir with metal spatula.
  6. Add as as many olives and artichoke hearts as desired and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  7. Add ¼ pound fresh spinach per person, turn off heat, and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook ¼ pound pasta (brown rice, quinoa, or spelt) per adult in salted, boiling water for 6-8 minutes.

Pasta with Walnut pesto

Once pasta is ready, drain in a colander, return to stock pot, add 2 Tablespoons olive oil per person, and toss briefly to coat. Serve hot!

A Simple Kidney Bean Dish


  1.  To soak dry beans, place ½ cup dry kidney beans in a large bowl and cover with 1 inch water. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Pour beans through strainer and drain. Rinse with water until liquid runs clear through strainer.
  3. Pour into a stock pot with 3 cups water. Cover pot and turn heat on high.
  4. Bring to a boil, watching carefully to make sure that beans do not boil over. Once the pot has come to a boil, remove lid and reduce to medium heat.
  5. Foam will form on top of the water. Use a spoon to skim off the foam. Repeat this step periodically as you notice more foam.
  6. Cook beans 1 hour or until tender.
  7. Strain and rinse once more.

If using canned beans, choose ones with no salt added. Strain and rinse them before cooking.
To the cooked kidney beans, add these spices:

  • 1 teaspoon each cumin, coriander, paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Writer Lisa Mase is a culinary medicine coach, food writer, translator, and ​folk ​herbalist living in Vermont.​ For articles and recipes, visit Lisa at