September Dinner Ideas — Back to School Easy Meals List

September is a busy month for families with children going back to school. With a packed schedule, it can be difficult to keep up with planning dinners every night. That’s why I’ve put together some September dinner ideas to help make monthly meal planning a little easier.

Never tried once a month meal planning before? It’s really not difficult, and I have a post that teaches you exactly how to plan a monthly menu that works for YOU.

Whether you’re looking for quick and easy dinner ideas, or something a little more elaborate for slower weekend nights, there’s sure to be something on this list that will fit the bill. So don’t let the September rush get the best of you; plan ahead and make September dining a breeze.

Text September monthly menu plan an easy meals list for back to school on white background over blue plate and napkin on wood table.

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Okay, I cannot believe September is already upon us! Did it sneak up on you too?

With my younger son heading back to school and me back to working at my part-time job, there is no way I can go into September without a firm menu in place for the month.

There are many nights where deciding what to make for dinner feels like the last thing on my to-do list. I simply don’t have time to think about meal planning every day, so I need to have a master dinner list for the month and it needs to be EASY.

Know what I mean?

So that’s what I have for you this month — a simple September menu plan. Most of these dinners require little prep (I usually do a quick food prep routine on the weekend).

I plan a lot of easy meals, dump & forget crockpot recipes, and plenty of grilled foods since this hot summer just keeps on going.

September Dinner Ideas Monthly Meal Plan

As you will see, I have marked some of these dinners to be made more than once. I’ve also left open nights for leftovers and restaurant dinners.

Most dinners do not have a side dish listed. This is because it’s either an all-in-one dish, or my plan is to serve raw or grilled vegetables with the main course.

1. Grilled BBQ chicken leg quarters (2 times) — This set of grilling tongs and turner is my husband’s current favorite. He says the tongs have a better grip than some of the more expensive brands we’ve tried in the past.

2. Grilled cheeseburgers (2 times)

3. Grilled BBQ B/S chicken thighs

4. Grilled bratwurst

5. Lexington Grilled Chicken — We ended up making this twice in August, great recipe!

Close view of grilled chicken and peppers on white plate.

6. Outdoor fish fry (2 times), homemade onion rings, sweet potato fries — My husband loves this shaker for doing fish fries.

7. Oriental Chicken Salad

8. Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole

9. One-pan roasted smoked sausage, chicken & potatoes

10. Smothered Baked Chicken Burritos — Be sure to use her Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken recipe and add these crockpot “refried” beans

11. Tostadas

12. Nachos

13. Smothered boneless skinless chicken breasts

14. Easy Chicken Parmesan Bake

Close view of chicken parmesan and spaghetti noodles on white plate.

15. One Pot Spaghetti with Sausage Sauce

16. *crockpot meal* General Tso’s Chicken, fried rice

17. *crockpot meal* Paula’s Smoked Boston Butt Roast

18. *crockpot meal* Slow Cooker Lasagna

19. *crockpot meal* Cowboy Casserole

20. *crockpot meal* Crockpot Sausage & Potatoes

21. *crockpot meal* 3 Ingredient Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken

22. Chicken Cordon Bleu Burgers

23. Italian Chop Salad

24. Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

25. Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Click here to grab the printable meal list of monthly dinner ideas.

September monthly dinner plan with easy meals for busy back to school nights clickable image for opt-in to printable list of monthly meal ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Monthly Meal Plan

How do I decide which dinner to make each night?

Just having this month of dinner ideas list eliminates so much decision fatigue. Depending on our schedules, I’ll usually finalize a plan on the weekend. But I’m pretty flexible. As long as there are ingredients in the fridge, we can always shift things around.

I use these plastic sheet pan lids as trays in the fridge for thawing meat. It’s a lot easier to actually cook dinners when you have the food thawed and ready to cook!

How do I make meal planning easy?

First, grab the printable monthly menu ideas.

Next, get the meal planning printables collection. These are the planning and shopping printables I use every month and every week to keep everything organized and EASY.

What does my family eat besides dinner?

Breakfast – Not much. Sometimes I will make a big pot of rolled oats or my husband will make eggs and bacon on the weekend, maybe once or twice a month.

Once in a great while, my son will eat a banana while he’s waiting for the bus. Breakfast just isn’t our thing.

Lunch – Leftovers, pb&j, lunchmeat sandwiches, crackers & cheese.

My younger son is a high school freshman this year, so I’m not sure what we will end up doing for his lunches. He thinks he still wants to take pb&j & crackers every day. You would think he’d want a change after 4 middle school years of making himself the same thing every.single.day. We’ll see how that goes.

Snacks – Fruit, crackers, nuts, tortilla chips.

I usually do not make desserts. If we’re REALLY craving something, I’ll make rice krispie treats or some chocolate pudding to use up milk.

More Meal Planning Inspiration

How to Grocery Shop for a Month

October Menu Plan – A Month Of Cool Weather Dinners

February Menu Plan

Concluding Thoughts On Planning Dinners For September

By planning ahead and making use of quick and easy recipes, you can eliminate so much daily stress. Plus, you can enjoy home-cooked meals without spending hours in the kitchen.

So, get inspired by some of these September recipes and monthly meal planning tips and start planning your meals for the month ahead. You’ll be glad you did when dinnertime comes around and you’re not scrambling to figure out what to make.

You’ve got this!

Don’t forget to follow my Pinterest board for main dish recipes and sign up below to have the printable monthly dinners idea list sent right to your inbox.


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Text easy dinners for busy school nights September monthly menu plan on sheer turquoise background.

This post was updated July 16, 2022.

7 thoughts on “September Dinner Ideas — Back to School Easy Meals List”

  1. Hi Julie
    Quite an interesting idea you have of meal planning! I may have to steal some of your ideas as I’m in England and also go back to work next week ( tomorrow is my last hurrah!)
    What’s number 4 on your list? Sounds an interesting name but I’ve not heard of it before.
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Hi Julie,
    Great to see you at Blogger’s Pit Stop last week. It’s nice of you to give out free printables.
    Thank you for bringing your post to Blogger’s Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  3. Of all the recipes you have share the Chicken Parm jumps out at me, looks delicious! Thank you for sharing on Oh My Heartsie Girls’ #omhgww we love seeing such great ideas and inspiration!!
    I hope you have a lovely week and will see you again next week.

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