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12 Contest-Winning School Night Suppers

When the calendar gets cluttered, make a simple supper. These winning family-approved recipes come together in a flash.

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Spicy Chicken And Bacon Mac Exps Sdas18 215224 D03 27  6b 4

Grand Prize: Spicy Chicken and Bacon Mac

I've been working to perfect a creamy, spicy mac and cheese for years. After adding smoky bacon, chicken, jalapenos and spicy cheese, this is the ultimate! I use rotisserie chicken and precooked bacon when I'm pressed for time. —Sarah Gilbert, Aloha, Oregon

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Cheesy Fiesta Beef Casserole Exps Sdas18 218105 D03 28  2b 4

1st Place: Cheesy Fiesta Beef Casserole

Over the years I’ve tweaked this recipe to end up with a wonderful, quick weeknight meal. Feel free to spice it up with jalapenos, if you prefer a little more heat. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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2nd Place: School-Night Sausage Stroganoff

I found this recipe in an old church cookbook about 25 years ago and tweaked it to fit my family's tastes. It's a savory, creamy dish that's quick to fix on a busy school night. —Kristine Chayes, Smithtown, New York
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Foil Packet Shrimp And Sausage Jambalaya Exps Sdas18 219065 D03 28  6b 5

3rd Place: Foil Packet Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

This hearty, satisfying dinner has all the flavors of an authentic jambalaya with little effort. The foil packets can be prepared a day ahead and cooked right before serving. These are also good on the grill! —Allison Stroud, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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Black Bean Chicken Burritos Exps Sdas18 212425 D03 28  1b 3

Runner Up: Black Bean Chicken Burritos

I try to hide as many veggies as possible in these burritos. Another way I bump up the nutrition level is by using thinly sliced cabbage instead of regular iceberg lettuce. The filling freezes well, so double the recipe! —Jeni Pittard, Statham, Georgia
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Runner Up: One-Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

When the weather's too chilly to grill burgers, I whip up a big pot of this cheesy pasta. Believe it or not, it tastes just like a bacon cheeseburger, and it's much easier for my young children to enjoy. —Carly Terrell, Granbury Texas
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Chicken Cordon Bleu Stromboli Exps Sdas18 215371 D03 28  3b 4

Runner Up: Chicken Cordon Bleu Stromboli

If chicken cordon bleu and Stromboli had a baby, this would be it. Serve with jarred Alfredo sauce, homemade Alfredo sauce or classic Mornay sauce on the side if desired. —Cynthia Gerken, Naples, Florida
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Runner Up: Easy Caribbean Chicken

This is a very simple recipe that uses easy-to-find ingredients. Serve with some steamed vegetables for a complete meal. Use cubes of pork or even shrimp instead of the chicken. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Meat Lover S Pizza Rice Skillet Exps Sdas18 214139 D03 28  7b 7

Runner Up: Meat Lover's Pizza Rice Skillet

My son named this "pizza rice" after I threw together a quick dinner from what I had in the fridge and pantry. Add any other pizza topping ingredients you desire. I often add black olive slices or mushrooms. Teri Rasey, Cadillac, Michigan
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Runner Up: Shredded Green Chili Beef

This Tex-Mex pulled beef roast is tender, slightly spicy, juicy, and so delicious served over mashed potatoes or rice. The beef also makes the best soft tacos you've ever had. Save any leftover pulled beef in the liquid to prevent it from drying out. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Runner Up: Shortcut Oven-Baked Chicken Chimichangas

Mimic the crunch of a chimichanga by brushing these with oil and baking them. Our children love to have them when they get home late after school activities. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Salsa Steak Garlic Toasts Exps Sdas18 214835 D03 27  2b 6

Runner Up: Salsa Steak Garlic Toasts

These open-faced steak sandwiches play up the popular combo of steak and garlic bread. The salsa, sour cream and garnish elevate it into quick, satisfying meal. Substitute chopped green onions or chives for the cilantro if desired. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois

Ellie Martin Cliffe
Now an executive editor at Taste of Home, Ellie has been writing about food and parenting for more than a decade. When she isn't at TOH HQ, she's likely trying gluten- and dairy-free recipes, canning whatever's in season, listening to anything with a fiddle, or playing Uno with her family.

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