Back-to-school can be a hectic time, but don’t sacrifice good cooking, try some easy recipes that will satisfy the whole family


JAMESTOWN, N.C. (WGHP) — Students heading back to school can mean busy days for families. 

It can be challenging to find the time to make breakfast, pack lunches and plan ahead for dinner each night. So on this Recipe Wednesday, the culinary instructors at GTCC in Jamestown show Shannon Smith some easy, nutritious recipes to try.

Pizza Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

YIELD: 10 1/2 cups salad plus 3/4 cup leftover dressing.


  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  •  1/2 cup olive oil
  •  1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  •  1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. 1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
  2. 1/2 pound Canadian bacon, cut into thin strips
  3. 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  4. 1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  5. 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  6. 1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
  7. 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  8. 3 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  9. 1 tablespoon minced chives


  • In a small bowl, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients. Chill until serving.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, bacon, cheeses, tomatoes, pepper, olives, basil and chives.
  •  Just before serving, whisk dressing and drizzle 1 cup over salad; toss to coat. Save remaining dressing for another use.

Fall-Off-the-Bone Chicken

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds),
  • patted completely dry
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives


  1. Combine the sugar, paprika, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Toss the chicken in the spice mixture until coated. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a flameproof 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  3. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. 
  5. Bake until the chicken is super moist and falling off the bone, about 2 hours.
  6. Remove the baking dish from the oven and remove the foil. Use a spoon or ladle to remove as much liquid from the dish as possible and reserve.
  7. Turn the oven to broil.  Broil the chicken until the skin is golden brown and slightly crisp, about 5 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the chicken with the chives and serve with the reserved pan juices. 
  9. Serve hot or refrigerate to eat the next day cold or room temperature for lunch.

Fruity Peanut Butter Pitas


  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon each ground allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 2 whole wheat pita pocket halves
  • 1/2 medium apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium firm banana, sliced


  1.  In a small bowl, blend the peanut butter, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. Spread inside pita bread halves; fill with apple and banana slices.

Strawberry Oatmeal Energy Bars

Yield: 24 servings

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 scoops Vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • One 10 to 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan.
  3. Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, protein powder, baking powder and salt.
  4. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan.
  5. Spread with the strawberry preserves.
  6. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly.
  7. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
  8. Let cool completely, and then cut into squares

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Follow FOX8 on Twitter