One week down, a whole school year to go. So far, so good.

This week, I continued my mission of cooking a lot of food at once so we don’t have to cook much during the week.

Over the weekend, we loaded up the smoker with chicken drumsticks, which would later make several versatile and quick weekday dinners.

I Eat. La.: Recipes for Smoked Chicken Legs and Spinach Pie

When it comes to chicken, I have always been drawn to the dark side, which I find more flavorful than the white meat.

While the white meat is low in saturated fat and high in protein, dark meat also has protein plus a higher nutrient content with minerals such as iron and zinc as well as B vitamins. We cooked plenty of drumsticks to feed us for several meals during the week, with possibly a few legs leftover for the freezer to make more meals down the road.

I bought two bags of hearty fresh spinach from the farmers market to make a rich and cheesy spinach pie with a flaky phyllo crust. To make it a little more decadent, I stirred in local goat cheese and a fresh sweet onion, also from the farmers market.

Cooking ahead frees up family time to eat together, especially on school nights, which helps our kids start the school year off right.

Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the "I Eat BR" blog. You can reach her at