Oh the excitement of the first day of school! Everyone got up bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to meet the challenge of a new year.

By evening, our eyes were dim and our bushy tails were dragging. Thankfully, I had spent Sunday preparing several dishes to help us ease into the first week. All we had to do was heat and eat, and catch up on the day.

These recipes for Brisket Bites, Spaghetti Squash and Sweet Potato Hash Browns make good-sized portions and are easy to mix and match with whatever else you might have around. I purchased a large brisket and let it cook itself to a tender, melt-in-your-mouth state of heaven.

The spaghetti squash is super simple to prepare and so much fun to eat. Leftovers tossed with some prepared tomato sauce add versatility to the week’s menu.

I Eat La.: Recipes for Brisket Bites, Spaghetti Squash, Sweet Potato Hash Browns

This hash brown recipe has been through many revisions over the years, but this one might be my favorite. It perfectly complements any full-flavored protein and provides plenty of fiber and vitamins to reignite your energy.

The lazy days of summer and my evenings of leisurely cooking dinner may be over for a while, but that doesn’t mean we won’t eat well.

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