The first question is really what part of "outside Dallas" suits your lifestyle and how long do you want to travel to get to work or the amenities, i.e., church, entertainment, outdoor activities, the airports, that you plan to frequent. In just Dallas county, you could be talking about a two hour trip one way from north to south or from east to west. More at peak times.
I had one client from out of state who had never been here who would search the internet and give me home listings she liked from one end of the Metroplex to the other and ask me how far away from the town where her sister-in-law lived was it. It doesn't look very far on a map. I gave them recommendations for where to look for a hotel when they visited to find a house. They booked at a place they thought was downtown based on the name. It ended up being about an hour and a half from where they decided to build their new home.
Another consideration is the topography. Do you want to live in flat-as-a-pancake country, rolling hills, semi-arid, etc.? We have all of it.
Laura, you will notice that as Realtors we cannot answer your question because it would violate many codes that would be construed as steering or such... You can check http://www.greatschools.net to look up stats on specific schools and here is the site for the Texas Education Agency that lists ALL the schools with their individual ratings. http://www.tea.state.tx.us/
You can check also http://crimereports.com/map?search=tx for crimes by areas. Note that many police departments don't participate in this so the number can be inaccurate at times.
As a dallas native and real estate consultant who sells all over, I would have to say that exemplary schools abound here, as well as shopping, this is sort of the shopping haven! You can check crime rate on each cities pd website's. I might check these area's for homes: Parker, TX (the city, not county). Shopping 15 minutes away at Willow Bend mall. I would also say Fairview and Frisco. I would love to help you find something, please feel free to contact me!