Welcome to back-to-school season! Isn’t it great? Ah, breathe it in; you can practically smell the high blood pressure. And do you hear that? Listen closely; it’s the meditation app playing from the car behind you in the morning drop-off lane at school. With keeping up with after-school activities and making time to help the kiddos with homework the second you get home from your full-time job, carving out hours of your day to make a complicated meal every weeknight for the family is damn near impossible. But with the help of Ina Garten’s easy weeknight dinner recipes, you can crank out a meal in 30 to 45 minutes and it’ll taste great.
Garten, for those who may not know, is the Food Network queen. She’s equal parts bubbly and resourceful, and she has — hands down — the best recipes, ranging from quick-and-easy, yet flavorful dishes to more advanced dishes that’ll impress even the pickiest of guests. Garten is so popular, in fact, celebrities like Jennifer Garner, Meghan Markle and Taylor Swift are mega-fans.
So, don’t even break a sweat over what you’ll cook for dinner on weeknights this school year. Instead, turn to these quick-and-easy Garten recipes.
Behold, the 15-minute recipe that’ll save you on your busiest weeknight: lemon capellini. Sure, it looks unassuming and flavorless, but the kids — and you — will be pleasantly surprised. The noodles burst with black pepper lemon flavors. The half-pound of butter doesn’t hurt, either.
Mac ‘n’ cheese
Making mac ‘n’ cheese from scratch may seem intimidating, but use Garten’s fan-favorite recipe, and you’ll be surprised at how simple it actually is. Using two types of cheese, gruyere and extra-sharp cheddar, you’ll start by boiling the macaroni, then begin making the cheese. Next, you’ll combine the two, and add sliced tomatoes and butter-drenched bread crumbs atop. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, and voilà! You’ve officially leveled up.
Blue cheese burgers
On nights when you and the fam are craving juicy burgers, continue driving past the fast food joint around the corner and pick up ground chuck and sirloin, blue cheese, tomatoes, arugula, steak sauce and a bag of hamburger buns, and spend 15 to 20 minutes making these Garten-approved blue cheese burgers.
The hardest part about this hearty bolognese recipe is gathering the long list of herbs, spices and other ingredients. But when it comes time to cook, you’ll be in and out in a little over 30 minutes.
Roasted salmon tacos
A recipe from her 2016 cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey, salmon tacos are an incredibly easy and deceiving way to give the kiddos what they want (tacos for dinner) and a healthier version of it, to boot, replacing ground beef with salmon.
Lemon chicken breasts
The kitchen will never smell better than after you’ve baked juicy chicken breasts for 30 to 40 minutes in a mixture of zesty lemon juice, white wine, minced garlic and herbs, like dried oregano and fresh thyme leaves.
Broccoli with bow ties & peas
This broccoli with bow ties and peas dish may look simple and effortless — and that’s because it is. But when it comes to taste, it’ll exceed expectations. In just over 35 minutes, you’ll have heaping bowls of equal parts broccoli and bow tie pasta, sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Spicy turkey meatballs & spaghetti
Who doesn’t love spaghetti for dinner? In true Garten fashion, though, this isn’t your average spaghetti-and-meatballs dish. This recipe will take a bit more effort than buying frozen meatballs and warming up a jar of Prego tomato sauce, but the extra 10 or 15 minutes minutes will be worth it when you see everyone eagerly take a bite of your juicy, spicy, made-from-scratch turkey ‘balls.
Fettuccine with white truffle butter & mushrooms
Yes, a dish like this — fettuccini drenched in a heavy, creamy white truffle butter and mushroom sauce — takes just 30 minutes to make.
Rigatoni with sausage & fennel
No one loves Garten’s rigatoni with sausage and fennel dish more than, well, Garten. “This is one of the heartiest and most satisfying dinners! I assemble it a day ahead, throw it in the oven to bake, and simply make a big green salad and buy some good crispy ciabatta,” the James Beard Foundation winner wrote in Cooking for Jeffrey.
If you have some time on Sunday, you can make this recipe ahead of time and bake it when you’re ready at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Conchiglie al forno
Tell the family you’re making conchiglie al forno and they will be none the wiser that this fancy-sounding dish is really just a baked pasta dish with radicchio, mushrooms, butter, cheese and cream.
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