On busy weeknights, there’s just no time to fuss with intricate, individually plated meals or time-sensitive dishes. Instead, you want to reach for recipes that encourage simple, family-style eating, in which there’s a big-batch dish in the middle of the table and your family can help themselves. Check out our three rustic, wonderfully informal dinners below and let us know what you’re making for Meatless Monday tonight.
Ina’s classic, deliciously gooey Mac and Cheese (pictured above) is a five-star fan favorite with almost 700 user reviews. She prefers a combination of Gruyere and extra-sharp cheddar cheeses to form the basis of her family-friendly recipe — the rich, nutty Gruyere balances the bite of the cheddar. Before baking, she arranges sliced fresh tomatoes atop her pasta-cheese mixture and dusts it with white breadcrumbs to add a barely there crunchy texture.
Giada’s Vegetable Casserole is another family-favorite recipe that can feed a crowd. She tops a layer of hearty potatoes, carrots, yams and peppers with sweet onions, chopped zucchini and tomatoes, and bakes this healthful dish until the veggies are tender and the Parmesan cheese topping golden brown. A final sprinkle of fresh basil finishes the dish before serving.
Loaded with spiral-shaped noodles, fresh vegetables and a mix of creamy ricotta, mozzarella and pecorino cheeses, Food Network Magazine’s Baked Cavatappi With Artichokes and Fennel is one pasta dish that parents and kids will both enjoy. Once you take this casserole out of the oven, let it rest for just 15 minutes, so that the cheeses have a chance to harden a bit.