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4 Old-school weeknight meals

Claire is an aspiring nutritionist (and soon to be culinary student) with a serious addiction to bacon, wine, goat cheese and online shopping. She is recently married to a social media guru who loves *almost* everything she conjures up. ...

Quick, easy recipes for back to school

Back to school means one thing: BUSY! Whether you're preparing your kids for kindergarten or high school, getting the whole family back on track is never easy. To make things just a little less stressful, we've made you four old-school meals that'll make life feel like an episode of Leave it to Beaver.

4 Old-school weeknight meals

Remember those casseroles your mom would make you after a long day of school? And after one bite, somehow life felt like it made sense? These hearty, '60s and '70s-inspired dishes will not only satisfy your kids but will make you feel a little bit at ease, too. Did we mention they are also super easy to make (and make ahead)?

1

Homemade shells and cheese

4 Old-school weeknight meals

Serves about 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound shell pasta
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (about 1/2 block)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions and rinse. Place back into the pot and set over medium heat. Add cream cheese and milk and stir. Heat until cream cheese is melted. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
2

Cheesy french fry casserole

4 Old-school weeknight meals

Serves about 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 5 ounces cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (we used cheddar)
  • 16 ounces frozen french fries (we used sweet potato)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Drain once cooked.
  3. Spread the beef in the pan. Whisk the soup and sour cream together, spread over the ground beef. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over the soup and top with fries. Cover the fries with cheese and bake for about 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
3

Chicken shepherd's pie

4 Old-school weeknight meals

Serves about 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups mixed frozen vegetables (thawed)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: 

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for about 2 minutes. Add frozen veggies and garlic, reduce heat to medium and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5–6 minutes. Add in chicken and chicken broth. Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid reduces.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove vegetable-chicken mixture from heat and scoop evenly into 4 lightly greased ramekins. Top the mixture with mashed potatoes and 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
4

Old-fashioned spaghetti and meatballs

4 Old-school weeknight meals

Serves about 6

Ingredients:

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup soft white breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • About 2-3 cups marinara sauce
  • 12 ounces spaghetti, uncooked

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Rinse and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, make meatballs by mixing the ground beef, breadcrumbs, parsley, cheese, salt, onions, pepper and egg together. Using your hands, mix it all together. Form medium-large meatballs with your hands.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook until browned on each side, about 8 minutes. Add marinara and heat until marinara is warm.
  4. Serve marinara and meatballs over pasta and enjoy!

More weeknight recipes

Weeknight dinner ideas for working moms
Quick and easy weeknight suppers with wine
Homemade taco wraps

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