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Here are all the best Friday night dinner ideas to cure the end-of-the-week blues! These recipes are quick, easy and comforting.

Friday night dinner ideas
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It’s Friday night, and you’re all out of cooking energy. What’s for dinner? We know the feeling! Once we get to the end of the week, we’re grasping for ideas on a quick, simple meal to ride out the week in style. So here are all our best Friday night dinner ideas that are low on effort and big on flavor! Each recipe is fast, crowd-pleasing, and requires minimal effort to pull together into a meal. There are ideas for classic comfort food and heathier, lighter ideas as well. Let’s get to it!

And now…our top Friday night dinner ideas!

More dinner inspiration

Looking for more dinner ideas? Here are a few more recipes to spark your imagination:

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Healthy Mac and Cheese

20 Easy Friday Night Dinner Ideas


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
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Description

Healthy mac and cheese? This recipe has big flavor with less cheese than most and added broccoli for fiber and nutrients!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni, shells or other short cut pasta (if desired, use gluten-free or legume pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups small florets of broccoli (2 heads)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup 2% milk
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or 1 cup cheddar)
  • 2 tablespoons grated or shredded Pecorino Romano cheese (don’t omit!*)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Italian seasoned panko, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook just until al dente, (about 8 minutes; start tasting a few minutes before your package instructions indicate). 
  2. Cut the broccoli into very small florets. In a large saucepan, add a drizzle of olive oil and heat on medium high. Add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes until tender, then add a splash of water and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook 2 minutes more until bright green and tender. Remove the broccoli from the pan (and wipe it out if necessary).
  3. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the flour to create a paste for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk and whisk until smooth. Increase the heat to medium and continue whisking until the sauce starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Stir in the shredded mozzarella, cheddar and Pecorino Romano cheese and continue stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the ½ teaspoon salt. (If the sauce is too sticky, you can add ¼ cup more milk to get a creamier texture.) 
  4. Add the pasta and broccoli to the sauce, stirring to combine, and heat just until the pasta is warmed through. Taste and add the remaining ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. If desired, sprinkle with Italian panko and serve. 

Notes

*This is the secret flavor maker. Pecorino Romano is an aged cheese similar to Parmesan, but saltier and more savory. If you can’t find it, use Parmesan cheese and a few more pinches of salt. 

  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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