21+ Amazing Ideas and Recipes for Family Dinners

When your kids ask, “What’s for dinner?” do the same 5-6 family dinners run through your head? Does the thought of those options make you want to scream? We get that.

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Whether it’s macaroni and cheese or Grandma’s chicken soup,  families can often live by the same few recipes. It can be hard to break from the rut of the same family meals! Luckily, we’ve got you covered with some recipes for family dinners that will have everyone pleasantly surprised and delighted! Whether you’re looking for healthy options or easy dinner ideas, the whole family may find a new favorite.

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What Are Some Great Ideas for Family Dinners?

Kids may love to eat burgerspasta, and pizza. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t healthy family dinners they’ll still enjoy! Instead of reaching for that frozen meal again, try one of these dinner recipes perfect for weeknight madness.

Shrimp Tacos With Pineapple – The whole family will love this seafood twist on the classic taco. Instead of beef, get out the frozen or fresh shrimp! With some avocadored onion, fresh salsa, cilantro, chili-lime seasoning, and grilled pineapple, you’ll have a fantastic meal with lots of flavors.

Glazed Chicken & Broccoli – This balanced dinner is great for consuming some essential food groups. All you have to do is take teriyaki-tossed chicken drumsticks with broccoli and throw them on the sheet pan. You can also add fingerling or sweet potatoes!

Beef Fajita Burrito Bowl – They can also be one of the best family dinners that everyone can customize! Additions like brown rice, black beans, fajita beef, bell peppers, cilantro, pico de gallo, guacamole, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lettuce, and sour cream make this family dinner a hit.

Sheet-Pan Chicken with Rainbow Vegetables –  “Tasting the rainbow” hasn’t been this yummy since Skittles. And it’s much healthier, too! With bright-colored veggies like sweet potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, eggplant, brussels sprouts, red bell peppers, zucchini, and yellow squash, you’ll pack plenty of vital nutrients, vitamins, protein, and fiber! Add some chopped-up boneless, skinless chicken breast, season it well, and you’ll have a well-balanced, easy dinner for busy weeknights. Serve this veggie-packed healthy dinner idea over cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash noodles, or your choice of grain.

What Is a Good Sunday Dinner?

There’s nothing like a hearty meal on a weekend to make you feel right at home. Luckily, these family-friendly dinner ideas get in all the protein your family will need to recharge on the weekend. They’re the perfect family dinners you can enjoy together.

Baked Cranberry Chicken With Rosemary – Thanksgiving who? This easy-baked cranberry chicken recipe with rosemary is your ticket to a comforting, restaurant-quality dinner! You’ll love the bold flavors of fresh minced garlic, rosemary, and citrus. Fresh cranberries make a festive and juicy topping.

Honey Garlic Pork Chops –  Who know honey and garlic would be a match made in heaven? These Honey Garlic Pork Chops are so easy; you won’t believe it when it’s done! No marinating needed! This recipe is an incredibly quick and delicious way to serve bone-in or boneless pork chops. Seared them until golden, then simmer and broil (or grill) in the tasty sauce!

Cheesy Turkey Meatball Skillet – Simmering in tomato sauce (use it straight from the jar as a shortcut), these cheesy, super flavorful ground turkey meatballs are comfort in a skillet.

slow cooker beef chili

Slow-Cooker Beef Chili

Easy to make, easy to eat.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 45 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 357 kcal


  • 2 guajillo chile peppers
  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 1 dried pasilla chile
  • 3 cups chicken broth low sodium
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless beef chunk cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. boneless beef short ribs cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. brisket cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 yellow onions finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce chopped, optional
  • 1 12oz. can of lager
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar
  • chopped red onion
  • cilantro leaves
  • tortilla chips for serving


Slow-Cooker Beef Chili

  • Toast guajillo, ancho, and pasilla chiles in a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until darkened and slightly softer (about 3 minutes).
  • Place softened butter in stainless steel bowl and mix with 2 cups boiling water. Drain and throw away seeds and stems.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pot on medium-high.
  • Rub chuck, short ribs, and brisket with salt and pepper.
  • Stirring occasionally, cook until browned (about 5 minutes). Continue cooking until liquid all liquid has evaporated from pot (about 8–10 minutes more). Place beef onto plate.
  • Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in same pot.
  • Add onions and garlic; season with more salt and pepper. Cook until onions are softened, stirring often (about 6–8 minutes). Beef may stick to the pot, so add splash of water (stirring occasionally) to scrape up left over browned bits of beef.
  • Add cumin, oregano, and chipotle. Cook for 1 minute while stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer the whole mixture to your slow cooker (4–6-quart).
  • Add lager, beef, and chile purée, season with salt and pepper. Stir.
  • Cover slow cooker and heat until meat is very tender (about 7–8 hours on low or 4–5 hours on high). If the mix seems too thin, simmer until thickened to desired consistency.
  • Taste and season if needed. Serve dish topped with sour cream, cheddar, red onion, cilantro leaves, and chips.


Calories: 357kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 32gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 577mgPotassium: 899mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2258IUVitamin C: 35mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 5mg
Keyword beef, chile, dinner, slow cooker
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

What Are Some Good Comfort Foods?

When everyone is enjoying their meal at a family dinner, comfort food sets the scene for memories in the making. While every night can’t be “comfort food” night, check out these easy dinner recipe ideas that you’ll want to try when you need a crowd-pleaser.

Potato Kielbasa Skillet – If you’re searching for family dinners that have plenty of flavor, this spicy recipe does the job! Simply sauté onion and cajun sausage, add potatoes, and then a brown sugar sauce.

Creamy Enchiladas – Whether you try chicken enchiladas or a vegetarian version, this is one of the best family dinners on a budget. Add shredded mozzarella cheese, green chili sauce, sour cream, cilantro, salsa, and stuff enchilada shells for a hearty and flavorful meal.

Tortellini With Kale Pesto –  Tortellini was one of my mom’s go-to family dinners when we were kids because even with picky eaters, you really can’t go wrong with cheese-stuffed pasta. It comes in plenty of varieties, too, if you want to try spinach and cheese or chicken. Add toppings or a sauce like kale pesto to sneak in some leafy greens or veggies.

Sides for Family Dinner

While the main dish can take all the glory, sometimes the supporting cast is just as important for making or breaking your family dinner. Check out these tried-and-true classics for some inspiration:

Green Beans and Walnuts –  This fresh and easy-to-make side is as simple as it gets: green beans tossed with walnuts, sauteed and seasoned with butter, walnut oil, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Herb-Roasted Parmesan Acorn Squash –  For this savory side, you can use fresh or dried herbs or a combination of both. I  like rosemary and thyme, but dried Italian seasoning is also delicious. And parmesan always makes roasted vegetables kid-approved.

Fancy Macaroni and Cheese – We like mac-n-cheese so much, we wrote a whole article in its honor. So, put that box of processed mac-n-cheese back on the shelf and opt for a new twist on a homestyle classic.

Potatoes au Gratin –  This melt-in-your-mouth dish was my go-to side dish from my college campus dining hall, and for good reason. You really can’t go wrong with potatoes, cheddar cheese, butter, milk, and flour. Everyone will be asking for another helping.

Cole Slaw – This side is a must-have if you’re having barbecue. My favorite is a vinegar coleslaw that keeps things simple with ingredients like cabbage, carrots, vinegar, plus sugar for the dressing. This sweet, tangy slaw is the perfect complement to a heavier dish like tangy pulled pork sandwiches or Texas-style beef brisket.

Pasta Salad This is one of those sides that when it’s done right, everyone loves. One of my favorite simple recipes includes elbow macaroni, peas, cubed cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, chopped celery, chopped onion, diced pimentos, chopped green peppers. And, of course, lots of salt and pepper. It’s much lighter than mac-n-cheese, and you may even be able to sneak some veggies onto the kids’ plates. 

Extended Family Dinner

Although it won’t be a formal dinner or banquet requiring an evening gown, sometimes the pressure’s on to impress the in-laws or meet someone’s new significant other at a family dinner. When you’re hosting a crowd (i.e., more than just your immediate family), you may be conflicted. Your meal should be tasty, but you want to make sure everyone gets enough food, too. That’s when chili, a casserole, or a one-pot meal can really be a lifesaver. An appetizer can also be helpful to keep everyone content while dinner’s cooking too. Just make sure they don’t fill up too much because they’ll want to have plenty of these tasty entrees.

Beef Chili –  If you want to set and forget the CrockPot, slow cooker chili will impress even the toughest little food critics! By adding together chilies, cooked ground beef, diced tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, and garlic, and plenty of spices, you’ll have a stellar bowl of chili. Serve it with bread and butter, and they’ll be scraping every last bit from the bowl.

Hawaiian Chicken and Rice Casserole –  While chicken and rice is a classic casserole that never seems to go out of style, try this Hawaiian twist with red bell pepper, pineapple chunks added.

One-Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce –  Sometimes, you just need something that will cook together all in one pot, especially when you’re cooking for a crowd (The fewer dishes, the better. Can I get an “amen?”). And so, one-pot spaghetti enters the scene. Classic flavors made simple.

Chicken and Dumplings Casserole –  This is comfort food at its best. And, it’s served with tasty biscuits! It’s two much-loved Southern dishes all rolled into one, so you can’t go wrong.

Instant Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice Bowls – This colorful chicken and rice bowl packs in protein, fiber, and flavor with a can of diced tomatoes for extra nutrients.

Revamp Your Family Dinner Tonight

It can be easy to get into a family dinner routine, but there are plenty of dinner ideas everyone will love that you can add to the rotation!  Whether you’re looking for lighter fare during the summer or winter comfort foods, share your favorite ideas and creations on FamilyApp!

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