Finding a quick-and-easy weekday dinner that everyone will love can seem like a challenge. However, with these ideas for easy dinner recipes, you’ll find a crowd-pleaser that you can make in no time at all!Jump to Recipe
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How to Become the Expert of Easy Dinners
Keep shelf-stable staples in your house– Certain ingredients can be a lifesaver when you’re desperate for something tasty but quick. In the pantry, keep boxes of penne pasta and Bisquick. Some versatile canned goods include chickpeas, diced tomatoes, green chiles, tomato sauce, black beans, tuna, corn, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, mixed veggies, or anything you can easily add to a recipe for extra flavor or protein.
Find go-to recipes that you can practice and perfect– It’s always fun to try something new, and kids need to be exposed to a wide variety of flavors. However, having a couple of go-to recipes you can make when you just can’t think anymore can be a lifesaver. We all have those days when you just can’t come up with anything new.
Get the kids involved if you can– Letting someone else into the kitchen is a big deal, especially when someone else needs supervision around stoves, knives, and ovens. However, if you can safely get the kids involved, with enough practice, they’ll be able to have more independence, and the pressure’s off! Start them off with simple tasks like tearing the lettuce, shucking the corn, setting the table, or mixing things up. Pretty soon, you’ll have a budding sous chef who can help make an easy dinner even easier.
Healthy and Easy Family Dinner Ideas
Hold on, don’t pull through the drive-through yet! You can sit around the dining table and enjoy a flavorful, homemade meal without all the hassle. Check out these simple dinner recipes with great flavors without too much effort on busy weeknights or even the weekend when you want to kick back and relax. Whether it’s with beef, chicken these healthy, easy dinner options may even tempt your most stubborn chicken nugget enthusiast.
1.Rainbow Chicken Salad– When you a lot of different colors in your salad, it not only provides plenty of antioxidants and nutrients but makes the food more visually appealing and flavorful! Have your kids help you make the salad! For red, use red bell peppers, orange is shredded carrots, yellow is yellow bell peppers, green is green cabbage, cilantro, avocado, green onion, limes, and purple is purple cabbage. Top with chopped chicken breast, crunchy noodles, peanuts, and a Thai-peanut dressing.
2. Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggies– This good-for-you meal is one of our go-to healthy dinner ideas. When you use seasonal veggies, you can keep it budget-friendly, too! If you’re having trouble deciding, try adding sweet potatoes, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, and sweet potatoes to your sheet pan. Sausage and veggies also make a great sheet pan dinner alternative. Use what you have!
3. Healthy White Chicken Chili– This is a30-minute meal with chicken breast, white beans, corn, cumin, and yogurt. You can make it on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, or in the Instant Pot! A true crowd-pleaser!
4. Nacho Chicken Casserole– The perfect blend of comfort foods! Try this recipe for a delicious dinner.
Nacho Chicken Casserole
- 4 cups cubed chicken
- 1 lb velveeta cubed
- 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of chicken soup undiluted
- 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chiles undrained
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 bag (14-1/2 ounces) nacho cheese tortilla chips
- Optional: Sliced jalapeno pepper, diced tomato, or avocado.
Nacho Chicken Casserole
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, velveeta, cream of chicken soup, can of tomatoes and chiles, onion, garlic salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Crush chips; set aside 1 cup for topping. Add remaining chips to chicken mixture.
- Spoon into a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved chips.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350° until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly, approximatley 30 minutes.
What Can I Make for Dinner Tonight That’s Easy?
It’s getting late. The kids are already hungry. What can you pull together with minimal effort? These simple dinner recipes for beginners may be the perfect solution.
5. Impossible Quiche– Despite the name, this is so easy! Grab a pre-made crust (or Bisquick in a pinch), eggs, cheese, that leftover ham, bacon, or sausage in the fridge, and whatever veggies you like. Toss it all together to make this tasty breakfast-for-dinner one-pan meal.
6. French Bread Pizza– Sometimes, waiting on the prepackaged pizza dough to cook properly can seem like forever. With french bread or take-and-bake baguettes, you can easily have kids top their own “pizza.” Pop them in the oven at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. To avoid soggy bread, toast them for 5 minutes before adding toppings.
7. Fire & Stone-Baked Pizza – If you don’t want to sacrifice flavor or time, getting an Ooni Pizza Oven might be just what you need! This portable pizza oven takes only 20 minutes to heat up and your pizza will be cooked and ready to serve in just 60 seconds. The kids will love customizing the pizza with their own toppings and watching it cook!
8. Buffalo Chicken Tacos– If your kids like wings, make these buffalo chicken tacos smothered in Frank’s red hot sauce and dipped into homemade healthy blue cheese Greek yogurt sauce. To die for!
9. Simple Taco Soup: All this takes is 2 pounds of ground beef, one envelope of taco seasoning, 1 envelope of ranch dressing mix, and 1 can each of mild chili beans, corn, pinto beans, stewed tomatoes, diced green tomato with green chiles, and chopped green chiles. You can make a taco soup with all the Mexican flavor minus the inevitable mess that comes with kids who scarf down tacos.
10. Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas– Your dinner will basically be ready for you when you get home! Load up your tortillas with all your favorite toppings, and enjoy your minimal-effort meal! This is for the family who’s not afraid of some spice!
11. Tex-Mex Beef Barbecue– This is a meal you can leave in the crock-pot with plenty of seasoning, and it’s ready to go when you get home! Just pop your BBQ onto a sesame bun, pair it with sides dishes like oven-baked potatoes or cornbread. Now you’ve got a meal full of comfort food that everyone will love.
12. Fiesta Scrambled Eggs– Breakfast for dinner, anyone? Tex-Mex flavors like fire-roasted tomatoes and peppers turn regular scrambled eggs into a hearty dish that will make you never want to go back to plain eggs. Serve with sausage, or better yet, turn it into a fiesta breakfast casserole with all the sides baked into one dish.
Easy Dinner Ideas With Chicken
Chicken recipes are great for when you need something with plenty of protein that the kiddos will like. Serve your chicken recipes with sides like quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, or mashed potatoes.
13. Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry– This low-carb, veggie-packed option is the perfect meal idea for someone who wants to skip the extra grains and starches! And best of all? It’s a one-skillet meal. If you do need a little extra substance, feel free to serve on a bed of quinoa, rice, or noodles.
14. Chicken Thighs in a Balsamic Glaze– Think restaurant-quality food takes a lot of time and effort? Think again! Juicy, roasted chicken thighs are perfectly paired with a sweet and sharp balsamic glaze. It’s an amazing weeknight dinner that will have everyone asking for more.
15. Lemon Garlic Chicken– When you’re making roast chicken, it’s the added flavors that really have the chance to shine. That’s why lemon garlic chicken makes the perfect healthy meal. Pair it with rice or steamed veggies (our go-to is green beans with walnuts). If you’re feeling a vibe for seafood, try lemon garlic shrimp instead (which, on a skewer, make a great appetizer).
16. Chicken Pot Pie– With all this chicken and creamy goodness, your kids won’t even notice they’re eating vegetables! AND you only need six ingredients: condensed cream of chicken soup, a package of frozen mixed vegetables, 1 cup of chicken, 1/2 cup milk, 1 egg, and 1 cup of all-purpose baking mix. How much simpler can it get?
17. Baked Ranch and Bacon Chicken– If your kids dip everything in ranch, then this is the way to go. Again, the recipe is super simple with only 5 ingredients: boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ranch dressing, sour cream, parmesan cheese, and bacon crumbles. Don’t forget to garnish with some fresh parsley!
Easy Dinner Ideas With Beef
18. Shepherd’s Pie– Why cook 3 dishes separately when they all taste so good together? This comfort food classic is traditionally from Ireland but is beloved in the United States for its hearty flavors and savory meat-and-potatoes goodness.
19. Stuffed Peppers– Stuff your peppers (I like Poblano), Italian turkey sausage (cooked), lean ground beef (cooked), Spanish rice (cooked), enchilada sauce, Mexican cheese, and fresh cilantro, then heat them in the oven! Stuffed peppers are great because you can add or remove ingredients according to your family’s preferences.
20. Chili– Nothing says comfort food like a pot of hot chili, cornbread, and a family to share it all with. While most recipes use ground beef, my mom used to always make it with a chuck roast.
21. Creamy Beef and Shells– Move over, Hamburger Helper. This one-skillet dish has everything you could want: pasta, beef, garlic, onion, tomato sauce, cheese, and cream. Everyone will want another helping of this Italian comfort food.
22. Chicken-and-Broccoli Casserole– Have some leftover rotisserie chicken? Or maybe that chicken breast in the freezer is finally going to see the light of day. Either way, this cheesy chicken broccoli rice casserole includes condensed chicken soup, flavorful rice cooked in chicken broth, and a crunchy Ritz topping. Yum!
23. Easy Fried Rice– If you have leftover pork chops, shrimp, chicken, or steak, why not reuse them in a whole new dish? With a bit of oil, chopped vegetables, cooked rice, meat, and soy sauce, you can make a better-than-takeout meal that will have everyone on board for seconds.
24. Beef and Broccoli– Remember that London broil from two nights ago? It’s about to get a whole new look. This quick stir fry with homemade ginger-soy sauce and broccoli is a perfect meal to make with leftovers from London broil, flank steak, skirt steak, or other firm cut of beef.
What Are Some Kid-friendly Easy Dinner Recipes?
Sometimes the hardest people to please at your dinner table will be your children. Luckily, with these options, you’ll have some simple dinner recipes that may become your kids’ new favorite food.
25. Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups– When I was a kid, my mom made savory food bite-sized with a muffin tin. The food suddenly became adorable and more appetizing. I’m not sure if this logic works on other children, but it’s worth a shot. These sloppy joes inside biscuit cups instead of buns are perfect for changing things up from your regular sloppy joes.
26. Make-Your-Own Quesadillas– A quesadilla is usually a fail-proof bet for kiddos, especially picky eaters. Quesadillas are as easy and family-friendly as it gets. You can add your own topping options like black beans, cheese, chicken, guac, or salsa. That way, this simple dinner recipe will cater to all preferences! It even works well as a side dish with salad.
27. One-Pot Cheeseburger Pasta– Put away the hamburger helper because this one-pot meal requires no extra assistance. This all-in-one dish combines the best of both worlds with ground beef, pasta, and lots of cheese. It may even become the kiddos’ new favorite food.
28. Ham and Cheese Pockets– Your child may be familiar with the classic Hot Pockets. But once they try these easy-to-eat ham and cheese pockets, they’ll never go back! By using canned dough, you’ll have a delicious meal in no time!
Easy Dinner Recipes With Pasta
29. Pesto Chicken Tortellini– Pesto is one of those things you could smother anything in, and it suddenly feels gourmet. Prepare a package of three cheese tortellini according to the package directions, then mix with a jar of pesto, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, and shredded rotisserie chicken, and you’ve got a weeknight meal that’s perfect for the family on the go. This is great for meal planning, too.
30. One-pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta– This main dish seems too good to be true. If you love chicken parmesan but don’t love all the extra dishes that come with it–this may be the perfect solution. The pasta cooks in the pot together with the sauce and chicken breast, maximizing the flavor. And the total time until dinner? 30 minutes. Serve it with garlic bread, and this easy dinner will be a new fail-proof fan favorite.
31. One-skillet Chicken Alfredo Pasta– This chicken and pasta dish with healthy creamy garlic sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and chicken will get everyone’s approval. It’s the perfect 30-minute, one-pot dish!
Easy Dinner Recipes Mean More Memories
Our busy lives can make it hard to come up with good dinner ideas on the weeknights. Between the chaotic schedules, homework, and extra-curricular activities, finding easy dinner ideas that everyone loves is the name of the game. And, the less time you spend hovering over the stove, the more you can spend doing the things you love with your family. Do you have any favorite weekday dinner recipes that are simple and tasty? Share your go-to dinner ideas on FamilyApp!