12 January 2021 (updated)

Win Over Your Family with Deliciously Simple Dinner Recipes!

Finding new weekday family dinner ideas can all-too-quickly become pretty overwhelming! But it doesn't have to be. 

There are those who enjoy their time in the kitchen, and those who would rather do something else. But, when it comes to weekdays, it can be hard to spend the extra time slaving over a meal. These easy dinners can help you enjoy family dinner without too much fuss.

Here are a few of our favorite simple dinner ideas like Cobb salad and quesadillas, to get you out of a rut of just eating spaghetti noodles and meatballs to some flavorful treats. Of course, noodles are a fantastic dinner option, too. 

Whether you’re looking for something super-healthy or perhaps just the right comfort food, try out one of the following options.

Healthy and Easy Family Dinner Ideas

It might be tempting to eat out on a weekday. But there are easy dinner recipes that offer up great flavors without much effort. Whether it’s with beef or chicken, these healthy options will please with ease!

  • This quinoa lentil salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette will have the whole family begging for more! See below for detailed cooking instructions.

Quinoa Lentil Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Filling but refreshing salad.

5 from 2 votes


PREP TIME

15 mins

COOK TIME

a few seconds

TOTAL TIME

15 mins





COURSE

dinner

CUISINE

American

SERVINGS

4 people

CALORIES

435.0 kcal

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2

    cup

    cooked quinoa

  • 1/2

    cup

    cooked lentils

  • 1/4

    cup

    kale ((packed))

  • 1/4

    cup

    cooked garbanzo beans

    drained and rinsed

  • 1/4

    cup

    cucumber

    peeled

  • 1/4

    cup

    carrot

    diced

  • 1/4

    cup

    grape tomatoes

    quartered

  • 1

    tbsp

    red onion

    finely-diced

  • 1/2

    tbsp

    raw sunflower seeds

  • 1/2

    tsp

    lemon zest

  • 2

    tbsp

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2

    tsp

    raw honey

  • 1/2

    tsp

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/4

    tsp

    sea salt

  • 1/8

    tsp

    ground black pepper

  • 3

    tbsp

    olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Quinoa Lentil Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

    1. (if cooking quinoa) Cook quinoa.

      (if cooking quinoa) Cook quinoa by mixing 1 cup uncooked quinoa with 2 cups water. Bring mix to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes covered. Once water is absorbed, stir with fork and set aside for cooling.

    2. (if cooking lentils) Cook lentils.

      (if cooking lentils) Cook the lentils by mixing 1 cup dry lentils with 3 cups water. Bring mix to boil, then simmer for 30 minutes covered (until tender). Once cooked, drain water and set aside for cooling.

    3. Prep kale.

      Remove kale leaves from spine. Break kale into bite size pieces. Toss and rub kale with a little olive oil, massage until kale becomes softer.

    4. Make lemon vinaigrette.

      For lemon vinaigrette, mix the lemon juice, lemon zest, raw honey, dijon mustard, sea salt, ground black pepper, and olive oil in a mixing bowl. Whisk together until mix is consistent throughout.

    5. Mix.

      Combine the cooked quinoa, cooked lentils, kale, garbanzo beans, diced cucumber, diced carrot, quartered grape tomatoes, finely diced red onion, and raw sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl. Toss salad until mixed thoroughly.

    6. Dress.

      Mix in lemon vinaigrette slowly, toss again until mixed thoroughly.

    7. Garnish.

      For added texture, sprinkle extra sunflower seeds over top of salad.

NUTRITION

Calories:

435.0 kcal

Carbohydrates:

41.2 g

Cholesterol:

24.2 mg

Fat:

20.1 g

Fiber:

6.1 g

Protein:

15.8 g

Saturated Fat:

3.3 g

Serving Unit:

cups

Sodium:

136.5 mg

Sugar:

7.1 g

Grilled Cobb Salad – Looking for a filling way to get everyone to eat their veggies? Whether you make it vegetarian or with protein this grilled option is great! By cooking scallions and tomatoes, and adding avocado and quinoa, you’ll get a warm dinner dish, chock full of delicious vegetables.

What Should I Cook for Dinner Tonight?

If you’re using a slow cooker or looking for something heavier, a salad might not always fill you up. These easy dinner recipes for beginners will do the trick.

  • Tacos- Is it any surprise that so many families nationwide celebrate Taco Tuesday? All you have to do is brown some ground beef, add some seasonings (I love Lidl's basic taco seasoning), add that to a shell, and top with your favorite cheese, vegetables, or sour cream! It's customizable, and you can pack in the nutrients, too. If ground beef isn't your favorite, try tacos with fish, chicken, or even cheesy vegetarian tacos.
  • Beef Stroganoff– This might be the sort of pasta dish that’s sure to impress. But beef stroganoff is easier than it looks with garlic, mushrooms, and a bit of cream! By cooking mushrooms with beef, adding white wine, and finishing with pasta and cream, you’ll have a comforting family feast.

What Are Some Favorite Kid Foods?

Sometimes the hardest people to please at your dinner table will be your children. Luckily, with these easy, cheese-centric recipes you’ll have some simple dinner recipes your kids will love.

  • Ziti Bake– This Rachael Ray recipe might have a lot of cheese, but it won’t take long to make once you’ve got your ingredients ready. Simply simmer tomatoes, garlic, and basil in a saucepan. Make a béchamel sauce and layer it with tomato sauce over pasta. Once it’s covered with cheese and in the oven, it’s 5 minutes to eating a delicious meal.
  • Make-Your-Own-Quesadillas– Kids like to play with their food, and they usually like Mexican dishes. Fortunately, your own weeknight quesadilla bar can provide the best of both worlds! Few things are as easy to make as quesadillas. And, by adding your own topping options, this works as simple dinner recipes for 2 or 4. It even works well as a side dish with salad.
  • Macaroni Casserole - Macaroni and cheese might be the official food of childhood for many, but did you know you bring a simple melt-in-your-mouth cheesy dish to the next level with this decadent casserole? It only takes 20 minutes to prep, and you can make it in advance for a quick weeknight meal. 

Easy Family Dinner Idea Wins

Here are a few more favorite dinners that your whole family will love.

  • Babby's Cornflake Chicken- a healthier alternative to fried chicken, it's crispy, moist, and delicious.
  • Burgers- Whether you like veggie burgers, hamburgers, or anything in between, grill up some burgers for an easy, satisfying family dinner. Don't forget to serve with sweet potato fries!
  • Chili- Another great make-ahead dish you can prep with a slow-cooker. It's the perfect comfort food for winter nights.
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs- It's classic for a reason! It's a relatively easy dish to make, and easy to customize to your family's tastes. 

Our busy lives can make it hard to come up with good dinners on the weeknights. Fortunately, whether you’re looking for healthy or hearty, there are many easy dinner recipes that take less than 30 minutes! Do you have any favorite weekday easy family dinner ideas that are simple and tasty? Share them on FamilyApp! Weekday meals don't have to be a struggle-- you can do it! 



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