Looking for some easy family dinner ideas to switch up your weekly routine?
From cheeseburger meatloaf to shrimp and grits, these simple dinner recipes will become your new go-to’s!
Nobody would blame you for running low on ideas for dinner.
Even if we hadn’t been stuck inside for weeks, with our favorite restaurants shut down, feeding a family week in and week out can become monotonous.
I’ve found that making a menu for the week is an excellent way to spice up your dinners.
Spend a little time looking for recipes and plan your week out accordingly. It will also make food shopping way easier!
And hey, I’ve done a lot of the work for you!
This list of 30 family dinner ideas has something for every palate and goes far beyond boxed mac and cheese and frozen pizza. Enjoy!
30 Family-Friendly Weeknight Dinner Recipes
1. Ravioli Lasagna
Sometimes, the smallest change can make a big difference to family faves.
Using ravioli instead of pasta sheets adds some extra flavor and a different texture to the dish.
Not to mention you can use any filled ravioli to switch it up even more.
2. Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
Slow cooker meals can be a lifesaver during busy weeks.
I love getting everything ready the night before and setting it to cook all day. There’s nothing like coming home to a warm dinner that’s all ready to go.
And this pulled pork is one of my favorites.
Sweet, slightly spiced, and so tender, all you need to do is shred and serve!
3. Chicken Tuscan Pasta Bake
The prep time for this pasta bake is just 15 minutes.
Once the pasta is just barely cooked, you’ll mix it with the warmed sauce and bake for a thick, filling, and surprisingly light meal.
Store-bought pasta sauces are often loaded with salt and unpronounceable ingredients.
This recipe uses simple ingredients – cream cheese, milk, and cheese – to make a flavorful dish with pops of sundried tomato and vibrant kale.
4. Homemade Garlic Knots
If the idea of making your own garlic knots seems daunting, I promise it’s not that complicated.
Yeast isn’t that scary, and these will come out soft and brimming with garlic.
A great way to save time would be to make a big batch when you have the time and freeze them once they’re shaped.
That way, you can pull them from the freezer, leaving them to thaw in the fridge through the day, and pop them in the oven come dinner time.
5. Fish Sticks Recipe (Homemade)
I think we’ve all been subjected to those grey-ish fish sticks that may or not be entirely fish?!
It might not be quite as easy as opening a box, but making your own fish sticks guarantees tasty bites full of fish.
Whitefish can be found in the freezer section and is relatively inexpensive., though I’ve even used salmon when I found it on sale.
Cut into strips, and feel free to spice up your flour mix if you want something extra special.
6. Cheeseburger Meatloaf
Meatloaf has all the potential to be a filling and delicious family dinner, but it’s often overlooked.
Remember that dry, dense, flavorless meatloaf you had as a kid? Yeah, me too.
That’s the problem. We remember the bad instead of trying to make it good.
Trust me when I say, this is more than good.
Don’t overwork the meat, and don’t be shy with the cheese!
Once sealed inside, the cheese will bubble and melt, creating layers of gooey goodness that adds flavor and moisture to an already moist meatloaf recipe.
7. Chili Cheese Dog Pizza
It might not be elegant, but it will be a winner.
The adults will love this just as much as the kids!
There are plenty of super easy pizza dough recipes you can try, but store-bought dough works well when you’re short on time.
Keep it simple for the kids with chili and hot dogs, but maybe spice things up with hot peppers for the adults.
8. Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole
What I love most about this recipe is the fact it is so easy to modify.
Using the ingredient list as a base, you can switch things out to make a variety of different dishes to serve throughout the month.
Try the tuna and mushroom soup combination first, then maybe look at a ham and chicken soup version?
Or what about chicken and cheddar soup?
Change the peas for sweetcorn, broccoli, or tomatoes. Either way, it can be ready in under an hour.
9. Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders
Want to know how to get incredible flavor into your chicken?
I use it all the time to marinate my chicken, and it not only makes it super juicy, it imparts all that flavor perfectly.
The combination of Italian dressing with honey and lime is incredible, and it only needs an or two to marinate.
These are especially great when cooked on the grill.
10. Shrimp and Grits
If you didn’t grow up in the south, grits might seem a little foreign to you.
I felt the same before I had it, but I was quickly converted!
The shrimp will be cooked with crispy bacon for a salty and slightly smoky flavor. They also get a generous dusting of cajun seasoning for a touch of spice.
Cooking the grits in milk is going to make them ultra-creamy and nice and smooth.
If you can’t find grits in the store – which I’ve struggled with north of the Mason-Dixon line – try this cheesy polenta instead!
11. Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells
From the cheesy alfredo sauce and flavorful chicken to the beautiful coloring of the bacon and tomatoes, this dish is a must-try.
You can use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken for extra juiciness!
It might take a little longer to make your own sauce, but it’s so worth it in the end.
You can use any cheese combination you prefer and add seasoning to your own preferences.
A great way to infuse extra flavor into the sauce is to heat the milk with garlic and onion, allowing it to steep and cool before straining and adding to the mix.
12. Easy Taco Casserole
Just when you thought tacos couldn’t get any easier, this casserole pops up!
Combining beef with onion, salsa, mayonnaise, and seasoning, it just needs to be layered with tortilla chips and baked.
It’s kind of a cross between taco lasagna and overloaded nachos.
Whatever it is, it comes together in just 15 minutes.
13. Turkey Biscuit Casserole
I can’t say enough good things about this casserole.
Creamy, loaded with veggies and meat, and topped with tender biscuits, it’s warm and incredibly comforting.
Not only is the filling homemade with chicken stock, onion, and a pinch of cayenne for maximum flavor, the biscuits are full of cheese, chives, and black pepper.
Every single bite of this will make you close your eyes and sigh just a little. It’s that good.
14. Best Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
Dumplings are a lot like biscuits, especially in this dish.
Both are made using a batter-like dough that needs to get shaped and placed on top of a creamy filling.
Biscuits tend to be a little more firm, holding their shape when cooked so you can pick them up.
Dumplings, on the other hand, steam in the oven and cook submerged in liquid to make fluffy and light covering to your chicken filling.
Either way, you’ll be happy.
15. Beef and Broccoli
I think most of us assume recreating our favorite restaurant dishes at home will be disappointing.
But you never know until you try, and this is the perfect place to start!
Beef and broccoli is a favorite for most households, and it couldn’t be easier to make at home.
Don’t skip the marinade time. It’s what keeps the beef full of flavor and tender.
I like to throw some cooked noodles into the mix for the last couple of minutes cooking, but you can serve with rice, too.
16. Patty Melts
A diner classic, there’s something so homegrown about a patty melt.
Typically served on thick, toasted white bread, they make such a nice change to dry burger buns.
If horseradish isn’t your thing, you can leave it out for something less spicy.
Or, if you like it with more heat, feel free to add in some chillies or hot sauce.
17. Salmon Teriyaki
Salmon is one of those meals that doesn’t need a lot done to make it delicious.
Lemon juice, honey, chili, or just garlic butter will all enhance this already tasty fish.
But I have to say that this teriyaki meal is up there with the best of them.
Store-bought sauce will work wonders, but when it only needs three ingredients, why not try making it yourself?
For fork-tender, moist salmon, cook on the stove over low heat with a lid on the pan.
18. Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew
When making a stew, you’ll want it to be super filling. And this recipe delivers!
Full of potato, carrot, tomato, and plenty of beef, you won’t be hungry after a bowl of this stew.
The prep time is already quick and takes just 15 minutes.
But if you’re looking to save extra time, feel free to add the beef in raw. You’ll cook this for hours in the slow-cooker.
I like to throw my tomatoes in a pot and bring them to a quick boil before adding in the beef because it makes the meat break up faster.
Once the meat is at the desired size, add everything to the pot with the rest of the ingredients.
19. Wingstop Garlic Parmesan Wings
BBQ or buffalo wings often make an appearance at parties and during football games.
Yes, they’re delicious! But I like to have other options on the table.
Garlic parmesan wings are crispy, salty, cheesy and make for a lighter alternative to wings smothered in sauce,
The key to getting all that flavor without burning the garlic?
Fry and bake the wings until they’re beautifully crisp, then pour your mixture of garlic, butter, and parmesan over the top.
20. Potatoes Au Gratin
Potatoes are my go-to for a quick side dish.
I often end up roasting them to serve with chicken or pork, just because it’s the easiest option.
But when I have the extra time potatoes au gratin are a decadent alternative that everyone will love.
This recipe comes together in just 15 minutes. Be sure to cut your potatoes thin, so they cook evenly!
21. Paula Deen’s Goulash
This pasta dish is so filling and can be made ahead with ease.
The beef gives it a rich and deep flavor, but you can substitute ground pork or turkey if you want something leaner.
If adding in vegetables, be sure to add them in the last five minutes or so, so that they don’t go soggy.
If you’re adding potatoes, they go in about halfway through the cooking time.
22. Easy Clam Chowder
Clam chowder is super creamy and full of flavor.
Using canned clams is not only easier, but will also give you extra flavor from the juices.
When packed with potatoes and bacon, this soup is hard to resist.
23. Black Bean Burgers
We’ve been trying to do meatless Mondays in our house for a while now, and it’s been going well.
That’s thanks to recipes like this!
The burgers are full of onion, pepper, garlic, feta, seasonings, and, of course, black beans.
When combined, it makes a thick and juicy patty that is absolutely delicious.
Even an avid meat-eater will devour every single bite!
24. White Chicken Chili
Chili is such a fantastic option for a big batch of make ahead meals.
One pot can serve a family for a few days, especially when eaten with rice, over pasta, or with baked sweet potatoes.
But every now and then, I like to lighten things up with this amazing chicken chili.
I love the pale coloring here, using white beans and letting the corn add just a touch of color.
Cook all day in the slow cooker, or speed things up with leftover rotisserie chicken.
25. Fall Off The Bone Ribs
You don’t need a giant smoker or grill to make these incredible ribs.
Boiling the ribs first will start the cooking process, keeping them juicy and tender just before they go in the oven.
Once covered in the BBQ sauce and baked in the oven, the meat will fall right off the bone.
For even more flavor, try boiling in broth.
26. Garlic Spaghetti (Spaghetti Aglio e Olio)
As a big garlic lover, this spaghetti is my go-to late-night pleasure.
It’s as simple as cooking garlic with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and chopped parsley.
Toss the pasta in and grate over plenty of parmesan!
27. Pizza Rolls
Pizza rolls don’t just have to be for the kids!
Who doesn’t love pizza??
For these super simple rolls, you’ll need pizza dough, which you can find in most grocery stores these days.
I love the classic pepperoni, but you can use any topping you want!
28. Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
These little pizzas are honestly amazing for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Have you ever had Huevos Rancheros? Just switch out the beef for chicken and add an egg on top for an amazing start to your day.
If you can’t find the sauce, any enchilada sauce or salsa would work just as well.
29. Quick Turkey Ragu
Given that a traditional ragu can take hours to cook, this quick version is a lifesaver.
Making the sauce from scratch takes just 15 minutes, though I won’t tell if you buy a jar!
To make this even healthier, try serving with zucchini noodles or over spaghetti squash.
30. Reese Witherspoon’s Corn Bread Chili Pie
This chili pie is like a southwest shepherd’s pie, and I love it!
Chili and cornbread go hand in hand, and when cooked together, you only have one pot to clean up!
This recipe uses both beef and pork, though you can use turkey or even a meat substitute if you prefer.
The only thing I change is the cornbread. I have to add bacon and jalapenos!
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