Home Dinner 40 Easy Family Dinner Ideas For Busy Weeknights

40 Easy Family Dinner Ideas For Busy Weeknights

Looking for easy family dinner ideas to switch up your weekly routine?

These simple dinner recipes will become your new go-to’s!

One-Pot Vegetarian Recipes
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Easy Family Dinner Recipes

When you’re feeding a family week in and week out, you’re bound to run low on kid-friendly dinners.

So, if you need inspiration, this list of 40 family dinner ideas has you covered. 

I’ve even added a recipe for easy chili mac and cheese at the bottom.


Homemade Ravioli Lasagna with Ground Beef and Mozzarella

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.

Homemade Pulled Pork Sliders with BBQ Sauce

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!

Homemade Creamy and Flavorful Chicken Tuscan Pasta Bake
Source: Rachelcooks.com

3. Chicken Tuscan Pasta Bake

The prep time for this pasta bake is just 15 minutes. 

Once the pasta is partially cooked, you’ll mix it with the warmed sauce and bake for a thick, filling, and surprisingly light meal. 

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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. 

Homemade Creamy Chicken a la King with Rice and Herbs

4. Chicken à la King

Chicken à la king is creamy comfort on a plate. It’s worthy of royalty but made for everyone.

Juicy chicken, mushrooms, and crisp veggies bathe in a creamy, velvety sauce. 

Served over rice, it’s a feast that’s fit for a king, yet perfect for your crew.

Homemade Crispy and Tender Fish Sticks with Dipping Sauce
Source: Thecookierookie.com

5. Fish Sticks Recipe (Homemade)

Homemade fish sticks beat the mystery meat variety any day.

Sure, it takes more effort than tearing open a box, but the result? Crispy, flavorful sticks packed with real fish.

White fish can be found in the freezer section and is relatively inexpensive. though I’ve even used salmon when I found it on sale.

Feel free to spice up your flour mix if you want something extra special. 

Homemade Cheeseburger Meatloaf

6. Cheeseburger Meatloaf

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. 

Just don’t overwork the meat and don’t be shy with the cheese. You’ll be rewarded with moist, flavorful meatloaf with layers of gooey goodness.

A Close Up of Sloppy Joe Pizza with Ground Beef and Cheese

7. Sloppy Joe Pizza

Sloppy Joe pizza combines hearty meat sauce with melty cheese atop a crispy crust. 

It’s a bold, savory mash-up that wins over the whole family! 

Quick to make, this dish delivers big flavors and satisfied appetites with every slice. 

Perfect for those nights when routine just won’t cut it.

Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole with Green Peas and Bread Crumbs
Source: Tasteofhome.com

8. Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

I love how easy it is to customize this casserole 

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?

Either way, it can be ready in under an hour.

Homemade Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders with Herbs in a Plate

9. Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders

Want to know how to get incredible flavor into your chicken?

Salad dressing!

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.

Homemade Shrimp and Grits with Bacon and Diced Bell Peppers
Source: Onceuponachef.com

10. Shrimp and Grits

If you didn’t grow up in the south, grits might seem foreign to you.

I felt the same before I had it, but I was quickly converted!

The shrimp will be cooked with crispy bacon and spiced up with cajun seasoning.

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, try this cheesy polenta instead!

Homemade Chicken Alfredo with Herbs in a Plate

11. Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo

This copycat chicken Alfredo is a smooth, cheesy delight. And yes, it tastes better than the original.

Tender chicken swims in rich, garlicky cream sauce over pasta. It’s a comfort food classic even the pickiest eater can’t deny

Quick, easy, and utterly satisfying, it’s like a warm hug on a plate.

Homemade Walking Taco Casserole with Frito Chips, Ground Beef, Vegetables and Whipped Cream

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. 

Tater Tot Casserole with Ground Beef and Herbs

13. Tater Tot Casserole 

This tater tot casserole brings all the cozy feels to family dinner recipes. 

Ground beef, gooey cheese, and a crisp tot topping make a crowd-pleaser combo. 

It’s hearty, homey, and just plain good — the kind of meal that beckons everyone to the table.

Homemade Paula Deen Chicken and Dumplings with Green Peas and Carrots

14. Paula Deen Chicken and Dumplings

Dive into Paula Deen’s chicken and dumplings for a one pot meal you won’t soon forget. 

Tender chicken, fluffy dumplings, simmered in a savory broth – it’s southern comfort simplified.

Perfect for when you want a hearty, homestyle dinner without the fuss.

Homemade Beef Broccoli and Rice in a Black Plate

15. Beef and Broccoli

I think most of us assume recreating 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. 

Serve with noodles or rice, and enjoy.

Homemade Cheesy Patty Melt Sandwich

16. Patty Melts 

A diner classic, patty melts are a hearty handshake between a sandwich and a burger. 

Juicy beef patties hugged by melted cheese, sandwiched in buttery, toasted bread—it’s nostalgia with a side of pickles. 

Perfect for when burgers seem mundane, and your taste buds crave that golden, grilled touch.

Homemade Salmon Teriyaki with Sesame Seeds Served with Broccoli and Rice
Source: Rasamalaysia.com

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, 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? 

Homemade Cowboy Soup with Ground Beef, Corn, Beans, Potatoes and Carrots

18. Cowboy Soup

This cowboy soup throws a hearty nod to family meals that stick to your ribs. 

It’s a robust bowl of beef, beans, corn, and tomatoes, simmering with spices that kick harder than a bucking bronco. 

Each spoonful is a bold invitation to the Wild West, right at your dinner table.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

19. Wingstop Garlic Parmesan Wings

BBQ or buffalo wings are a game-day classic. But I like to have other options on the table. 

Garlic parmesan wings are crispy, salty, and 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. 

Homemade Scalloped Potatoes in a Green Casserole

20. Scalloped Potatoes

These scalloped potatoes are a no-fuss contender for easy dinner ideas. 

Thin spuds are drenched in a rich, buttery sauce and baked to perfection. 

This creamy, cheesy classic makes any table feel like home.

Homemade Goulash with Elbow Pasta and Ground Beef

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. 

Clam Chowder With Bread Crumbs And Bacon Bits

22. 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.

Black Bean Burger with Cheese, Onions and Guacamole
Source: Sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

Bowl of White Chicken Chili with Sour Cream and Herbs

24. White Chicken Chili

Chili makes for a perfect make-ahead meal.

One pot can serve a family for days, especially when eaten with rice, pasta, or baked sweet potatoes. 

But now and then, I like to lighten things up with this chicken chili. 

I love its subtle hue, with white beans and corn adding just a touch of color. 

Cook all day in the slow cooker, or speed things up with leftover rotisserie chicken. 

Fall Off The Bone Ribs with Seasonings and Ketchup

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.

Homemade Creamy Rotel Chicken Spaghetti in a Casserole

26. Rotel Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

This Rotel chicken spaghetti casserole is a crowd-pleaser in the lineup of family dinner recipes.

Shredded chicken entwines with spaghetti in a tomato-chili sauce, covered in a generous layer of melted cheese. 

It’s a creamy twist on your classic spaghetti—a surefire hit that brings a little kick to the table.

Homemade Pizza Rolls with Dipping Sauce
Source: The-girl-who-ate-everything.com

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!

Homemade Chicken Fajitas with Peppers and Other Ingredients

28. Chicken Fajitas 

These chicken fajitas are a quick, colorful ticket to flavor town, ideal for those hectic weeknights.

This dish combines seared chicken with crisped peppers and onions, all jazzed up with a kick of spices. 

Wrapped up in a soft tortilla, they’re a surefire hit for any table looking for filling bites.

Bowl of Turkey Ragu Pasta in Tomato Sauce
Source: Panningtheglobe.com

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. 

Homemade Spicy Tamale Pie with Ground Beef

30. Tamale Pie

This tamale pie has a hearty layer of spiced beef and a sweet cornbread crown. 

It’s a fiesta in a dish, complete with melted cheese, a tangy sauce, and a hint of chiles.

Perfect for pleasing the whole crew on a busy weeknight.

Homemade Rachael Ray Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Pasta

31. Rachael Ray Meatballs

Rachael Ray’s meatballs bring savory excitement to the table. 

It’s a perfect mix of beef, pork, and veal in a zestful tomato sauce. 

It’s the kind of meal that has the entire family racing for seconds! 

Simple and satisfying – a true family dinner win.

Cheesy Ina Garten's Mac and Cheese

32. Mac and Cheese

This mac and cheese tops the list of easy dinner ideas.

Elbow noodles hug rich cheddar and Gruyere, while a crunch of breadcrumbs on top adds texture. 

Fresh tomatoes cut through the richness, making each bite indulgently balanced.

It’s the kind of dish no picky eater can say no to!

Cheesy Homemade King Ranch Casserole with Herbs

33. King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch chicken casserole stacks layers of tortillas, shredded chicken, and cheese, all smothered in a creamy sauce. 

This Texan treasure is a surefire hit for family meals.

Quick to assemble, easier to devour!

Orange Chicken with Onions

34. 3-Ingredient Orange Chicken

This 3-ingredient orange chicken flips the script at dinner time. 

It’s sticky, sweet, and tangy, grabbing the attention of picky eaters without fail. 

Just three simple components, yet it tastes like a Friday night treat.

Honey Garlic Pork Chips Served with Potato Chips and Asparagus

35. Honey Garlic Pork Chops

These honey garlic pork chops are a sweet and savory surprise that kicks dinner up a notch.

They’re seared to perfection, dripping with a garlicky honey glaze that’s sticky and finger-licking good. 

Perfect for turning ordinary evenings into something a little more special.

Homemade Cheesy Baked Ziti

36. Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is my go-to family dinner recipe when I need to feed a hungry crowd. 

Tubular pasta gets nestled under a blanket of rich tomato sauce, hearty meat, and a melty cheese medley. 

It’s a hearty, delicious meal that brings everyone to the table with a smile.

Homemade Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Creamy Tomato Soup
Source: Breadbakebeyond.com

37. Herb Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle, herb grilled cheese is an irresistible twist on the classic. 

Dunk it into rich, simmering tomato soup for a simple yet satisfying family dinner.

Rustic Homemade Shepherd's Pie with Savory Ground Meat and Vegetables
Source: Littlespicejar.com

38. Shepherd’s Pie

Dig into shepherd’s pie, where savory ground meat and veggies are tucked under fluffy mashed potatoes. 

It’s a feast that wins over picky eaters with its homely blend of flavors.

Perfect for rounding out those family dinner recipes.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff with Mashed Potatoes and Mushrooms
Source: Somethingsweetsomethingsavoury.com

39. Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Slow-cooker beef stroganoff is your ace for chilly nights. 

Think fall-apart beef and earthy mushrooms, all swimming in a creamy, paprika-spiked sauce. 

Easy to make and easier to love, it’ll quickly become a staple in your weekly meal routine.

Baked Pesto Chicken with Tomatoes and Mozzarella in a White Casserole
Source: Littlespicejar.com

40. Baked Pesto Chicken with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

This baked chicken is a crowd-pleaser with its zesty pesto, ripe tomatoes, and gooey mozzarella topping. 

Juicy chicken gets a flavor kick from herby pesto, creating a dish that’s a breeze for family meals. 

It’s simple, it’s scrumptious, and it’s bound to be a regular on your table.

40 Easy Family Dinner Ideas For Busy Weeknights

Course: DinnerCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





Looking for some easy family dinner ideas to switch up your weekly routine? This chili mac recipe won’t disappoint!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (around 90% lean)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (with juices)

  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth

  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked

  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

  • Optional toppings: sour cream, sliced scallions or green onions, tortilla chips, sliced jalapeños, and chopped cilantro


  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  • Add the ground beef, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned. Season with cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper (if using), salt, and sugar.
  • Pour in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and broth. Stir in the tomato paste if using. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the macaroni. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese until it’s fully melted.
  • Serve in bowls, garnished with your choice of toppings.
  • Enjoy!


  • Turn off the heat as soon as the macaroni cooks to al dente. It’ll continue to cook as it sets.


  • Calories: 419kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Protein: 34g
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 73mg
  • Sodium: 1135mg
  • Potassium: 730mg
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Calcium: 112mg
  • Iron: 19mg
Family Dinner Ideas

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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