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23 Quick And Easy Family Dinner Ideas

There’s nothing better than family dinner night, right? Except for the prep, arguing over what to cook, and trying to wrangle everyone’s phones away so you can enjoy some friendly conversation.

Easy Dinner Ideas

Prepping dinner for your family can be a difficult and often time-consuming task no matter how much you’re looking forward to it.

After all, there’s only so much time you have after work to make sure you have enough food for everyone and to get the meal cooked.

The best thing you can do is to find easy family meals that your entire family can enjoy – even if they are the pickiest eaters! 

In this article, we’re going to look at 23 easy family dinner ideas that can help you feed your family fast. That way, your dinner prep is easy and your family will enjoy the meal, no matter what you make. 

What is the Easiest Thing to Cook for Dinner?

When it comes to determining the easiest thing to cook for dinner, it all comes down to what has the fewest amount of steps. However, some of the easiest meals to make for dinner include soup, pizza, and chicken breasts

What Should I Make for Dinner on Family Day?

While there isn’t a traditional Family Day meal, we recommend making something that your entire family will love. This could be something like a warm, tasty bowl of soup, macaroni, and cheese, or hamburgers

What is the Most Popular Family Meal?

This is a tough field to narrow down since so many families like so many different kinds of meals. However, some of the top family meals include pizza, meatballs, fajitas, and stir fry. 

What is the Easiest Thing to Cook for Beginners?

If you’ve never cooked before, try your hand at something simple like a fried egg or a grilled cheese sandwich before you start trying your hand at more elaborate dishes.

While these not might be the most exciting dishes to consume (though they can be with the right additions), they help you learn the basics.

1. Chicken-Alfredo Baked Penne

While it’s not your average chicken-alfredo recipe, this baked take on classic pasta is as easy as it is delicious.

The secret ingredient for this family-friendly recipe is broccoli. The broccoli adds a new dimension to the dish by injecting a touch of flavor and some extra texture to it.

If you’re looking to change things up a bit, we recommend adding some shredded parmesan cheese on top of the cheeses that are already in the dish. Adding this lends to a more authentic alfredo taste.

2. Easy Chicken Stir Fry

This Asian-inspired dish is one that is easy to make and can be made in under half an hour.

The secret ingredient for this dish is the chicken itself. Not only does the chicken taste great in this meal, but it brings all of the other ingredients together and helps marry the flavors.

If you need to make a substitution, you can replace the red and yellow peppers with green peppers. All three have a similar flavor profile which makes swap the red, yellow, or both with green peppers.

3. Slow Cooker Creamy Beef Stroganoff

Who doesn’t love a nice warm place of beef stroganoff? This next dish is one of our favorite simple dinner ideas for family, even if it takes a while to prepare.

The secret ingredient in this dish is the Worcestershire sauce. It adds flavor to the overall dish in a way you don’t expect it to.

If you need to swap out any ingredient, you can use garlic powder instead of minced garlic. It should provide the same garlic flavor and not change the dish all that much.

4. Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi

For our next dish, this easy-to-make chicken and gnocchi recipe is one that your entire family will love.

The secret ingredient for this one is the chicken broth that will bring all of the flavors of this dish together.

If you’re looking to swap out anything in this recipe, we recommend using additional chicken broth instead of white wine if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic substitute. This is a great Italian-style dish that is sure to please the entire family.

5. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

If you’re looking for some Asian-inspired family dinner ideas, then you should take a look at this recipe for Asain Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

The secret ingredient here is the rice vinegar that goes into the sauce. By itself, it might be a little bitter, but mixed with the other ingredients in the sauce, it adds a little bit of bite while blending in with the other flavors.

If you need an ingredient to swap, you can use either green or red peppers in this dish for something equally delicious without sacrificing taste.

6. Sausage and Creamy Cajun Orzo Skillet

This delicious Cajun dish is a bit different but we guarantee it’s an easy-to-make meal that your family will love!

The secret ingredient here is the cajun seasoning. It adds just enough heat to the dish without burning your mouth while providing a nice smokey taste overall.

If you need to replace anything in this dish, try using onion powder instead of onions.

While you won’t get the texture of the onions in the dish, you will get the flavor, and that’s really the main thing.

7. Baked Feta Pasta

The next time someone asks you, “What’s for dinner tonight?” You can give them an answer they’re not expecting with this tasty baked feta pasta recipe that your entire family will enjoy.

The secret ingredient here are the cherry tomatoes. They add flavor and texture to the meal without overpowering the other ingredients.

If you need to swap anything out, try swapping the garlic cloves with garlic powder if you’re in a pinch and forgot to pick up garlic at the grocery store.

8. Easy Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas

If you’re looking for an easy-to-make, healthy Mexican-style dish for your family, look no further than this recipe for Easy Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas.

The secret ingredient in this dish is taco seasoning. It’s going to not only add some of that great Mexican flavor to the dish but also bring out the flavors of the other ingredients with a spicy twist.

If you need a substitution for anything in this dish, you should try swapping your lime juice for lemon juice. It’s a slightly different flavor but it shouldn’t affect the overall flavor of the dish.

9. Favorite Baked Spaghetti

When it comes to easy dinner ideas for the family, a simple spaghetti dish is usually ranked up there as one of the easiest to make. This baked twist on an easy-to-make classic takes a basic pasta dish and turns it up a notch.

The secret ingredient here are the cheeses that are used. They not only add flavor but act as the glue to hold all of the other ingredients together in this baked dish.

If you need to swap out anything, try swapping the beef for ground turkey or chicken if you’re looking for a healthier option.

10. Sheet Pan Mini Meatloaves with Potatoes and Green Beans

Meatloaf is a traditional meal that some might not think of as the most exciting meal ever. However, it’s not one to be overlooked. This fun twist on a classic is sure to make your family happy.

The secret ingredient for this one is the cheese. This adds a fun new flavor to meatloaf that wouldn’t normally be there and make the dish more kid-friendly.

If you need to change up the recipe a bit, try replacing the breadcrumbs with oats. The helps keep the same texture while providing a healthy alternative.

11. Baked Chicken Taquitos

This Mexican-inspired dish tastes so good that your family will be asking for more!

The secret ingredient for this is the chicken. If you use a rotisserie chicken and shred it up, not only is your chicken already cooked, it also adds another dimension of flavor to the dish. Plus, it involves little to no prep work.

If you want to change things up, try swapping out the cheese. While cheddar is usually our pick, you can try Mexican blend or something with a little more kick like pepper jack.

12. Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon

We’ve covered a lot of quick dinner ideas for family in this article, but this one only takes 20 minutes to make, so how can we pass it up?

The secret ingredient for this recipe is the soy sauce used in the glaze. It transforms the glaze into more than just honey and garlic by adding its own unique flavor to the mix.

If you need to swap out anything, you can swap the smoked paprika for regular paprika. It’s a change that won’t lead to any real change in flavor.

13. Sheet Pan Sausage with Vegetables

This next dish is a fast and easy-to-make meal that the entire family will enjoy. While it’s a little different from some of the other recipes on this list, we think you’ll like it.

The secret ingredient for this is the bell pepper. It adds flavor and texture to the dish while complementing the other ingredients.

If you need to change things up, try garnishing the dish with some grated parmesan cheese. It looks great and it adds another layer of flavor on top of an already delicious dish. Or, get creative and swap out the sausage for some ground beef or tofu.

14. Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? This has to be one of our favorite easy cheap dinner ideas.

If the secret ingredient for this dish is half and half. While it might not be the first thing you think of when you think of macaroni and cheese, it helps thicken the cheese up from being a runny soup to a thick sauce.

If you need to swap any ingredients out, try experimenting with different cheeses for different flavors.

Next time, instead of cheddar and American, try using pepper jack and muenster. Or, swap out the half and half for regular milk or heavy cream.

15. The Best Tater Tot Casserole

Trust us when we say yes, this dish is delicious and yes, it really is the best. Don’t take our word for it. Try it for yourself!

The secret ingredient for this one is the cream of mushroom soup, which brings flavor to the table while also helping bring all of the ingredients together in this dish.

If you’re in a pinch and need a substitution, try swapping the garlic cloves for garlic powder for the same flavor without having to crush garlic cloves. You could even try swapping the potatoes out for some sweet potatoes or butternut squash.

16. Sheet Pan Hawaiian Pineapple Shrimp Tacos

Take your family to culinary paradise by making this Hawaiian-inspired taco dish.

The secret ingredient here is the sriracha which is going to add heat to the dish. You should be careful because too much can make the dish extremely spicy and everyone’s level of spice tolerance is different.

If you need to change things up, we think you should try swapping the chili powder for paprika. While the flavor will be similar, the paprika is actually less spicy, decreasing the overall spiciness of the dish.

17. Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

If you’re looking for easy dinner recipes for family, this instant pot hamburger helper might just be what you’re looking for.

It can all be cooked in one pot in under 25 minutes, and it tastes great! The secret ingredient here is the beef broth. It provides flavor by being the ingredient that every other ingredient is cooked in and absorbed in the instant pot.

If you want to change things up, we recommend swapping milk for half and half. Swapping the milk for half and half will keep a similar flavor while thickening up the sauce overall.

18. Classic Shrimp Scampi

When you think of shrimp scampi, you might think of a dish served up at a restaurant, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to make a classic shrimp scampi dish.

The secret ingredient for this dish is the red pepper flakes that are going to add a bit of spice to the meal while enhancing the other flavors.

If you need to substitute something, try changing out the white wine for broth. This dish can be made and served to your family in just 15 minutes!

19. Creamy Chicken and Rice

Here is another delicious one-pot recipe that your family will love. The secret ingredient for this is the chicken broth that is going to be the basis for the rest of the meal, both by adding flavor and being the basis for what the rice will be cooked in.

If you need to swap anything out, try swapping the Jasmine rice for brown rice for a healthier alternative.

We must warn you that if you do decide to make this swap, it may take more time to cook since different kinds of rice cook at different rates.

20. Quick Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Don’t worry. You’re not the only one that just did a double-take of that title.

This one is a little slower to cook but fast to prep. The secret ingredient here is tomato soup.

Like some other secret ingredients on this list, it provides a base for all of the other ingredients to cook in while bringing all of those flavors together in one pot.

If you need to swap anything out, try removing the beans altogether and replacing them with more vegetables. Some people aren’t a fan of beans in chili (this writer included) and making chili without beans is pretty common.

21. Classic Chicken Salad

Next time you’re having people over for a summer barbeque or friendly get-together, we recommend serving this classic chicken salad. A dollop of dijon mustard is the secret ingredient, as it gives all the other ingredients a little pop of zesty flavor.

While the recipe calls for mayonnaise, you can easily swap it out for some ranch dressing for a unique flavor.

Do you want to know what the best part of this recipe is? The fact that you can add additional ingredients such as cranberries, grapes, avocado, and even pecans.

22. Turkey Burgers

Are you in the mood for hamburgers but looking for a healthier alternative?

Try these tasty and easy-to-make turkey burgers. The secret ingredient is a little bit of Worcestershire sauce because it helps tenderize the meat. If you don’t have any, you can swap it out for some rice wine or red wine.

If you’re not in the mood for turkey burgers, you can go ahead and use the basis of this recipe for beef hamburgers. Serve with your favorite condiments and enjoy!

23. Curried Rice

This last recipe is sure to turn some heads when you’re asked, “What’s for dinner?” and you respond with this tasty treat. This Indian-inspired dish has bold flavors and interesting spices that your family will enjoy.

The secret ingredient here is going to be the curry powder. It’s not the only spice in this dish, but it is the dominant one.

It’s the spice that informs the other flavors of the dish and gives it the overall taste that it has.

If you’re looking to change things up. try swapping the butter for ghee or oil. These can be healthy alternatives to using butter.

Easy Dinner Ideas

23 Easy Dinner Ideas Your Whole Family Will Love

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 oz (about 4 cups) uncooked penne pasta (from 16-oz box)
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 packages (14 oz each) chicken tenders (not breaded), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen broccoli cuts
  • 2 jars (16 ounces each) Alfredo pasta sauce
  • 2 c shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven. While doing this, cook your pasta as directed on its box.
  2. In a skillet, add oil, then add chicken salt and pepper. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, then add pasta broccoli and alfredo sauce.
  3. Take the mixture and put it in a glass baking dish and sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and serve.

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