Okay, raise your hand if you’re more than a little tired of hearing “Mom, what’s for dinner?” If I could raise both hands and legs, I would. This is probably my least favorite question from my children ever. It comes from being tired at the end of a long day and honestly running out of ideas. So after dealing with this issue for more than a few nights, I decided to take the matter into my own hands. I’ve gathered up some of the best (and easy!) dinner recipes for your family because I know you’re busy, and I also know you deserve a break! Whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom, life can get crazy! Hopefully some of these easy dinner recipes for your family will help take the crazy out of dinnertime.
Easy Dinner Recipes for Your Family: Kids
Kids are probably the hardest customers to please when it comes to meals. I have one who won’t eat anything with beans in it, and another who will only eat chicken. Sometimes their picky taste buds can drive me crazy. Hopefully, these two recipes are a home run with your crew!
Recipe 01: Pizza Quesadilla
- 6 tortillas
- 12 tbsp. marinara or pizza sauce
- 1 ½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- Toppings: pepperoni, sliced olives, mushrooms, sliced bell peppers, etc.
- 1 c. warm marinara sauce for dipping
- Begin by heating a skillet over medium-high temperature or turning your griddle up to medium. While the skillet is heating, spread about ¼ of marinara sauce over half of the tortilla. Then add your preferred toppings and fold the tortilla over on itself.
- When the skillet or griddle is at the right temperature, spray with cooking spray. Then place the tortilla on the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. You want the tortilla to be golden brown and the cheese inside to be melted. When that happens, remove from the heat, cut into triangles, and serve with warm marinara sauce!
Recipe 02: Buttered Noodles
- 12 oz egg noodles
- 4 tbsp. butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Start by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil. Then add in the egg noodles and cook according to the package directions for al dente. When the pasta is done, drain the water. Then add the butter, salt, and pepper, and stir until combined. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve!
Easy Dinner Recipes for Your Family: Cheap
When you’re feeding a large crew or your family is eating on a budget, pennies count. So here’s my favorite inexpensive meal that also pleases my kiddos.
Recipe 03: Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
This recipe is a great one for busy nights with a budget. Just take out your trusty Slow Cooker and get going! Before you get too far, if you haven’t discovered slow cooker liners, then you’re totally missing out. They make clean up a breeze, which makes my nights even better!
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- slow cooker
- 16 oz. elbow macaroni
- ½ c. butter melted
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 4 c. shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
- 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
- 1 c. milk
- ⅛ tsp paprika
- Start by cooking the elbow noodles according to the package directions for al dente. When the noodles are done, drain and place them in your lined slow cooker. Add the butter and mix well. Then, in a large bowl, mix 3 cups of the cheese with the evaporated milk, milk, eggs, and condensed soup until well combined. When the mixture is ready, pour over the noodles and stir to combine. To cook, cover and set the temperature on LOW for 3 ½-4 hours. When a food thermometer reads 160°, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and allow to cook a little longer until the cheese is melted. Before serving, sprinkle with paprika. Enjoy!
Easy Dinner Recipes for Your Family: Healthy
If you’re focusing on eating a little bit cleaner and healthier, then things can get a little tricky. Hats off to those moms who manage to create gourmet dinners that are gluten-free, sugar-free, and healthy. Some of these women put insane effort into their dinners, and it’s amazing! I don’t love cooking that much, and I don’t have a ton of time on my hands. So this is one of my go-to healthy dinners for my family.
Recipe 04: Lasagna-filled Zucchini Boats
Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini
- 4 large zucchini halved lengthwise
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ lb. ground beef
- 1 c. marinara sauce
- 1 c. ricotta
- 1 c. shredded mozzarella
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley for garnish
- Begin by heating your oven to 350° and greasing a pyrex baking dish with some cooking spray. While the oven is heating, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle, making sure to leave about ¼" in the zucchini. Set the zucchini insides aside. Then, in a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion until it is fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes.
- When the onions are ready, add in the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Crumble and cook the beef until it's no longer pink. Then add in the marinara sauce and zucchini middles and cook until the sauce is nice and warm. Next, spread each zucchini boat bottom with some ricotta cheese. Then spoon the beef mixture over the top and sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake for about 15 minutes so that the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted. Garnish with parsley and serve!
Easy Dinner Recipes for Your Family: Chicken
I have one kid who will eat anything with chicken, and another who will only eat it under specific circumstances. It kills me. So when I need to make a meal that’s got some filling protein, I usually turn to this recipe. It’s a family favorite! Bonus? My picky chicken eater doesn’t even realize there’s chicken in it!
Recipe 06: Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
Chicken Enchilada Soup
- slow cooker
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can pinto beans drained
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- 16 oz. salsa in preferred heat
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 pkg frozen corn
- 1 pkg dried ranch dressing
- 1 c. water
- 1 c. shredded cheese
- 1 bag tortilla chips
- 1 avocado sliced or cubed
- Begin by putting the liner in your slow cooker. Then, in a medium bowl, mix the salsa, water, ranch dressing, and cream of chicken soup together until combined. Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker and pour the soup mixture over the top. Then mix in the black and pinto beans before placing the lid on the slow cooker and cooking on LOW for 6-8 hours. When the chicken is done (about 6-7 hours), remove the chicken and shred using a pair of forks. Then return the chicken to the soup and mix in. 30 minutes before serving, stir in the frozen corn and shredded cheese and replace the lid. Allow the mixture to cook for another half hour or so before servings with tortilla chips and sliced avocado!
Easy Dinner Recipes for Your Family: Beef
This last recipe is one that is a favorite from my childhood. My mom didn’t cook much because she wasn’t home at dinner time often (the life of a nurse), but when she cooked it was delicious. One of my favorite meals was her Beef Stroganoff! Today I make it for my kids on a semi-regular basis. Sometimes we leave out the mushrooms and serve it with rice, and other times we make the full deal complete with egg noodles and mushrooms. Regardless of how you serve it, it’s easy to make and perfect for a busy weeknight!
Recipe 06: Beef Stroganoff
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 12 oz baby bella (cremini) mushrooms sliced
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 8 oz egg noodles or rice
- ¾ c. sour cream
- ½ c. beef broth
- If serving this dish with rice, begin cooking the rice first using your preferred method. While the rice is cooking, place the olive oil in a skillet with the onions and mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and mushrooms for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are golden brown. Then add in the garlic and saute for one minute more before removing the mushrooms to a covered bowl.
- Next, cook and crumble the ground beef until it's no longer pink, about ten more minutes. When the beef is cooked through, add the beef broth (reserving 2 tbsp), and scrape up the bottom of the pan. Then lower the heat and mix in the cream of mushroom soup, dijon mustard, Worchestershire sauce, and salt and pepper. Continue to stir until the mixture is warm. While the soup mixture is warming, mix the cornstarch with 2 tbsp of beef broth to form a slurry. Slowly mix this into the beef mixture until combined. At this point, you can add the mushrooms into the mixture, or serve them separately. Allow this mixture to simmer until it's time to serve.
- While the stroganoff is simmering, cook the egg noodles according to package directions for al dente noodles. When the noodles are done, either add them to the stroganoff mixture or toss with some olive oil or butter to keep them from sticking together. Serve and enjoy!
So the next time you get asked the question, “What are we eating for dinner?” Don’t despair! Just try one of these quick and easy recipes. Which one did your family like the most? Let me know in the comment below. Happy Cooking!