22 Quick and Easy Dinners for Busy Dads

Get kid-pleasing dinners on the table, fast!

Cheese Enchiladas

The Spruce 

Are you a dad with a mission to put family dinner on the table? When you're rushing between work and home, you need to rely on quick and easy weeknight recipes that are stress-free and nutritious, that kids will enjoy eating. Be a man with a plan, with this awesome collection of the best dinners for busy dads, that will transform your weeknight dinners.

  • 01 of 22

    Quick Stove-Top Beef Fajitas

    Stove-Top Beef Fajitas

    Rainmax / Getty Images

    Kids will cheer when you bring these sizzling beef fajitas to the table. Strips of tender, inexpensive skirt steak are flash-fried on the stove top with bell peppers, onions, and Mexican spices, and served with tortillas and your choice of toppings.

  • 02 of 22

    Tuna Carbonara

    Tuna Carbonara

    Shenghung Lin Photos / Getty Images

    Pasta noodles are tossed with flaked canned tuna and bacon in a creamy sauce, in this winning family dinner inspired by a classic Italian recipe. With plenty of protein, and tons of flavor and crunch, it's a tasty meal you can feel great about serving your kids.

  • 03 of 22

    Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

    Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

    Brian Macdonald / DigitalVision / Getty Images

    When you're in a hurry to feed your family, count on this stir-fry recipe for a delicious, Chinese take-out style dinner in only 20 minutes. Moist chicken strips are cooked in a tasty, thickened orange juice and soy sauce mixture, and topped with crunchy cashew nuts. Serve over hot cooked rice.

  • 04 of 22

    Pork Chops and Peppers

    Pork Chops and Peppers

    milanfoto / E+ / Getty Images

    Family favorite pork chops and peppers is a filling, nutritious meal that cooks quickly in one skillet, for easy clean-up. Worcestershire sauce and pantry spices add great savory flavor to meaty pork and vegetables.

    Continue to 5 of 22 below.
  • 05 of 22

    Sloppy Joes

    Sloppy Joes
    Creative RF / Getty Images

    Kids love saucy sloppy Joes. With a mixture of ground beef, onions, diced bell pepper, ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar, these hot sandwiches make a quick, fun and filling dinner that you can cook and serve in under an hour.

  • 06 of 22

    Puka Dogs

    Hawaiian Puka Dogs

    The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    Elevate your family's hot dog meal with this fun puka dog recipe. Cooked on a grill, either inside or out, Polish sausages or veggie dogs are poked into Hawaiian rolls. The toppings include a homemade mango mustard that's spicy but can be adjusted to your family's preference, as well as sweet pineapple relish.

  • 07 of 22

    Instant Pot Rice

    Instant Pot Rice With Cilantro

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

    Take the worry out of cooking rice by making Instant Pot rice. It's an invaluable kitchen appliance for busy families and cooks rice perfectly every time. Serve it as a side, plate cooked meats or veggies on top of it, or incorporate it into another recipe.

  • 08 of 22

    Seattle Hot Dog

    Seattle Hot Dogs

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    For families who are not afraid of a little adventure, Seattle hot dogs are a quick and fun meal. Cook the hot dogs in a frying pan or toss them on the grill, if you like. The toppings include sautéed onions, cream cheese, and jalapeños, and you can always ramp up the flavor with Sriracha or brown mustard.

    Continue to 9 of 22 below.
  • 09 of 22

    Instant Pot Pulled Pork

    Instant Pot pulled pork on buns with all the "fixins."
    Diana Rattray

    The Instant Pot makes roasting big hunks of meat quick and hands-off. This pulled pork is ready in under an hour and frees up dad to make any side dishes, help with homework, or tidy up. Serve as is as a main or on buns as sandwiches.

  • 10 of 22

    Sheet Pan Salmon Teriyaki

    Sheet Pan Salmon Teriyaki

    Leah Maroney

    Teriyaki sauce seems to be one of those flavors that is enjoyed by both adults and kids alike, and this sheet pan dinner makes it easy to get dinner on the table in a snap. The recipe combines a homemade version of the Asian sauce with healthy salmon and vegetables like broccoli, peppers, green beans, and carrots. Make a pot of rice and dinner is done.

  • 11 of 22

    Ground Turkey Stir-Fry

    Ground Turkey Stir-Fry

     Anita Schecter

    For a twist on a traditional Chinese stir-fry, try this recipe using ground turkey. It is reminiscent of the Asian lettuce cup appetizer in terms of flavors and texture, but the added broccoli and peppers make this a nutritious and complete dish, perfect served over cooked rice.

  • 12 of 22

    Pesto Meatballs With Pasta Noodles

    Pesto Spaghetti
    Creative RM / Getty Images

    Frozen store-bought meatballs and purchased pesto sauce make it easy to put together this family favorite, cheesy spaghetti dinner. Kids will enjoy the green-colored pasta in this satisfying weeknight dinner that you can put together in just 30 minutes.

    Continue to 13 of 22 below.
  • 13 of 22

    Parmesan Crusted Baked Fish

    Parmesan Crusted Baked Fish

    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    Dial up the nutrition on dinner, when you serve these easy, 30-minute baked fish fillets with a crunchy parmesan cheese and breadcrumb coating that kids love to eat. Serve with hot cooked rice for a healthy dinner, or French fries for a treat.

  • 14 of 22

    Vegetarian Pesto Pizza With Feta Cheese

    Vegetarian Pesto Pizza With Feta Cheese

    Javier Vasquez / Getty Images

    Satisfy vegetarian kids' pizza cravings with this tasty pesto pizza recipe that begins with a store-bought crust. Simply layer on prepared pesto sauce and Mediterranean toppings, and bake in a hot oven until your pizza is hot and crispy.

  • 15 of 22

    30-Minute Mexican Enchiladas

    Mexican Enchiladas

    The Spruce

    Say olé to these 30-minute enchiladas that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy. With corn tortillas, two kinds of cheese, and store-bought Mexican sauce, they couldn't be easier to assemble and bake. Go ahead and add some cooked beef or chicken, if you have leftovers in the fridge.

  • 16 of 22

    Crockpot Chili

    Chilli topped with cheese and green onions

    Brian Hagiwara / Getty Images

    Crockpots are a busy dad's best friend for getting hot dinners on the table, without rushing around after work. Assemble the ingredients for this hearty beef and vegetable chili quickly in the morning, and come home to a rib-sticking family meal.

    Continue to 17 of 22 below.
  • 17 of 22

    Instant Pot Pizza

    instant pot pizza sliced
    Diana Rattray

    These individual-sized pizzas are simple to make and easily customizable. Store-bought pizza dough is cut to the size of a cake pan, layered with toppings, and cooked for 15 minutes. Stack two pans and cook a few at a time.

  • 18 of 22

    Turkey Tacos

    Turkey Tacos

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    Make taco night a healthy night for your family when you serve up turkey tacos! Lean ground turkey is flavored with Mexican seasonings, and piled into taco shells or tortillas, along with lettuce, salsa, store-bought guacamole, and shredded cheddar cheese.

  • 19 of 22

    Chicken Stroganoff

    Chicken Stroganoff

    Cultura RF / Diana Miller / Getty Images

    Creamy chicken stroganoff makes a wonderfully warming dinner on cold or rainy evenings. Juicy chicken thighs, onions, mushrooms, and a rich and easy sauce add up to a satisfying, homey meal. It's budget-friendly, too!

  • 20 of 22

    Vegan Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry With Peanut Sauce

    Vegan Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry With Peanut Sauce

    VeselovaElena / Getty Images

    Tasty tofu cubes and plenty of crunchy vegetables are stir-fried in a creamy peanut butter sauce with Asian flavorings, for a healthy and filling dish that may become your vegan family's new favorite dinner. It's ready to serve in just 20 minutes!

    Continue to 21 of 22 below.
  • 21 of 22

    Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

    Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

    Cavan Images / Getty Images

    Homemade macaroni and cheese is a kid favorite meal you can make on your stovetop in just 30 minutes. Just a handful of ingredients, plus salt and pepper to taste, is all that is needed to cook up this classic recipe. Toss in some steamed broccoli florets, if you like, for an extra boost of nutrition.

  • 22 of 22

    Penne Casserole With Ham and Peas

    Penne Casserole With Ham and Peas

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Dig into a cheesy, savory pasta casserole for dinner on busy weeknights. This hearty family pasta bake with leftover cooked ham, penne pasta, peas, and a creamy cheddar cheese sauce can be made ahead for your freezer, to reheat easily on rushed weeknights.