15 Easy Dinner Ideas for the Family

Simple Recipes for Delicious Homecooked Meals

Chicken Fajitas

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

What's for dinner? There are several easy dinner ideas that can take the stress out of that question and provide your family with a meal they're sure to love. Whether you're looking to make a favorite dish a little easier and hassle-free or cook up something that's slightly different, these recipes are a great place to begin. Many use just a handful of ingredients, and several are meatless or can become vegetarian easily with an ingredient swap. They all require just a little of your time, and some even cook on their own, leaving you free to handle other things around the house.

  • 01 of 15

    Skillet Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Skillet spaghetti recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

    Spaghetti and meatballs is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and all you really need to add is a salad and bread for a complete meal. This clever recipe uses frozen meatballs and jarred spaghetti sauce, cooking everything—even the pasta—in a skillet on the stovetop. Ready in about 30 minutes, the delicious one-pot dish makes cleanup a snap.

  • 02 of 15

    Vegan Chickpea Veggie Burgers

    Vegan Chickpea Veggie Burgers

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

    Have a meatless burger night with chickpea veggie burgers. The patties are made with canned chickpeas and kitchen staples, so they're easy to whip up from scratch. Add your favorite toppings and serve fries on the side for a quick, casual meal.

  • 03 of 15

    Meatloaf Shepherd's Pie

    Meatloaf Shepherd's Pie

    The Spruce Eats / Rachel Riesgraf

    Transform leftover meatloaf into a second-day dish with an incredibly easy meatloaf shepherd's pie recipe. Carrots, garlic, and onion pack the skillet-cooked pie with hearty vegetables, while mashed potatoes and Parmesan cheese form a tasty topping. Finished in the oven where it's baked to bubbly perfection, you'll have dinner on the table in about one hour.

  • 04 of 15

    Instant Pot Sloppy Joes

    sloppy joe sandwiches with pickles and tater tots on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

    The Instant Pot is a fabulous kitchen tool that cuts cooking time down considerably. When you have under an hour to get dinner on the table, fire it up, and make sloppy Joes to serve with a simple side. Switch to tempeh or TVP for vegetarian sandwiches if you prefer.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Air Fryer Fish Sticks

    air fryer fish sticks

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

    Equally convenient, the air fryer takes most of the oil, time, and mess out of fried foods. Treat your family to air fryer fish sticks using haddock, cod, or pollock and a simple panko breading for a tasty weeknight meal.

  • 06 of 15

    Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

    Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

    The Spruce Eats

    A family favorite, homemade macaroni and cheese is incredibly easy in the slow cooker. You'll need to cook the pasta first, but after that, it's as simple as tossing it all in the crock and letting it work its magic for a few hours.

  • 07 of 15

    Sheet Pan Pizza

    Sheet pan pizza recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

    Need a quick homemade alternative to delivery on pizza night? Go with sheet pan pizza. It's a great excuse to keep store-bought pizza dough on hand, or you can make it from scratch. While the pepperoni and cheese are nice, it's also a fantastic base for your family's favorite toppings.

  • 08 of 15

    Quick and Easy Beef Stroganoff

    Quick and Easy Beef Stroganoff With Noodles on plates

    The Spruce Eats / Eric Kleinberg

    Beef stroganoff is an excellent option for a quick weeknight dinner. Cook the egg noodles in advance, then sauté steak strips (tofu's a great vegetarian alternative) with garlic and add cream of mushroom soup, and plate the dish with a side of bread.

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Spinach Parmesan Quiche

    Low-Calorie Spinach Quiche

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    If you have found that baking the perfect quiche is a bit of a challenge, you'll love this spinach Parmesan quiche. The recipe skips the typical pastry crust and opts for a single flour tortilla shell instead. It's a little crispier and the ideal foundation for a light dinner.

  • 10 of 15

    Instant Pot Taco Soup

    taco soup in a bowl with shredded cheese

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

    Bring taco night into the world of hearty soups with this one-hour Instant Pot recipe. The taco soup includes everything you'd expect and more, adding beans and corn to the beefy tomato stock for a Tex-Mex chili-like taste. Just don't forget your favorite toppings!

  • 11 of 15

    30-Minute Mexican Enchiladas

    Easy 30-Minute Mexican Enchiladas Recipe

    The Spruce Eats

    Keep a jar of enchilada sauce in the pantry, and you're ready to cook up tasty enchiladas for dinner. Corn or flour tortillas are quickly fried in oil, covered in the sauce, then filled and baked. Stick with the recipe's cheese-only version, add bell peppers and onions for a more robust vegetarian meal, or go with chicken or steak.

  • 12 of 15

    Chicken Fajitas

    Chicken Fajitas

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    In just 20 minutes, you can whip up homemade chicken fajitas that rival anything from a restaurant. The fajita seasoning comes together quickly from the spice cupboard, while onion and bell pepper add a pop of color and taste to the skillet-fried chicken strip mix. Switch to beef, shrimp, or portobello mushrooms if you like.

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Butter Chicken

    Butter Chicken

    The Spruce Eats / Ana Zelic

    Easy to prepare, the key to perfect butter chicken is the marinade of lemon juice, oil, and curry powder. You'll raid the spice rack and need heavy cream and tomato puree for this ready-in-one-hour Indian favorite that simply needs a bowl of rice.

  • 14 of 15

    Chinese Orange Pork Chop Stir-Fry

    Chinese Orange Pork Chop Stir-fry

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    If the length of stir-fry ingredient lists is intimidating, you'll appreciate this Chinese orange pork chop stir-fry recipe. The marinade takes 30 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time to prep the other ingredients so everything's ready for a quick fry in the wok or skillet. The orange sauce gives the dish a zesty flavor that's fabulous served over rice.

  • 15 of 15

    Chicken Lo Mein Stir-Fry

    Chicken Lo Mein Stir-fry Recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

    A quick 20-minute marinade ensures the chicken in this lo mein stir-fry stays moist and flavorful under intense heat. The three-ingredient sauce is easy, and the carrots, mushrooms, and lo mein noodles make it an excellent one-dish meal.