10 Easy Family Dinner Ideas to Add to Your Meal Plan STAT

updated Sep 20, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Even though I love to cook (and do it for a living!), lately I find myself wondering, What do people even eat? more often than I’d like to admit. As the months at home drag on, with my attention focused on the national stage, I’ve got little imagination for what to put on the table each night. Even when it’s hard, I try to make dinnertime a safe space to connect. So instead of fighting finicky family tastes, I take the time to fill our dinner queue with meals that the whole family will love. Here are 10 family dinner ideas from Cubby’s sister site Kitchn that my family adores. Hopefully your family will find some they love here too!

1. Broccoli and Cheese Risotto

Broccoli and cheese is a classic flavor pairing made classy by preparing it risotto-style. Use sharp cheddar strands instead of Parmesan, and add bite-sized broccoli florets at the end of cooking so that it stays tender and bright green.

Get the recipe: Broccoli and Cheese Risotto

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Brett Regot/Kitchn

2. Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

Family dinners don’t get much better than cheesy chips layered with salsa chicken and all of your favorite toppings. Use sturdy restaurant-style chips that won’t break after building and baking. And don’t forget to line your baking sheet with foil to make cleanup quick!

Get the recipe: Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

3. Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is exactly what you need for last-minute lunches or the start of an easy dinner (just add cubed rotisserie chicken!). Kids will love the cheese-stuffed pasta and juicy cherry tomatoes so much that they might just overlook the emerald hue of basil pesto that brings grown-ups to the table.

Get the recipe: Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Easy 20-Minute Chicken Teriyaki

Don’t be surprised when plates come back empty after eating this faster-than-takeout teriyaki chicken. Make an easy sticky-sweet teriyaki glaze that tastes better than the bottled stuff, and serve with steamed rice and broccoli.

Get the recipe: Easy 20-Minute Chicken Teriyaki

Credit: Lauren Volo

5. Naan Wraps with Homemade Cucumber Raita

When you’re tired of the burger routine, make a sandwich swap. Wrap crispy ground meat (the recipe calls for beef or lamb, but any ground meat will work) in soft pieces of naan and top with a cool and creamy cucumber sauce. Serve it build-your-own style to kids so they can taste and explore at their own pace.

Get the recipe: Naan Wraps with Homemade Cucumber Raita

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Veggie-Packed Tater Tot Breakfast Bake

Do you wonder how to make a tender, veggie-packed egg bake even better? Cover the casserole with tater tots! That’s how you make breakfast for dinner a surefire way to please everyone at the table.

Get the recipe: Veggie-Packed Tater Tot Breakfast Bake

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

7. Pineapple BBQ Chicken Foil Packets

Foil-packet dinners get high praise for their easy prep and cleanup. Make personalized pouches for the entire family, adding more pineapple for the kids or doing double peppers for the onion-averse.

Get the recipe: Pineapple BBQ Chicken Foil Packets

8. Cheesy Pizza Pinwheels

No list of family-friendly meals is complete without pizza on the list. While deep dish, sheet pan, and grilled are all excellent options, no pizza party is more fun than one with pinwheels on the menu.

Get the recipe: Cheesy Pizza Pinwheels

Credit: Amelia Rampe

9. 20-Minute Bean and Rice Burritos

When you’re ready to move beyond standard cheese quesadillas, but your kids aren’t convinced, try these easy, cheesy bean burritos. It’s all of the flavors they love, all rolled into one.

Get the recipe: 20-Minute Bean and Rice Burritos

Credit: Yossy Arefi

10. Life-Changing Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs

We’re not exaggerating: This one-skillet dinner is life-changing. Start the chicken thighs in a cold pan to render the skin golden and crisp, then finish in the oven with garlic butter and tender green vegetables.

Get the recipe: Life-Changing Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: 10 Family Dinner Ideas to Add to Your Meal Plan