I am a huge fan of simple family dinners.
Quick, easy, affordable, simple family dinners that I can not ruin and my kids will actually eat.
It’s not that I can’t cook, it’s that I don’t like doing it everyday.
Well, I didn’t until recently.
Without the constant crazy schedule keeping me running from work to practice to game to literally everywhere, I’ve kind of gotten into coming up with menus for the family. And, without a lot of rushing around to do, the meals are actually coming out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
Nothing under cooked, overcooked, burned, stuck, or otherwise questionable has left my kitchen in weeks and I’m proud of my progress.
I’ve even gotten the kids in the kitchen with me a few times a week.
The only hurdle is that I still find my creativity stumped from time to time, and with days where I’m working with limited ingredients thanks to food shortages at my local stores or delayed delivery dates, I do find myself struggling to come up with what to cook. Or even remembering what to cook again.
I know I’m not alone in this struggle so I decided to put together this list of 20 simple family dinners to help boost your creativity in the kitchen. This is basically a full list of our quarantine eats over the past four weeks to hopefully inspire your meals for what’s left of it.
20 Simple Family Dinners
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Served with Texas toast and garden salad.
For quick and easy meat sauce: use your favorite jar sauce and add one pound of cooked ground beef to it.
Taco or Burrito Bar
We enjoyed soft tacos, hard tacos, and fried burritos with ours.
For fried burritos: make your favorite burrito fillings, wrap them in flour tortillas, pin with a toothpick and deep fry until golden brown.
Mashed potatoes topped with pulled pork, topped with macaroni and cheese.
Note: Some people make their parfaits with coleslaw, others top it with BBQ sauce.
You can also serve separately if you have super picky eaters.
Here’s a recipe for quick, homemade mac and cheese: Simple Homemade Mac and Cheese
We are major pasta lovers and this cream chicken carbonara was a huge hit!
Grab the easy recipe here: Chicken Carbonara
Breakfast for Dinner
Brinner is always a winner.
Check out my pancake recipe if you want to put breakfast into your dinner rotation: Pancake recipe
Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders
Here’s the recipe I use: Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders
Low Country Boil
Made with shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn this meal is always a winner with my family.
Check out my simple recipe video here: Low Country Boil
Teriyaki Chicken Wings
Served with rice and broccoli for a tasty, Asian inspired midweek meal.
Mexican Meatball Soup (Albondigas)
Quick tip: use frozen meatballs. I get mine from Sam’s club and they make for great appetizers with BBQ sauce, and spaghetti topping too.
Here’s a recipe for you to try: Albondigas
There are tons of ways to pair chicken and your favorite pasta, but here is one we all loved: Chicken, Bacon, Spinach Spaghetti
Make Your Own Pizza
Quick tip: Check out your local pizza parlor and see if they provide ingredients to do this.
Sausage, Potato, Green Bean Sheet Pan
Substitution Idea: Use broccoli or cauliflower instead of green beans if you prefer.
Super easy recipe
1 polska keilbasa
2 cans green beans
Toss potatoes in olive oil, season to taste (I use garlic powder, salt, and pepper), and bake in oven at 425 degrees for 15 min.
Flip and add polska keilbasa and green beans.
Cook 15 min more and serve.
Cook on low heat for two and a half to three hours to make them fall of the bone delicious.
Here’s a rib rub I always keep on hand: Dry Rib Rub
Hot Dog Bar
Add any toppings you like – mustard, ketchup, onions, relish, chili, cheese – to make this one of the more fun and simple family dinners.
Pro tip: Make a double batch and save one for lunch the rest of the week. You can also break it into individual portions and seal with your FoodSaver to make lunches simple too.
Here’s the recipe I use: Baked Ziti
Brats and Fries
Here’s the roast chicken recipe people love: Easy Roast Chicken
Pork Chops & Home Fries
Check out my recipe for crispy pork chops here: Perfect Fried Pork Chops
Chicken and Waffles
You can shave off time on these by using Bisquick and frozen nuggets if you want, but going the homemade route is pretty time efficient too.