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A Huge List of Dinner Ideas: 100 Easy Family Meals

Tired of trying to decide what to have for dinner? Me too! That’s why I created this huge list of meal ideas that you can use anytime you can’t decide what to cook. The list is full of quick and easy dinner recipes that are family-friendly and don’t require a ton of time or ingredients….enjoy!

Woman looking in pantry

The Ultimate Guide to Family Dinner Ideas

Let’s be honest…

Trying to figure out what to have for dinner at the end of the day is awful!

When everyone is tired and hungry (including you) it’s really hard to figure out what you should make.

Growing up, my mom would go to the grocery store almost every single day because she would wait until we decided what we wanted to have for dinner and then she would go buy the ingredients.

That was absolute insanity if you ask me, but it worked for her.

As a busy, working mom there is no way that I have time to run to the store every night before dinner.

Instead, I like to meal plan so I know a week or two ahead of time what we will be having for dinner each night.

Meal planning saves so much time and money and prevents us from wasting a ton of food.

Even though meal planning is helpful, you still have to have ideas for what to make for dinner in order to create your meal plan.

That is where this handy-dandy list comes in!

Below you will find almost 100 ideas for quick and easy meals to make for dinner.

Don’t have time to scroll through the entire list right now?

Then go ahead and grab a copy here and get access to my entire printables library!

Huge List of 100 Common Family Meals for Dinner (By Category)

I promise you are not the first one to face the problem of juggling a busy schedule, picky eaters, and a desire to feed your family a home cooked meal.

Below you will find a ton of popular and common family dinner ideas that your kids will love and busy moms will appreciate, all organized by the main ingredient, cooking style or type of cuisine.

If your goal is to feed your whole family delicious food they enjoy without spending a ton of time in the kitchen and making an enormous mess, then you’re in the right spot.

Now let’s get on to the list!

Quick and Easy Chicken Recipes

Chicken is a popular choice for families because it cooks quickly and you can make a variety of meals by changing the seasonings and sauces. Some of the most popular chicken dinner ideas don’t even really need a recipe once you’ve gotten the basics down. My pro tip is to bake a bunch of chicken breasts on Sunday and then cut them up for a quick way to add protein to any weeknight dinner. Here are a few of our favorite recipes:

Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken

Baked Chicken Breast

20 Minute Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken Skewers

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Chicken Fajitas

Rotisserie Chicken

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole 

Chicken Strips

Chicken Wings

Chicken Noodle Soup

Ground Beef Dinner Ideas

Ground meat is a staple ingredient when it comes to our weekly meal plan. At least one meal per week is made using ground beef since the kids love it and it cooks so quickly. The list of meals you could create is practically endless but here are a few of the most popular and time-tested favorite ground beef recipes.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Meatballs and Spaghetti

Tacos

Tater Tot Casserole

Chili

Hamburgers

Quick and Easy Beef Stroganoff

Beef, Bean and Cheese Burritos

Slow Cooker Family Meals

Dealing with getting your kids to various practices and activities, working a full day, and running errands leave little time for preparing a wonderful meal. Enter the slow cooker! A good slow cooker is a lifesaver on busy days. Stews, soups, roasts, and more can all be made in this simple yet diverse cooking tool.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Pulled Pork

Shredded Chicken

White Chicken Chili

Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Ritz Chicken

Instant Pot Recipes For Family Dinners

Home-cooked meals that can be ready in under thirty minutes are a gold mine. When you can feed your family something good and get dinner on the table in less time, there is nothing that can stop you! Cooking in an Instant Pot is a great shortcut that can save you so much time in the kitchen. There are a ton of meals that you can make quickly, especially with a little practice. Moms love their Instant Pots because meals come together fast, and are perfect for busy days and last-minute meal rushes!

Quick and Easy Beef with  Broccoli

Chicken and Rice

Instant Pot Beefaroni

Teriyaki Chicken

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Grandma’s Sunday Roast Beef

Pasta Primavera

Instant Pot Vegan Burrito Bowl

Classic American Comfort Food Recipes 

Classic comfort food is all about homemade meals that fill your belly and taste like love. These comforting classic recipes are sure to make you feel like a Midwest Grandma just gave you a bit ol’ hug. Gather your family around the dinner table and watch as they gobble up these delicious meals.

Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese

Chicken Pot Pie

Granny’s Classic Meatloaf

Fried Catfish

Chili

Pizza

Pork Chops

Ribs

Easy American Goulash

Hot Dogs

Chicken Fried Steak

Shrimp and Grits

Chicken and Dumplings

Sheet Pan Dinners

One-Pan, No Worries. When you are cooking a full meal for your whole family, the mess can quickly get out of hand. No one likes to spend an hour in the kitchen after supper cleaning up! Sheet-pan meals are easier to handle and minimize clean-up.

Common sheet-pan meals include a protein and mixed veggies. Mixing in various pastas and grains will create a filling and nutritious dinner in lots of different ways.

Sheet Pan Sesame Chicken and Veggies

Deconstructed Beef Kebabs

Sheet Pan Potatoes, Sausage and Peppers

Sheet Pan Quesadilla

One Pan Lemon Pepper Chicken, Potatoes and Veggies

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Sheet Pan Pork Chops with Apples and Sweet Potatoes

Parmesan Crusted Sheet Pan Chicken with Green Beans

Easy Sheet Pan Nachos

Sheet Pan Philly Cheesesteaks

Popular Mexican Family Dinners

The delicious flavor profiles and simple ingredients make Mexican dishes some of our family’s personal favorites. These easy dinner recipes are kid-friendly and easy to customize to the tastes of your own family. From mild to spicy and everything in between these easy meals have so much flavor and are great for any day of the week.

Tacos (Chicken, Beef, Fish or Shrimp)

Burritos

Nachos

Easy Pork Tacos

Enchiladas

Tostadas

Fajitas

Quesadillas

Tamales

Soup for Dinner

One a crisp fall or winter evening, nothing tastes as good as a homemade soup. With just a few pantry staples like canned tomatoes, chicken broth, and frozen veggies you can have an easy weeknight dinner ready fast! Soup is a comforting, easy meal that anyone can make.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Pasta Fagioli 

15 Minute Vegetable Soup

Minestrone

Super Easy Crockpot Potato Soup

Clam Chowder

Black Bean Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Beef Stew

Easy Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

Sandwiches

Our family loves sandwich night. The funny thing is that you forget how many different types of sandwiches there are most of the time. We added a sandwich night to our weekly meal plan and how quick the dinner prep and clean up is!

BLT’s

Grilled Cheese

Pulled Pork

Pimento Cheese

Chicken Salad

Egg Salad

Lobster Roll

Classic Club Sandwich

There you have it mama! A huge list of meal ideas that will give you enough recipes for over a month’s worth of dinners.

We hope this list saves you time and makes answering the question, “What’s for dinner tonight?” so much easier.

More Easy Family Dinner Ideas:

Make It Custom!

The bigger your family is, the harder it is to make something that everyone enjoys. That is why make your meals can be a big hit with even the pickiest of eaters! Prepare a variety of ingredients, and then let each person build their meal.

Tacos, rice bowls, fajitas, and even stir fry can all become a meal that your family can customize to their own tastes. This is an easy and effective way to make everyone happy!

Be Sneaky!

Everyone knows how hard it can be to get kids to eat healthily. That is why you sometimes have to get a little sneaky to make sure your family is getting their vegetables and not eating too much junk food.

Air fryer fried food, tater tots and pasta made out of vegetables, and hidden nutrient-packed foods are great ways to get your kids to eat healthily.

Quick and Easy

Make-Ahead Meals

Maybe you can’t always find recipes that are fast, but you can always try cooking when you have the time. Busy weeknights might be rough for preparing a fresh meal, but many meals can be prepared ahead of time for a homecooked meal that you don’t actually have to cook!

 Casseroles, slow-cooked meat, soups, and more can all be prepped days in advance and then warmed for an effortless and satisfying dinner. You can even prepare something weeks in advance and then freeze them! Make ahead meals are one of my favorite tricks to save a lot of time in the kitchen.

Conclusion

Having a stock of solid recipes is essential. You can meal plan when you have recipes to choose from and give your family options. It is also great because you know what ingredients you need to keep on hand. You will save money when you know exactly what to buy!

Besides being great for organization, having some meals in your back pocket is good for you! Unless you are a chef, devising new things to cook requires a lot of thinking and trials, and your family probably does not want to eat the same thing all the time. Common family dinners give you some great bases to which you can add your own flavors and twists!

Common family dinners are also common for a reason! Feeding a family is hard, so trying something tried and true could be what both you and your family need for a great evening meal together. You want to spend time enjoying life with your family rather than pulling your hair out in front of the fridge, so use the knowledge of others!

Remember to grab your free printable list with links to all the recipes!

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Huge List of Meal Ideas

A huge list of meal ideas your family will love!

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