Courtesy of Happy Money Saver
Busy school night dinners are often relegated to frozen foods and the occasional stop at your favorite fast-food joint. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of easy, kid-friendly dinners that will satisfy your little ones without being a time-suck. These 25 recipes will get dinner on the table fast and might even give you leftovers for lunch the next day.
Knowing how to make a good alfredo sauce from scratch is a skill every home cook should keep in their back pocket. This pesto-infused version of the cheesy sauce comes together in 30 minutes. Toss in your favorite cooked pasta; this recipe suggests linguine.
A traditional Roman pasta dish, spaghetti carbonara uses just six pantry staples: pasta, Parmesan cheese, bacon, olive oil, pepper and eggs. The result is a gut-filling and soul-satisfying plate of food. You can call it bacon and egg spaghetti to give it a more kid-friendly sound.
A childhood dinner that will fill you with nostalgia, beef stroganoff is a decades-old dish especially popular in the ’50s. Egg noodles are piled high with beef and a creamy mushroom sauce. Top it off with a healthy dollop of sour cream and chives.
What kid doesn’t like mac and cheese? It’s essentially noodles loaded with layers of melted cheese. Take it one step further by adding steamed milk to a roux, then sprinkle in cheddar, fontina and gouda cheese. If this particular recipe isn’t tickling your fancy, don’t be afraid to try these twists on mac and cheese.
This Hungarian-style sheet pan dinner doesn’t sacrifice flavor for convenience. The chicken and potatoes are sprinkled with salt, oregano, garlic powder and plenty of hot paprika and roasted for 20 minutes. Use the browned bits that form while baking to make a creamy sauce right on the baking sheet, meaning there’s minimal cleanup.
Sloppy Joes are one of those sandwich recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Although it’s a simple concept — ground beef mixed with tomato paste, ketchup and mustard and served on a bun — it’s comfort food your kids will love.
Personal pizzas are a great way to make dinner fun for the entire family. Use store-bought naan in place of dough to save time. Spread the naan with pizza sauce, then let your kids help out by having them top their pizza with their chosen ingredients, like cheese, pepperoni, veggies or anything else they’d like. It’s time to get creative!
Bring the comfort of grandma’s cooking to your weeknight dinners with this lasagna recipe. Keep it traditional or add in other ingredients like Italian sausage or spinach. And if you find yourself pressed for time on weekdays, you can prep this lasagna on Sundays, freeze it and heat it up whenever you need it.
This recipe combines the flavors of traditional bolognese but without hours of slow simmering. If you cook a big batch of the sauce and plan to freeze some, leave the cream out. When you reheat the sauce, mix in the cream before serving.
Meatloaf can be hit or miss with kids, but the dish is a crowd favorite when it’s done correctly. This recipe doesn’t have any bells and whistles but there’s a reason the classics are classics — they’re great as is. If you do want to get creative, check out more of our best meatloaf recipes.
Black beans are key to a heart-healthy diet. Mash the legume, mix it with quinoa, onion, bell pepper and garlic, and shape the mixture into patties. Cook them in a skillet and top with kicked-up mayo, onion, tomato and lettuce.
Bring your favorite seafood shack to you by making fish and chips for dinner. Skip the laborious process of frying the cod and bake the fish and potatoes together to make it a sheet pan meal.
Rice vermicelli, or rice noodles, are thin noodles made from rice flour and water. In this recipe, rice vermicelli is cooked in a wok with a blend of veggies, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sesame oil. Add a boost of protein and keep the dish plant-based by adding tofu or tempeh.
Salmon is perfect for busy school nights because it doesn’t take long to cook. Here, it’s marinated in a glaze made with soy sauce, orange juice, rice vinegar, honey, ginger and garlic. It’s a fish recipe that will satisfy pescatarians and meat lovers alike.
Parents often try to get creative for dinner without sacrificing convenience, and this recipe does just that. Take your grilled cheese to the next level by piling pepperoni, cheese and pizza sauce between two slices of bread and cooking the sandwich on a skillet until the cheese melts.
Having breakfast for dinner was always a treat while growing up. Give your kids the gift of “brinner” by making these pancakes as a weeknight meal. Turn it into a buffet-style event by whipping up some scrambled eggs and bacon.
Sometimes, after a rough day at school, all your kids need is some comfort food. Loaded with the flavors of traditional Irish cooking, this chicken pot pie will do the trick. This pot pie is a culmination of peas, carrots, moist chicken breast and gravy, all baked into a golden puff pastry.
The easiest dinner you can make is one you start before you leave the house for the day. Oh yeah, we’re talking about one of the all-time best slow cooker meals: chili. By the time your kids get home from school and scouts, they’ll have a hearty bowl of chili waiting for them.
This Spanish-inspired take on chicken and rice is one of our favorite casserole recipes and comes together in less than an hour. The dish serves six people so you’re almost guaranteed to have leftovers to have for lunch the following day.
Few foods are as comforting as loaded baked potatoes. Here, the timeless side dish is turned into an entree. Potatoes, cream and milk are added to a pot with seasonings, cream and vegetables. Once the mixture is done slow simmering, turn it into a soup with an immersion blender. Serve with bacon bits, scallions and shredded cheese.
If you’re in a pinch, tuna is there to get you out of it. The canned fish is great on sandwiches, melts, salads and more. Here, it’s topped with cheese, spread over a tomato and added to an English muffin before being broiled for a few minutes. Serve the open-faced sandwich with some chips as an easy dinner for busy weeknights.
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