Courtesy of Karrite Truman, Happy Money Saver

Easy Recipes for Perfect Home-Cooked Meals

Nothing beats a home-cooked meal
Courtesy of Karrite Truman, Happy Money Saver

Looking for a cozy dinner recipe? These classic dishes are homemade food at its best. From a decadent chicken pot pie to a bowl of creamy tomato basil soup, we’ve compiled 25 recipes that are the perfect pick when you want to make a home-cooked meal.

Grandma's Lasagna

© Azurita/Dreamstime.com

Who needs one of the best Italian restaurants in America when you have grandma's recipe? A bubbly pan of lasagna is bound to cure any weekday slump, and it’s the perfect meal to whip up yourself. You need only a handful of ingredients, including a good quality store-bought pasta sauce. Cheesy, melty and so easy to make — it’s no wonder it’s popular. 

For Grandma’s Lasagna recipe, click here.

Spinach and Sausage Lasagna

Spinach and Sausage Lasagna
Alison Miksch/Photolibrary via Getty Images

Like many Italian dishes, lasagna can be turned into many variations. Like this spinach and sausage lasagna recipe that uses sweet Italian sausage and some fresh greens. 

For the Spinach and Sausage Lasagna recipe, click here.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese
Courtesy of Karrie Truman, Happy Money Saver

Everyone loves mac and cheese, but no one loves when the sauce dries out before it’s time to eat. This tried-and-true recipe for the “creamiest, cheesiest” mac and cheese solves that problem once and for all. The trick? The combination of sharp cheddar and colby jack, a generous pour of heavy cream and chicken broth in the sauce. Now all you have to do is add some unexpected ingredients that go great with mac and cheese to make it pop.

For the Mac and Cheese recipe, click here.

Instant Pot Beef Chili

Instant Pot Beef Chili
LauriPatterson/E+ via Getty Images

A piping-hot pot of chili – no matter what the regional style – is a great remedy for a tiring day. This instant pot beef chili is super simple to make, and you can add or subtract any ingredients to your liking, including modifying the spice level. Not only is it flavorful and low-maintenance, but it also makes a large serving size, so you can enjoy leftovers that will be just as good the next day. 

For the Instant Pot Beef Chili recipe, click here

Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup
Courtesy of Karrie Truman, Happy Money Saver

Silky tomato soup is nostalgic and fuss-free. Pair it with a simple grilled cheese sandwich for a comforting lunch or dinner. The savory flavors of roasted garlic and fresh basil and a sprinkle of salty parmesan cheese are what make this made-from-scratch soup rich and deeply satisfying. To make this recipe vegan-friendly, simply substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and when it’s time to add the cream, either omit it completely or add a splash of coconut milk.

For the Tomato Basil Soup recipe, click here. 

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie
Courtesy of Karrie Truman, Happy Money Saver

This hearty classic is bursting with chicken, potatoes, peas, carrots and onions tossed in a creamy filling. You can save some time during prep by using rotisserie chicken and mixing the shredded pieces right into the gravy. And instead of rolling out pastry dough, use store-bought puff pastry sheets or a ready-made pie crust. This delicious homemade chicken pot pie recipe uses a bag of frozen hash browns for added ease. 

For the Chicken Pot Pie recipe, click here. 

Smothered Pork Chops

Smothered Pork Chops
Courtesy of Sabrina Snyder, Dinner Then Dessert

These smothered pork chops are fall-off-the-bone tender, braised and served alongside a flavor-packed caramelized onion gravy with garlic and thyme. This recipe recommends using bone-in pork chops, which will be moist and juicy, as opposed to cutlets, which tend to dry out. 

For the Smothered Pork Chops recipe, click here. 

Baked Chicken with Spinach Stuffing

Baked Chicken with Spinach Stuffing
Courtesy of Pillsbury

This recipe won the grand prize at the 2006 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, and the old-fashioned chicken dish is still a winner for dinner. There’s a few unconventional ingredients that take this homemade meal over the top: a combination of maple-flavored syrup, peach preserves and Worcestershire sauce. And the spinach stuffing reminiscent of Thanksgiving flavors is a fitting side dish.

For the Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing recipe, click here.

Air-Fryer Chicken Wings

Air-Fryer Chicken Wings
LauriPatterson/E+ via Getty Images

Chicken wings are a game day staple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them at home whenever you feel like it. With a trendy air fryer, you can make chicken wings that are crispy and tender without all that frying grease. This recipe is easy and requires only a few basic ingredients: chicken wings, salt and pepper, garlic powder, olive oil and your favorite wing sauce.

For the Air-Fryer Chicken Wings recipe, click here. 

Sweet Milk Homemade Waffles

Sweet Milk Homemade Waffles
Courtesy of Karrie Truman, Happy Money Saver

It’s possible to make delicious diner-style waffles at home. The secret to fluffy, pillowy waffles is beaten egg whites gently folded into the batter followed by a drizzle of melted butter. Traditional, from scratch and absolutely decadent with some maple syrup and a cloud of whipped cream, this sweet milk homemade waffle recipe will score you a ton of brunch points.

For the Sweet Milk Homemade Waffles recipe, click here.

Twice-Baked Potatoes

Twice-Baked Potatoes
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Twice-baked potatoes are loaded with creamy mashed potatoes, sour cream, cheese and any topping you like. They’re ideal for an easy homemade meal, served alongside some vegetables and soup. The addition of crispy, crumbled bacon takes these perfect twice-baked potatoes to the next level.

For the Twice-Baked Potatoes recipe, click here.

 

Potato Pinwheels

Potato Pinwheels
Courtesy of Pillsbury

Another comfort dish that uses potatoes as a base is potato pinwheels. They’re perfect for a dinner party or a random weeknight dish. Simply spread the filling onto rolled-out refrigerated crescent dough and tightly roll it into a log. When you cut them before baking, you’ll see impressive swirls filled with potatoes, bacon and cheese. 

For the Potato Pinwheels recipe, click here.

Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce
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Is there anything more classic than spaghetti tossed in tomato sauce? And when you take the time to make your own homemade marinara, it’s a different experience altogether. The key is using perfectly ripe tomatoes, high-quality extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil leaves and fresh cloves of garlic. The garlic- and basil-infused olive oil in this recipe gives the tomato sauce a rich, authentic flavor. It’s a homemade meal you'll want to make over and over again. 

For the Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce recipe, click here.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
LauriPatterson/E+ via Getty Images

The flavors in this soup taste like they took hours and hours to come together, but it’s pretty easy to make. For this dish, chicken breasts, a can of diced tomatoes, cilantro, warm spices like cumin and chili powder and other ingredients are simmered together in a base of chicken stock and bay leaves. The classic Tex-Mex chicken tortilla soup is topped with crunchy tortilla strips, Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream and cubed avocado. Now that's a brilliant way to use your leftover chicken.

 For the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe, click here.

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan
Courtesy of Emily Paster, West of the Loop

Chicken parmesan, or chicken parmigiana, is a quintessential Italian restaurant pick, right up there with a wood-fire pizza. But when you’re in need of some home-cooked food, you should have this recipe in your back pocket. The dish is made with a chunky, homemade marinara sauce, pan-fried breaded chicken cutlets and thick slices of mozzarella cheese. The ingredients are layered and baked until the cheese is melted and bubbling. 

For the Chicken Parmesan recipe, click here.

Cheeseboard-Stuffed Appetizer Bread

Cheeseboard-Stuffed Appetizer Bread
Courtesy of Pillsbury

This stuffed bread won the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest in 2019 and was inspired by a trip to Dublin, Ireland, a top travel destination. It has everything you’d want on a cheeseboard packed inside a French bread loaf. For the filling, you’ll need Irish white cheddar, sliced salami, honey goat cheese, fig preserves, dried apricots and some fresh arugula. If you have guests over, they might not believe you made this cheese-and meat-stuffed bread loaf at home. 

For the Cheeseboard-Stuffed Appetizer Bread recipe, click here.

BBQ Chicken Flatbread

BBQ Chicken Flatbread
Courtesy of Emily Paster, West of the Loop

Homemade pizza dough can be time-consuming, but once it’s risen and ready to bake, it’s well worth the wait. But for something like this BBQ Chicken Flatbread, you could always use pre-made dough and take a “semi-homemade” approach. For this recipe, toss cooked and shredded chicken in your favorite barbecue sauce, saute some onions and peppers, spread the sauce on a rectangular rolled-out dough, and start topping. Flatbreads are incredibly versatile, and you can make endless variations. 

For the BBQ Chicken Flatbread recipe, click here.

Steak Fajitas

Steak Fajitas
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To make this restaurant favorite at home, marinate a skirt steak in lemon juice, olive oil, fresh garlic and Worcestershire sauce before you cook it on a sizzling grill top. These steak fajitas are best served with sauteed peppers and onions and warm flour tortillas. Of course, don’t forget the pico de gallo and guacamole. 

For the Steak Fajitas recipe, click here.

Gluten-Free Beet Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Leeks

Gluten-Free Beet Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Leeks
Jacqui Wedewer/The Daily Meal

Gnocchi — a tiny, pillowy pasta made with potatoes, flour and eggs — are one of the most decadent of Italian dishes. And if you want a new, colorful spin on the standard version, try this beet gnocchi with gluten-free flour in a mushroom and leek sauce. 

For the Gluten-Free Beet Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Leeks recipe, click here.

Homemade Basil Pesto

Homemade Basil Pesto
Courtesy of Emily Paster, West of the Loop

Pesto is a lot simpler to make than one might imagine. All you need is good quality ingredients and a food processor or blender. This green garlic and basil pesto has toasted pine nuts and uses green garlic, which is similar to green onions. Keep an eye out at your local farmer’s market for the stalky vegetable. 

For the Homemade Basil Pesto recipe, click here. 

Cranberry Orange Rolls

Cranberry Orange Rolls
Courtesy of Pillsbury

These Pillsbury Cinnabon Orange Rolls will make your kitchen smell like a bakery. The rolls are studded with cranberries, pineapple, ginger and walnuts. Throw these in the oven while you brew your morning coffee and you’ll have breakfast in no time. 

For the Cranberry Orange Rolls recipe, click here.

Southern Sausage Balls

Southern Sausage Balls
kajakiki/E+ via Getty Images

Southern sausage balls are a retro appetizer that should really make a comeback. They are packed with flavor, which may come as a surprise considering they start with a box of biscuit baking mix, a pantry staple. You can flavor up the ground sausage any way you like with different spices and combinations. 

For the Southern Sausage Balls recipe, click here.

Mediterranean Stuffed Tomatoes

Mediterranean Stuffed Tomatoes
Philip Wilkins/Photolibrary via Getty Images

This vegetarian recipe makes for a great light lunch or quick appetizer. Stuffed tomatoes are a pretty fool-proof homemade dish and can be filled with just about any combination of ingredients — rice, beans, meat or even couscous like in this Mediterranean-inspired recipe. 

For the Mediterranean Stuffed Tomatoes recipe, click here.

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake
Cynthia Davison/Shutterstock

You can absolutely find a wonderful chocolate cake in any of America’s sweetest dessert shops, but there are few things more special than making your own, especially for a loved one. This Texas sheet cake comes together with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, and because it’s a sheet, a swirly schmear of chocolate frosting is all you need to decorate. 

For the Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe, click here.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup
Courtesy of Karrie Truman, Happy Money Saver

Tender chicken, fresh vegetables and hearty noodles make this chicken noodle soup recipe an ideal home-cooked meal for any day of the week. The trick is making your own chicken broth and adding fresh thyme and parsley for an earthy flavor. This soup also makes an excellent meal that you can make ahead and freeze for a weeknight. 

For the Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, click here.

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