Having a list of your family’s favorite go-to dinners can save time and money when it comes to meal planning. Check out our list of 100+ simple dinner ideas that you can make tonight!
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If you have ever tried meal planning, then you know that it can save money and time, as well as your sanity. And nothing makes meal planning faster and easier than having a go-to list of family-friendly meals on hand.
But, even if you don’t meal plan, having a list like this one can be a life-saver when mealtime is approaching and you’re not sure what to fix. It helps you to answer that question that seems to be burning in every family member’s mind, “What’s for dinner?”
I like to keep side dishes really simple, like steamed or roasted veggies with butter or Instant Pot rice. I’ve included some of our favorites down below for inspiration.
Here’s a glimpse of the list I use to make meal planning faster and less stressful. Print it out to have on hand when you want some dinner time inspiration!
- Oven Nachos (sour cream, salad)
- Stir Fry Veggies
- Cheese Quesadillas (plain or stuffed with meat and veggies)
- Veggie Fried Rice
- Turkey Burger Sliders (sweet potato fries)
- Chicken Salad Melts
- Rice Bowls
- Cheesy Chicken Mac and Cheese
- Turkey Meatballs (buttered noodles, roasted asparagus)
- White or Sweet Baked Potatoes with Toppings
* Having a “Leftovers Night” is a good plan for using up what is already cooked in the fridge. Don’t have enough leftovers for everyone? Supplement with something from the No-Prep List or fix a quick side-dish to fill the gap.
CHICKEN DINNER IDEAS
- Cheesy Chicken Marinara (steamed broccoli, salad)
- Homemade Chicken Strips/Nuggets (applesauce, mixed veggies)
- Chicken Fajitas (soft tortillas, sweet corn)
- Bacon Ranch Wraps w/Shredded Chicken
- Pulled Chicken BBQ (fried, roasted carrots)
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Chicken Tacos (refried beans, veggie rice)
- Roasted Chicken (carrots, potatoes)
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Lemon Butter Chicken Breasts (garlicky green beans, roasted carrots)
- Chicken Quesadillas
- Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Casserole
- Veggie & Chicken Stir Fry (rice or noodles)
- Chicken Pot Pie
* Chicken Tip: Chicken thighs are less expensive and can be used along with or instead of chicken breasts to save money. Whole chickens cost the least per pound and feed quite a few people. And the best part is you can use the bones to make your own broth for soups.
GROUND BEEF DINNER IDEAS
- Meatloaf (Instant Pot potatoes, buttered peas)
- Cheesy Beef Stuffed Shells
- Oven-Baked Nachos
- Hamburger Stroganoff (peas)
- Burgers (with or w/out bun)
- Sloppy Joes (fries, fruit)
- Patty Melts (sweet potato fries)
- Chili (cornbread)
- Beef Lettuce Wraps
- Stuffed Peppers
* Making Meat Stretch: Ground beef seems to be the new “steak dinner”. Cost-wise, anyway. But, you can make it go further by other foods to a dish or meal. For example, stir rice and/or beans into cooked ground meat to top nachos or tacos. Add riced veggies to meatloaf, sauces, soups, etc.
FISH & SEAFOOD DINNER IDEAS
- Baked Cod w/Lemon Butter (roasted potatoes)
- Fish Tacos
- Salmon Burgers
- Tuna Casserole
- Fish Sticks (homemade are so good!)
- Steamed Shrimp
- Shrimp Fried Rice
- Garlic Butter Shrimp w/Noodles
* When purchasing fish, be sure to buy the freshest available, as seafood spoils quickly. Same-day caught or frozen is best.
- Fettuccine Alfredo (with or w/out meat)
- Mac and Cheese
- Spaghetti w/Meat Sauce
- Cheesy Beef and Mac
- Baked Ziti
- Pasta Salad
- Stuffed Shells
- Asian Noodles (add chicken, veggies, etc.)
- Chicken Noodle Bake (broccoli)
- Stroganoff (beef, chicken or turkey are all good)
- Pad Thai Noodles (with or w/out meat)
- Noodles w/Pesto (cherry tomatoes)
* Make it lower carb by replacing the pasta with vegetable noodles! We love oven-roasted zoodles made with this spiralizer.
SOUPS AND STEWS
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Beef and Noodle Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Potato Soup
- Beef Stew
- Broccoli Soup
- Chicken Stew
- Turkey Meatball Soup
- Cheeseburger Soup
- Tomato Soup
- Bean Soup
- Vegetable Soup
- Cabbage Soup
* Having a big pot of soup in the fridge can provide fast and healthy meals during the week. I LOVE making soup in my Instant Pot! I can throw everything in there and let it go without worrying about it bubbling over. And it’s perfectly done in no time!
BREAKFAST FOR DINNER
- Breakfast Egg Casserole (English muffins, fruit)
- Egg & Cheese Quesadillas
- Cheesy Scrambled Eggs (roasted potatoes, toast)
- Blueberry Pancakes (honey-sweetened Greek yogurt)
- Frittata (sausage, fruit)
- French Toast Casserole (cooked apples, bacon)
- Baked Oatmeal (fruit, nuts, yogurt)
- Blueberry Muffins (scrambled eggs, bacon)
- Waffles (maple syrup, blueberry sauce, walnuts)
- Fruit-filled Crepes (blueberry is a fave!)
- Egg, Sausage, Potato Scramble (fruit)
* Breakfast foods can be a fun way to shake up your dinner routine. We always have eggs on hand and I try to keep bacon in the freezer. A scrambled eggs, bacon, toast dinner can be pulled together super fast and my family thinks it’s a real treat!
** Print the entire expanded dinner idea list HERE!
INSTANT POT DINNERS
- Beef Tips with Gravy
- Teriyaki Chicken
- Whole Chicken
- Pot Roast with Potatoes
- Soups and Stews
- Beef and Broccoli
- Orange Chicken
- Pork Roast (cheesy potatoes, peas)
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- “Boiled” Eggs (cheese toast, carrot sticks)
CROCKPOT DINNER IDEAS
- Pot Roast (carrots, potatoes)
- Pulled Pork BBQ (slaw, baked beans)
- Chicken with Rice (mixed veggies, pineapple)
- Shredded Chicken Tacos (refried beans, salad)
- Beef Stew
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Meatloaf (peas, buttered potatoes)
- Smothered Pork Chops (roasted broccoli, applesauce)
- Slow Cooker “Baked” Potatoes
** I love the amazing magic that happens between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. when I put completely frozen food in my CrockPot and it turns into a delicious meal by dinnertime And most anything that can be made in a slow cooker can also be cooked in an Instant Pot.
- Grilled Chicken (grilled zucchini, baked potatoes)
- Steak (sweet potatoes, asparagus)
- Kebabs (rice, flatbread)
- Turkey or Beef Burgers
- Pork Chops
- BBQ Ribs
- Sausage and Peppers
- Uncured Turkey Hot Dogs (no bun for low-carb)
* Grilling Tip: Give a smoky, more authentic “barbecue” flavor to meats that you’ve cooked indoors by reheating them on your grill. Wrap chopped and shredded meats in foil to hold in moisture and flavor while reheating.
SUPER FAST, NO-PREP MEALS
- Hot Dogs (baked beans, applesauce)
- Ham and Cheese Open-Faced Sandwiches (sweet potato fries)
- Grilled Cheese (veggies with dip, apple slices)
- French Bread, Tortilla or Flatbread Pizzas (salad)
- Tuna Melts (chips, fruit)
* Other fun things we’ve done for fast and easy meals on movie or game nights are:
- “snacks for dinner” where we set out fruit, cheese, and popcorn etc.
- frozen cheese pizza with our own toppings like veggies and leftover ground beef or sausage
- yogurt, fruit, granola
In the country, we say “what’s for supper?” But, if it’s a little more formal than usual, we’re going to “have dinner.”
Is it “what’s for dinner?” or “what’s for supper” in your family?
What are some of your family’s favorite go-to dinners? Share with us in the comments below!
Print the expanded dinner idea list HERE!