The Best Family-Friendly Dinner Recipes

family friendly dinner recipe roundup
Author: Heather
Category: Recipes
Published Date: 05/05/2021
Comments: 47

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Our family has a crazy schedule. We are either in school, working on our small business, running errands, going to the doctor, or solving one of the many conflicts that come up when you have three kids. The one non-negotiable for me and my family has always been that no matter how busy we are, we always sit down at the dinner table for a home-cooked meal.

Sure, there are times when I just don’t have the time nor the energy to cook, and we might order out, but 90% of the time, I’m in the kitchen from at least 5:30 pm until 6:00 pm, cooking.

There was a time when we were rotating the same 5 dishes. Tacos, spaghetti, lasagna, breakfast for dinner, and steak or pork chops. It got incredibly boring. So over the course of a month or two, I made a promise that I was going to search online and cook a different meal every single night, and once a week, we would order a pizza or Chinese food. 

I wound up finding so many family-friendly dinner recipes that are quick, easy, and loved by everyone in my house (even the pickiest eater). Although I’ve stopped doing this because Super Dad and I have changed the way we eat, we still have all of these recipes in rotation for the girls! Some of them I’ve even been able to adapt to fit our new way of eating.

If you are looking for quick, easy, and family-friendly options for dinner, we highly recommend each of these!


Oven-Baked Chicken Breast
Recipe Tin Eats

Oven Baked Chicken Breast from Recipe Tin Eats

Photo: Recipe Tin Eats

My tips for a truly juicy, Oven Baked Chicken Breast: a touch of brown sugar in the seasoning which makes the chicken seat while it bakes so it creates a semi-sauce and cooking fast on a high temp! Go by the color of the crust to know when it’s cooked through.

Our thoughts: For busy nights, I love a recipe that allows me to throw something on a baking sheet and into the oven and it’s ready less than 20 minutes later. I love that the chicken doesn’t dry out and it’s so flavorful! I typically serve with rice pilaf and a veggie.

Slow Cooker Honey Chicken Recipe
I Heart Naptime

Slow Cooker Honey Chicken Recipe by I Heart Naptime

Photo: I Heart Naptime

Slow cooker honey chicken is one of my favorite crockpot chicken recipes that’s quick, flavorful, and absolutely delicious. It comes out perfectly tender every time.

Our thoughts: My kids LOVE honey garlic chicken, but I don’t want to feed them the fried version from our local Chinese restaurant all the time. This family-friendly dinner recipe has just as much flavor, but it is a much healthier option. I love that it’s a crockpot dish and I can throw everything in, in the morning and it’s ready for dinner!

Slow Cooker Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Casserole
The Super Mom Life

scrumptious rae dunn bowl filled with hungarian stuffed cabbage casserole and rice

If you love the classic Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage, you’ll love the casserole version. All of the flavor you love, without all the work!

Our thoughts: Growing up I would often eat Hungarian stuffed cabbage made by either my great Aunt or my Nana. As many times as I’ve tried to make it, rolling up those cabbage leaves can be tricky! After a number of times trying to achieve the same flavor, I finally did it! My family loves it and I can switch it up between ground turkey, ground beef, or ground pork. The leftovers taste even better the following day!

Crockpot Chicken & Gravy
Plain Chicken

Crockpot Chicken and Gravy from Plain Chicken

Photo: Plain Chicken

Slow cooker chicken and gravy have only three ingredients! Such a great weeknight meal. Just dump everything in the crockpot and let it work its magic. Serve over hot steamed rice with some veggies. So easy and kid-friendly too!

Our thoughts: There is nothing better than an easy, family-friendly dinner crockpot meal when we have a busy day scheduled. We love the intense flavor and the ease of this recipe. I typically serve with mashed potatoes and fresh veggie.

One-Pot Turkey Mexican Pasta
Cooking For Keeps

One Pot Turkey Mexican Pasta by Cooking for Keeps

Photo: Cooking for Keeps

When a craving hits for cheesy pasta, but you don’t want to blow the fat and calorie bank, look no further than One-Pot Turkey Mexican Pasta – a spicy, cheesy, delicious way to get your pasta fix. Lean ground turkey is cooked with pasta, salsa, plenty of smoky spices, and just a touch of sharp cheddar cheese – and as stated, everything is cooked in one pot!

Our thoughts: This is such a great alternative to our weekly taco night. It combines two of our family’s favorite things. Pasta and Mexican flavors! One-pan meals are not only easy, but they make clean up so much faster as well. 


Slow Cooker Maple & Dijon Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Maple and Dijon Pot Roast by Kitchn

Photo: Kitchn

Like many of you, I grew up eating pot roast on a (very) regular basis. And while I will always love my mother’s old-school version, I felt it was time for a little upgrade. I’ve nixed the “pantry helpers” and replaced them with Dijon mustard, maple, and balsamic for a delicious take on a classic.

Our thoughts: AH-MAZ-ING! I served it with loaded mashed potatoes and roasted cauliflower. My family constantly asks for this family-friendly dinner.

Nana’s Class Meatloaf
The Super Mom Life

Nana's Classic Meatloaf by The Super Mom Life

Photo by The Super Mom Life

This classic meatloaf recipe is packed with flavor and has been a family favorite for over 40 years. You can make it with ground beef or ground turkey! 

Our thoughts: This is the one dish that my kids have specifically requested every week. I love that I’m able to share some of my childhood favorites with them and hope they will pass down the recipes to their own kids one day.

Instant Pot Mississippi Pot Roast
Damn Delicious

Instant Pot Mississippi Pot Roast by Damn Delicious

Photo: Damn Delicious

The most amazing pot roast ever! Made in the IP in just a fraction of the time. So juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender!

Our thoughts: Like the name of the site I found this family-friendly dinner recipe on, it was damn delicious! I used ranch dressing mix instead of onion powder mix. Served with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots. I have probably made this one more than 6 times this year already. We love the little kick that the pepperoncini give!

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls
The Recipe Critic

Korean Ground Beef and Rice by The Recipe Critic

Photo: The Recipe Critic

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls are so incredibly easy to make and will become a family favorite! This makes the perfect weeknight meal.

Our thoughts: This is a super quick and easy meal and is perfect for busy nights! I always serve it with a side salad with ginger dressing. We all LOVE the flavor!

Pappardelle Bolognese

Pappardelle Bolognese by Delish

Photo: Erik Bernstein

A good bolognese takes time. The longer you let this meat sauce simmer, the better and richer it becomes. Pappardelle is a classic choice for bolognese and is often sold as fresh pasta instead of dried. You can of course venture to make your own fresh pasta or use your own favorite kind of noodles. There are no rules here. Except for one: Top the whole thing with lots of fresh Parmesan. 

Our thoughts: This is hands down, one of my family’s favorite dinners! My kids said it was better than the pasta dish at the Italian restaurant we love. I wish I had the time to make fresh pasta. I’m sure it would have been even better. Instead, I found this pappardelle at Target and highly recommend it! 

The Ultimate Crockpot Chili Recipe
Mom on Timeout

The Ultimate Crockpot Chili Recipe by Mom on Timeout

Photo: Mom on Timeout

This easy Crockpot Chili recipe is delicious, hearty, and perfect for chilly weather! Super easy to make and perfect for loading up with all your favorite toppings!

Our thoughts: This simple but delicious chili is perfect for nights when you need some comfort food. We like to top ours with cheddar cheese. The girls love to use crackers to scoop up the chili, sort of like nachos!


The Best Juicy Skillet Pork Chops
Inspired Taste

The Best Juicy Skillet Pork Chops by Inspired Taste

Photo by Inspired Taste

Pork chops are a quick, healthy, and simple dinner. Our method ensures juicy, tender, and flavorful pork chops with little fuss. 

Our thoughts: I rarely feel like I can cook pork chops properly, but these were perfectly done, thanks to the easy step-by-step recipe. I served with rice pilaf and veggies and the kids asked for seconds!

Crispy Pork Carnitas
Cafe Delites

The Ultimate Crockpot Chili Recipe by Cafe Delites

Photo by Cafe Delites

Crispy Pork Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooked Pulled Pork) is a winner! The closest recipe to authentic Mexican Carnitas (no lard), with a perfectly crisp finish!

Our thoughts: This had to be the best recipe I’ve made in a long time. Made with cilantro lime rice, chipotle black beans (recipe is linked below), pico de gallo, and guacamole. It was incredible and tasted even better than the burrito bowls we usually order from Chipotle!


Perfectly Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill
Inspired Taste

Perfectly Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill by Inspired Taste

Photo by Inspired Taste

The trick to perfectly baked salmon is to gently bake the fish in a little liquid – such as wine, stock, or water. Then cover the dish and bake until just cooked through. You could call this oven-poached salmon. It’s practically no-fail. If your fish is quite thick, except that the cooking time will be a few minutes longer than listed.

Our thoughts: This dish takes about 35 minutes but it’s worth the wait! The salmon is perfectly flaky, doesn’t dry out, and has tons of flavor! I used chicken stock instead of wine and served it with jasmine rice and green beans.

Pan-Seared Halibut with Lemon Caper Sauce
A Family Feast

Pan-Seared Halibut with Lemon Caper Sauce by A Family Feast

Photo by A Family Feast

This elegant, flavorful, tender, moist, and flaky Pan Seared Halibut with Lemon Caper Sauce takes less than thirty minutes to cook. And your guests will think that they are eating at a fine seafood restaurant!

Our thoughts: I honestly don’t eat halibut very often. I’m more of a salmon kinda girl. But after trying this recipe, halibut has been a regular in our home! I served this with couscous and green beans. There were no leftovers!

Dijon Shrimp Scampi
The Super Mom Life

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Love shrimp scampi but looking for a low carb option? This recipe is a family favorite and is the perfect Summer dish!

Our thoughts: If you love shrimp scampi, you’ll love the addition of dijon! It gives the scampi just a tiny kick and elevates the flavor. This one is a family-friendly dinner in my house and is requested on a regular basis! I usually serve with fresh sauteed asparagus instead of pasta, for a healthier option.


Lentil Bolognese
Simply Whisked

Lentil Bolognese by Simply Whisked

Photo by Simply Whisked

This simple, lentil bolognese is hearty, comforting, and full of flavor – everything a pasta sauce should be. This easy recipe can be made in one pot on the stove or in a crockpot. Serve it over spaghetti – or even spaghetti squash for a healthy alternative.

Our thoughts: This family-friendly dinner recipe made me a huge fan of lentils! It’s such a great option for meat-free dishes because the lentils fill you up! If you can find lentils that are pre-washed, I recommend them, otherwise, you’ll be spending some time rinsing them!

The Best Vegetable Lasagna
Cookie and Kate

Best Vegetable Lasagna by Cookie and Kate

Photo by Cookie and Kate

Seriously the best veggie lasagna! This lasagna recipe is packed with bell pepper, zucchini, and carrots, sautéed until golden and tender on the edges. Recipe yields one 9-inch lasagna, enough for 8 slices.

Our thoughts: This vegetable lasagna was so good, everyone had seconds. The only changes I made were ricotta instead of cottage cheese, added some shredded parmesan, and broiled it at the end for three minutes. We didn’t miss the meat at all!

The Best Homemade Mac and Cheese
Mom on Timeout

The BEST Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese by Mom on Timeout

Photo by Mom on Timeout

The BEST Homemade Mac and Cheese of your LIFE. Outrageously cheesy, ultra-creamy, and topped with a crunchy Panko-Parmesan topping, this mac and cheese recipe is most definitely a keeper. Three different cheese and a homemade cheese sauce take this macaroni and cheese recipe over the top.

Our thoughts: I’ve tried a bunch of baked macaroni and cheese recipes in my day, but this is, by far, the tastiest! We love the creaminess almost as much as the added crunch! There are rarely leftovers when I make this family-friendly dinner.

Chipotle Black Beans (Copycat)
Dinner Then Dessert

Chipotle Black Beans (Copycat) by Dinner Then Dessert

Photo by Dinner Then Dessert

Chipotle Black Beans (Copycat) recipe with chili powder, cumin, lemon, and lime is an easy recipe that lets you bring the taste of Chipotle Mexican Grill home.

Our thoughts: After I made the recipe for the first time, I realized that I had been making black beans wrong for my entire adult life. This recipe is easy to follow and delivers all of the flavors that Chipotle black beans have (only better). I usually create a burrito bowl with cilantro lime rice, pork carnitas (recipe above), pico de gallo, and homemade guacamole.

Have you tried any of these recipes yet? If not, which ones catch your eye? Comment below and let us know!


Looking for some family-friendly dinner recipes? We've tested out a bunch and are sharing our favorites from across the internet.
Looking for some family-friendly dinner recipes? We've tested out a bunch and are sharing our favorites from across the internet.

Share with a friend!


Hello There!

I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

Leave a Reply

  • Well, now I’m hungry! I’m going to be giving all of these a try. I’ve been looking for some new recipes to try.

  • Okay, I’m hungry now. Everything looks so delicious. I hate to cook, but I would try some of these out for sure since I love to eat.

  • If the recipes are as good as those pictures look they are amazing. The chicken dishes alone would get most families through a month.

  • Some great ideas that will be good for both children and adults. My neices love chicken, so this is always a good option!

  • What a great selection of recipes, I am always trying to keep it interesting for my family so they don’t eat out!

  • Yum. I still have to make that Hungarian cabbage dish! But they all look so good. Thanks for finding these.