8 Quick & Easy Family Dinner Ideas Busy Parents will Love

We know what it’s like when you’re coming home from work/school/crèche and everybody’s super hungry. Pasta sauces can be a quick shortcut to a make a speedy nutritious dinner for the family. Be inspired with these 8 Quick & Easy Family Dinner Ideas Busy Parents will Love, brought to you in association with Ballymaloe Pasta Sauces, which are packed full of natural ingredients and taste homemade, making them both wholesome and convenient.

Sign up for our free newsletter packed with information and great offers. Or join us on FacebookTwitter, InstagramPinterest and YouTube.

#1. Spaghetti & Meatballs

Ballymaloe Spaghetti and MeatballsYou will be guaranteed clean plates with this Ballymaloe Spaghetti & Meatballs dinner recipe.

And best of all it will be ready in the time it takes your pasta to cook!

Top Tip: Add some chopped chili heat to spice this recipe up during winter months.

#2. Smoked Bacon & Cream Pasta

Ballymaloe Pasta SauceThis indulgent dinner is ready in a flash. A warming meal for two on a rainy night in, or this recipe can easily be multiplied to feed the whole family!

Ingredients: ( Serves 2)

  • 1 x 380g Ballymaloe Smoked Bacon Pasta Sauce
  • 150g rigatoni or penne pasta
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • 4-5 tbsp of cream
  • 1 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp of grated parmesan


  • Follow the cooking instructions for the rigatoni or penne.
  • Meanwhile heat the smoked bacon pasta sauce in a saucepan, stirring until bubbling.
  • Add the pinch of chilli and the cream, reduce the heat and cook for a further 2 minutes. When the pasta is cooked mix it through the sauce.
  • Serve with a generous sprinkling of parsley and parmesan.

Top Tip: Add some cooked and chopped butchers sausages for extra protein.

#3. Greek Pizza

Ballymoaloe Greek PizzaThis Greek Pizza recipe uses kalamata black olives and feta cheese to create a delicious family dinner.

Best of all you get the Ballymaloe Cookery School Garden Cafe Pizza Dough recipe too!

Top Tip: Serve with a fresh salad for extra veggies.

#4. Lasagne

LasagneBallymaloe Lasagne is always with hit with both adults and children alike. By using a pasta sauce, you can cut down on the preparation time and have it to the table quicker on those busy school nights.

Top Tip: Serve with garlic bread, to mop up all that tasty sauce!

#5. Simple Chilli Con Carne

Ballymaloe Chilli Con CarneThis simple Chilli Con Carne recipe serves 6 so makes a perfect dinner on a colder evening.

You could replace the tin of tomatoes with a tomato pasta sauce to enhance the flavour.

Top Tip: This also makes an excellent burrito filling.

You may also enjoy – 15 Tasty & Quick Lunch Ideas for Busy Parents to Make

#6. Spaghetti Bolognese

Ballymaloe Spaghetti BologneseSpaghetti Bolognese is a firm family favourite in my house. It’s on our dinner menu at least once a week!

This recipe is ready in just 10 minutes and will have everyone asking for more!

Tip Tip: Serve with warm crusty bread to make sure you enjoy every last bit!

#7. Smoked Bacon & Spicy Chorizo Pizza

Ballymaloe Smoked Bacon PizzaThis Smoked Bacon & Spicy Chorizo Pizza is ideal for meat lovers. You could replace the chorizo with pepperoni and add some sliced peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes for extra colour.

Top Tip: Let everyone design their own toppings to make mealtimes more fun.

You may also enjoy – 9 Simple Pasta Recipes for Kids to Prepare & 8 Easy Back to School Dinner Recipes

#8. Roast Pepper, Rocket & Chicken Pasta

pasta dinnerThis meal is great for when you have a little left over roast chicken. Fresh rocket adds a crisp peppery taste and the roast pepper add sweetness to the rich Italian tomato sauce. Double up the ingredients to serve as a family meal.

Ingredients: ( Serves 2)

  • 1x 380g Ballymaloe Italian Tomato Sauce
  • 150g of rigatoni or penne pasta
  • 1 cooked chicken breast
  • 1 x red pepper
  • 1 handful of rocket
  • 1 tbsp of grated parmesan.


  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • You can roast several peppers at once to use for salad, sandwiches etc  and they last for 2 weeks covered  in the fridge, for this recipe you just need 1. Put the red pepper on a baking sheet and place in the oven. This will need about 35 minutes,  turn the pepper at least once during cooking when the skin has started to blacken take it out of the oven and put it in a bowl covered with cling film for 2 minutes. The steam in the bowl will loosen the skin on the pepper and  you should be able to peel it easily. Discard the skin and seeds and slice it into strips.
  • Follow the cooking instructions for the rigatoni or penne, meanwhile heat the Italian tomato pasta sauce in a sauce pan on the hob, stirring until it bubbles.
  • When the pasta is cooked mix it through the Italian tomato sauce, add the strips of roast pepper and pieces of chicken.
  • Serve in a bowl, and top with a handful of rocket, add a sprinkling of parmesan.

Top Tip: This would work well with leftover turkey or pork too.

Have you tried any of these great recipes from the Ballymaloe Foods Recipe Page? Or do you have one of your own you would like to share with us? Please let us know in the comments box below.

Tagged under

Michelle is a Mum to 2 girls and co-founded Mykidstime.