31 More Quick & Easy Family Dinner Ideas for Back to School Time


August 16, 2016

Family Meal Planner Dinners

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Are you stuck in a cooking rut, rustling up the same old family dinner ideas week in week out? When the kids are back in school, and life is a whole lot busier, it’s a good idea to have some simple, but tasty, family meal ideas up your sleeve.

Here are 31 More Quick & Easy Family Dinner Ideas for Back To School Time – 31 great dinner recipes that will have your family coming back for seconds every night of the month! You might also like our 9 Super Quick Dinner Recipes for Back to School.

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#1. Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

family dinner ideas Linguini with Shrimp

This recipe from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa combines everything I love – pasta, white wine and prawns/shrimps. Best of all it’s easy to prepare and will be on the table in about 40 minutes, making it a perfect addition to this easy family dinner ideas list.

#2. Weeknight Bologense

family dinner ideas spaghetti bologense

The ragu sauce for this Ina Garten (otherwise known as the Barefood Contessa) recipe can be prepared in advanced, and stored in the fridge or freezer ready to use when you wish. Just add some fresh cooked pasta and you will have a weeknight bolegense meal in minutes.

#3. Pastitsio

family dinner ideas Pastitsio

Pastitsio is a like a Greek version of Lasagne. It combines minced beef and lamb baked with a tasty béchamel sauce, and can be cooked in advance and reheated for a weeknight dinner. It’s another Ina Garten recipe from The Food Network.

#4. Vegan Shepherds Pie

family dinner ideas vegan shapers pie from Jamie Oliver

Image from Jamie Oliver

If you fancy a meat free night, check out this delicious recipe for Vegan Shepard’s Pie from Jamie Olive. It has a heavenly crispy topping and is full of tasty vegetables, so it’s a firm favourite on my family meal planner.

#5. Pasta, Pesto and Rosemary Chicken

family dinner ideas Pesto

Make your very own pesto and add some rosemary chicken to make an easy, tasty family dinner that everyone will enjoy. This Jamie Oliver recipe is a real crowd-pleaser, and best of all you can make extra pesto and pasta and have it the next day in lunch boxes.

#6. Food Allergy Mums’ Chicken Casserole

family dinner ideas Chicken Casserole

Image from Jamie Oliver

Prepare this tasty chicken casserole from Jamie Oliver in advance and serve with creamy mashed potato or rice for a warm family dinner that is full of flavour. Alternatively, you could add some couscous or quinoa into the dish before it has finished cooking for a one pot wonder!

#7. Fish Pie

family dinner ideas Fish Pie

There are few better family dinners than a good fish pie. We love this tried and tested Fish Pie Recipe from Rachel Allen.

#8. Quick Carbonara

family dinner ideas Quick Carbonara

Technically speaking this is not an authentic Carbonara Recipe, but it is my version that I have been cooking since my student days and my kids love it as a quick family dinner. I hope yours will too!

#9. Duck Breasts with Madeira Sauce

family dinner ideas duck with maiera sauce

In our home we all love duck, and duck breasts can be cooked in a hot oven for 25 minutes to produce a tasty family dinner. I try to buy Barbary Duck Breasts as I find they have less fat and I usually serve 1 per adult and divide one between the kids. And my Madeira Sauce Recipe is quick and easy too and can be served with other meats like pork or chicken.

#10. Aubergine Meatballs – Polpette di Melanzane

family dinner ideas aubergine meatballs

This recipe for the Italian Polpette di Melanzane is a real vegetarian treat. These meatballs combine aubergines and cheese to create a little mouthful of heaven! It is adapted from a Catherine Fulvio recipe and is a perfect addition to any family meal planner.

#11. Mushroom Risotto

family dinner ideas Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is a favourite with all the family usually, and this recipe for Mushroom Risotto is one I have perfected over the years. Again it may not be as authentic as some you will find, but it works overtime to give you a creamy, soft risotto that will have everyone asking for more.

#12. Irish Lamb Stew

family dinner ideas Lamb with Apricot

Lamb Stew can be made in advance or cooked while you are at work in the slow cooker ready to serve up when you get home. You could substitute the lamb with beef also, as either are equally tasty. I love this family recipe from Catriona at Wholesome Ireland. 

Recommended Reading: 16 Amazing Slow Cooker Recipes

#13. Mac & Cheese

family dinner ideas mac and cheese recipe

I have always loved a simple plate of Macaroni Cheese. This recipe adds pancetta but you can leave it out if you want to have a meat free dinner. You can also experiment with different types of cheese including grated gruyere and marscapone.

#14. Meatballs

family dinner ideas meatballs

These tasty meatballs, combining minced beef with salt and pepper, make a really simple dinner recipe for your family meal repertoire, and there are no eggs so are ideal for anyone in the family who suffers from egg allergies. Best of all you can hide loads of vegetables in the tomato sauce as you blend it after it has been cooked.

The tomato sauce and the meatballs can be made in advance, and you simply just have to reheat and add some freshly cooked spaghetti for a quick and easy dinner.

#15. Chicken or Fish Goujons & Roasted Veg

family dinner ideas chicken nuggets

Goujons or nuggets in any form are always welcomed by my girls. I like to make my own chicken goujons or fish fingers as I know exactly what has gone into them! I bake them in the oven alongside potato wedges and vegetables like peppers and onions or carrots.

#16. Stir Fry Noodles

family dinner ideas chicken stirfry

Stir Fries are always a favourite with families – I like to use flat rice noodles for my stir fry and I add ginger to give it a great Asian flavour. You can use fresh chicken breasts or leftover chicken to create this quick and easy family dinner.

#17. Pork Tenderloin

family dinner ideas pork tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin is a great cut as you can chop it into smaller rounds and fry it with onions and mushrooms and finish it by adding some stock, and cream along with a bit of wholegrain mustard to create a beautiful sauce.

I also like to butterfly my pork tenderloin and batten it out with a meat hammer. I then stuff it with a breadcrumb, butter, sage and onion stuffing and roll it in some ready made puff pasty. I then bake it in a hot oven, 180 c/gas mark 4, for about 45 minutes, until the pastry is golden and meat is cooked through and serve it with mashed potato, parsnips and carrots and the madeira sauce from my duck recipe above.

#18. Fish Cakes

family dinner ideas fish cakes from dinner du jour

Image from dinner du jour

Fish cakes are always a winner with kids and adults alike, and these ones from dinner du jour are given a superfood boost by being made with salmon. Since the one thing fish is lacking is carbohydrates they have added sweet potatoes to the recipe to give them extra body.

You could serve them with a green salad or check out this Creamy Lemon and Herb Potato Salad which works brilliantly as a side dish for the fish cakes,or equally well alongside any simply prepared fish or chicken, or as part of a barbecue or picnic.

#19. Quick Beef Stroganoff

family dinner ideas beef stroganoff

This is a quick and easy Beef Stroganoff recipe ideal for mid-week family dinners. It can be served with papperdelle pasta or rice to soak up the creamy sauce. It will be ready in super quick time if you use a good cut of steak.

#20. Lamb Tagine

family dinner ideas Lamb tagine

A tasty Lamb Tagine is great as a midweek family meal or if you have a large gathering of people, as you can make it in advance and reheat it when you are ready to serve.

#21. Tomato Tart with Gruyere Cheese and Salad

family dinner ideas Tomato Tart

Years ago I went to a cookery course with a friend and this Tomato Tart was one of the recipes we learned. It has been an enduring favourite of mine ever since and I love to serve it with a green salad. It is also great cold the next day so consider making an extra one for lunch boxes.

#22. White Chicken Chilli

family dinner ideas white chilli chicken

This recipe for White Chicken Chilli makes a great alternative to traditional beef chilli. It is yummy served with warm tortillas, sour cream, homemade guacamole and salsa or with boiled rice if you are keen on keeping it white!

#23. Chicken Paella

family dinner ideas paella

The addition of chorizo to this Chicken Paella recipe from Jamie Oliver is a real winner as is the addition of prawns. Re-live the holidays with this authentic Spanish Paella recipe.

#24. Chicken Chow Mein

family dinner ideas chow mein

We love this recipe for Chicken Chow Mein from our 15 Tasty Standby Dinners post. Best of all it is a one pot wonder so less washing up too! For a change you could substitute the chicken for turkey.

#25. Courgette Pasta with Lemon and Capers

family dinner ideas courgette pasta

This Courgette Pasta with Lemon and Capers is a great vegetarian stand by meal that packs a punch of zesty lemon and salty capers. The courgettes are grated to produce a lovely pasta sauce.

#26. Burrito Bowls

family dinner ideasburrito bowls

Image from iheartnaptime

These Burrito Bowls from our One Pot Meal article are so easy to make and give you a real flavour of Mexico. Produced in just 30 minutes, this combines heart healthy black beans with tomatoes and cheese, and is truly tempting.

#27. Toad in the Hole

This is real winner in my house as my kids love sausages. I use this Toad in the Hole recipe from the BBC Good Food website which shows you how to make it in 4 easy steps.

If you’ve never made it before, this video by Marco Pierre White shows you how easy it is. As he says, “dinner in half an hour”.


Recommended Reading: Sausage Pasta Recipe

#28. Smoked Haddock Kedgeree

family dinner ideas kedgeree recipe

This Smoked Haddock Kedgeree will be on the table in 20 minutes so is an ideal family dinner for busy school nights. You will find the recipe, along with a few other tasty dinner ideas on our 8 Easy Back to School Dinners post.

#29. Potato and Bacon Bake

family dinner Ideas Potato and Bacon Bake

As this potato and bacon bake bubbles away in the over you can get on with everything life throws at a busy household! It appears at least once on month on my family meal planner as it makes a rich and tasty family dinner for everyone to enjoy.

#30. Sausage Pasta

family dinner Ideas sausage pasta recipe

Use the best sausages you can find for this tempting Sausage Pasta. It is part of our tried and tested range which means busy parents have tested it out on their families and this family dinner recipe has been given the thumbs up!

#31. Five Spice Cream Cheese Chicken

family dinner Ideas 5 spice chicken and cream cheese from running to the kitchen

The addition of 5 spice and cream cheese to chicken thighs makes for a super easy weeknight family dinner from runningtothekitchen. Serve with steamed broccoli and new potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes for a complete meal.

Do you have a favourite quick and easy family dinner recipe? Let us know in the comments below.

31 Quick & Easy Family Dinner Ideas For Back to School Time


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