50 Ideas for Easy Family Dinners

Jill Holtz

August 20, 2014

easy family dinners

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Stuck for time? Looking for ideas for easy family dinners? Here are 50 Ideas for Easy Family Dinners to help you out!

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Pasta Dishes

#1. Pasta with Chickpeas

This Pasta with Chickpeas (Pasta e Ceci) recipe is a real budget friendly family dinner recipe.  To make this recipe even more economical, use dried chickpeas instead of tinned.

#2. Pasta Fagioli

This Pasta Fagioli recipe is very adaptable. Feel free to adjust the amount of pasta, basil and Parmesan to your family’s taste. If adding additional pasta, you may need to increase the amount of broth.

#3. Spaghetti & Meatballs

Meatballs don’t have to be complicated, you don’t need to spend hours slaving to get the texture right. This Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is very easy to make.

#4. Gnocchi with Tomato, Spinach and Ricotta

You could vary this Gnocchi with Tomato, Spinach and Ricotta recipe by using your favourite pasta shape instead of gnocchi, and stirring ricotta cheese directly into the sauce along with the spinach to make it nice and creamy. It probably goes without saying that some cooked bacon or leftover ham would be good in this too.

#5. Leftover Lamb Pasta

Have leftover lamb to use up after a roast? This Leftover Lamb Pasta will use up any leftovers you may end up with.

You might also like: 9 simple pasta recipes for kids to prepare in no time

pasta-bacon-peas-cream#6.Pasta with Bacon, Peas and Cream

This Pasta with Bacon, Peas and Cream recipe is adapted from the one in Feast by Nigella Lawson.

It’s a great speedy one to cook up when you’re short of time and hungry kids are clamouring.

#7. Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes and Olives

This simple Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes and Olives will go down well with the whole family. Olives can become bitter if cooked too long, so you should add them in at the end of a recipe (and can be left off for fussier palates).

#8. Farfalle with Peas, Pancetta and Ricotta

Got pasta fans in the house? Looking for easy pasta recipes for the family?  Try this recipe for Farfalle with Peas, Pancetta and Ricotta.

You may also like 9 Super Quick Family Dinners & 31 More Quick & Easy Family Dinner Ideas for Back to School Time.

Eastern Influenced Dishes

#9. Chicken and Miso Noodle Soup

chicken noodle soupThis Chicken and Miso Noodle Soup is a great soup as it’s very healthy but also has lots of flavour.  It’s equally good without the chicken for the vegetarians among you and I often substitute either rice noodles or udon noodles for the egg noodles.

It is perfect for a light mid-week dinner as it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

#10. Thai Yellow Curry

Looking for a Thai Yellow Curry Recipe that the whole family will enjoy? Try this recipe from our food writer Caitriona.

#11. Quick Fresh Noodles

This Quick Fresh Noodles recipe is quick to make, won’t cost much money, and is full of flavour.

#12. Spicy Peanut Soba with Tofu and Vegetables

The peanut sauce paired with the tofu in this Spicy Peanut Soba with Tofu and Vegetables is bold, flavourful and spicy. If your kids aren’t fans of spicy food, omit the chilli oil from the sauce. If for some reason you aren’t in the mood for tofu, feel free to substitute extra vegetables for the tofu.

Chicken Recipes

#13. Homemade Chicken Nuggets

For food that kids can eat in their hands, that’s great for parties and dips and for simplicity you can’t beat Homemade Chicken Nuggets. Wonderfully crispy on the outside and melting on the inside, proper homemade chicken nuggets just don’t compare to the majority of shop bought versions.

#14. Chicken and Chorizo Hash

Chorizo lends this Chicken and Chorizo Hash dish a smoky, paprika-infused richness and transforms it from being just another ho-hum chicken dinner into something with a bit more kick.

slow-roast-chicken-vermouth_0#15. Slow Roast Chicken

This Slow Roast Chicken is unbelievably moist – roasting it at such a low temperature makes it almost impossible to dry out – and the flavours of the lemon, garlic and rosemary in the cavity really penetrate into the meat.

#16. Chicken Fajitas

We love making chicken fajitas, the kids get involved with chopping the peppers and stirring the spices into the pan. Great with Guacamole and Lime Coriander Salsa.

#17. BBQ Chicken Wings

This novel way of cooking BBQ Chicken Wings allows the yeast extract to intensify the flavour of the meat. By the time they are cooked you won’t even taste the Marmite and instead you’ll get a “umami” flavour that it lends to the dish.

#18. Chicken Noodle Soup

This delicious warming Chicken Noodle Soup comes in at just under €5 and is sure to be loved by all the family.

#19. Chicken Legs with Lime and Ginger

These Chicken Legs with Lime and Ginger are delicious  – either hot as part of a barbeque or cold to take in the lunchbox or for a quick supper.

#20. Chorizo Stuffed Roast Chicken

The addition of chorizo to this stuffing for this recipe Chorizo Stuffed Roast Chicken brings an extra dimension to the stuffing and gently flavours the chicken too.  For chicken sandwiches late at night or the next day this stuffing is divine!!

#21. Chargrilled Escalope of Chicken, Roast Carrots, Orange and Raisin Salad

This recipe for Char grilled Escalope of Chicken, Roast Carrots, Orange and Raisin Salad is TV Presenter Miriam O’Callaghan’s family favourite.

chicken-nuggets_0#22. Homemade Chicken Goujons

My kids sometimes ask me for foods such as chicken nuggets that I just am not comfortable buying ready made in the supermarket. In order to side-step this problem, we came up with a way of making our own Homemade Chicken Goujons which is really quick and so easy they can practically do it themselves.

#23. Chorizo Chicken Bean Stew

From Donal Skehan’s “Home Cooked”, we bring you his Chorizo Chicken Bean Stew recipe. Chorizo adds a wonderful warmth and subtle heat to this great chicken stew.

#24. Grilled Chicken with Gremolata

This recipe for Grilled Chicken with Gremolata uses a gremolata made from parsley, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, oregano, thyme and garlic to pour over your grilled or bbq chicken.

More Meat Recipes

#25. Curried Pork Stew with Potatoes

This recipe for Curried Pork Stew with Potatoes comes together quickly. The vegetables are roughly cut and you can use a curry paste instead of mincing and measuring a long list of the usual curry ingredients.

You may also like to try these Slow Cooker Recipes Family will Love

#26. Irish Ham and Potatoes

How about a traditional Irish dinner recipe? Here’s an Irish Ham and Potatoes Recipe for dinner, which my mother, grandmother and ancestors cooked.

#27. Warming Chickpea Stew

This Warming Chickpea Stew uses minced meat, and is cheap to make, and packed full of flavour.

You may also like 15 Amazing Slow Cooker Recipes your Family will Love

lamb-tagine-2-001#28. Moroccan Lamb Tagine

This Moroccan Lamb Tagine is a great recipe to have in your repertoire! It is really easy to make and I find it brilliant when cooking for a crowd as it can be prepared up to 3 days ahead and only improves with time. It actually freezes fantastically too which is always handy.

#29. Clodagh McKenna’s Gourmet Mini Burgers

If you are looking for a change from regular burgers, then Clodagh McKenna’s Gourmet Mini Burgers are perfect and the kids will love them!

#30. Beef and Guinness Stew

To make this into a one-pot meal, add some baby potatoes right into the Beef and Guinness Stew along with the beef stock, Guinness and herbs instead of serving with the champ. Like most stews, this one actually improves in flavor after a day, so the leftovers are even better.

#31. Midweek Lamb Curry

Try this delicious and inexpensive mid week lamb curry recipe which has been tried and tested on kids and parents!

Stroganoff close-up#32. Beef Stroganoff

Quick and easy, this Beef Stroganoff recipe is ideal for mid week, and will be a favourite with your family in no time.

You may also like 10 Go-To Family Dinner Ideas

#33. Sausage and Lentils

Nigella Lawson’s original recipe for Sausage and Lentils from “Nigella Bites” calls for Italian sausages, but good, fat sausages from your butcher work well too. She also calls for 100 ml red wine, but I’ve replaced that with stock to keep costs down. The lentils can be cooked in advance if you know you’ll be in a rush at dinnertime.

Fish Recipes

#34. Cajun Mackerel with Lime Mayo

This scrummy Cajun Mackerel recipe with Lime Mayo is easy to whip up for a quick family dinner.

#35. Kedgeree

This Kedgeree is the family’s favourite out of all the dishes we made from the leftovers. The mild curry powder adds a sweet note to the meal. This is a one pot wonder, with very little washing up and plenty of smiling faces.

You may also like to try these 10 Tasty Family Potato Recipes

#36. Baked Salmon en Papillote

Personally I love this way of cooking fish because you throw out all the bits & pieces after cooking the fish so there is no “fishy” smell hanging around the house or kitchen equipment. This Baked Salmon en Papillote on Bulghar Salad recipe is also very quick and easy to prepare, which is a must when you have a busy household.

baked-cod-herb-crust#37. Baked Cod with a Herb Crust

Looking for an easy fish recipe for the family? Baked Cod with a Herb Crust, easy to prepare and quick to bake.

You may also like 8 Proven Family Dinner Recipe Picky Eaters will Love 

#38. Buried Treasure Fish Pie

Fresh fish can be expensive, particularly if you choose expensive cuts such as fillets or “steaks” of salmon, likewise with cod, haddock or other white fish.  However there is no need to spend a fortune on expensive cuts if they are going to end up in a pie. This Buried Treasure Fish Pie will go down a treat!

#39. Mackerel with Lemon and Chilli

This recipe for Mackerel with Lemon and Chilli is adapted from Fresh from the Sea by Clodagh McKenna. If you’re serving this to kids who don’t like spicy food, just fry their fish first and leave out the chilli, then add it to the pan when you’re ready to fry the rest.

#40. Cauliflower Cheese with Salmon

This recipe for Cauliflower Cheese with Salmon from James Martin celebrates spring cauliflower’s arrival in a big gooey, melty, delicious dish.

#41. Gratin of Fish with Cheese, Tomatoes and Herbs

When you make this Gratin of Fish with Cheese, Tomatoes and Herbs, you’ll probably start to think that the cheese and cream mixture isn’t enough to cover all the fish, but don’t worry, it will once it melts.

Less Meat Recipes

#42. Real Baked Beans with Ciabatta

This recipe for Real Baked Beans with Ciabatta is adapted from Good Mood Food by Donal Skehan.  He suggests a simplified version of this dish by just serving the beans and tomato sauce on thick slices of toast rubbed with a little garlic.

#43. Tortilla/Spanish Omelette

Continuing our series of Free From Recipes,this delicious authentic Tortilla/Spanish Omelette recipe is gluten, dairy and nut free.

Vegetarian Recipes

#44. Summer Pea Salad

This delicious Summer Pea Salad can be made with either fresh peas or frozen peas.

#45. Carrot, Apple and Ginger soup

This Carrot Apple & Ginger Soup is suitable for the entire family including baby!

You may also like 16 Splendid Soup Recipes Kids will Love

Chickpea Stew - Wholesome Ireland - Food & Parenting Blog#46. Chickpea Stew

This warming Chickpea Stew is also a vegetarian recipe (if you prefer but do add streaky bacon lardons if you’d rather some meat), cheap and quick to make particularly if the weather is so bad you don’t want to be dragging yourself from your home to get to the shops.

#47. Neapolitan Pizza

This Neapolitan Pizza recipe is easy to make and the kids will love decorating/topping their own pizzas. Bonus: because they choose their toppings they will eat it!

#48. Chili Bean Burritos with Corn Salsa

When serving these Chili Bean Burritos with Corn Salsa to my small children, I give them a tortilla on the side (because they still like to have what the grown-ups are having) and just put the bean mixture in a bowl with some corn salsa on top, which they can easily spoon up.

#49. Mushroom Risotto

A lot of people think risotto is extremely difficult and it really isn’t.  The trick is to have your stock hot and to ensure each ladle of stock is absorbed before adding the next one or else you’ll end up with rice pudding!  This Mushroom Risotto is a really quick mid-week meal, hugely popular with children and adults alike.

and last but not least

#50. Home Made Pizzas

Kids love cooking and what better to make than Home Made Pizzas where everyone can choose their own toppings.

You might also like: 8 easy back to school dinner recipes to save you time

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

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