54 Family-Friendly Dinners That Even The Pickiest Eaters Will Love
Between work, shuttling the kids to soccer practice and desperately trying to get dinner on the table every night we’re basically running ourselves ragged. The last thing we have time for is making something separate for every picky member of the family. Here, 54 family-friendly dinners that everyone will love.
1. Cheater’s Skillet Lasagna with Corn and Cherry Tomatoes
School might be starting, but there’s still plenty of summer produce at the farmers’ market. Stop by for fresh corn and tomatoes and you’re halfway to dinner.
2. Pasta Florentine with Grilled Chicken
You love chicken. You love pasta. Why not combine them into this creamy, smoky and downright delightful pasta Florentine with grilled chicken? Charring your chicken breasts for ten minutes adds a little je ne sais quoi to the classic French dish.
3. Slow-Cooker Chicken Teriyaki
This is one of those magical “dump dinners” — throw everything in the pot before you go to work and come home to a fully cooked dinner. We love this over a pot of steamed rice, but cauliflower would also work well.
4. Juicy Lucy Burgers
Labor Day is kind of the unofficial end to BBQ season, so you might as well go out with a bang. These Midwest-inspired burgers aren’t just topped with cheese; they’re actually stuffed with it. And your life will never be the same again.
6. Perfect Meatballs with Cherry Tomato Sauce
We try to make big family dinners on Sunday nights, especially when they give us leftovers we can use all week long. Pro tip from Coterie member Gaby Dalkin: These meatballs also freeze perfectly, for a night when future-you is running behind.
7. Quinoa Chicken Nuggets
Sometimes, you just have to give in to chicken nuggets. But instead of the frozen kind full of God knows what, make them from scratch—with a quinoa breading for a little extra protein and whole grain.
8. Garlic Butter Grilled Veggie Pizza
Friday night always feels like pizza night, but in the warm weather, we like to throw the dough (store bought is fine) on the grill to make it extra crispy. Follow Coterie member Maria Lichty’s lead and use tomatoes and zucchini or go with whatever you’ve got left over from the week.
9. Sheet-Pan Balsamic Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Mushrooms
It’s Saturday night, and you’ve got company over. This one-pan meal is fancy (and delicious) enough to impress, without leaving you with a pile of dirty dishes at the end of the night.
10. Honey-Mustard Chicken Bake
We love a good one-pan meal, because it means you don’t have to worry about what to serve on the side. This one is done in under an hour (but most of that time is hands-off, which is music to our busy weeknight ears).
11. Slow-Cooker Lo Mein
Takeout, schmakeout. This lo mein tastes exactly like your favorite restaurant version, but it’s fresher, healthier and ready when you get home from work.
12. Crock-Pot Corn Chowder
This is a perfect late summer recipe—there’s still sweet corn at the grocery store or the farmers market, but just enough chill in the air that a bowl of soup actually sounds appealing. With plenty of potatoes and a creamy broth, it’s enough for a full dinner.
13. Skillet Gnocchi with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Store-bought sausage and store-bought gnocchi are two of our weeknight dinner savers. Here, we pair them with some fresh broccoli rabe and a savory sauce that all comes together in under 30 minutes.
14. Sticky Asian Meatballs with Udon Noodles
No one ever said spaghetti and meatballs had to mean the kind with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese. We love this Asian version, with plenty of sesame oil, ginger and sticky sweet hoisin sauce.
15. Crispy Baked Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw
We’re all about restaurant-style fried fish tacos, but we don’t love all the fat and calories that come with them. This healthier version is baked, but still stays crispy—a Taco Tuesday miracle.
16. Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
The secret to all of our family dinner success stories is, well, cheese. This dish combines a grown-up favorite (sweet, mellow roasted cauliflower) with a kid favorite (duh, mac and cheese), and everyone ends up happy.
18. Greek Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce
Who needs ketchup and mustard when you can have tangy, herby yogurt on top of your burger? Serve with a crunchy chopped salad on the side, if you’ve got the time.
19. Baked Sesame Ginger Salmon in Parchment
Each fillet cooks in its own little parchment pouch, which also makes for a fun presentation at the table. Make it for guests and don’t tell anyone it took less than a half hour to make.
20. Skillet Pepper Steak
This is everything we want out of a weeknight dinner—it’s healthy, requires no weird ingredients, doesn’t make a pile of dishes and is ready in (gasp) 15 minutes. Serve it over rice, or eat it straight from the pan (we won’t tell).
21. Healthy Broccoli Chicken Casserole
We loved the broccoli chicken casseroles that our mom used to make; but that much cream and carbs is not an everyday thing. This version is fresher (no cans of mushroom soup in sight), lighter and just as delicious.
22. Chinese Chicken Salad
It can be hard to get the whole family on board with a big dinner salad. But this one is loaded with so many goodies (chicken, veggies, mandarin oranges and crispy wontons) that everyone always seems to want seconds.
23. Sage-Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash
We like to think of fall in terms of how many meals we can make with butternut squash. To start, a creamy risotto, with plenty of sweet chunks of our favorite gourd.
24. Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Spinach
Store-bought tortellini gives this soup enough heft to make it a filling meal. As always, make extra to pack for lunch.
25. Slow-Cooker Enchilada Casserole
We’re interested in just about anything if it has a layer of melted cheese on top; especially when it’s hands-off and made in the Crock-Pot. We like to serve this with a dollop of sour cream on top and plenty of tortilla chips on the side.
26. 15-Minute Cheater’s Pad Thai
Before you can even think about calling for takeout, check out this easy recipe for everyone’s favorite Thai noodles. It’s faster, healthier and better for the budget than a restaurant meal and puts all cravings to rest.
27. Roasted Rosemary Chicken
There’s just nothing better than the way the house smells when chicken is roasting—especially one with sprigs of rosemary on top. Plus, throwing in some red skinned potatoes and veggies means you don’t even have to think about sides. We call that a win.
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28. Classic Stuffed Peppers
Peppers are great vehicles for anything (we love quinoa, for example), but sometimes nothing beats the classic—rice, ground beef and plenty of cheese.
29. Honey Lime Shrimp
We love how versatile this recipe is. You can serve it over rice or pasta, fold it into tortillas for tacos or just pair with a loaf of crusty bread.
30. One-Pot 30-Minute Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Bake
Most baked pastas use short noodles (like ziti or rigatoni), but we love this unusual take—fettuccine (or another long noodle) is tossed in a creamy tomato sauce, piled in a skillet, and topped with cheese, basil and cherry tomatoes. Comfort food at its finest.
31. Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Eggplant
After a week of leftover turkey, this super cozy, veggie-filled baked pasta is just what we’re craving.
32. Dijon-Maple Chicken with Brussels and Butternut Squash
Our ideal dinner? An easy, low-calorie meal that is extremely tasty, looks fancy and, let’s face it, requires as little cleanup as possible.
33. Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup
Cozy, healthy and ready in 20 minutes? Sign us up.
34. Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Frittata
Breakfast for dinner never disappoints. (Especially when it’s a totally hands-off slow-cooker version.)
35. Sweet Potato Noodles with Almond Sauce
When you want to start the week on a healthy note, but you also want a big plate of creamy carbs for dinner.
36. Rotisserie Chicken Ramen
On Friday night, the take-out urges are real. But this version (using store-bought rotisserie chicken) is easier, faster, and so much healthier. Score.
37. Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Bites
Sometimes, everyone in the family needs a little comfort food. We figure that hump day on the first week back at school is probably the time (and homemade tomato soup is so much better than the stuff in the can).
39. Hearty Stuffed Butternut Squash
Guys. Let's talk about this plate of colorful stuffed butternut squash. Not only are they gorgeous but they taste pretty amazing, too.
40. Kale Minestrone
This recipe for kale minestrone has all the good stuff—vegetables, beans, pasta and cheese. For a bit of freshness, we add a spoonful of pesto (and more cheese) to each bowl. Serve the soup with some crusty bread and let the thawing begin.
41. Slow-Cooker Beef Bourguignon
It takes hours to get melt-in-your-mouth beef bourguignon…unless you make your trusty slow-cooker do all the work. So throw it in the pot, go about your day and come back to magically tender results that would make any French chef proud.
42. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Because it’s Friday and you deserve some comfort food, dammit. (And replacing some of the cheese with squash puree makes this slightly less sinful).
43. Instant Pot Korean Beef Tacos
A total Taco Tuesday game changer (and even if the kids won’t touch the kimchee, we promise they’ll love the savory, gingery beef).
44. 20-Minute Shrimp Scampi Zoodles
After a few weeks of holiday parties and cookie swaps, sometimes all we want is a light, healthy meal. This one hits the spot (and so quickly, too!).
45. Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Orange and Herbs
This is a total holiday dinner win: it looks (and tastes) special and impressive, but it cooks all day in the slow-cooker, leaving you plenty of time to get everything else done.
46. Tomato Soup in Grilled Cheese Bread Bowls
The lid of the bowl brilliantly becomes a miniature grilled cheese sandwich that’s perfect for dunking. Not to mention that the inside of the bowl is lined with melted cheese.
47. Chrissy Teigen's Cheesy Chicken Milanese
We’re on board with any plan that incorporates more melty cheese into our dinner.
48. One-Pot Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Honestly, we’ve got too many presents to wrap to worry about doing the dishes.
49. Slow-Cooker Stuffed Shells
Just throw all the ingredients into the Crock-Pot and go on with your day, knowing you'll return to a fully cooked, comforting pasta dinner.
50. Spicy Orange-Honey Glazed Ham
We admit it. For years, we were scared of making a ham because it looked intimidating and really easy to mess up. But after trying this foolproof spicy orange-honey glazed ham, it’s now our go-to meal for holidays and parties.
52. Roasted Beef Tenderloin with French Onion Au Jus
We love to end the year on a high note, and this fabulously impressive (but deceptively easy) tenderloin fits the bill. Plus, it pairs fabulously with Champagne.
53. Crock-Pot Chicken and Dumplings
Truly comfort in a bowl and remarkably hands-off.
54. Cheater's Italian Wedding Soup
We recommend eating a warm bowl of this under a blanket while watching Christmas movies.