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60 Easy Weeknight Dinners That Make Perfect Family Meals

Weeknight meal planning can be hard. These easy weeknight dinners make family meal time simple: they're quick, fresh and delicious. We're certain they'll become menu regulars.

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Thai Peanut Chicken Casserole

I used traditional pizza sauce and toppings in this recipe for years. After becoming a fan of Thai peanut chicken pizza, I decided to use those flavors instead. Serve with stir-fried vegetables or a salad with sesame dressing for an easy, delicious meal. —Katherine Wollgast, Troy, Missouri

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Saucy Mac & Cheese

I love the curly noodles in this creamy recipe. Cavatappi, also sold under the name cellentani, is a corkscrew pasta, but any type of spiral pasta will work. This dish is fun to make and looks so pretty topped with extra cheese and crunchy, golden crumbs. I like to add ground pepper to my serving. —Sara Martin, Brookfield, Wisconsin

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Slow-Cooker Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Pie

My husband likes some heat in our meals, but our children—not so much. This is the best of both worlds. Serve with additional chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream if desired. —Dana Beery, Ione, Washington
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Teriyaki Beef Roast

My father and I created this pot roast with a hint of Japanese flair. It will make your taste buds dance! try this for family or company. —Mary Flurkey, Golden, Colorado
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Ancient Grain Beef Stew

My version of beef stew is comfort food with a healthy twist. I use lentils and red quinoa rather than potatoes. If leftover stew seems too thick, add more beef stock when reheating. —Margaret Roscoe, Keystone Heights, Florida
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Smoked Sausage And Veggie Sheet Pan Supper Exps Sdon18 185151 B06 17 5b 15

Smoked Sausage and Veggie Sheet-Pan Supper

This recipe is tasty and quick, and it can easily be doubled for last-minute dinner guests. Cook it in the oven or on the grill, and add the veggies of your choice. —Judy Batson, Tampa Florida
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Chicken Parmesan Spaghetti

I like to make this yummy chicken Parmesan with spaghetti when I have extra sauce on hand. The herbed coating on the tender chicken gets nice and golden. —Margie Eddy, Ann Arbor, Michigan
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Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops Exps Sdas18 205261 C03 29  6b 4

Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops

These sweet, spicy chops can be thrown together in minutes, but definitely don't taste like it. Serve it with a side of jasmine rice and you'll feel like you're on a tropical vacation. —Allison Ulrich, Frisco, Texas
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Smoky Spanish Chicken

After enjoying a similar dish at a Spanish tapas restaurant, my husband and I were eager to make our own version of this saucy chicken at home. If I want to make it extra healthy, I remove the skin from the chicken after browning. —Ryan Haley, San Diego, California
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Turkey And Broccoli Pastry Braid Exps Sddj18 132596 B08 08 1b 10

Turkey and Broccoli Pastry Braid

This meal in one is an easy way to get kids—and adults—to eat broccoli. The puff pastry that wraps up turkey, cheese and veggies is pure, flaky goodness. —Jenelle Fender, Steinbach, Manitoba
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Tenderloin with Herb Sauce

Tender pork is treated to a rich and creamy sauce with a slight red pepper kick. This hearty dish is very simple to prepare and is always a dinnertime winner at my home. —Monica Shipley, Tulare, California
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Quinoa Unstuffed Peppers Exps Sddj18 206214 D08 08 3b 2

Quinoa Unstuffed Peppers

This deconstructed stuffed pepper dish packs a wallop of flavor. I truly make it all the time, and I make sure my freezer is stocked with single-serve portions to take to work. —Rebecca Ende, Phoenix, New York
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Spaghetti And Meatball Skillet Supper Exps Sdon17 191148 D06 30 4b 19

Spaghetti & Meatball Skillet Supper

I developed this one-skillet spaghetti and meatball dish to cut down on cooking time on busy nights. The beans, artichokes and tomatoes bump up the nutrition factor, while the lemon and parsley make it pop with brightness. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Lemon Dijon Pork Sheet Pan Supper Exps Sdon17 203398 C06 23 2b 3

Lemon-Dijon Pork Sheet-Pan Supper

Most nights I need something that I can get on the table with minimal effort and delicious results. This sheet-pan supper has become an all-time favorite, not only because of its bright flavors but also because of its speedy cleanup time. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Pressure Cooker Herbed Chicken and Shrimp

Tender chicken and shrimp make a flavorful combination that's easy to prepare, yet elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. While I clean the house, it practically cooks itself. I serve it over hot cooked rice with crusty bread and a green salad. —Diana Knight Reno, Nevada
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Spicy Sausage And Rice Skillet Exps Sdas18 66588 C03 30  2b 19

Spicy Sausage and Rice Skillet

The spicy sausage in this quick skillet dish gives it a kick, and the sliced apples are a pleasant, tart surprise. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia
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Easy Stuffed Shells

I threw this recipe together one day when we had unexpected guests. It was an immediate hit and is now a family favorite. Get the kids involved when putting together this simple, savory dish. —Dolores Betchner, Cudahy, Wisconsin
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Barbecue Chicken Tostadas

Lots of my recipes (just like this one) start out as fun ways to use leftovers. My kids love tostadas, so this day-after-cookout dinner was a big hit. —Lauren Wyler, Dripping Springs, Texas
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Ginger Glazed Grilled Salmon Exps Sdas17 199494 B04 05 5b 8

Ginger-Glazed Grilled Salmon

Our family loves salmon prepared this way, and it's a real treat to make on a warm summer evening. These fillets may be baked in the oven at 450 degrees for 18 minutes, basting occasionally. —Wanda Toews, Cromer, Manitoba
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Fajita in a Bowl

Pull out the skewers and take a stab at grilling peppers, onions and corn for an awesome steak salad that’s all summer and smoke. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Simple Salmon Chowder

I've lived on a farm in the Yakima Valley all my life. I have a big garden, and by the end of fall, my cellar shelves are full of canned fruits and vegetables. This salmon chowder recipe uses some of the root vegetables I grow—along with the delicious salmon that is so plentiful here. —Josephine Parton, Granger, Washington
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Hamburger Stroganoff

Hamburger Stroganoff

This easy hamburger stroganoff makes a quick weeknight dinner. I like to serve it with a side salad for a complete meal. —Deb Helmer, Lynden, Washington
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Asian Chicken Crunch Wraps

My kids love all kinds of wraps and Asian foods. This is an easy go-to in our house that works for everyone. —Mary Lou Timpson, Colorado City, Arizona
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Ramona's Chilaquiles

A dear neighbor shared this recipe. She used to make it from scratch, but my version takes a few shortcuts. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Hungarian Chicken Paprikash Exps Ft21 26500 F 0429 1 5

Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

My mom learned to make this Hungarian chicken paprikash when she volunteered to help prepare the dinners served at her church. It’s my favorite main dish, and the gravy, seasoned with paprika, sour cream and onions, is the best. —Pamela Eaton, Monclova, Ohio
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Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Bake

This bacon cheeseburger tater tot casserole is the perfect dish to bribe your kids; homework, chores, piano practice—consider them done! —Deanna Zewen, Union Grove, Wisconsin
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Chimichangas

Though still debated, Tucson is generally credited as the original home of chimichangas (fried “burros”, as we call them, stuffed with meat, onions and chiles). I’ve combined several recipes into this one, and it’s fairly authentic. —Laura Towns, Glendale, Arizona
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Muffin-Tin Lasagnas

This is a super fun way to serve lasagna for make-ahead lunches, potlucks or other fun get-togethers. My daughter took some of these to work and by noon was emailing me for the recipe. —Sally Kilkenny, Granger, Iowa
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Shrimp Quesadilla

Quick and simple enough for any weekday, these shrimp quesadillas boast a refreshing flavor special enough for guests. Serve with salsa on the side and a frosty smoothie, if you like. —Tiffany Bryson-San Antonio, Texas
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Parmesan Fish Sticks

I wanted a healthier approach to fish sticks and developed a baked tilapia with a slightly peppery bite. My husband and sons love the crispy coating. —Candy Summerhill, Alexander, Arkansas
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Chili Beef Noodle Skillet

Chili Beef Noodle Skillet

A friend gave me this recipe. My husband likes the hearty blend of beef, onion and tomatoes. I like it because I can get it to the table so quickly. —Deborah Elliott, Ridge Spring, South Carolina
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Chicken-Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers

Here's a different take on traditional stuffed peppers. I substituted chicken for the beef and used Cubanelle peppers in place of the green peppers that are usually featured in such a dish. —Ron Burlingame, Canton, Ohio
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Chipotle Chili Sloppy Joes

My husband didn't like sloppy joes until he tried my rendition with its smoky heat. If you need to dial down the fiery zip, cut down on or eliminate the peppers. —Brittany Allyn, Mesa, Arizona
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Crispy Fried Chicken

If you've wanted to learn how to make crispy fried chicken, this is the recipe for you. Always a picnic favorite, this deep fried chicken recipe is delicious either hot or cold. Kids call it my Kentucky Fried Chicken! —Jeanne Schnitzler, Lima, Montana
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Mushroom & Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

We took grilled cheese up a notch with baby portobello mushrooms, bacon and cheddar. For weeknight comfort food, it’s good to the last crumb. Readers of my blog, theseasonedmom.com, love these! —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
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Zippy Chicken and Corn Chowder

Gently spiced corn chowder is always a good option for kids, but feel free to rev up yours with hot pepper sauce. This chowder’s a lifesaver on busy weeknights. —Andrea Early, Harrisonburg, Virginia
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Meatballs and Gravy

I can still see Grandmother making dozens of these little meatballs, and gravy to go with them! The hint of spices gives them a savory taste that makes them authentically Norwegian. —Karen Hoylo, Duluth, Minnesota
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Dill Pickle Hamburger Pizza

My husband's favorite foods are pizza and cheeseburgers, so I combined the two in a pizza with mayo and dill pickle juice topping. People who try it always laugh in surprise because it's so good. —Angie Zimmerman, Eureka, Illinois
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Bean & Bacon Griddle Burritos

These griddle burritos with bacon and veggies make an awesome hand-held meal. I use fresh pico de gallo when I can, but a jar of salsa works if that’s what you’ve got. —Stacy Mullens, Gresham, Oregon
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Florentine Spaghetti Bake

This hearty sausage entree will appeal to just about everyone. My daughter serves it often to her hardworking family on their wheat ranch in Montana. —Lorraine Martin, Lincoln, California
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Quick Chicken Parmesan

My mother inspired me to develop my first pasta sauce. It's tangy, simple and really satisfying. The longer it simmers, the better it gets, so keep that in mind if you have time to spare. —Danielle Grochowski, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Mexican-Style Pizza

My husband is a picky eater, but this healthy Mexican-style pizza has lots of flavor, and he actually looks forward to it. Leftovers are no problem, because this meal tastes better the next day. —Mary Barker, Knoxville, Tennessee
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Thai Chicken Tacos

Inspired by a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, this recipe is an awesome way to use leftover chicken. If you have a little extra time, let the carrot and cucumber marinate in some rice vinegar before taco time. —Melissa Halonen, Spokane, Washington
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Chicken and Gravy

Here’s a lightened-up take on the classic southern comfort-food dish: chicken and gravy. This recipe has been a hit at our house since the first time we tried it! —Ruth Helmuth, Abbeville, South Carolina
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Slow Cooker Arizona Poblano Pork Exps Rc21 263547 B07 28 8b 24

Slow-Cooker Pork Loin

I live in Arizona, and this slow-cooker pork loin is an easy dish with many southwestern seasonings. It’s fantastic with rice and beans or in a taco with hot sauce. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Turkey Biscuit Stew

This chunky stew makes a hearty supper, especially in the fall and winter. It'salso a great way to use extra turkey during the holidays. —Lori Schlecht, Wimbledon, North Dakota
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Steak and Shrimp Kabobs

These steak and shrimp kabobs make any get-together special. Cubes of marinated steak are skewered with shrimp and veggies, then grilled. For picnics, I assemble the kabobs at home and carry them in a large container. —Karen Mergener, St. Croix, Minnesota
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The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup

My first Wisconsin winter was so cold, all I wanted to eat was homemade chicken noodle soup. Of all the chicken noodle soup recipes out there, this type of soup is my favorite and is in heavy rotation from November to April. It has many incredibly devoted fans.—Gina Nistico, Denver, Colorado
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Summer Garden Fish Tacos

I like to serve fish tacos with quinoa and black beans for a complete and satisfying meal. If you’ve got them, add colorful summer toppings like bright peppers, green onions or purple carrots. —Camille Parker, Chicago, Illinois
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Quick Nicoise Salad

Like the French, I pack my classic Nicoise salad with veggies, potatoes, tuna and eggs. Cooking the potatoes and beans together helps the dish come together fast. —Valerie Belley, St. Louis, Missouri
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Yellow Split Pea Soup

This yellow split pea soup is a great new twist on traditional pea soup. It tastes wonderful and has a sunny yellow color. — Lynn Jurss of Thousand Oaks, California
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Crockpot Spareribs

Even my three little ones love these easy-to-make and delicious-to-eat slow-cooker spareribs. The succulent meat falls right off the bone! —Julie Czmer, West Bloomfield, Michigan
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Three-Cheese Meatball Mostaccioli

When my husband travels for work, I make a special dinner for my kids to keep their minds off missing Daddy. This tasty mostaccioli is meatball magic. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan
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Bacon & Swiss Chicken Sandwiches

I created this chicken sandwich recipe based on a meal my daughter ordered at a restaurant. She likes to dip her sandwich in the extra honey-mustard sauce. —Marilyn Moberg, Papillion, Nebraska
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Chicken and Asian Slaw

This meal is always a hit, and it goes together so quickly. Sesame ginger salad dressing adds refreshing flavor to this pairing of broiled chicken and an exotic homemade coleslaw. —Melissa Jelinek, Apple Valley, Minnesota
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Shortcut Sausage Minestrone

I call this surprisingly good soup my magic soup because of its soothing powers. My daughter-in-law always asks for it when she needs a healing touch. —Marta Smith, Claremont, Pennsylvania
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Egg Roll Noodle Bowl

We love Asian egg rolls, but they can be challenging to make. Simplify everything with this deconstructed egg roll made on the stovetop and served in a bowl. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Swedish Meatball Recipe

Mom fixed this Swedish meatball recipe for all sorts of family dinners, potluck suppers and PTA meetings. The scent of browning meat is intoxicating. Add to that the sweet smell of onions caramelizing, and everyone’s mouth starts watering. —Marybeth Mank, Mesquite, Texas
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Instant Pot Whole Chicken

We love rotisserie chicken, and now with a pressure cooker, I can have it ready to eat in an hour or so. I combined several recipes to come up with this favorite. If you are new to the kitchen tool, this is a perfect recipe to begin with since it is so easy. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Burrito Bake

Back when I was in college, my roommate would frequently make this economical baked burrito casserole. It's so easy to put together, and one serving goes a long way. —Cindee Ness, Horace, North Dakota

Dana Meredith
Dana is an editor and writer who shares her passion for travel, food and the beauty of American landscapes. When she's not wielding her red pen, she can be found tending her flower gardens, remodeling her house, creating one-of-a-kind jewelry or dancing to "Uptown Funk."