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50 Easy Dinners for When Life’s Chaotic

On hectic days, don't settle for eating fast food or cereal for dinner. These homemade meals are family-friendly, heartwarming and, above all, super simple.

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Easy Pepper Steak

We live on the eastern edge of the Sand Hills here in Nebraska, where most folks are ranchers. This popular pepper steak recipe is tasty as well as colorful. —Carolyn Butterfield, Atkinson, Nebraska

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Easy Caribbean Chicken Exps Sdas18 215718 D03 28  4b 4

Easy Caribbean Chicken

This is a very simple recipe that uses easy-to-find ingredients. Serve with some steamed vegetables for a complete meal. Use cubes of pork or even shrimp instead of the chicken. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Special Pork Chops Exps Cimz19 669 E09 12 10b 15

Special Pork Chops

I work nine hours a day, so I need delicious and simple recipes like this one. My husband thinks I work hard fixing meals, but this dish is good and easy. In summer, I can my own salsa and use some to top these chops. —LaDane Wilson, Alexander City, Alabama
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Super Fast Mexican Soup

We take this spicy soup to rodeos on cool nights or sip it by a campfire. For toppings, try onions, avocado, cheese, jalapenos, sour cream and salsa. —Gloria Huse, Simpsonville, South Carolina
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Sheet Pan Chipotle Lime Shrimp Bake Exps Thfm18 206523 D09 14 13b 7

Sheet-Pan Chipotle-Lime Shrimp Bake

I like to make this seafood dinner for company because it tastes amazing, but takes very little effort to throw together. Use asparagus, Broccolini or a mix of the two. It’s all about what's available for a decent price. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Hearty Penne Beef Exps Ft20 40981 F 0115 1 16

Hearty Penne Beef

This hearty penne beef recipe is comfort food at its finest! The best of everything is found here—it's tasty, easy and a smart way to sneak in some spinach for extra nutrition. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen,
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Pork And Asparagus Sheet Pan Dinner Exps Thfm18 207079 D09 14 11b 9

Pork and Asparagus Sheet-Pan Dinner

When time is of the essence, it's nice to have a quick and easy meal idea in your back pocket. Not only is it delicious, but you can clean it up in a flash. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Easy Chana Masala Exps Sdon17 175124 B06 30 3b 3

Easy Chana Masala

I love this quick and healthy Indian-inspired dish so much I always make sure to have the ingredients stocked in my pantry. It makes weeknight dinners feel a little more special. —Janeen Judah, Houston, Texas
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Fast Baked Fish Exps Diyd20 9049 B01 16 1b 2

Fast Baked Fish

We always have a good supply of fresh fish, so I make fish recipes often. This recipe is my favorite because it is moist, tender and flavorful. —Judie Anglen, Riverton, Wyoming
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Easy Chicken Tetrazzini Exps Ft19 4545 F 1204 1 2

Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

This easy chicken tetrazzini is made with leftover cooked chicken and canned soup. It's the perfect recipe for busy weeknights because it's so easy to assemble. Once you pop the dish in the oven, you'll have time to take care of other things on your to-do list. —Martha Sue Stroud, Clarksville, Texas
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Quick Bean And Rice Burritos Exps Srbz16 34918 B09 02 5b 3

Quick Bean and Rice Burritos

These hearty and zippy burritos can be whipped up in a jiffy. —Kimberly Hardison, Maitland, Florida
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Easy Beef Stroganoff Exps Sdfm19 39897 C10 18 2b 10

Easy Beef Stroganoff

I wanted to lighten up my mother-in-law's wonderful stroganoff recipe and came up with this tasty spin. In our home, we call my easy beef stroganoff "special noodles." —Jennifer Riordan, St. Louis, Missouri
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Pineapple Chicken Casserole Exps Ft20 20479 F 0122 1 14

Pineapple Chicken Casserole

I'm always looking for one-dish dinners like this Hawaiian chicken casserole that save time and cleanup. I love to cook, but with teaching school, playing handbells at church, and juggling my husband's and teen twins' schedules, I have little time in the kitchen. —Susan Warren, North Manchester, Indiana
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Easy Beef Taco Skillet Exps Cimz17 45278 D07 14 2b 19

Easy Beef Taco Skillet

Busy day? Save time and money with this stovetop supper the whole family will love. It calls for handy convenience products, so it can be on the table in minutes. —Kelly Roder, Fairfax, Virginia
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Hoisin Sriracha Sheet Pan Chicken  Exps Thfm18 207752 D09 14 7b 6

Hoisin Sriracha Sheet-Pan Chicken

The convenience and simplicity of this chicken dinner make it extra awesome. Feel free to change the veggies throughout the year—the sticky-spicy-sweet sauce is tasty on everything!! —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
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Quick Beef Vegetable Soup Exps Sbz19 30067 B09 19 4b 3

Quick Beef Vegetable Soup

At the end of a long day, you want to put something quick, warm and substantial on the table for your family. This hefty vegetable soup delivers. It will have you out of the kitchen in no time flat! —D.M. Hillock, Hartford, Michigan
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One Pan Tuscan Ravioli  Exps Sdjj17 77765 B02 09 1b 9

One-Pan Tuscan Ravioli

Sometimes I use chickpeas instead of cannellini beans, grated Asiago or Provolone instead of Parmesan, and all zucchini if I don’t have eggplant. Very flexible! —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Taco Bowls

We love this dish because of its super simple prep. And each serving is so easy to customize with toppings. —Hope Wasylenki, Gahanna, Ohio
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Easy Chicken Paprikash

When my husband studied Hungarian in the Army, I made him the chicken and onions dish known as paprikash. We serve ours over rice or buttered noodles. —Susan Wildman, Haslett, Michigan
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Easy Chili Verde Exps160849 Edsc143234d03 27 4bc Rms 8

Easy Chili Verde

I love chili verde. I order it whenever I can at restaurants, and figured out how to make an easy, tasty version at home. People have the option to eat the chili verde with a fork or in tortillas with a variety of toppings such as cheese, cilantro, minced onions or lime wedges. There are never leftovers at my house. —Julie Rowland, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Quicker Chicken And Dumplings Exps Cimzw19 86622 B09 12 2b 4

Quicker Chicken and Dumplings

Ready in 30 minutes, this easy chicken and dumplings recipe takes advantage of convenience items and uses time-saving, drop-style dumplings. —Willie DeWaard, Coralville, Iowa
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Roast Beef Pasta Skillet Exps Bfbz19 32270 B01 18 2b 4

Roast Beef Pasta Skillet

Leftover beef is the star in a skillet dinner that's perfect for two. Chopped tomatoes and Parmesan cheese add color and flavor to this no-fuss dish. —Bill Hilbrich, St. Cloud, Minnesota
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Exps23273 Cw163681c12 11 2b 6

Quick Chicken Piccata

Laced with lemon and simmered in white wine, this stovetop entree is super easy and elegant. Just add a side of veggies and bread to make it into a wonderful meal. —Cynthia Heil, Augusta, Georgia
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Cheeseburger N Fries Casserole Exps 13x9bz19 7899 E10 05 6b 2

Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

Kids love this casserole because it combines two of their favorite fast foods. And I like the fact that I can whip it up with just four ingredients. —Karen Owen, Rising Sun, Indiana
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Easy Pad Thai Exps Ft20 249632 F 0109 1 37

Easy Pad Thai

Skip the takeout restaurant and give this easy pad thai recipe a try if you need an easy and quick meal. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Easy Sweet And Sour Meatballs Exps Sdjj18 25423 D02 08 6b 14

Easy Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs

The already prepared meatballs make this a very easy and quick supper. You can use your own homemade meatballs or store-bought if you're in a pinch. —Ruth Andrewson, Leavenworth, Washington
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Sheet Pan Chicken Parmesan Exps Thfm18 206935 D09 14 2b 20

Sheet-Pan Chicken Parmesan

Saucy chicken, melty mozzarella and crisp-tender broccoli—all in one pan. What could be better? —Becky Hardin, St. Peters, Missouri
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One Pot Spinach Beef Soup Exps Cscsbz19 159230 C04 05 1b 6

One-Pot Spinach Beef Soup

My idea of a winning weeknight meal is this beefy soup simmering in one big pot. Grate some Parmesan and pass the saltines. —Julie Davis, Jacksonville, Florida
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Cobb Salad Wraps

A homemade dressing lightens up these refreshing tortilla wraps. The avocado, bacon, blue cheese and tomato deliver the flavors I enjoy most while keeping me on my healthy eating plan. -Lynne Van Wagenen of Salt Lake City, Utah
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Easy Glazed Salmon Exps Wrsm17 28376 C03 24 6b 1

Easy Glazed Salmon

It takes only four ingredients and a few moments to make this delightful main dish. —Tara Ernspiker, Falling Waters, West Virginia
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One Pan Chicken Rice Curry Exps Sddj17 194862 B08 04 5b 7

One-Pan Chicken Rice Curry

I've been loving the subtle spice from curry lately, so I incorporated it into this saucy chicken and rice dish. It's a one-pan meal that's become a go-to dinnertime favorite. —Mary Lou Timpson, Colorado City, Arizona
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Quick Moroccan Shrimp Skillet Exps Sdon17 182504 D07 06 6b 5

Quick Moroccan Shrimp Skillet

When my niece was attending West Point, she was sent to Morocco for five months. I threw her a going-away party complete with Moroccan decorations, costumes and cuisine, including this saucy shrimp dish. Whenever I make it now, I think of her and smile. —Barbara Lento, Houston, Pennsylvania
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Quick Chili Mac Exps Sdfm17 26633 C10 07 4b 2

Quick Chili Mac

This combines chili with one of my favorite pasta dishes. I often serve it for company or potlucks and occasionally add taco seasoning or use beanless chili and add black beans. —Lee Steinmetz, Lansing, Michigan
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Easy Jambalaya Exps Tohfm20 241013 B09 20 2b 2

Easy Jambalaya

I brought this easy jambalaya to a Sunday potluck and it was quickly gobbled up. When friends asked me for the recipe, they couldn't believe how easy it was! —Tami Kuehl, Loup City, Nebraska
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Lazy Lasagna For 2 Exps Cf2rds19 4574 C01 23 1b 3

Lazy Lasagna for 2

One day when I craved lasagna, I devised this simple recipe and it worked out beautifully. Celebrate weeknights, too! —Carol Mead, Los Alamos, New Mexico
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Quick Mexican Bean Soup

It never hurts to have a few meals that you can whip up in very little time, and this hearty soup is one of my busy-day favorites. Green chiles and chili powder give it some oomph. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Cheeseburger Pepper Cups

I like to serve my grandkids something special, and this is one of their favorites. They like red or yellow peppers because they're sweeter and look more appetizing. —Betty Winscher, Royalton, Minnesota
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Tuna Noodle Casserole Exps Sdfm19 18043 E10 17 3b 6

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Families are sure to love the creamy texture and comforting taste of this traditional tuna casserole that goes together in a jiffy. I serve it with a green salad and warm rolls for a nutritious supper. —Ruby Wells, Cynthiana, Kentucky
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Skillet Tacos Exps Sdfm19 37332 C10 19 8b 3

Skillet Tacos

This fast and healthy alternative to traditional tacos has a delicious southwestern flair. The fact that is comes together in just 30 minutes makes it even more irresistible. —Maria Gobel, Greenfield, Wisconsin
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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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One Pot Meaty Spaghetti Exps Sdon16 136469 A06 02 3b 5

One-Pot Meaty Spaghetti

I used to help my mom make this when I was growing up, and the recipe stuck. It was a beloved comfort food at college, and is now a weeknight staple for my fiance and me. —Kristin Michalenko, Seattle, Washington
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Pizza Potato Toppers

Not only is this recipe quick and easy to make, but it's an economical treat as well. I don't know of a more satisfying way to stretch a half pound of meat! —Sheila Friedrich, Antelope, Montana
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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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Easy Slow Cooked Swiss Steak Exps Cf2bz19 31586 E12 14 3b 4

Easy Slow-Cooked Swiss Steak

I let my slow cooker simmer up this fuss-free and flavorful Swiss steak. Perfect for busy spring days…the longer it cooks, the better it tastes! —Sarah Burks, Wathena, Kansas
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One Pot Spaghetti Dinner Exps Opbz18 148933 C06 29 5b 4

One-Pot Spaghetti Dinner

Mamma mia! What’s the secret to this one-pot spaghetti? A homemade jar sauce and a one-pot cooking method makes this family favorite recipe quick and delicious. —Carol Benzel-Schmidt, Stanwood, Washington
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Easy Swedish Meatballs Exps Sdas18 12161 D03 29  6b 5

Easy Swedish Meatballs

This recipe relies on ingredients we always have on hand. While the tender homemade meatballs cook in the microwave, make your favorite noodles on the stovetop to get this saucy entree on the table in minutes. —Sheryl Ludeman, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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Quick Tater Tot Bake Exps Diyd19 4289 B06 25 2b 3

Quick Tater Tots Bake

I like to make this Tater Tot casserole when time before supper is short. If we have unexpected company, I just double the ingredients and use a 13x9-in. pan. I call it my Please Stay Casserole! —Jean Ferguson, Elverta, California
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Sheet-Pan Tilapia and Vegetable Medley

Sheet-Pan Tilapia and Vegetable Medley

Unlike some one-pan dinners that require precooking in a skillet or pot, this one uses just the sheet pan, period. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida
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Easy Tortellini Spinach Soup Exps Sddj18 199438 C08 04 6b 2

Easy Tortellini Spinach Soup

This is the easiest soup you will ever make—believe me! I always keep the ingredients on hand, so if I'm feeling under the weather or just plain busy I can throw together this comforting soup in a flash. —Angela Lively, Conroe, Texas
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One-Pot Dinner

"My family always comes back for seconds when this nicely seasoned skillet supper is on the table," reports Bonnie Morrow of Spencerport, New York. And it's nicely priced at 72 cents a serving.

Katie Bandurski
As Senior Shopping Editor, Katie connects Taste of Home readers with the best gifts, deals and home products on the market. An avid foodie and a holiday enthusiast, Katie is an expert at cultivating meaningful moments. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and watching Christmas movies.