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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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Saucy Mac & Cheese

I love the curly noodles in this creamy recipe. Cavatappi (aka cellentani pasta) has a corkscrew shape, but any type of spiral noodle will work. This dish is fun to make and looks so pretty topped with extra cheese and crunchy, golden panko. 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

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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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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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

Smoked Sausage and Veggie Sheet-Pan Supper

This recipe is tasty and quick and 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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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

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 kick, thanks to red pepper flakes. This hearty dish is very simple to prepare and always a dinnertime winner. —Monica Shipley, Tulare, California
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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's stocked with single-serve portions to take to work. —Rebecca Ende, Phoenix, New York
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Spaghetti & Meatball Skillet Supper

I developed this one-skillet spaghetti and meatball dish to cut down on cooking time for 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

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

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 start out as fun ways to use leftovers—like this one! 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

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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Pecan-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

I loved chicken nuggets as a child. This baked version is healthier than the original, and it's a great meal for kids. — Haili Carroll, Valencia, California
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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, which she used to make from scratch. My version takes a few shortcuts. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Family Quilt Pizza

I find quilt pizzas loads of fun to make. They're great for getting family and friends involved and they come up with the most clever toppings and designs! —Marie Louise Ludwig, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
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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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Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

When my kids were small, I'd stuff leftover chicken into these oven-baked quesadillas. I often grab rotisserie chicken instead. —Pam Martin, Canandaigua, New York
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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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Chicken with Mandarin Salsa

When I have some leftover veggies, I dress the salsa up a little with some diced green onions and bell peppers. If you like a spicier sauce, add cayenne pepper to the skillet. —Aysha Shurman, Ammon, Idaho
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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 this entree's 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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Pepperoni Pizza Soup

Once upon a time, my husband and I owned a pizzeria and this dish was always popular on the menu. We've since sold the restaurant, but I still make the soup for all kinds of potlucks and gatherings. It's always a big hit and everyone asks for the recipe. —Estella Peterson, Madras, Oregon
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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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Dill Pickle Hamburger Pizza

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 start laughing 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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Spicy Sausage Soup with Tortellini

Spicy Sausage Soup with Tortellini

This soup is such a family treasure, both my daughters asked for the recipe when they moved out on their own. I cook the tortellini separately, but you can let it plump up in the soup broth, too. —Cynthia Krakowiak, Langhorne, Pennsylvania
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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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Pizza Macaroni & Cheese

My grandma made this for us once when she came to visit and I never forgot just how good it was. Since my kids love anything with pepperoni and cheese, I thought they'd enjoy it just as much as I did. —Juli Meyers, Hinesville, Georgia
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Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups

I’m a busy teacher and mom, so weekday meals with shortcuts are a huge help. I always have to share the recipe when I take these to school. —Julie Ahern, Waukegan, Illinois
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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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Sweet Barbecued Pork Chops

I often prepare a double recipe of these tangy bbq pork chops, then freeze half to keep on hand. They're so easy and taste so fresh, family and friends never guess this quick entree was frozen! —Susan Holderman, Fostoria, Ohio
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One-Skillet Lasagna

This is hands-down one of the best skillet lasagna recipes our testing panel has ever tasted. With classic flavors and cheesy layers, it’s definitely kid-friendly. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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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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Cuban-Style Pork Chops

These are like Cuban sandwiches without the bread, so they’re a bit more elegant. Let your family customize the chops with pickles, mustard and other condiments. —Erica Allen, Tuckerton, New Jersey
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Honey-Lemon Chicken Enchiladas

Honey, lemon and chili flavors blend wonderfully in enchiladas. My family devours this dish, so I also use the chicken filling for soft tacos with toppings. —Kristi Moak, Gilbert, Arizona
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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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Fish & Chips with Dipping Sauce

My husband and I really like fish and chips, but not all the grease that typically comes along with it. I decided to give the classic dinner a makeover. Turns out the pickle dip is healthier than tartar sauce, and we like it a lot better—who knew? —Michelle Lucas, Cold Spring, Kentucky
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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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Grilled Italian Burgers

When all I had available was ground beef and I was tired of plain-old hamburgers, I invented these. A good dose of Italian seasonings and mozzarella makes them unique. They're perfect with homemade French fries for a quick meal. —Rebekah Beyer, Sabetha, Kansas
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Pineapple Shrimp Stir-Fry

I came up with this recipe for a luau-themed party and served it with sliced papaya, mango and avocado. Delish! If you don't care for coconut, sprinkle with chopped macadamia nuts instead. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
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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."

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