35 Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes
The hustle and bustle of fall schedules is upon us! Here are 35 of our favorite Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes to ease you through busy back-to-school season, school pick-ups, sports carpools, and homework that never seems to end while still keeping you feed. Featuring Chicken, Beef, Pork, Pasta, and Vegetarian
School hasn’t even been in a week for us, and we are already SO BUSY! We’re officially out of the Elementary School business and have 2 middle schoolers and 2 High Schoolers.
Between driving to and from school (and dealing with all the construction that has popped up on our route lately), after school sports practices and games, and homework, I need all the help I can get to put dinner on the table quickly – and have it be something that is both nourishing and good tasting.
Easy Chicken Recipes
Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken
Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken is a perfect easy summer grilled chicken recipe.
The chicken tenderloins are marinaded in a sweet and savory honey mustard sauce with sprigs of fresh rosemary and lemon juice, then quickly cooked on a hot grill. So good and so easy!
Save this recipe for Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken to Pinterest!
Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps
These Asian Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps are loaded with vegetables and lean protein, not to mention flavor. The addition of some jasmine rice is the perfect way to turn this delicious appetizer into a quick weeknight meal.
If you’re aiming for health conscious you can substitute brown rice for the jasmine rice, but I personally love the flavor and scent the jasmine rice brings to the dish.
With the soft rice, crunchy water chestnuts, crisp bell pepper, salty marinade, and sweet, juicy mandarin oranges, I can’t think of anything that’s missing from the ingredient list.
Save this recipe for Ground Chicken Lettuce Wraps to Pinterest!
Shredded Tex-Mex Crock-Pot Chicken
Crock Pot Mexican Chicken is the perfect shredded chicken recipe for your next Mexican recipe. Packed with flavor and super tender thanks to hours in the crock pot, this recipe is sure to please!
Save this recipe for Shredded Tex-Mex Crock-Pot Chicken to Pinterest!
Italian Chicken, Mushroom, and Zucchini Skillet
Italian Chicken, Mushroom, and Zucchini Skillet is a super easy dinner recipe for busy school nights. It features pan seared chicken tenderloins, zucchini and sliced mushrooms in garlicky herbed tomato sauce.
Save this recipe for Italian Chicken, Mushroom, and Zucchini Skillet to Pinterest!
Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Chili
We’ve combined two of our recent dinner time favorites – Chicken Enchiladas and Chili – into this new recipe for Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Chili.
Tender chunks of chicken, black beans, diced tomatoes, and corn simmer in a creamy, cheesy, enchilada flavored chili base for a creative take on a bowl of chili.
Save this recipe for Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Chili to Pinterest!
Easy Chili Marmalade Baked Chicken
Easy Chili Marmalade Baked Chicken is a sweet and spicy simple Asian inspired chicken recipe for dinner. Serve it with rice or quinoa and a side of your favorite veggies.
This recipe assembles in less than 10 minutes and is largely hands-off. Perfect for crazy evenings!
Save this recipe for Easy Chili Marmalade Baked Chicken to Pinterest!
Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Chicken Lettuce Wraps are perfect for satisfying your next Taco Tuesday craving.
The chicken has a lighter, leaner flavor than the beef we typically buy for tacos. Inside the butter lettuce leaves, we added the ground chicken along with black beans and roasted sweet potatoes.
You can keep the recipe just at that, or you can some additional toppings too, like: diced red bell pepper, sliced green onion, roasted corn, cheese, and 5 Minute Basic Guacamole, which I let the kids whip up together.
Save this recipe for Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Chicken Lettuce Wraps to Pinterest!
This Bruschetta Chicken is a great example simple and fast. I built upon a foundation I knew was popular in our house: chicken breast cooked in a simple blend of olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar and added a new taste twist with the tomato-basil “bruschetta” topping.
This chicken is very versatile–you can serve it with pasta, roasted potatoes, garlic toast, etc. Or, you can add a nice salad, steamed veggies, or some fruit.
For little ones, it is easy to serve the chicken cut up into pieces, and the tomato-basil topping on the side, making this recipe one that a family of all ages would enjoy.
Save this recipe for Bruschetta Chicken to Pinterest!
Easy Pasta Recipes
Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti
Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti is the perfect, easy comforting pasta dish - and baking it in a single skillet makes for quick preparation and very minimal clean up. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!
Serve this with a simple green salad. We like Caesar Salad or this Copy Cat Olive Garden Salad. You can assemble either while the ziti bakes.
One Pot Pasta: Sundried Tomato Spinach
This super simple version of one pot pasta features fresh spinach and sun dried tomatoes for a pop of flavor and color.
Mix it up by adding the protein of your choice – Italian Sausage or Grilled Chicken are both great options! – or keep it as a simple meatless dinner option.
Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Noodles
This recipe for Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Noodles is completely perfect for a busy, chilly evening. It takes no time at all to prepare and it absolutely hit the spot as simple comfort food.
Best of all it is a one pot meal because there is plenty of protein, veggies, and pasta all mixed in. But, if you like, you can always serve this with an additional vegetable or salad on the side.
Easy Tomato Florentine Soup Recipe
For days when the plans are thrown by the wayside I like to have a few pantry meals, like this Easy Tomato Florentine Soup, up my sleeve.
It's loaded with diced tomatoes, spinach, and plenty of onion in garlic in a tasty broth with pasta (use whatever shape you like!). If meatless isn't your thing, add in some Italian Sausage for a heartier meal.
It’s a comforting thing to still be able to put a healthy, enjoyable meal on the table at dinner time even if other aspects of the day have been crazy.
Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli and Mushrooms
It’s not health food, but this Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli and Mushrooms is a lightened version of a favorite and with the added vegetables and whole wheat pasta it feels a little less indulgent.
Maybe it’s a special occasion and you want to fancy it up a bit more, I think that some sliced Italian sausage would be a really tasty addition to the meal.
Save this recipe for Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli and Mushrooms to Pinterest!
Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese
Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese features penne covered in a creamy, rich sauce of pureed butternut squash, parmesan and sharp white cheddar with bacon and fresh sage. Omit the bacon if you'd like this to be vegetarian friendly.
Save this recipe for Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese to Pinterest!
Arrabbiata Sauce and Pasta
A simple, just-spicy-enough arrabbiata sauce you can make from pantry ingredients. Serve it over pasta - and shape you like will do just fine - for a super quick meal.
On the side, we like to serve a salad. Caesar Salad or this Copy Cat Olive Garden Salad both go great. Quick salad assembly tip: prep the individual componets ahead of time, but don't assemble and toss with dressing until just before serving.
Save this recipe for Arrabbiata Sauce and Pasta to Pinterest!
Southwestern Black Bean Pasta
In this recipe for Southwestern Black Bean Pasta, pasta is tossed with a southwestern flavored tomato saute, onions, bell pepper, and plenty of black beans.
This simple vegetarian black bean pasta dish only takes a few minutes to prepare and uses mostly pantry ingredients. This is a great base to add leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken to if you don't want to go meatless. I like to top it with Cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese.
Save this recipe for Southwestern Black Bean Pasta to Pinterest!
Easy Pork Recipes
Fall Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin with Honey Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
Dinner just got super quick and easy thanks to this sheet pan meal featuring roasted pork, carrots, golden beets, red onion, Brussels Sprouts, and parsnips. I love that this meal has everything you need, no extra sides needed. However, our kids love when I serve this with some garlic bread on the side.
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Lettuce Wraps with Mango Salsa
Next time you’re craving Pork Carnitas, try this Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Lettuce Wrap version. Top it off with some fruity Mango Salsa for a fresh burst of flavor.
The Mango Salsa can be prepped ahead of time and the shredded pork stores well in the freezer if you like to keep extra on hand for later meals.
Pesto Pork Chop and Summer Vegetable Foil Dinners
Fresh, summertime vegetables are tossed in pesto and balsamic and cooked with boneless pork chops in this makeover version of the classic foil dinners from childhood. If you don't have time to make homemade pesto, store-bought will do. Tip: if you make pesto, prepare extra and freeze in sandwich size zip top bags or ice cube trays to use in future recipes. This saves tons of time!
Shredded Pork Tacos (Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker)
Switch up your usual Taco Tuesday plans by letting the Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker do all the work! Shredded, tender pork is served in steamed corn tortillias with whatever toppings you like (or have time for!). Personally, I like diced avocado and thinly sliced onions to go with this recipe.
Easy Beef Recipes
Chinese Beef Broccoli
When you account for ordering and driving time, this homemade Chinese Beef Broccoli is actually quicker to prepare at home than it is to order takeout. And, it's usually a healthier option.
Make this recipe even quicker by purchasing already cut and trimmed broccoli florets and thinly sliced stir-fry meat if you can find that.
Serve with brown or white rice.
Beefy Kidney Bean Chili
This isn’t a complicated, fancy chili. Beefy Kidney Bean Chili is delicious in its simplicity and pairs perfectly with a side of Corn Bread Muffins. I think it is also the perfect chili flavor for a loaded up chili dog or loaded baked potato (you can even bake a potato fast!) should you be in the mood.
You can prepare this in the morning and let it simmer all day. It also stores incredibly well in the freezer, so make make a double batch and save yourself some work on a future meal!
Gingered Skirt Steak with Snow Peas
Another easy Chinese Take Out at Home recipe is this Gingered Skirt Steak with Snow Peas, Mushrooms, and Red Bell Pepper.
Don't like those veggies? Swap them out for whatever you prefer.
Kids who have learned safe knife skills in the kitchen can help out by preparing the veggies, or take the shortcut of purchasing already sliced peppers and mushrooms.
Serve with white or brown rice.
Instant Pot Italian Beef Ragu with Pappardelle
Chuck roast is cooked until tender with garlic, herbs, and plenty of tomatoes in this Instant Pot Italian Beef Ragu with Pappardelle for a delicious and hearty family pasta night recipe.
Don't have an Instant Pot yet? They're worth investing in. Think Crock Pot on Steroids...large cuts of meat cook tender in a fraction of the time that it takes to use a slow cooker.
Easy Vegetarian Recipes
Roasted Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili
Roasted butternut squash, roasted corn, and fire roasted tomatoes pair with black beans in this hearty, meatless Roasted Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili. This is a great way to get some extra veggies in your family's diet. I like to serve this with tortilla chips for scooping and sliced or diced avocado as a topping.
Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
Consider these Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers an updated version of that classic recipe that so many of us love. Swap out the rice for nutrient rich quinoa, the ground beef for black beans (for fiber and protein) and add some extra vegetables for color, flavor, and texture.
These peppers have so much flavor and color. I love them! These Stuffed Bell Peppers are full of healthy vegetables and protein (you can thank the quinoa and cheese for that) and a little heat from the pepper jack and poblano.
It is a great vegetarian meal that proves meatless doesn’t have to be boring.
Supreme Vegetarian Pizza with Mozzarella and Feta
This Vegetarian Pizza is loaded with bell peppers, olives, onions, and even more fresh veggies! The mixture of salty feta and creamy mozzarella really make this veggie pizza.
Time saving tip: purchase already prepared pizza dough that is ready to roll and bake if you don't have time to make you're own. Most grocery stores have various options in the refrigerated and freezer sections. Or, bake this pizza on already cooked flabread.
Quick and Easy Sesame Noodles
You definitely have to try these Sesame Noodles. It is such a fast meal to prepare! They are even better if you can make them earlier in the day and allow the veggies and noodles to marinade in the sauce. For an extra time saving tip, purchase pre-cut matchstick carrots to make this recipe even quicker to prepare. If you’re willing to put a little more effort into it (and not worried about going meatless), I have a hunch that this Lemongrass Shrimp would be delicious tossed in.
What are your favorite easy weeknight dinner recipes?
Did you love this post?
Sign up for Good Life Eats email updates and never miss another update!