6 Easy Family Dinner Ideas + My Epic Ranch Recipe!

by | Feb 28, 2021

Simple Ways To Make Easy Dinners For Busy Families

If you are looking for some easy family dinner ideas, then you have come to the right place! 

I don’t know about you, but the day can pass so quickly and all of a sudden you have hungry kids who want dinner and there’s nothing planned. Doh! What to do? 

Sister, I’ve been there many times, so I’ve put together a list of easy dinner ideas for families on the go. These are simple meals that require very little prep time and make for a more relaxed evening. We all want that, right? 

No one wants to stress about dinner time because afterwards there’s dishes, bathtime, and bedtime. Mama needs a break!

Don’t forget to read through all 6 ideas because at the end I’ve included my homemade ranch recipe. It’s seriously epic, and I’m not joking. 

I refuse to buy ranch at the store because homemade is way better. If your kids hate veggies, the homemade ranch may be a game changer for them. 

Trust me. It is not keto friendly or paleo friendly, it is flavor friendly and meant to be addictive. Just ask my friend Maggie! 

Without further ado, here are my easy family dinner ideas! 

6 Easy Family Dinner Ideas

  1. Pizza + Veggies
  2. Rotisserie Chicken + Veggies + Rice 
  3. Breakfast For Dinner
  4. Sandwiches
  5. Order Takeout
  6. Chicken Nuggets + Mac N Cheese

Let’s look at each of them in greater detail.

*I’m not a food blogger, but I love to cook! I don’t claim to be an expert on super healthy foods or exact measurements, so take each of these recipes with a grain of salt. 

*This article contains affiliate links which means I may make a small commission from any items that you purchase. 

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1. Pizza + Veggies

A great easy family dinner idea is for sure pizza. There are a lot of variations to this one. 

Almost every week when I go grocery shopping, I usually purchase a couple frozen pizzas because I know there will be at least one night where Jesh and I are both wiped and we need something super easy. No fuss. 

Maybe you want to make homemade pizzas and you have a standing tradition of Friday night pizza night. That’s great! 

Pizza can be your main meal and you can have veggies or fruit to go with it. Our pizza nights usually include a variation of raw veggies along with my epic ranch. I mean, you can’t eat pizza and veggies without ranch, right? 

You have to keep reading for the recipe! Don’t miss it! 

The most common raw veggies to appear with our pizza nights are cucumbers, carrots, and romaine lettuce. It’s amazing how filling vegetables can be when paired with an easy dinner like pizza. 

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2. Rotisserie Chicken + Veggies + Rice

Rotisserie chicken may be one of my most favorite shortcuts in the kitchen. It’s already cooked, seasoned, and ready to go.

Buying one at Walmart saves me so much time and sanity when it comes to meal prep! 

One thing that is a huge plus with using a rotisserie chicken is that it’s so versatile! 

Sometimes I shred it for soups, tacos, or salads. It’s the perfect protein! 

Other times, we just dig right in and devour the chicken as our main protein. Great easy side dishes that pair well are some version of rice or pasta, along with a vegetable. 

Whatever you decide, don’t make it too difficult!

Steam your veggies, roast your veggies, or eat them raw. Just don’t forget to include them with the meal. 

If I make a salad, I’ve found that many family members have different preferences. Some appreciate dressing, some don’t. Some like onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers in the salad, where others prefer it to be more plain. 

Set out a few bowls with salad ingredients and allow your kids and spouse to build their own salad or veggie pile.

It’s super easy and allows for your kids to have a say in what goes on their plate. 

Rotisserie chicken + sides for the win! 

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3. Breakfast For Dinner = Brinner Winner!

Breakfast for dinner is one of the easiest family dinner ideas. Seriously! 

First of all, who doesn’t love breakfast? I could eat breakfast foods anytime during the day. Yummy! 

When you’re having “brinner,” which is what many call it in their homes, the sky’s the limit with options. 

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Cereal Party
  • Scrambled eggs and waffles
  • Breakfast Tacos
  • Egg Casserole
  • Avocado Toast and bacon
  • Smoothies
  • French Toast and sausage

I could go on and on! 

Why do you love breakfast for dinner? Why is this an easier option? 

Good question! 

I think one of the reasons I love brinner so much is because it’s such an easy category to please everyone. You have way less pushback and tons of options! 

It’s usually not very complicated to prepare. 

Maybe 3 out of your 4 kids will eat scrambled eggs and waffles. That’s great!

Your other child can be content eating cereal or toast, etc. It’s okay if all of your people aren’t eating the exact same thing. 

Think mom’s sanity as a priority rather than everyone has to eat what I fix. It’s really okay. 

Breakfast for dinner is a real winner! 

If you want some great ideas for breakfast foods, check out the Abundance Of Flavor blog. Kalin has amazing recipes!

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4. Sandwiches

I read somewhere that the average person consumes around 200 sandwiches a year. I don’t disagree because I’d be one of those average people. 

Sandwiches are so boring! I give them to my kids for lunch. They will hate it for dinner!

That’s a fair thought. But there are ways to jazz up sandwiches to make them more fun at dinner time! 

Here are some stellar sandwich ideas: 

  • Grilled cheese with bacon 
  • Peanut butter and nutella
  • BLT
  • Egg sandwich on a croissant
  • Tuna salad 
  • Toasted PBJ
  • Panini 

Now that you have some great sandwich ideas to impress your kids, you need to figure out the sides. 

You can set out a few different salty snacks to go with the sandwiches, along with a platter of fruit. As long as they pick one of each, that’s acceptable. 

No matter how you do it, just make it simple. I’m trying to simplify your evenings, not complicate them. 

If you have eager kitchen helpers in the family, let them help. Making sandwiches or cutting up fruit is an easy way to incorporate your kids into dinner prep.

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5. Order Takeout

There’s no way I could write a post about easy family dinner ideas and not include ordering takeout. 

This is pretty self explanatory. 

Ordering takeout allows you to not have to cook or prep anything, and if you use paper plates and plasticware, then there’s very little clean up! 

Some people prefer to cook most of their meals, and that’s a fine sentiment. It’s more affordable and almost always healthier. 

But sometimes, having your food delivered and knowing that your only job is to eat it, makes all the difference. Talk about simplifying mom life! 

What’s even better is now there are so many options and apps you can use for ordering takeout. You can even order from multiple restaurants with the same app and have one payment. Yes please! 

If you’re wanting to have an easy dinner during the week for your busy family, do yourself a favor and order takeout! Enjoy the break from dishes and chaotic dinner prep. You’re welcome! 

One more easy family dinner idea and you get to snag the epic ranch recipe!

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Pin This Before You Leave!

6. Chicken Nuggets + Mac N Cheese

How could I not include chicken nuggets and mac n cheese in my easy family dinner ideas list? You can’t get much easier than this! 

If you know how to turn on an oven, set a timer, boil noodles, and follow package directions, you can make this meal. 

I think I’ve loved chicken nuggets my entire life. Eating these with my family takes me back to childhood and reminds me that it’s okay to still consume these yummy nuggets. They are delicious! 

You can jazz this dinner up too if you’re wanting to make it a little healthier. 

A few ideas would be: 

  • Make a salad
  • Raw veggies with ranch dressing
  • Use the chicken nuggets on a salad
  • Fresh fruit platter 

Whatever you do, remember the simpler the better. Don’t make more work for yourself than is necessary.

Use paper plates so the dishes are very minimal. Less is more, Mama! 

And now the moment you’ve been waiting for…my epic homemade ranch recipe!

Write this one down, make it, and consume it frequently.

Lisa’s Epic Homemade Ranch

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain full fat Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice

*This is the base for the dressing. Mix these first 3 ingredients well until the ranch base is nice and creamy.

Spices

  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • chili powder
  • Italian seasoning

I don’t measure any of these ingredients because I season to taste, which means I get to sample as I go!


I’d recommend about 1/2 teaspoon each. Go easy on the chili powder and pepper. You can always add more!

Once the base is nice and creamy, add all of the spices. Stir to combine and sample straight from your spoon!

If it needs more salt or pepper, go ahead and shake on some more. Just don’t go overboard with the salt because that will ruin it! 

Once it tastes better than good and you’ve sampled it a few more times, you’re probably good to go! 

Put it in a sealed container and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat it. 

Lisa’s Epic Ranch pairs well with: 

  • Raw Veggies
  • Stir Fry Meals
  • Pizza
  • French Fries
  • Sandwiches
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Mexican Food
  • Any kind of meat

If you end up making the ranch, please share it on social media with the hashtag #lisasepicranch. It would be so cool to have it trend on social media!

Some Handy Kitchen Tools Just For You!

Here are a few handy kitchen items that are great to have around when cooking with kids. All of these items are easy to wash, and very kid-friendly. You don’t have to worry about anything dropping and breaking.

Click on the images and you can snag them straight from Amazon!

That’s A Wrap!

If you made it this far, then you either really care about easy family dinner ideas or you were more interested in #lisasepicranch recipe. Either way, thanks for hanging with me! 

I hope after reading this you have some great ideas to make dinners a bit easier for you each week. 

I’m all about helping families and moms just like you! 

Go buy those chicken nuggets and plan a night this week to order takeout. 

Enjoy the extra time you’ll have to relax and be with your family!

Lots of love to each of you!

Lisa 

Cover Photo by Pixzolo Photography on Unsplash

24 Comments

  1. Sandra Ans

    Many great ideas, thank you for this list! I especially loved the ideas from ”Breakfast For Dinner” 😀 If you would ask me, I could eat pancakes the whole day 😀 At breakfast – pancakes with berries and fruits and for dinner filled crepes with cheese and bacon!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Those breakfast for dinner ideas sound amazing! It’s always a winner in our house!

  2. Julia

    So many ideas… love the thought of breakfast for dinner. Breakfast has to be my favourite kind of meal.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Breakfast for dinner is the best! Thanks for commenting. =)

  3. Sarah

    These are some of my easy “go tos” as well. Sometimes you just have to accept that you need simple so that everyone can get fed 😉

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I totally agree! Simplifying things in order to have a fed family is the way to go.

  4. proseccobefore7

    My favourite idea is no doubt breakfast for dinner! I am sure my daughter is also going to love it. Brinner for us today! Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Breakfast for dinner is seriously one of the best things ever! It’s a winner every time.

  5. Freya

    Some awesome and yummy ideas here, thank you!!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Hope they come in handy for you!

  6. Amy

    Oh- I am ALL about breakfast for dinner! Growing up this is what mom did when dad was away on business trips! I remember being so excited when I heard we could have eggs and bacon for dinner! Thanks for the great ideas!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      You’re welcome Amy! Breakfast for dinner…for the win!

  7. Alison

    Honestly, I love a good sandwich! Grilled cheese was my go-to lunch for a good chunk of the pandemic, and a turkey sandwich with lots of veggies is a great dinner to me. Thanks for your list!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Alison! Sandwiches for the win, seriously!

  8. Jeannie

    thanks for the list 🙂 Having a list gives you an easy time to prepare, some of these I have done for dinner 🙂

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Hope the list comes in handy for you Jeannie!

  9. Jennifer

    I always struggle with dinner, and breakfast for dinner has really helped me lately. My family has been LOVING it!

    Thank you so much for this awesome lifesaver tip!!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      So glad you enjoyed this one Jennifer! Breakfast for dinner rocks!

  10. Lulu

    Almost every day it’s a struggle trying to figure out what to have for dinner, even when takeout is an option it’s hard to chose because we’re just so bored of it all. I will certainly try your ranch though😊

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Lulu! Homemade ranch for the win!

  11. Kalin

    Great ideas for easy meals! I can’t wait to try your homemade ranch recipe!! My bf is NOT a fan of ranch sadly but I think I could get him to try it homemade

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Maybe you’ll be able to change his mind. It’s so much better than the bottled kind at the store!

  12. Rachael

    With a two year old in our house these are a lot of our go-tos for easy dinners. Great list!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Rachael! I hope you get a chance to try the homemade ranch. It’s so good!

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