27 Easy, Family-Friendly Mains to Add to Your Weekly Rotation

Shake up your dinnertime routine with these tried-and-true picks.

Updated on June 21, 2023

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Main Dishes the Whole Family Will Love

On busy nights, it’s easy to turn to the same handful of recipes—the ones you’ve cooked so many times you could make them in your sleep. You know, those family-favorite chicken dishes and hearty lasagnas that end up on the menu at least once a week. But we know from firsthand experience that you can only eat the same weeknight dinner so many times before you are officially stuck in a rut. So, we’re here to help—with satisfying mains the whole family will enjoy. They’re based on classic flavors and ideas, but feature lots of delicious twists. Just take these gnocchi, for example. We broil (instead of boil) them for a quick sheet pan recipe that delivers all of the flavor of a good, old-fashioned favorite: sausage and peppers.

Get the Recipe: Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Sausage and Peppers

Pesto Chicken Skillet Supper

This speedy dinner packs so much flavor. The natural sweetness of corn and tomatoes is balanced with savory basil pesto. Freshly grated Parmesan adds the perfect pop of saltiness.

Get the Recipe: Pesto Chicken Skillet Supper

Chicken and Dumplings

Rachael uses convenient items, like store-bought chicken stock and biscuit mix, to whip up a comforting dish that’s ready to eat in less than an hour.

Get the Recipe: Chicken and Dumplings

Mexican Frittata

Whip up this filling egg dish as a breakfast-for-dinner option. Kids can eat the frittata slices like a pizza, and the slices make great leftovers, either warmed up or served at room temperature.

Get the Recipe: Mexican Frittata

Pulled Pork

This pulled pork dish is sure to be a hit with the entire family. To give your pork shoulder a beautifully smoky flavor, rub it on all sides with chili powder.

Get the Recipe: Pulled Pork

Shortcut Chicken Enchiladas

This dish whips store-bought rotisserie chicken, salsa and beans into a quick enchilada bake that is ready in less than an hour. It's a great use for that leftover half of a chicken, but if you have a whole chicken, you can easily double the recipe to make 8 to 12 servings.

Get the Recipe: Shortcut Chicken Enchiladas

Broccoli with Bow Ties and Peas

Ina Garten's picture-perfect pasta dish is simple and fresh, and best of all, most of the ingredients can be found readily stocked in your pantry. Use thawed frozen peas to help save on time, and toss in a few toasted pine nuts before serving for added crunch.

Get the Recipe: Broccoli with Bow Ties and Peas

Sheet-Pan Glazed Meat Loaf

Cooking meatloaf in a sheet pan cuts down the cooking time dramatically, making this a perfect weeknight dinner. Shaping it thin and flat ensures that you get enough sticky-sweet glaze in every bite.

Get the Recipe: Sheet-Pan Glazed Meatloaf

Sausage and Broccolini Pizza Pockets

The recipe for weeknight dinner success? Pizza pockets, stuffed with sweet Italian sausage and three different cheeses.

Get the Recipe: Sausage and Broccolini Pizza Pockets

Beef and Cannellini Bean Minestrone

Make this hearty soup ahead of time and simply warm it up for dinner after a busy day. Giada likes to use lean ground beef, but ground turkey works well too.

Get the Recipe: Beef and Cannellini Bean Minestrone

Cauliflower Parmesan

This delicious, hearty cauliflower parm doesn't skimp on the flavor and will satisfy everyone, from vegetarians to the most die-hard carnivore.

Get the Recipe: Cauliflower Parmesan

Taco Pizza

Kids will love topping this easy weeknight main with their favorite taco ingredients, like salsa, cheddar and sour cream. Use store-bought dough for quick assembly.

Get the Recipe: Taco Pizza

Round and Round Pasta

Veggies and sausage are cut into rounds and tossed with wheel-shaped rotelle pasta in Giada De Laurentiis' fun pasta dish. Use your kids' favorite vegetables and toss with a creamy cheese and lemon sauce for a no-fuss weekday dinner.

Get the Recipe: Round and Round Pasta

Sheet Pan Caprese Chicken

This one-sheet wonder is ready in under an hour — and won’t leave your sink full of dirty dishes!

Get the Recipe: Sheet Pan Caprese Chicken

Venetian Rolled Pizza

Use store-bought dough to make these pizza rolls a cinch to prepare. Filled with mozzarella, spinach and prosciutto, they make a satisfying and fun hand-held dish.

Get the Recipe: Venetian Rolled Pizza

Chicken Fajita Pasta

Creamy, crunchy, and perfectly seasoned, this fajita-inspired skillet pasta makes a quick and easy dinner any night of the week.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Fajita Pasta


Anne Burrell's decadent, multilayered lasagna is perfect for a Sunday family dinner. Loaded with cheese, zucchini, mushrooms and chunky Italian sausage, this classic dish ensures your daily dose of protein and vegetables.

Get the Recipe: Lasagna

Egg Foo Young

Ready in just 20 minutes, this Chinese take on pancakes is packed with fresh veggies and flavor. Use regular soy sauce for the gravy if you can't find tamari.

Get the Recipe: Egg Foo Young

Pierogi and Squash Stew

You know the stash of pierogies in your freezer? Use them to squash your hunger when you make this satisfying, crave-worthy meal.

Get the Recipe: Pierogi and Squash Stew

Instant Pot Cheesy Pasta and Chicken

Classic dishes, like macaroni and cheese, are a great base to sneak in extra veggies and meats. This dish calls for fresh broccoli and chicken breast, plus two types of cheese and plenty of pasta.

Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Cheesy Pasta and Chicken

Roast Chicken

You just can't go wrong with roast chicken. To make this herby version, stuff yours with thyme, rosemary, garlic, shallots, bay leaves and lemon wedges.

Get the Recipe: Roast Chicken

Corn and Cheese Chowder

Ree Drummond puts this hearty chowder over the top by stirring in creamy Monterey and spicy pepper Jack. Both cheeses melt really well and complement the sweet corn. Serve it in a bread bowl for a full, filling meal.

Get the Recipe: Corn and Cheese Chowder

Burger Spaghetti

The ingredients for these tender meatballs include some cookout classics, like ground beef, ketchup, pickles and hamburger buns. For tender results, soak one of the buns in milk before incorporating it with the rest of the ingredients. Pressing a cube of cheddar into the center of each meatball helps with creaminess too.

Get the Recipe: Burger Spaghetti

Bean, Cauliflower and Cheese Burritos

Make Marcela Valladolid's cheesy burritos part of your family's weekly dinner rotation. Purple cauliflower introduces great color to the dish, and her quick recipe for Chorizo Refried Beans will transform any basic burrito into an irresistible, meaty treat.

Get the Recipe: Bean, Cauliflower and Cheese Burritos

Spanish Shrimp and Rice

Shrimp is an excellent choice when you don’t have a lot of time to cook: it’s versatile, crowd-pleasing, and ready in a flash.

Get the Recipe: Spanish Shrimp and Rice

Spaghetti Burgers

Kids will appreciate the familiar flavor of spaghetti and meatballs served up burger style. Thick beef patties are topped with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil, and they're served alongside crisp shoestring "fries" — cooked spaghetti that's been cut and deep-fried.

Get the Recipe: Spaghetti Burgers

Turkey Noodle Casserole

Rachael Ray's throwback dish combines tender egg noodles with a creamy bacon-ground turkey sauce. For a classic cheesy crust, top the casserole with Gruyere, then breadcrumbs, and broil until the cheese is melted and the crumbs are golden brown.

Get the Recipe: Turkey Noodle Casserole