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23 Easy All-Purpose Family Dinners That Won't Stress You Out

From one parent to another.

Figuring out dinner every night can be tough.

And that's especially true for parents: We're always on the hunt for fast, filling, budget-friendly recipes that actually taste good. Even better when those meals are customizable — so you can quickly swap a few things to win over any (shall we say) more ~selective~ palates at your table. Here are several favorites!

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1. Easiest Chicken & Avocado Burritos

Customize these as you see fit — and ditch the cilantro if your kids (or you) don't like it. To save even more time, start with rotisserie chicken.

Recipe: Easy Chicken & Avocado Burritos

2. Instant Pot Chili Mac 'n' Cheese

Joe Lingeman / Via thekitchn.com

Everything cooks right in the Instant Pot — making this a true drop-and-go dinner.

Recipe: Instant Pot Chili Mac 'n' Cheese

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3. 10-Minute Baked Tostadas

yellowblissroad.com

Tostada shells are super easy to make: just brush corn tortillas with olive oil and pop them in the oven for a few minutes until crispy. Then have everyone add their own favorite toppings: beans, cheese, tomatoes, you name it.

Recipe: 10-Minute Oven Baked Tostadas

4. Oven-Baked Pizza Chicken

All your favorite pizza flavors — just with a bit more protein. (And a side of garlic bread!)

Recipe: Oven-Baked Pizza Chicken

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5. Lighter Broccoli Chicken Casserole

gimmesomeoven.com

This version skips the canned soup in favor of a creamy — but still simple — homemade sauce.

Recipe: Lighter Broccoli Chicken Casserole

6. Loaded Quesadillas

caitsplate.com

Dress these up or down depending on who's eating. For easy extra protein, swap sour cream for Greek yogurt.

Recipe: Loaded Quesadillas

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7. Sheet Pan Sliders

realhousemoms.com

A sheet of Hawaiian rolls as the base means you customize these however you want — maybe dressing half for kids and half for parents, depending on who likes what.


Recipe: Sheet Pan Sliders

8. Crock Pot Tortellini Soup

With temperatures dropping, this comforting soup is one of the best ways to upgrade grocery store tortellini.

Recipe: Crock Pot Tortellini Soup

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9. Sheet Pan Taco Flatbread

life-in-the-lofthouse.com

Can't decide between tacos or pizza? That's where this comes in.

Recipe: Sheet Pan Taco Flatbread

10. Crock Pot Meatloaf With Carrots & Potatoes

familyfreshmeals.com

This recipe cooks for a full eight hours — so it's the perfect thing to leave on all day while you're out running errands or at work.

Recipe: Crock Pot Meatloaf With Carrots & Potatoes

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11. Vegetarian Enchilada Bake

chelseasmessyapron.com

Quinoa can be tricky for pickier palates. But this high-protein recipe — where its buried underneath lots of familiar southwestern-style flavors (plus cheese!) — is a great starter.

Recipe: Vegetarian Enchilada Bake

12. Mini Turkey Sliders

onmykidsplate.com

Quick tip: An easy way to keep slider size consistent is to use a cookie cutter ring to shape the patties.

Recipe: Mini Turkey Sliders

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13. Shortcut Chicken Parmesan

Joe Lingeman / Via thekitchn.com

Some nights you want might to make a complex Italian-style dinner entirely from scratch — and other nights you just want to feed hungry mouths ASAP. This recipe is for the latter.

Recipe: Quickest Chicken Parmesan

14. Garlic Butter Steak and Lemon Green Beans

eatwell101.com

Slicing the steak into strips beforehand means everything cooks through in a flash. To round this out, serve with baked or mashed potatoes.

Recipe: Garlic Butter Steak and Lemon Green Beans

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15. White Cheddar Mac 'n' Cheese With Broccoli

This makes enough for four people — and clocks in at less than $2 per serving.

Recipe: White Cheddar Mac 'n' Cheese With Broccoli

16. Southwestern Veggie-Packed Tater Tot Casserole

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Serious question: Who doesn't love tots? This casserole — with lots of veggies packed into the sauce and the ability to dress the top up or down — is the tastiest way to turn them into dinner.

Recipe: Southwestern Veggie-Packed Tater Tot Casserole

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17. Chicken Sausage, Roasted Potatoes & Corn

caitsplate.com

Another easily customizable one: You can do spicy Italian sausage for the adults, and chicken or turkey sausage (or even hot dogs) for kids.

Recipe: Chicken Sausage, Roasted Potatoes & Corn

18. Slow Cooker Turkey Chili With Cornbread Dumplings

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Slow cooker chili is great. Slow cooker chili with drop-and-go cornbread dumplings on top is even better.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili With Cornbread Dumplings

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19. Foil Packet Steak & Potato Bites

savorynothings.com

Make these in the oven or grill — and know that the foil wrapper makes cleanup way easier.

Recipe: Foil Packet Steak & Potato Bites

20. Slow Cooker Veggie Burrito Bowls

Joe Lingeman / Via thekitchn.com

I've made this — and its chicken counterpart — many times for my family, and it's always an easy, all-purpose hit.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Veggie Burrito Bowls

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21. Chicken & Vegetable Ramen

chelseasmessyapron.com

Just modify the meat and/or veggies depending on what everyone likes. Either way, it will still come together in one pan — and in less than 30 minutes.

Recipe: Chicken & Vegetable Ramen

22. Slow Cooker Beef Casserole

This freezes well, so feel free to make a double batch and save the rest for later in the season.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Beef Casserole

23. Build-Your-Own French Bread Pizzas

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed / Via BuzzFeed

When in doubt? Pizza night! 🍕

Recipe: Build-Your-Own French Bread Pizzas

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