We all know how crazy weeknights can be. With school, practices, and work, who has the time to cook for the whole family? Even with your busy schedules, sitting down for a meal with the whole family can be the best way to unwind and be together after a long day. The right, low-stress recipe will keep your evening open and create some amazing family mealtimes that everyone will love. Here are 12 meal ideas that are quick, easy, and delicious sure to have your little ones asking for seconds. 

Why are family meals important?

Eating together strengthens the relationship between you and your children and helps to give your child a sense of stability and connectedness. Mealtime conversation has also been shown to increase critical thinking and even improve literacy among young children. They’re a great way to engrain strong nutritional habits and to encourage your kids to try new things, making them healthier and more adaptable for years to come. Mealtime can be a blessing for parents, too! Use dinnertime as a stress reliever from all of the hustle and bustle.  Find ways for your kids to help out and take ownership of cooking themselves to start building memories with your family! 


How do I plan my weekly meals for my family?

It’s all about planning. Devise a meal schedule for the week and make that shopping list to put it into action. Always look ahead at estimated cooking times for recipes and be sure to leave a little wiggle room. Have your kids tag along at the grocery store! It can be a great activity that will help them start to understand where their dinners are coming from. Find out what their favorites are, and what is easiest to prepare. This way you can maximize the time around the table with your family.


1. Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Hearty, filling, and full of veggies. Enjoy a low-maintenance dish that you can easily throw together in less than 15 minutes in the morning. Let the slow cooker do the work!


2. Spaghetti Lo Mein

Combine two certified kid favorites in an easy-to-prepare dish that’s a twist on a beloved takeout offering.


3. Salmon Fish Sticks With Zucchini Chips

A healthier take on classic “fish sticks.” Your kids will love the crispy zucchini chips and the delicious sun-dried tomato dipping sauce. 


4. Three Cheese Mac

The gold standard, tried and true dish with a near 100% approval rating from kids everywhere. Try this easy, homemade mac and cheese recipe!


5. Yummy Veggie Tacos

Searching for a vegetarian option one night of the week? Look no further than some delicious and healthy veggie tacos!


6. Pasta with 10-Minute Pesto

Put your worries to the side with a super simple 10-minute pesto. Great for the busiest days and the hungriest of mouths!


7. Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes

Mind the mess! Your kids will adore the tangy sauce—most likely it’ll end up dripping down their cheeks! A great meal where you can sneak in the veggies virtually unnoticed.


8. Easy Meatball Subs

Quick, easy, and delicious (plus, filling for your little eaters)! Get the easy recipe for this classic sandwich.


9. 5-Ingredient Chicken Tortilla Soup

You won’t lose any time or money in the grocery store with this one. A favorite for any time of the year, enjoy a tasty soup option. Simple to make and sure to put a smile on your kids’ faces.


10. Easy Dumpling Soup

The perfect meal in a pinch. Take advantage of frozen dumplings or potstickers and transform them into a soup that fits any season.


11. Gnocchi Chicken Skillet

Gnocchi is always a hit for the little ones. If you’re looking for a hearty meal after a long day of play, this one will send them to sleepy full and happy.


12. Healthy Fruit Pizza

What's a family dinner without dessert? Combine fruit and yogurt on small tortillas for a healthy dessert that your kids can help customize themselves.



Ready to start cooking?

When it comes to meal time, it’s always nice to make it special with your family — and these recipes should help. If your child is showing interest in what you’re cooking, it may be time to explore cooking classes. Sawyer will connect you with hundreds of cooking educators offering both in-person and virtual cooking classes.