These easy family dinner ideas will please everyone around the table! The dinner recipes healthy, tasty, and make meal time fun.

Family dinner ideas, easy dinner recipes for family, family meals

Dinnertime is hard: especially when you’re trying to make meals for family! There are always 101 opinions, diets, and preferences to please. Plus, it’s difficult to maintain inspiration day in and day out. Today, we’ve compiled all our top family dinner ideas! Each dinner recipe below is a meal that’s been tested by a real family (us!) and is easy to make at home. From lasagna to pizza soup to fajitas to loaded potatoes, we’ve got the recipes you need for your table. See also: 23 Fun & Healthy Dinner Ideas for Kids

And now…family dinner ideas to make meal time fun!

More tips for cooking for family

We hope you’ve enjoyed these easy dinner recipes for family! But when it comes to putting meals on the table, it’s even trickier when you’ve got a family in tow. Outside of family dinner ideas, here are a few things we’ve learned about cooking for family from our 4 year old:

  • Start with veggie snacks. While you’re cooking dinner, one way to avoid hungry kiddos is to start with some veggie appetizers. Put out a plate of carrot sticks, sliced peppers, and snap peas, and the kids will have no options but to go for the veggies! (You could even set out some easy ranch dip too.)
  • Work together. If possible, work with your spouse or partner on dinner and corralling the family. It’s easier with 2 people working together! We generally cook together as a couple.
  • Don’t sweat it if it doesn’t go over the first time. One thing we’ve learned about cooking for kids is to not define dislikes. It takes 7 times of introducing a new flavor for it to stick. Our son Larson’s tastes change daily — so when we try some family dinner recipes a second time, he loves them even if he didn’t like them the first!
  • Find healthy ways to end the meal. If our kiddo doesn’t eat enough during the meal, sometimes we bring out Peanut Butter Dip and apple slices as a healthy post-meal snack that seems like a treat (but it’s full of healthy ingredients!).
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Baked rigatoni

25 Family Dinner Ideas: Pasta Bake & More!

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


This easy baked rigatoni is all about crowd pleasing flavor! Bake this popular pasta with garlicky tomato sauce, fresh basil, and gooey mozzarella.


  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 15 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ cup basil, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (or shredded)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush a 9 x 13″ baking dish with olive oil.
  2. Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the rigatoni until it is just al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes). Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, mince the garlic. In a separate pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the basil, marinara sauce, and tomatoes and stir for 1 minute. Stir in ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon onion powder and 1 pinch red pepper flakes and the ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat.
  4. Pour the sauce and the drained pasta into the baking dish. Top with torn pieces of mozzarella. Sprinkle the entire top with generous sprinkles of Parmesan cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until browned.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and top with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided over the top. Let stand 5 minutes. If desired, garnish with chopped basil. (Make ahead instructions: Make the pasta through Step 4 and cover with foil. Refrigerate until baking, up to 24 hours.)
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Family dinner ideas

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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