50 Easy Dinner Ideas

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Dinner doesn't have to be a chore. These 50 easy dinner ideas will help you mix things up and keep your family fed. From simple one-pot meals to hearty winter dishes, there's something for everyone here. So fire up the stove and get cooking!

What should I cook for my dinner tonight? What to cook when you've run out of ideas? I'm sure these are questions we've all either asked or commonly get. And I get it, it's hard figuring out every night what to make for dinner especially when you're short on time. Whether you're looking for quick, healthy or easy dinner ideas that's for two or can feed your entire family I've got a plethora of crowd pleasing dinner recipes that'll give you some ideas of what to cook for dinner.

Salmon Skewers

Ground Chicken Tacos from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin) easy dinner ideas

Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas

Time is short. It often feels like we only have a few minutes to get dinner on the table, but sometimes you need more than 20 seconds to whip something up that is nutrient dense. These easy dinner ideas are perfect for those days when work is crazy and there doesn’t seem any other option than unhealthy fast food. The best part about all these dishes? They're made in under 20 Minutes.

If you're looking for some quick and easy dinner ideas these recipes are for you!

Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
DIY Poke Bowl Bar from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Easy Healthy Dinner Ideas

You won't miss out on any of your favorite flavors with these healthy recipes. From the best salads to DIY poke bowls there's something here for everyone.

Roasted Mushroom Pasta with Herbs from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Zucchini Fritters

Vegetarian Dinner Recipes

From the classics like vegetarian lasagna and vegetarian chili to vegetarian friendly dinner recipes to make at your next dinner party you can't go wrong with any of these ideas plus they'll be a hit with anyone at the dinner table no matter if they eat meat or not.

Let's address a commonly asked question first!

Is parmesan cheese or mozzarella vegetarian?

Because most hard cheeses are made with rennet an animal-derived enzyme technically the answer is no. However, there are more and more vegetarian cheese options becoming available at the grocery store that are processed with plant-derived enzymes. So if a recipe calls for parmesan, mozzarella, or any other cheese just be sure to check the ingredients to make sure you're using one without rennet. You can read more about it here.

Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Chicken Fajita Bowls from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Chicken Dinner Ideas

If you're looking what to make for dinner with chicken these ideas are just for you!

50/50 Mushroom Beef Burger from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Spicy Beef with Coconut Rice from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Ground Beef Dinner Ideas

These ground beef recipes are anything but boring. From burgers to bolognese I've covered all the classics and added a few of my favorites like spicy beef larb with coconut rice that I think you should try. If you're wondering what to make with ground beef look no further.

Tortellini with Sausage and Mascarpone from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Perfect Meatballs from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Easy Family Dinner Ideas

These are those nostalgic family dinner recipes that everyone loves. Whether it's spaghetti and meatballs or taco night these are the perfect family meals to share.

Italian Mac and Cheese Bake from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Caprese Focaccia Bread from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whats

Sunday Dinner Ideas

After a long week there's nothing better than a comforting Sunday dinner the whole family loves! Whether you're having a homemade pizza night or making a bubbling hot skillet of mac & cheese these Sunday dinner ideas will help you beat the Sunday scaries.

Looking for more easy dinner ideas for tonight?

Take a look at this roundup of easy dinner ideas that make for great leftover lunches. And if you're hosting a dinner party soon check out my dinner party menus with prep schedules that guide you step by step to throwing the ultimate dinner party that not only your guests will enjoy but you will too.

Bonus Dinner Tips and Tricks:

Mix and match method for easy dinner ideas:

  • Take one protein, pasta, or veggie
  • Add your favorite dip / sauce / seasoning

Presto! You have a delicious new combo and they all work interchangeably. Literally hundreds of variations!

Look how flexible this is:

Main: Chicken drizzled with Cilantro Vinaigrette Side: Roasted sweet potatoes seasoned with Gaby's Go To Seasoning


Main: Grilled Shrimp with Cilantro Pesto Side: Roasted Pepper and Corn Salad


Any of the easy dinner ideas I covered at the top of this blog post 🙂

Meal Plans:

Here are my top three tips for meal planning

  1. Prep as much as you can on Sunday when you have time.
  2. Roast Multiple Veggies, sauces, and cook multiple grains. The beauty in meal prep is the ability to mix and match everything so that the only cooking you have to do each night is the protein or pasta.
  3. If you’re shopping once for the whole week, do the fish recipes earlier as that doesn’t last as long in the fridge
  4. Any of the easy dinner ideas listed out above can work great as a plug and play for your own weekly meal plans

Four Life Saving Tips for easy dinner ideas:

  1. Keep a stocked pantry of the essentials(read this: How to stocking your pantry and Fridge)
    • Pasta and or rice is the easiest way to fill the plate without additional effort. Boil off 1-2 lbs of pasta and you are on your way.
  2. Never serve meat, fish, or chicken whole.
    • Slice or flake your proteins so people just grab 1-2 pieces. Chicken Breast sliced into 6 really stretches things out.
  3. Sides and Salads are the name of the game.
    • Ransack the fridge and take out every fruit and vegetable. Make leafy green salads, fruit salads, pasta salads, antipasto salads, you name it.
  4. Keep cookie dough stocked in the freezer at all times.
    • I can’t even tell you how many times having cookie dough saved the day. Bake off cookies, serve them warm or chill them and make ice cream sandwiches.

Kitchen Appliances That will save you time and money in the kitchen:

I’ll be honest, you do NOT need to spend hundreds of dollars getting the latest and greatest gadgets for your kitchen.

I’m about to break it down to the 5 tools that you really need for every recipe. Everything else is just a bonus.

  1. A great chefs knife
    1. You need one that feels good in your hands, isn’t too big, something you can easily control and something that is SHARP.
  2. A blender or a food processor
    1. Either or, it does not really matter. Just something that you can use to make sauces, vinaigrettes, and the ability to blend everything together.
  3. Heavy duty cast iron skillet
    1. This is for meats and veggies when you want that really nice sear and char. They also last forever!
  4. A Stainless steel pot and pan
    1. One for boiling water and one for sautéing veggies. Great pots and pans are worth investment and should last you your entire life.
  5. Glass prep bowls
    1. I use them for everything like: meal prep, tossing veggies in oil, heck I even eat salads out of them. They make life really easy since they stack too.

Dinner time can be a stressful event for some (or most) families. The pressure to have something delicious and healthy on the table can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be that way! We’ve collected some of our favorite easy dinner recipes that will make your life easier and your stomach happier. Whether you’re looking for a quick chicken dinner idea, an easy ground beef recipe, or a hearty vegetarian meal, we’ve got you covered. And if these don’t take your fancy, check out our other posts on easy family dinners or Sunday night suppers. Save this post and never struggle with dinner again!

Italian Mac and Cheese Bake

Author: Gaby Dalkin
5 from 2 votes
An Italian spin on mac and cheese!!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people


  • 1 pound Italian sausage (hot or sweet), casings removed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 12 ounces pasta, cooked and drained (I used cavatappi)
  • 1 26-ounce jar Gaby’s Four Cheese Tomato Sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • fresh basil, for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 350° In a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until seared and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add onion, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft, 5 minutes more.
  • Add pasta, tomato sauce and season with salt. Stir in half-and-half and simmer until mostly absorbed, 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in half of mozzarella.
  • Transfer mixture to a large baking dish and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with basil and serve.


If you want to skip the Italian sausage and make this vegetarian – go for it! And if you want to replace the sausage with either ground chicken, ground turkey or ground beef… all will work spectacularly as well!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 956kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 2113mg | Potassium: 1162mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1194IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 484mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!


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