20 Easy Weeknight Dinners for the Family

20 Easy Weeknight Dinners for the FamilyThese recipes are easy weeknight dinners for the family that will save you time and money.

 

With school coming up quickly, that also means our busy schedules will begin again. Soon our nights will be filled with running kids back and forth between extracurricular activities and helping them complete homework assignments, while keeping all the household duties running smoothly.

With all of that going on, deciding what to make for dinner might be the last thing on our mind, and finding time to do it can be challenging. That is why I want to share with you 20 cheap and quick family meals on a budget. These recipes are easy weeknight dinners for the family that will save you time and money.

All these recipes are delicious and easy meals for busy moms and don’t take a lot of time. My family also loves these meals. And they are recipes I regularly add to my weekly meal plans. I hope you enjoy these family dinner menu ideas.

 

One Pan Garlic Parmesan Pasta

One Pan Garlic Parmesan Pasta – This has a delicious creamy sauce and it’s an easy recipe. Just place all the ingredients into a pot after you saute the garlic, and then let it simmer for 20 minutes until done.

 

 

 

Crock Pot Ranch Chicken Tacos

Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken Tacos – The slow cooker ranch chicken tacos are an easy meal to make on a busy night. It only takes about 5 minutes to put the ingredients in the crock pot for dinner.

Time-Saving Tip: Take frozen chicken out of the freezer and place it directly into the crock pot. No need to thaw the chicken beforehand.

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli – It takes about 10 minutes to cut the meat, combine the ingredients for the sauce and put it all in the crock pot. After it’s cooked all day and you are ready to eat dinner, just thicken the sauce with cornstarch, quickly steam the broccoli and cook the rice.

Time-Saving Tip: Something I invested in is a rice cooker. It makes cooking rice so convenient. Once you add the rice and water to the cooker and push the cook button, you don’t have to watch it or worry about it. And it will keep the rice warm until you are ready for dinner.

 

 

 

Three-Bean Chili

Three-Bean Chili – This is one of my favorite chili recipes to throw together at the last minute. Place Fritos or tortilla chips crumbled on the top to add to the delicious taste of the chili.

Time-Saving Tip: Keep cooked ground beef in the freezer that you can pull out, thaw, and use for this recipe.

 

 

 

Crock Pot Chicken and Gravy

Crock Pot Chicken and Gravy – Place all the ingredients in your crock pot in the morning. Right before dinner all that’s left to do is quickly shred the chicken and stir in sour cream. It’s then ready to serve over rice, potatoes or noodles.

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Easy Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli

 

slow cooker beef and broccoliThis Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli is so easy to make. It only takes about 10 minutes to cut the meat, combine the ingredients for the sauce and put it all in the crock pot. I love that I don’t have to worry about dinner until it’s about time to eat. At that time all that’s left to do is to thicken the sauce with cornstarch, steam the broccoli and cook the rice to go with the beef and broccoli. I absolutely love that I invested in a rice cooker. Once you add the rice and water to the cooker and push the cook button, you don’t have to watch it or worry about it. After the rice cooks, it will stay warm until you are ready for dinner.

By making this Asian dish at home, you save money by not eating out. The Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli tastes delicious just like what you would eat at the restaurant, yet doesn’t cost as much.

Below is the recipe for the Easy Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli:

beef and broccoli recipe

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What’s For Dinner Video: A Week of Meals Ideas

A week of meal ideas what's for dinner

This week I am sharing a video with you of what meals I cooked for my family. I know how busy we are as moms and we don’t have a lot of time in our day to cook meals for our family. I’m sharing simple dinner ideas that don’t take a lot of time to make. If you can plan your meals ahead, even on busy days, then you’ll save your family money because you will be less likely to pick up dinner at a fast food restaurant, and you’ll end up running to the store less often. Check out the What’s for Dinner Video: A Week of Meal Ideas below.

 

 

If you can’t see my video, head over to my YouTube channel here.

 

And below are links to the recipes I made for my family in the video:

Day 1: Crock Pot Lasagna

Day 2: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with 4-Ingredient Homemade Noodles

Day 3: Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese

Day 4: Creamy Tomato Soup

Day 5: Chinese Tacos

Day 6: Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Day 7: Leftovers

 

 

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Easy Three-Bean Chili

Easy Three Bean ChiliThis easy Three-Bean Chili recipe is one of my favorite chili recipes to throw together at the last minute. Add Fritos or tortilla chips crumbled which adds to the delicious taste of the chili. A friend gave me the recipe years ago and it has now become one of my go-to soup recipes on cold fall and winter days. Here is the recipe for the Three-Bean Chili:

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Navajo Tacos and Indian Fry Bread

 

 

I love eating Navajo Tacos, also known as Indian Fry Bread. I especially have a lot of fond memories eating them on campouts. And after I eat one or two Navajo Tacos (because they are so good), then I always eat another one with honey butter on the fry bread. It is delicious! If you have never had honey butter on Indian Fry Bread, then you need to try it!

Here’s how to make Navajo Tacos and Indian Fry Bread:

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Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs (Freezer Meal)

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs Freezer MealThis Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs recipe is delicious! It is easy to make and only takes a few minutes to throw in the crock pot. When it’s ready, serve it with steamed rice and vegetables on the side for dinner. And I love that this could be a great freezer meal to have on hand for busy days. Prep the ingredients and place it in re-sealable freezer bags, then on days when you know you won’t have a lot of time for dinner, grab it out of the freezer and dump it into the crock pot.

I like to make my own meatballs, but on busy days I use store-bought meatballs. We’ve tried a lot of meatballs and our family favorite is the Farm Rich Italian Style Meatballs. They are big and have a delicious flavor. If you want to make your own homemade meatballs, which are also very good, the recipe to make homemade meatballs is below.

If you want more freezer meals like this Hawaiian Meatballs recipe, check out these 7 Make Ahead Freezer Meals here.

 

hawaiian meatballs

Before you make the homemade meatballs or the Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs recipe, here are some questions and answers that might be helpful.

 

CAN YOU PREP MEATBALLS AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes you can. Make and cook the homemade meatballs the day before then place them in the fridge. You could also freeze them for 2-3 months. When ready to make this Hawaiian Meatball recipe, take the meatballs out of the fridge or freezer and put them in the crock pot with the other ingredients.

You can also freeze uncooked meatballs in the freezer for up to one month. Just be sure to thaw them in the fridge before cooking.

PRO TIP: If you don’t have time for the crock pot or you forgot to put the ingredients in the crock pot that morning, you can cook this recipe on the stove. With fully cooked meatballs, the recipe just needs heated up and allowed to simmer for 5-10 minutes.  

If this recipe was made into a freezer meal, cooking it on the stove also works. Just thaw the recipe in the microwave and then transfer the ingredients to a pot and cook it on the stove till heated through simmering for 5-10 minutes.

 

DO MEATBALLS FREEZE WELL? AND SHOULD YOU COOK MEATBALLS BEFORE FREEZING THEM?

The nice thing about freezing meatballs is that you can freeze them either uncooked or cooked. And meatballs freeze great. Uncooked ground meat is freezer-safe for up to three to four months, and cooked ground beef is safe for two to three months.

It’s up to you whether you want to cook meatballs before freezing them. The nice thing about having cooked meatballs in the freezer is that it’s faster to get dinner on the table if you can pull out the already cooked meatballs.

Before freezing uncooked or cooked meatballs, you’ll want to flash freeze them first before placing them in the freezer. This helps to prevent the meatballs from clumping together. To flash freeze, place the uncooked (or cooked) meatballs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place the baking sheet in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Once the meatballs are frozen, transfer them to a re-sealable freezer bag, label the outside with the contents and date and place the bag in the freezer.

 

HOW DO YOU COOK FROZEN RAW MEATBALLS?

Take the frozen raw meatballs out of the freezer and place the bag in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. For THAWED meatballs that are about 1-inch in diameter, place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

If you don’t have time to thaw the meatballs in the fridge the night before, you can still cook frozen raw meatballs in the oven. However, raw meatballs will need 5-10 minutes longer in the oven than thawed ones.  So for FROZEN RAW meatballs that are about 1-inch in diameter, place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Be sure to make sure they reach a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check if the meatballs are done by cutting the meatball open and making sure there are no traces of pink inside or the inside of the meatball is really hot to the touch.

 

 

Crock Pot Hawaiian Meatballs

Here’s how to make Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs, as well as how to turn it into a freezer meal.

PRO TIP: If you don’t have time to thaw the Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs in the fridge, you can place all of the FROZEN contents of the freezer meal bag into the crock pot and cook it on low for 6-8 hours. There’s no need to thaw it when it cooks in the crock pot that long. 

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The Best Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

The Best Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

When I was younger, I wasn’t a fan of French dip sandwiches, but after tasting this recipe, I think that these are the best Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches. I really liked that the meat was so tender, the flavor tasted good, and the broth was a delicious dip for the sandwich. Plus, my family really enjoyed them too. Here’s how to make these Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches:

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