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What’s For Dinner?

whats for dinner? ideas for family dinner

If any of you are like me, one of the most daunting questions of quarantine has been, “What’s for dinner this week?” My family does meal prep, so we make multiple meals on Sunday and don’t have to spend much time cooking throughout the week. But being stuck at home has made food one of the most interesting things about this time! 

So in case you are feeling as uninspired as I am most weekends, I wanted to give you some great, easy dinner ideas–many of which you likely already have ingredients for! My go to grocery store is Aldi for their low and affordable prices and great produce, so all of these meals contain ingredients you can almost always get there, as well. Estimated costs listed include all ingredients, minus salt and pepper, and are based on Aldi prices and packaging sizes.

 

Skinny Refried Beans & Chicken Enchiladas, Homemade Enchilada Sauce 🌶 GF

This recipe uses familiar and easy-to-find ingredients and can easily be modified. Plus, it makes several servings, making this a great meal for a family or for meal prep. I made it this week, and it turned out great! Vegetarian? Use this sweet potato and black bean enchilada recipe instead!
Makes 12 servings
Takes 1 hour
Cost for ingredients per serving: $2

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta 🥬

The rich flavors of this dish make it a little fancier than your typical pasta dish, and it is really easy to put together. Add some crushed red pepper for a little kick! While this recipe is only for 4 servings, it would be easy to double for a great meal prep or large family dinner.
Makes 4 servings
Takes 30 minutes
Costs for ingredients per serving: $3.75

Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl 🥬 GF

One of the first healthy, vegetable-packed dishes I made on my own was this one. The tahini dressing is listed as optional, but I do recommend using something to keep it from being a little dry. Aldi doesn’t have tahini (you can get it for around $9 at Giant Eagle–you won’t use much and it keeps for a while), but you could also substitute plain hummus and get a very similar flavor with the lemon juice and maple syrup. And I always use regular broccoli in place of broccolini. If you’re shopping at Aldi, it’s really easy to double the recipe with the ingredients you buy.
Makes 3 servings
Takes 30 minutes
Costs for ingredients per serving: about $5, not including optional ingredients

Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken GF

This dish is super easy because you make chicken, potatoes, and vegetables all on one pan. While the recipe recommends specific vegetables, you can customize this to fit your family’s preferences. The serving sizes can be adjusted, but the original recipe makes 8 servings and can be kept in the freezer for up to a month. If you can’t get a whole chicken, just use your preference of chicken meat.
Makes 8 servings
Takes 1 hour 20 minutes (1 hour cook time)
Cost for ingredients per serving: $3.75

Vegan West African Peanut Stew 🥬 GF

Don’t knock this recipe until you try it! Peanut soup is one of my favorite dishes–every time I eat it, I like it even more. And, even better, it’s pretty easy to make! If you don’t like or can’t find collard greens, spinach is a great substitute. Traditionally, this is often served over rice, but you could also serve it with naan bread or vegetables.
Makes 6 servings
Takes 55 minutes (45 minutes cooking)
Costs for ingredients per serving: $3

Summer Strawberry Spinach Salad with Avocado 🥬 GF

As we move into warmer months, a strawberry salad is a great dinner option for a summer evening. This dish is also great because it requires almost no cooking! (Except toasting almonds.) She recommends some options to serve with it, including grilled chicken or black bean burgers, or serve it as is!
Makes 4 servings
Takes 25 minutes
Costs for ingredients per serving: $6

Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala 🌶 GF

If you’re looking for a recipe that’s a little more hands-off, this is a great option! Everything can be put into the slow cooker. This is a personal favorite of mine because it tastes like actual tikka masala. Aldi doesn’t have garam masala but you can get it at Giant Eagle for around $6. Or this is a recipe for making it at home with easy-to-find spices. You can also find turmeric and curry powder at Giant Eagle for $5–or get the turmeric and make your own curry. I love to serve this dish with cauliflower, rice, pitas, or a mix of these 3. The serving size says 4, but it really ends up being around 6-8! If you want a vegetarian option, this chickpea and cauliflower dish is a good recipe–just substitute coconut milk for the heavy cream and water for a healthier option!
Makes about 4-6 servings
Takes less than 4 hours (10 minutes prep)
Costs for ingredients per serving: around $5-6

Red Pepper & Parmesan Tilapia GF

Tilapia is a good, light fish, especially for the summer. This dish gives it a little extra flavoring with Parmesan and Italian seasoning, with red pepper flakes for a kick. For a side, you can serve almost anything–vegetables or rice for a lighter option, potatoes or even pasta if you want some carbs.
Makes 4 servings
Takes 20 minutes
Costs for ingredients per serving: $3.50 including side options

Couscous Summer Salad 🥬

Warmer months are my favorite time for fresh salads with sweeter ingredients. This is exactly that, with dried cherries and an option for peaches or nectarines to be added. The author gives plenty of add-ins, so you can try all of them or add what your family likes best. This is a great recipe for fresh peaches from the local farmer’s market, when they are in season. Ground coriander can be difficult to find, but you can also skip it and add in a little extra cumin for a similar flavor! I definitely recommend the chickpeas for some added protein.
Makes 6 servings
Takes 20 minutes
Cost of ingredients per serving: $3.30 with all add-ins

Stovetop Southwest Tuna Mac and Cheese

One great aspect of this dish is that she gives lots of alternatives to making it your own, especially for anyone with a gluten allergy. She has some vegan cheese recipes on her blog as well, if you want to go dairy-free. Keep it vegetarian by simply skipping the tuna–you can add zucchini or broccoli in its place for extra texture. This is made in one pan and is great for leftovers, too!
Makes 6 servings
Takes 25 minutes
Costs for ingredients per serving: $2.75

 

Hopefully these dishes will give you some inspiration for easy, delicious dinners, with familiar and easy-to-find ingredients. If your pantry is full and you don’t want to have to shop, Supercook offers a great feature to enter what items are in your kitchen, and it gives you recipes that you can make with ingredients in your home! And the blogs listed above contain hundreds of other great recipes and dishes for all seasons and meals, giving you plenty of ways to get dinner inspiration!

🥬 Vegetarian
🌶 Spicy
GF Gluten Free