What Does Your Family like for Dinner?

Updated on January 09, 2019
J.K. asks from Naperville, IL
12 answers

I find meal planning for my family of five to be extremely challenging. I feel like I make the same four things over and over again. I would love ideas for everyone’s favorite weeknight family dinner. I have allergies in the house to fish and nuts. I know how to cook, just not what to cook!!

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answers from San Francisco on

Spaghetti or Alfredo (I make my sauce equal parts cream & parmesan, plus salt & pepper
Soup or Stew
Stir Fry with pork or chicken or tofu and veggies
Sandwiches (often on rolls, open faced toasted under the broiler)
Casseroles or Crock Pot type meals
Dinner Salad (like a Thai salad with chicken, or Taco Salad)
Breakfast for Dinner! (usually when I didn't have anything else to serve lol!)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My family is pretty easy. We have a routine...

Monday - pasta night - mac and cheese, spaghetti, etc.
Tuesday - Taco night! I might make tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc. I make a Mexican lasagna that they love - I use tostada shells instead of flour tortillas for a cruch.
Wednesday - Family night - we order food
Thursday - open night - I try a new dish!!
Friday - boys night in - they have TV Dinners and I go out with my girlfriend
Saturday - depends upon the weather - might grill or I'll fix something that they love...
Sunday is leftover night - whatever isn't used is thrown out so it doesn't go bad.

Typical meals they love:

Broccoli casserole - fresh broccoli with shredded cheese, cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, chopped onion, Cheez-Its. Yum!

Cashew Chicken - a Chinese favorite
Sweet and Sour Pork - I use bell peppers, celery, carrots, onions and make a great sauce! served with egg rolls

Pork chops - I make them several ways. There's a one-skillet way - carrots and potatoes with broth. Or broiled...or baked...

Fish - I like fish and chips (fries).

Beef stew during the winter

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

pasta - which covers a lot - spaghetti and meatballs, chicken alfredo, even pasta with some vegetables in a sauce
soups - there are many - French onion, chowders, butternut squash/pumpkin, etc
salads - green leaf, pasta salad, potato salad
chili - red or white chili - both are good and are crock pot friendly
Zatterans - lots of flavors - works well with chicken or sausage or ground turkey
fritatas, scrambled eggs, omelettes, cheese souffle
casseroles / one pot meals - one favorite starts with diced chicken, cream of chicken soup and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables - make it up and put a pie crust on it and it's pot pie, or add in a few spoons of Bisquik batter for chicken and dumplings
Another casserole involves scalloped potatoes, diced ham bits and cheese.

People are creatures of habit so stick with your basics and maybe have 1 night a week that's experimental - do something different so everyone can try a new dish.
You will find some new favorites - though some things you try you will never want to try again.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Tuesday is sub sandwich night and Thursday is pizza night, so those two are always covered. I try to do a month's worth of meal planning at a time (even if I'm not shopping for a month) in order to create a balance of meals and not repeating over and over. When I sit down with my calendar, I try to do an even balance of ground turkey, red meat, chicken, meatless and/or pasta, soups/chilis, pork, etc. I also try to balance out "ethnic meals" - so many mexican, so many chinese/asian, so many italian. Then I start filling in the calendar for the month (putting in my Tues and Thurs meals first). For this month I have the following meals in no particular order:

White Chix Chili
Chix Tortilla Soup
Stirfry (I have this twice - one teriyaki based and one peanut sauce based)
Chili Lime Pork Chops
Pork Chop Suey
Crockpot Mexican Casserole on lime/cilantro rice
Beef Roast
Pulled Pork
Smothered Chix Breast
Air Fried Chix Legs/Thighs
Homemade Hamburger Helper (think goulash)
Beef Stroganoff
Angel Chicken on rice
Pork Roast
Tator Tot Casserole
Cupboard Casserole (this usually turns up once a month and basically uses leftovers that doesn't fit into either of the stirfrys or the minestrone soup).

We rarely eat out, and the leftovers are my husband's lunches during the week and lunches on the weekend for everyone.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

We have the problem of some liking tomatoes and others not - so everyone likes pasta - just the problem of the sauces. So now that my oldest are teens, they can heat up their own sauces (we just make extra and keep some on hand in serving sizes, frozen or in the fridge).

So pasta is huge in our house - and I find quick and easy. So spaghetti - we have a homemade meat sauce that one teen helps me with that most everyone will eat if you dump parmesan cheese on it (some just scrape to the side and eat mostly cheese on it). It's good though and then if you serve with salad, everyone likes salad here.

The salad - my sister (big family) showed me this tip - she lays it all out on her island - and sets the toppings out so kids make their own. So whether it's a spinach salad - she slices the eggs up, has seeds (if your child can eat nuts), then chopped up fruit like apples or pears, then cheese like mozzarella or goat, then red onion, etc. whatever they want to make.

Same with tacos, wraps. We do the same.

So that's kind of how we serve meals now too - lay it out, and they do the fixings.

I do a hamburger pasta - it's cheese soup, tomato soup, meat, noodles - easy and probably pretty gross, but the kids (except for one) eats it. It's like lasagna in a pan. There are MUCH healthy versions out there - where you make a broth and all that (I've done that too) but this is my quick and easy version and the kids can make it.

My husband makes sausages - everyone in our house loves those. Again, he'll make different types. That and salad .. everyone enjoys. More in the summer months of course.

Ham is a big one here - everyone likes it. Then I take the leftovers, and we eat with eggs etc.

ETA: homemade pizza's - we do those once a week. And if we order in, it's always pizza and garlic fingers.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi J. - Based on your past questions, your children are not little, they are about 11 and 15 and 17 years old.

What do they like? What are the "four things" that you make?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Chicken parmesan. Chicken alfredo. Lasagna. Breaded baked pork chops. Breaded baked cheddar topped chicken. Grilled pork chops, chicken, burgers and hotdogs. Parmesan crusted chicken. Chicken pot pie. Pot roast. Beef stew. Grilled steak.
I use Pinterest to find new ideas for dinner.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

For me, the key is being able to make something which will provide two or three dinners because I can't possibly cook every night. In this season, I often make a couple bean-based soups/stews and then alternate between them. There's nothing as comforting as a bowl of warm soup/stew in the evening. A good sized pot will last several meals, and all we need to do is ladle out the amount needed from the pot in the fridge, heat, and serve with rice, bread, or whatever grain we want. Also, a pot of beans stewed with tomatoes, onions, celery, green peppers, garlic, and seasonings (chili powder, etc) can be used in several different ways--fillings for burritos that people add peppers/salsa/cheese to taste, as a base for corn pone, on top of rice, for huevos rancheros, etc. A big casserole can be a lifesaver too. Also, I make frittatta sometimes--again, it can be enough for two meals.


answers from Santa Fe on

I also get sick of making all the same things. Ugh. Here are some dinners that we like in our family that are not the usual stuff:
Chicken cooked with Trader Joe's Salsa Verde (sold in jars) in the crockpot or instapot. Serve with rice. It's really good and my picky eater even loves it.
Chile made with black beans, pinto beans, cut up beef, onion, green pepper, canned tomatoes, mild green chile and cumin, salt, and pepper...again this is good in the crockpot. Serve with cornbread.
Butter chicken - indian dish. My kids love this. The recipe I use is made with cream or half and half. Very yummy.


answers from Kalamazoo on

Yesterday I made alfredo with baked chicken breast and some frozen peas. Tonight I have 1.5 lbs of burger to use. I'm thinking either burger sliders cause I have some rolls to use up or maybe an easy dirty rice. I keep a notebook on the kitchen counter. There is a grocery list on part of it and a meal idea list on there too. Everyone is encouraged to provide ideas on what they would like to see on the menu in the next week.



answers from Baton Rouge on

My family eats what I feel like cooking, or they find their own dinner.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Our favorites are:
taco night - great because everyone can make their taco the way they like it best
meatloaf, side is refried beans and either corn cake or spanish rice
spaghetti is a perennial - everyone likes it and it's fast
anything grilled: pork chops, chicken (BBQ sauce, jerk, etc), burgers
baked chicken with stuffing on top
baked breaded chicken
Everything but the spaghetti and tacos come with come vegetable side

It's all pretty basic.

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