13 Effortless Yet Healthy School Night Dinner Recipes

If you have kids or other family to feed when you get home tonight, make dinner easy tonight without going through the drive-through. Nobody wants that brick of food sitting in their belly after eating fast food, and cooking dinner does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Here are 14 recipes that prove how easy dinner can be.

1. Nachos with Bacon & Jalapeno

A closeup of Bacon Jalapeno Nachos garnished with fresh cilantro.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Sheet pan nachos are a quick and easy weeknight dinner the whole family will love. They are so versatile you can use any toppings you have on hand, including bacon and jalapenos.

2. Hawaiian Pita Pizza

A vegetarian pita pizza sits on a round cutting board on a wood table.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This Hawaiian Pita Pizza recipe is vegetarian, but you can always add some ham to get your kids excited about dinner. The best part? It can be put together in under 30 minutes.

3. Breakfast Quesadillas

A stack of a cut breakfast quesadilla on a cutting board next to a white bowl of salsa.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Yep, breakfast for dinner. Sometimes, it’s a great idea to get dinner made fast. Breakfast quesadillas are a simple dish made with a flour tortilla and various breakfast ingredients for a filling. It can be meal-prepped or easily taken along with you in the car in the mornings.

4. Chili Cheese Fries

Chili Cheese Fries just out of the oven and garnished with dollops of sour cream, slices of jalapeno pepper, diced red onion, and fresh cilantro.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Chili Cheese Fries are a crowd-pleaser, and all you need are a sheet pan and a few ingredients.

5. Tuna Pasta Salad

A white bowl holds a serving of tuna pasta salad and is garnished with fresh greens.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Here’s a quick and easy dinner you can make in the mornings and have chilled just in time for dinner. This flavorful tuna pasta salad with peas and red onions is sure to be a hit! 

6. Pizzadillas

A cut pizzadilla laying on a cutting board, garnished with fresh parsley.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Pizzadillas are a combination of two family-favorite meals: pizza and quesadillas. This meal can be ready in about ten minutes, and you can use any toppings you have in the fridge!  

7. Fajita Wraps

A font view of the cut, finished and stacked Fajita Wrap on a cutting board.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Fajita wraps can be made with chicken or beef and your favorite veggies. They only take a few minutes to make, and any leftovers will make an excellent lunch.

8. Taco Soup

A white bowl filled with low carb taco soup, garnished with avocado chunks and fresh cilantro.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

With just 20 minutes of cooking time, this easy taco soup recipe can quickly become a healthy, tasty dinner. If you are really tight on time, you can prep your meat and pasta ahead of time.

9. Chicken Asparagus Skillet

A cast iron skillet filled with chicken and asparagus.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This chicken asparagus skillet is an easy and flavorful weeknight meal that everyone will love. It’s a great recipe to let the kids help you make, too.

10. Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs

A white plate holds a few teriyaki chicken kabobs.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Air fryer teriyaki chicken kabobs are a delicious weeknight dinner that you can have on the table fast. Save even more time by preparing your kabobs up to three days ahead of time.

11. Nacho Fries

Nacho fries on a wood cutting board.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Nacho Fries are an easy meal the whole family will love. You can even make a small sheet pan or bowl for each person so they can add their own toppings. Easy!

12. Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Serve on buns and drizzle with ranch.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Buffalo chicken sandwiches are a family favorite, and you can have them on the table in no time, thanks to your Instant Pot. Serve with your favorite ranch dressing and veggie sticks for a well-rounded meal.

13. Mexican Pasta Salad

A closeup of a white bowl filled with Mexican Pasta Salad.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Don’t ask what’s for dinner. Just make a batch of this amazing Mexican pasta salad. It’s full of fresh, flavorful veggies for a filling, delicious, and healthy dinner.

13. Tuna Melt

A Tuna Melt served on a white plate.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Comfort food doesn’t mean you have to stand in the kitchen all day. These tasty tuna melts can be on the table in under 20 minutes.

Sick Of The Same Ol’ Chicken For Dinner? Here Are 101 New Ways To Make It!

A dutch oven with a cooked whole chicken topped with rosemary twigs.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Having chicken for dinner… again? Here are 101 new ways to level up your dinner game tonight.

Healthy Ground Turkey Dinner Ideas That Actually Taste Good

A skillet filled with ground turkey, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado and garnished with fresh parsley.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Lean ground turkey is a great replacement for ground beef if you are working on your health. Here, we give you 17 Meals with ground turkey that are surprisingly good for you.

While You’re Cooking, Prep Breakfast For Tomorrow Too. It Only Takes 5 Minutes!

An overhead view of a small canning jar filled with overnight oats with raisins.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Prepping overnight oats the night before is a fantastic way to ensure that your morning runs smoothly. These delicious oatmeal recipes are prepped in just 5 minutes. In fact, you can even make homemade oatmeal packets with these recipes, so all you have to do is grab a packet and get it in the fridge.

This originally appeared on The Gracious Pantry.

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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