100+ Dinner Ideas for busy nights! (+ FREE PRINTABLE)

Need new ideas to freshen up your menu? Get 100 Family Friendly Dinner Ideas for Busy Nights! Includes a free printable to keep in your pantry so you'll never have to wonder "What's for dinner?" again! www.FunCheapOrFree.com

To kick off our week of no eating out it seemed like the perfect time to share my 100 dinner ideas for busy nights with you (have you joined our Focus on Finances challenges this month? If not, why not now? It's never too late to start!)! I am all about easy, no fuss, kid-friendly food that keeps everyone happy! I hope these ideas help you as much as they help me… get out of your dinnertime rut, and try out a new dinner idea! You may find your next family fav!

While I am bad at planning ahead for dinner (getting better though!), I firmly believe it's important to cook for your family rather than eating out or preparing processed meals. It's not only cheaper, but it teaches your family healthy habits and keeps you close as a family!

  • Keep a meal list like this close at-hand! You can even separate them out based on main ingredient, meals that can be frozen, how they are cooked (crockpot, baked, grilled, etc.), meals good enough to serve guests, etc.
  • I also have a recipe notebook where I keep my favorite recipes so they are all in one place. If the recipe comes from a cook book, I photo copy it and keep it in the binder. That way you never have to say, “Now, where was that awesome chicken recipe again?….”

Click below to view the list I have to help me come up with what to make for dinner –

Click below to view the list, and get the printable version!

(Click HERE for a printable list)

Need new ideas to freshen up your menu? Get 100 Family Friendly Dinner Ideas for Busy Nights! Includes a free printable to keep in your pantry so you'll never have to wonder "What's for dinner?" again! www.FunCheapOrFree.com

If any of these require recipes I will try to post them over time and will update this list with links to the recipes. Otherwise, I recommend allrecipes.com for recipes. Be sure to read the reviews!

(Click HERE for a printable list)

  1. Hard Tacos, Tostadas, or Huevos Rancheros
  2. Mac ‘n Cheese (homemade)
  3. Chicken and rice
  4. Lasagna
  5. Paninis
  6. Homemade pizza
  7. Twice-baked potatoes
  8. Taco soup
  9. Stir fry
  10. Baked Ziti
  11. BBQ Chicken Salad
  12. Meatballs and rice
  13. Pulled BBQ chicken (sandwiches, put on a salad, etc.)
  14. Grilled chicken (season or marinade with whatever, and grill!)
  15. Beef & broccoli
  16. Chicken pot pie (easier than you think!)
  17. Fettuccine Alfredo (chicken, or shrimp)
  18. Pot roast (leftovers can be made into sandwiches)
  19. Burritos
  20. Fajitas
  21. Breakfast for dinner (eggs, pancakes/waffles, bacon…)
  22. Burgers and/or hotdogs
  23. Homemade corn dogs
  24. Chicken parmesan
  25. Chicken cordon bleu (easier than you would think, and so impressive! Great for guests.)
  26. Quesadillas (plain cheese, or steak, chicken)
  27. Pork chops
  28. Salmon
  29. Fish sticks (homemade or store-bought)
  30. Clam chowder
  31. Tomato bisque (I will try to post the recipe for this soon, I have the BEST recipe!)
  32. Baked italian sandwiches
  33. Cilantro-lime chicken
  34. Potato-topped casserole (like Shepherd's Pie)
  35. Minestrone soup
  36. Chicken noodle soup (homemade…serve with grilled cheese)
  37. Grilled-cheese sandwiches
  38. Creamy potato soup
  39. White chicken chili
  40. Crockpot salsa chicken (makes into great burritos or salads!)
  41. Italian wedding soup
  42. BLT's
  43. Beef or Pork Tenderloin
  44. Steak (grilled or broiled)
  45. Kabobs
  46. Breaded chicken (can bread with italian bread crumbs, graham crackers, saltines, potato chips)
  47. Sloppy joes
  48. Calzones
  49. Stuffed pasta shells
  50. Manicotti
  51. Spaghetti (and meatballs)
  52. French Bread Pizza
  53. Enchiladas
  54. Fried Chicken (baked or actually fried)
  55. Chicken nuggets (homemade…so easy!)
  56. Lemon chicken
  57. Chimichangas
  58. Fish ‘n Chips
  59. Pesto pasta
  60. Eggplant Parmesan
  61. Taco salad
  62. Tostadas
  63. Egg rolls (homemade)
  64. Chicken enchilada/tortilla soup
  65. Cheeseburger soup
  66. Corn chowder (various recipes, ham & corn chowder is good too)
  67. Tortellini
  68. Tortellini soup
  69. Stroganoff (chicken or beef)
  70. Crockpot alfredo lasagna
  71. Rotini Bake
  72. Vegetable lasagna
  73. Lasagna rolls (baked, or in crockpot)
  74. Bolognese sauce and pasta
  75. Spinach-bacon mac n cheese
  76. Tomato-bacon pasta
  77. Mexican chicken sandwiches
  78. Chicken wings
  79. Cheesy bacon chicken
  80. Dijon chicken
  81. Pulled chicken sandwiches (multiple recipe options)
  82. Cafe Rio pork salads or burritos (rice recipe HERE)
  83. Jambalaya
  84. Meatloaf
  85. Meatball subs
  86. French toast (stuffed or regular)
  87. KFC Bowls (mashed potatoes on bottom, then corn and breaded chicken bites on top)
  88. Ribs (grilled, baked, crockpot, etc)
  89. French dip sandwiches (roast in crockpot + au jus sauce = french dip)
  90. Stuffed pork chops
  91. Ham
  92. Crab cakes
  93. Sausage & pepper pasta
  94. Pad Tai
  95. Club salad
  96. Bowtie pasta & vegetables
  97. Chicken fingers
  98. Chicken & broccoli casserole
  99. French onion soup
  100. Orange chicken
  101. Waffles or crepes
  102. Stuffed Green Peppers
  103. LEFTOVERS! Anything that is already in your fridge, EAT IT or use it in another recipe!!

Don't forget, you can click HERE for the printable version of this list!

Well, that's the list! With over 100 ideas, I hope there are a few that inspire you and your family to try something new!

What is YOUR go-to for dinner??

Happy Eating!



  1. ever since I watched your instagram post today about your freezer and using creamcheese I have been trying to find your enchilada recipe!

  2. I am always looking for good, easy dinner ideas! Thank you for the help! I’m going to print this now and keep it for ideas for this weeks meal planning. 🙂

  3. Thanks Jordan! I’ve used this page a lot since I found your blog last July/August. I needed help in the area of meal planning, before -I just didn’t do it. But now with my desire to be at home more, I need to be a frugal mama! Your whole blog has been so helpful. I must have made your (grandma’s) banana bread like 8 times in the last 6 months, our family loves it! <3

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