Healthy Food

5 Ridiculously Simple Family Dinners (That Are Healthier Than Take-Out)

Are you lacking inspiration for what to make for dinner? In this post I am sharing 5 simple family dinners that are healthier than take out and don’t require using your oven!

Having dinners together as a family is a huge priority in my home. Kids who regularly have dinner with their families are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, have disordered eating, are less likely to have violent behavior, and less likely to have feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts.

It’s amazing that such a simple ritual has such a large impact on kids.

The truth is, however, that just because I prepare food at home and we eat around the table most nights of the week, it does not mean that it’s always a laborious or complicated meal.

Often, I too am feeling uninspired when I’m making the upcoming week’s dinner menu. Sometimes it’s too hot to feel like cooking, and sometimes the schedule is so full that it feels easier to order take-out. Before you do, hear me out for why to consider simple family dinners instead.

Why Make Dinner At Home?

Most of the time when we do take-out for dinner, we end up paying more money and eating less healthy than if we prepare something simple at home. When we cook at home, even if it’s a quick and simple dinner, we are able to control the quality of the ingredients and that is huge!

The Mayo Clinic shared an interesting study done in adults, and the ones who ate dinner at home most often were the least likely to suffer from obesity. Recently I shared that study and more in a post called, 7 Simple Ways To Make Family Dinner The Happiest Moments In Life. You can read that here.

This past Friday I actually broke the inside glass of our oven door, when I was making pizza for our family party night. I do not want to default to doing take-out every night, so it was necessary to come up with a dinner menu that does not require using our oven (the new glass had to be shipped from Utah).

Lacking an oven for the time-being, and having a full week is where the inspiration for for this post came from. I’m sharing our actual, simple family dinner ideas for this week! And great news, most of these simple family dinners can be made in the time that it would take to pick up your take-out.

Our sweet 11 year old made a sign so we don’t forget and use the oven 🙂

5 Simple Family Dinners

Monday’s Simple Family Dinner – Apple, Chicken, Bacon Salad


  • chopped romaine or greens of your choice
  • diced up rotisserie chicken or chicken breast
  • apple sliced thinly
  • diced up bacon
  • bleu cheese crumbles
  • candied pecans
  • diced up red onion
  • salad dressing of your choice

This salad is my family’s absolute favorite salad that we make at home. There is not much not to like; bacon, apples, and candied pecans for the win! It’s super simple because you can use whatever greens that you have in your refrigerator. As well, you can use a rotisserie chicken, or throw some chicken breasts on the BBQ. It’s impossible to mess this salad up.

If you have kids who do not eat salad, you can divide up the toppings and give them a plate with the salad disassembled. I would encourage you, however, to continue to serve salad regularly until their taste buds adapt. Evidence suggests that kids need to be exposed to a food at least 12 times before their taste buds start to adapt. This most certainly was the case with my firstborn and salad.

I have a similar mandolin that I purchased on Amazon and love this to make my apple slices and red onions super thin! 

Tuesday’s Simple Family Dinner – Tacos


  • cooked taco meat
  • corn or flour shells
  • can of refried beans or black beans
  • shredded lettuce
  • cilantro
  • shredded cheese
  • veggies of your choice
  • salsa

Like many other families, “Taco Tuesday” takes place on a weekly basis in our home. What I LOVE about doing tacos for dinner, is it is so easy! Often times I’ll make double the amount of taco meat and freeze it for the following week; even easier next week!

Another great thing about tacos is how easily you can make this meal into a taco salad. The option to add in veggies is limitless when it comes to tacos!

I have this 2 pack of tortilla warmers from Amazon and LOVE them!  One is larger for flour tortillas and the other is perfect for corn.

Wednesday’s Simple Family Dinner – One Pot Pasta


  • 1 pound of ground beef or ground pork
  • 16 ounce box of ziti or pasta of your choice
  • jar of marinara sauce (Rao’s Homemade Marinara is my absolute favorite. It does not have any added sugar).
  • 8 ounce container of mascarpone cheese (or swap with 4 ounces of cream cheese or 1/2 cup of heavy cream)
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil

This is a super simple, one pot pasta option that is delicious! Simply brown and season the ground pork or ground beef in a large pot or Dutch oven. Remove the cooked meat and set aside.

In the same pot or Dutch oven, boil water and cook the pasta according to box directions, just shy of al dente. Be sure to generously add salt to the cooking pasta. Reserve one cup of the starchy cooking water and drain the noodles.

Add noodles, cup of pasta water, jar of marinara sauce, mascarpone cheese and meat to the pot and stir. Cook all together just until sauce begins to bubble. Remove from heat and top with grated parmesan cheese and fresh bail if you have some on hand.

Serve this with a simple garden salad or a salad kit from Costco and your simple family dinner is complete!

Thursday’s Simple Family Dinner – Fried Egg Sandwiches


  • 2 eggs per person
  • 2 slices of toast per person
  • sliced cheddar cheese
  • avocado

I put the words ridiculously easy in this post for a reason! For the first 10 years of our marriage, my husband, Tyler, and I were youth pastors. Every Tuesday night, following our youth church service, Tyler would ask me to make him a fried egg sandwich for dinner.

Now, Thursday nights are our busiest night of the week with church and kids activities, so most Thursday nights, this is what is on the menu for our simple family dinner.

Just butter the toast, add the two fried eggs with melted cheese, and avocado if you like it. (I add sliced avocado to mine, and the rest of of the family passes on that). I’ll often serve a side of berries or sliced apples with this and call it good!

We use this cheese slicer ALL OF THE TIME.  It’s a great Amazon purchase!

Friday’s Simple Family Dinner – French Bread Pizza


  • loaf of French bread for every 4 people
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • pizza sauce
  • mozzarella cheese
  • toppings of your choice

Most Friday nights I make homemade pizza with dough from scratch. Once every month or so I will get the two pack of “country French bread” from Costco’s bakery and use that instead. (I like that this bread is made with olive oil)!

Simply cut the loaves of bread in half. Drizzle the olive oil on each half and top with garlic powder. If you’d like to toast this a bit before adding the sauce, you can do so now, either under the broiler or on your BBQ.

Add pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and desired toppings. Either in the oven or on BBQ, bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Serve with a garden salad and you have a fun, simple family dinner that is healthier than take-out!


I hope these 5 ridiculously simple family dinner ideas gave you a little inspiration for the next time that that you need it! I truly hope that you have so much fun making memories around your dinner table!

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