These easy weeknight family dinners make dishes that are no-fuss, foolproof, hands-off but comforting, such as our Vietnamese meatball noodle bowls, a classic Italian chicken cacciatore, our gently-spiced white bean chilli, or my chicken Stroganoff. While these dishes aren’t always fast to cook, they’re hands-off, will reward with deep flavours and comfort, and make fantastic leftovers.
As our post on recipes for easy weeknight meals we put on repeat week after week proved so popular with you all, and a few readers asked for ideas for easy weeknight family dinner ideas, I thought I’d establish another one of those random-ish recipe series I do very irregularly on easy midweek meals.
That post on recipes for midweek dinners we have on rotation includes some of our favourite dishes such as Terence’s crunchy Japanese tonkatsu, his Thai pad kra pao (which we had last night and had leftovers today with noodles), a Burmese chicken curry, a Sichuan-inspired bang bang chicken salad we created together, and Terence’s Tex-Mex style chilli con carne.
These easy weeknight family dinners are what we call “same same but different” here in Southeast Asia and I know you’re going to enjoy them just as much. All of the recipes make incredibly comforting and delicious dishes that are no-fuss and hands-off. Even if a couple of the recipes take time to cook, they don’t need baby-sitting.
Like the dishes we have on repeat, my easy weeknight family dinners are super comforting, such as the Vietnamese meatball noodle bowls pictured above, our classic Italian chicken cacciatore, a gently-spiced white bean chilli, and my incredibly rich chicken Stroganoff. Again, a couple of the dishes are not quick to cook, but they reward with flavour and leftovers.
Now before I tell you more about our recipes for easy weeknight family dinners, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-supported. If you’ve cooked our recipes and enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo by supporting our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon, which you can do for as little as the price of a coffee.
Or you could buy us a coffee and we’ll use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing; buy a handcrafted KROK, the best mortar and pestle ever; or buy something from our Grantourismo store such as gifts for food lovers designed with Terence’s images.
Other options include using links on our site to purchase travel insurance, rent a car, book accommodation, book a tour on Get Your Guide or buy something on Amazon, such as these cookbooks for culinary travellers, classic cookbooks for serious cooks, travel books to inspire wanderlust, or gifts for Asian food lovers and picnic lovers. We may earn a small commission but you won’t pay any extra.
Now let me tell you more about our recipes for easy weeknight family dinners.
Easy Weeknight Family Dinners – Recipes for No Fuss Foolproof Comfort Food Dishes
Our ideas for easy weeknight family dinners include recipes for everything from Vietnamese meatball noodle bowls to a classic Italian chicken cacciatore, a white bean chilli, and chicken Stroganoff.
Chicken Cacciatore Recipe for a Traditional Italian Chicken Stew
Topping my list of recipes for easy weeknight family dinners is this classic chicken cacciatore recipe which makes a traditional Italian chicken stew with a luscious tomato sauce. Called pollo alla cacciatora in Italian, which translates to ‘hunter’s chicken’, it’s a rustic old Italian dish, and one of our favourite Mediterranean dishes.
In different parts of Italy, hunter’s stew has long been made with different types of game, such as wild pheasant (fagiano alla cacciatore), wild boar (cinghiale alla cacciatore) and wild rabbit (coniglio alla cacciatore), while in Calabria it’s made with the addition of spicy Calabrian sausage and red peppers (salsiccia Calabrese al cacciatore).
Italians traditionally eat chicken cacciatore by itself as a main course with crusty bread to soak up the rich sauce. Although in some parts of Northern Italy, chicken cacciatore is also eaten with polenta or risotto. While Italians wouldn’t eat salads with cacciatore, I love to serve a panzanella salad or this easy cherry tomato salad at the centre of the table.
In the Italian diaspora, where the first Italian-American chicken cacciatore recipe was published in the USA in the 1920s, chicken cacciatore is typically served with pasta. We’ve also got an Italian-Australian spaghetti cacciatore recipe for you, if you have any leftovers.
Chicken Stroganoff Recipe for a Rich, Spicy and Tangy Old Shanghai Style Stroganoff
My chicken Stroganoff recipe makes another of our recipes for easy weeknight family dinners and I guarantee you that this will be one of the best Stroganoff recipes that you’ll ever make. It’s inspired by idea of what an old Shanghai-style of Stroganoff might have been like. It’s incredibly rich, redolent of spices, and slightly tangy due to the Worcestershire sauce.
If you loved my authentic beef Stoganoff recipe and my mushroom Stroganoff recipe, both based on my Russian-Ukrainian family recipes, then I promise you that you’re going to love this chicken Stroganoff recipe. Perhaps even more. It’s just as creamy and it’s even spicier – and by that, I mean richly spiced, not spicy-hot.
Another thing that sets this chicken Stroganoff apart from the rest is umami, which essentially means deep savoury flavours. My chicken Stroganoff has even more umami thanks to a few additional ingredients inspired by the Asian stops on the Stroganoff global grand tour that saw the dish travel from Russia via Europe and Asia to Australia and the Americas.
For a quick and easy midweek meal, you’ll probably want to keep things simple and serve your Strog with mashed potatoes. Other traditional sides include crispy shoestring fries and buckwheat kasha. No meal was eaten in my family without a garden salad. I also recommend dishes of dill pickles and sour cream.
White Bean Chilli Recipe for a Gently Spiced Crowd-Pleasing White Bean Chilli
This easy white bean chilli recipe is another of my top recipes for easy weeknight family dinners. It will make you a white chilli con carne that’s also one of our best canned beans recipes. This crowd-pleasing chilli is perfect for kids, as it’s so gently spiced.
Follow our white bean chilli recipe and you’ll get a flavourful bean chilli that has warmth but isn’t fiery, yet if you like your bean chillies to be hotter and you’re a spice-lover, you can easily dial up the heat.
While you can make this white bean chilli recipe in an hour and you’ll have an incredibly delicious bean chilli, if you want an even more deeply flavoured chilli you can do a few things: cook the ground pork longer, bump up the amount of spice, and increase the chilli.
As for the white beans, I love butter beans and cannellini beans but by all means try whatever white beans you have in the pantry. I adore butter beans as they’re so creamy and soak up the flavours, but I like my cannellini beans a little bit firmer, which is why I add them later.
If you want to make a feast out of this meal, serve the chilli with sides of our authentic guacamole, pickled shallots or pickled cabbage, red salsa, and dollops of sour cream or Mexican cotija. Got leftovers? Make our white bean chilli tostadas recipe.
Vietnamese Meatballs and Rice Noodles Recipe with Tangy Sweet Sauce and Fresh Herbs
Our Vietnamese meatballs and rice noodles recipe with a tangy-sweet sauce and fresh herbs will make you a delicious Vietnamese rice noodle bowl and another of our best recipes for easy weeknight family dinners.
Mouthwatering tender meatballs are doused in a delightfully tangy-sweet sauce, sprinkled with crispy fried shallots, and served with a carrot-daikon quick pickle, crunchy cucumber, and fragrant herbs. This dish is inspired by bún chả, a traditional Hanoi specialty, but it’s not bún chả.
A few quick tips: I use a crinkly vegetable grater to shred my carrot and daikon quick pickle, which looks like this small hand-held vegetable peeler with a crinkly or wavy blade, but this is what you want to do the job. An old-fashioned box grater or food processor with shredding attachment will also work.
When it comes to the vinegar for both the quick pickle and the sauce, look for Vietnamese white vinegar (distilled vinegar made from sticky rice), rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar. I strongly recommend using long tongs to transfer the meatballs to the wok or pan. We recommend these dried rice vermicelli noodles.
Published 16 March 2023; Updated and Republished 2 August 2023
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make any of our recipes for easy weeknight family dinners as we’d love to hear how they turned out for you.