While there’s no denying the pleasure of a leisurely weekend cooking project, I think we can all agree that 99.9% of the time we just need to get a wholesome meal on the table lickety-split.
My weeknight dinner requirements are simple: I want a simple meal that doesn’t skimp on flavor and satisfies my husband and me after another long day. Our readers agree, and Simply Recipes delivers when it comes to weeknight magic. I’ve gathered up our top 10 weeknight dinners for 2023—the recipes that readers like you have turned to time and time again this year.
It’s a mix of traditional favorites (looking at you, meatloaf) and feel-good comfort food like black bean toasts and lemon pepper salmon that are sure to keep you well-fed into the new year. Let us help answer the age-old question: what’s for dinner?
1. 5-Ingredient Pasta Bake
It’s hard to argue with a pasta bake, and this iteration is sure to please the entire family. All you need is pasta, tomato sauce, ground beef, shredded Italian cheese, cottage cheese, and about 45 minutes of mostly hands-off baking time to make this comforting casserole. Serve it with a green salad.
2. One-Pot Taco Pasta
This one-pot wonder is packed to the brim with cozy satisfaction. It combines all the best things about beef tacos—spiced ground meat, tomatoes, and melty cheddar cheese—and adds elbow macaroni to the equation to turn it into a saucy bowl. Don’t skimp on your favorite taco toppings like chopped green onions, sour cream, and lime wedges.
3. Black Bean Toasts
These quick black bean toasts will come to the rescue any night of the week. They take just 15 minutes to make and are endlessly customizable, whether you prefer to top them with diced avocado and pico de gallo or sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.
4. Million Dollar Chicken
The best way to turn up the volume on ho-hum chicken breasts? Pile them with a cheesy bacon topping before baking. Briefly pounding the chicken breasts means they cook faster, and you can even prepare the topping a day or two ahead of time so this dinner comes together in a snap.
5. Creamy Tortellini Soup with Sausage and Spinach
You might already have everything you need to make this soup in your kitchen at this very moment. That’s why contributor Claudia Cash leans on this recipe hard to feed her family of seven. It also features a surprise trick to make it creamy without tons of actual cream: puréed white beans.
6. Lemon Pepper and Dill Salmon
This 3-ingredient salmon is seasoned with lemon pepper and dried dill and can be prepared in the oven or an air fryer. It comes together so fast that you’ll barely have time to fuss with the sides, so keep them easy by opting for steamed or roasted frozen vegetables and boxed rice pilaf.
7. Copycat Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole
If you’re a fan of Cracker Barrel’s famous hashbrown casserole, you have to try this homemade version. It’s a decadent mix of refrigerated hashbrowns, cream of chicken soup, shredded cheese, and butter that’s baked until the top is crispy and golden brown and the potatoes are creamy and tender.
8. Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Olives
This restaurant-worthy pasta is a riff on classic pasta aglio e olio, a Neapolitan dish of spaghetti in a garlicky, red pepper-flecked olive oil sauce. This twist adds chopped green olives to the equation to give every twirl a briny, buttery boost.
9. Easy Meatloaf
Meatloaf shouldn’t be complicated, and this recipe is proof. It’s everything you want from a classic version—juicy ground beef made complete with a burnished ketchup topping—but it comes together in minutes. The trick? Use a stand mixer! Serve it with mashed potatoes and broccoli to round out the meal.
10. Roasted Chickpeas and Artichokes
Feed a family of four for less than $15 by roasting canned chickpeas and artichokes with lemons, parsley, and feta until it’s a bubbly, cheesy mixture that’s best scooped up with crusty bread or served over a bed of rice. Even better is that leftovers make a great lunch cold, straight out of the fridge.