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Best List of 200 Meals for Dinner (+ Free Printable of Healthy Ideas)

list of dinner ideas in the usa

The Epic Family Dinner Ideas List {Free Printable}

I’ve cooked five million meals in the last month. Or at least it feels that way.

Of course, spending time at home is an awesome opportunity to get creative in the kitchen, but my inspiration on healthy dinner ideas has been lacking.

So, one day, I was thinking “what should I cook for dinner tonight?!” And I found myself wishing I had a big list of meals for dinner. One that also had crockpot, vegetarian, and pantry ideas.

Have you wished for this too?

Well, good! Because now there is one! Below is a list of common dinners (or meals for lunch).

free list of dinners meals printable pdf

*The list also includes notes for making things healthier. For example, it’s easy to use lettuce wraps or sweet potato buns in place of bread, and cauliflower rice adds an easy vegetable to many dishes.

Without further adu, check out the extensive dinner list divided by types of meals!

Then, print the FREE download at the end and check out the desserts!

100+ List of Meals for Dinner

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. See my disclaimer for more info.

Great American Food for Dinner

dinner list: the classics in the usa

We must start with the American classics!

  • Shephard’s Pie (try cauliflower or sweet potato topping)
  • Pot Pie
  • Meatloaf
  • Pork chops
  • Pan baked bell pepper, sausage, and potato
  • Fish (salmon, cod, etc) and sides
  • Kabobs
  • Meatballs with rice or noodles (try whole wheat noodles)
  • Sloppy Joes (try on sweet potato)
  • Hot dogs or brats (try sweet potato buns)
  • Burgers (try on lettuce wraps and choose turkey burgers for a lighter meat)
  • Steak and sides
  • Baked ham
  • Grilled chicken breasts (marinade in Italian dressing, Ranch, or Dijon mustard)
  • Roasted whole chicken or turkey
  • Ribs and sides
  • Pork Loin and sides
  • Grilled or boiled shrimp and sides
  • Chicken and rice casserole
  • Beef roast and sides
  • Macaroni casserole

Scrumptious Mexican Food Dinners

huge list of meal ideas: fajitas

These common Mexican dinners are anything but ordinary!

  • Tacos (use lettuce wraps, stuffed peppers or zucchini boats)
  • Tostadas
  • Fajitas (try lettuce wraps)
  • Nachos (try sweet potato chips)
  • Enchiladas (try zucchini enchilada boats)
  • Burritos
  • Taquitos
  • Taco soup
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Black bean and rice bowls
  • Quesadillas
  • Empanadas

Delicious List of Italian Meals for Dinner

dinner idea list: delicious Italian food

Italian food is comfort food at its finest!

  • Manicotti
  • Spaghetti and meatballs (try spaghetti squash noodles)
  • Lasagna
  • Baked ravioli
  • Tortellini
  • Homemade mac and cheese
  • Lasagna rolls (try zucchini)
  • Homemade pizza (load it with veggies)
  • Chicken parmesan (use whole wheat noodles)
  • Beef stroganoff
  • Chicken fettuccini alfredo (try zucchini noodles)
  • Tuna casserole
  • Ricotta stuffed shells
  • Cannelloni
  • Beef ragu
  • Homemade pizza
  • Chicken gnocchi soup

Healthy & Hearty Soups

list of meals for dinner: soups

Great hearty soups are a must on any excellent list of meals!

  • Chicken noodle soup (you can take out the noodles and add cauliflower rice)
  • Tomato soup
  • Potato soup
  • Taco soup
  • Carrot soup
  • Sweet potato soup
  • White chicken chili
  • Chili
  • Minestrone soup
  • Corn chowder
  • Stew
  • Meatball soup
  • Beef pho
  • Zuppa Toscana soup
  • Leek and cauliflower soup
  • Chicken tortilla soup
  • Brocolli cheddar soup
  • Tomato bisque soup

Salads & Sandwiches Meal List

list of meals for dinner in the usa: salads

Leftovers of soups, salads, and sandwiches also make SUPER easy make-ahead lunches for the next day.

  • Cobb salad
  • Panini (on whole wheat bread)
  • Caesar salad
  • BLTs (try lettuce wraps)
  • BBQ chicken salad
  • Taco salad
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Basil tomato grilled cheese sandwiches (use a white cheese)
  • Meatball subs (use whole wheat buns)
  • French dip sandwiches (on whole wheat buns)
  • Philly Sandwiches (on whole wheat buns)
  • Chicken salad sandwiches
  • Pear and pecan salad
  • Greek gyros
  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Pulled pork sandwiches
  • Southwest chicken wraps
  • Asian lettuce wraps
  • Ham and swiss sliders
  • Reuben sandwiches
  • Wraps of any kind

Read here for amazing salad combos: 11 Delicious Green Salad Recipes

Awesome Crockpot Dinner Ideas

big dinner list: crockpot meals

  • Chili
  • Honey sesame chicken
  • Pulled pork
  • Beef and broccoli
  • Pot roast
  • Chicken tortilla soup
  • Salsa chicken (chicken breast with broth, salsa, & taco seasoning – great Mexican food filling!)
  • Fajitas
  • Whole chicken in the crockpot
  • Chicken potato soup (pictured above)
  • Pork chops
  • Crockpot chicken pot pie
  • Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki
  • Butter chicken in the crockpot
  • Chicken enchilada soup

Find more slow cooker ideas here: 12 Weeknight Crockpot Dinners

Great Vegetarian/Vegan List of Dinner Ideas

huge list of meal ideas: vegetarian options

  • Taco soup/chili without the meat
  • Spaghetti (use zucchini noodles)
  • Asian fried rice (try cauliflower rice like in the picture below!)
  • Quesadillas (use whole wheat tortillas)
  • Homemade pizza without the meat (try whole wheat pita bread for a SUPER fast version!)
  • Soup (pick from above!) and salad
  • Vegetarian lasagna
  • Bean and veggie burritos
  • Omelets
  • Shrimp with zucchini noodles in a cashew sauce
  • Tuna patties
  • Black bean (or quinoa) burgers
  • Risotto (can use cauliflower rice)
  • Frittata
  • Pesto noodles
  • Homemade mac & cheese with veggies
  • Crab cakes
  • Rice and beans
  • Lentil curry
  • Loaded baked or sweet potatoes (without meat)
  • Vegetarian stuffed peppers

Family Dinner Meals to Use Up What You Have

stir fry for common dinner ideas

In this list of meals for dinner, these ideas are marvelous for cleaning out the freezer, fridge, or pantry. Mix and match using what you have!

  • Loaded baked or sweet potatoes
  • Chili
  • Skillet stirfry (add sauce or pesto to spice it up!)
  • Skillet hash (use potatoes or sweet potatoes)
  • Soups
  • Salads – throw in what you have in the fridge!
  • Omelets and other egg dishes
  • Oven bakes (throw lots of your leftover veggies in to roast with a protein)

*Do you have leftovers you don’t know what to do with? Leave a comment below and I’ll help brainstorm ways to use them up! 😊

Shake it Up Ideas

One day a week, we crave variety and a meal that’s not like the others.

  • Breakfast for dinner (eggs, french toast, pancakes, sausage, quiche)
  • Grilled/baked foil packets (like you’re camping!)
  • Homemade or store-bought chicken nuggets

*Try these super fun family dinner activities to mix it up even more!

Side Dishes for Your Main Entrees

side dishes

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Mashed cauliflower
  • Baked potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Biscuits (with whole wheat or alternative flour)
  • Sautéed spinach (we love it with raisins and walnuts)
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Glazed carrots
  • Sautéed green beans
  • Zucchini or squash noodles
  • Any kind of roasted veggies
  • Creamed spinach
  • Salad
  • Baked brussel sprouts
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Asparagus
  • Baked spaghetti squash
  • Peas
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Sauteed zucchini and squash
  • Corn on the cob

Don’t forget the list of meals for dinner printable!

meals for dinner ideas

I keep this list handy for meal planning sessions! Put it in your recipe binder, or use this free printable to help with your weekly meal plan.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

Virginia Woolf

But wait, what about dessert?

the best list of meals for dinner: time for dessert!

Don’t we all love something a little sweet after dinner? Try one of these healthy, or not so healthy options with your next meal!

  • Sautéed apples or pears
  • Fruit cobbler
  • Fruit crisp
  • Brownies
  • Pudding (try avocado pudding)
  • Cake or cheesecake
  • Cookies
  • Watermelon (the perfect summertime dessert!)
  • Fruit pizza
  • Fruit dipped in chocolate
  • Chocolate mousse
  • Ice cream (or banana ice cream)
  • Dole whip (pineapple and coconut milk)
  • Pie (fruit, pumpkin, pecan, key-lime, chocolate, etc)
  • Oatmeal bars
  • Lemon squares
  • Smoothies
  • Popsicles
  • Chocolate fondue

See these healthy holiday treat ideas for more!

common dinner meals for dinner list

Looking for the quickest ideas?

I know you’re busy! If you’re looking to cut your kitchen time in half, these make for the best weeknight dinners because they take the least amount of prep work:

  1. Tostadas
  2. Sausage, Bell Peppers, and Onion Bake
  3. Carrot Soup
  4. Stir Fry or Hash
  5. Tacos
  6. Breakfast for Dinner

See 15 more quick and easy weeknight dinners here >>

Something to Consider With the List of Dinners

Finally, cooking more brings a new-found chance to find meals that your family loves. So, don’t be shy! Get in the kitchen and mix up your meals. Plus, try some new healthier variations and see what they say.

Now, it’s time to get planning!

Who knows? Maybe you’ll find favorites to make for years to come!

What’s on your list of meals for dinner? I’d love to know and add it to this giant dinner list!

Other healthy posts and resources you may enjoy….

A Big List of Common Dinner Meals

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