I once heard the most challenging question is finding out what dinner ideas to cook for tonight. But now, that won’t trouble you anymore as after reading this article, you’ll have various recipes ready in your hands.
Nothing’s scarier than a repeating dinner meal, right? Thus, what I show here includes all kinds of ingredients and cooking methods, ensuring that you won’t have to eat a similar dish twice!
Table of Contents
- Let’s See What Dinner Ideas I Have For You To Make Tonight!
- How About Some Tasty Dinner Recipes With Meat?
- These Seafood Dinner Dishes Will Comfort You After Work
- Nothing’s More Filling Than These Noodle Dinners
- Maintain Your Health With These Vegetable Dinner Dishes!
- Have You Decided What Dinner Ideas To Make For Tonight?
- 31+ Luscious Dinner Ideas
Let’s See What Dinner Ideas I Have For You To Make Tonight!
All these dinner ideas for tonight I have here include both simple, homey meals and fabulous, fancy dishes to share with your lover. That way, you can choose whatever to cook based on your circumstances without wrecking your brain to find some substitutes.
- Chicken Piccata
- Chicken Marsala
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Harissa Chicken
- Chicken Parmigiana (Chicken Parmesan)
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Beef Wellington
- Carne Asada
- Steak Fajitas
- Salisbury Steak
- Cottage Pie
- Pozole (Mexican Pork and Hominy Stew)
- Pork Carnitas
- Mapo Tofu
Dishes With Both Beef And Pork
- Toad in The Hole
- Salmon en Papillote (Salmon in Parchment)
- Shrimp Scampi
- Shrimp Fra Diavolo
- Blackened Shrimp
- Crab Imperial
- Seafood Paella
- Cioppino (San Francisco Seafood Stew)
- Lo Mein
- Penne alla Vodka
- Baked Ravioli
- Pasta Carbonara
- Squid Ink Pasta
- Sheet Pan Ratatouille
- Eggplant Rollatini
Sounds delicious, right? These dishes will become even tastier if you know everything about them!
How About Some Tasty Dinner Recipes With Meat?
Meat is a familiar face on every household’s dinner table. In this part, I’ll introduce to you recipes with the most regular meat choices: chicken, beef, and pork from not just America but all over the world.
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7 Flavorful Dinner Ideas With Chicken For You To Try!
When it comes to dinner, chicken is the most common choice. Whenever I don’t know what to cook, chicken always comes to my rescue. However, “regular” doesn’t mean “boring,” and these recipes are the perfect example.
If you want a dinner more on the elegant side, let’s take a look at this chicken piccata, as Italian food is all about grace and refinement.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to be a professional to make this dish. Chicken piccata is straightforward if you look at all the steps closely.
Just butterfly your chicken breast, coat it with flour, and make some lemon sauce to accompany it. That’s all for your light dinner meal!
No one can resist this classic chicken piccata! Watch this video:
This dish’s name has already indicated its two main components: Chicken and a sauce based on Marsala wine. Regularly, red Marsala wine is the best option because of its signature sweetness and aroma.
When you’re done with the sauce, the rest is easy as a piece of cake. You just need to coat your chicken breast with flour and sear it lightly before covering it with the dressing. Or another option is simmering the chicken in the wine sauce.
In terms of aroma, hardly any dish can beat chicken tikka. Originating from India – the country of spices, there’s no wonder why this curry smells this good. Its scent comes from the garam masala, an Indian spice mixture. Outside India, it’s also a popular street food in Pakistan.
You can also add other seasonings. Just don’t leave paprika out as it’s the reason for this chicken curry’s color. But if you can’t handle the heat, you can switch it to other seasonings sharing some similarities with paprika. They’ll bring forth the same color for your dish.
With just this one paste called “Harissa,” you won’t realize your familiar chicken anymore. So, what is Harissa? Simply put, it’s a spicy paste made with red chili peppers as the base. The paste is especially famous in Tunisian cuisine, in particular, and Africa in general.
Then, depending on each region, various spices will be added to Harissa, among which rose petals are the ones making its flavor so unique.
As Harissa contains lots of spicy seasonings, it’s understandable to serve this chicken dish with ones that can lower the heat, like rice, potatoes, or green salads.
Be careful! This Harissa chicken can knock you out with its flavor. Watch this video:
There’s something in the pan-fried chicken covered in marinara sauce that makes it so intrigued.
Maybe it’s because the crispy panko coating outside of the chicken hides the juicy meat behind. Or it can be the refreshing sauce with some grated cheese that keeps you eating forever.
No matter the reasons, chicken parmesan has always been my favorite choice for my family dinner. You can serve it with some spaghetti for a more satisfying feeling.
Along with beef pot pie, this chicken version is one of the most well-loved dinner recipes in the US. Even the pickiest kids will finish this dish as it’s a pie, and every child loves pie.
And this is an excellent way to have your children eat vegetables as all the veggies are hidden under the flaky pie crust and inside the creamy sauce.
As for the adults, chicken pot pie is a comforting dinner all craving after a tiring Monday. Its warmth, its flavor, and aroma can make you relax immediately.
Kung Pao chicken comes from the Sichuan region of China. This information alone is enough for you to find out that this dish will be full of heat and oil. The reason for its spiciness comes from the Sichuan chili peppers and peppercorns.
However, don’t get scared if you can’t handle the heat or oiliness. The outside-Sichuan versions are milder with less oil and more vegetables, thus more health-friendly than the original recipe.
This Kung Pao chicken can satisfy even your pickiest Chinese guests! Watch this video:
Beef Makes A Fancy Dinner For Your Family!
It’s not wrong to say beef is one of the luxurious components of a dinner meal. But that doesn’t mean it’s exclusive to event nights like an anniversary. You can make and enjoy these recipes below, even on a regular day.
This beef wellington is what you’re looking for for a fancy dinner! But instead of paying a thousand grand for a plate in a high-class restaurant, you now can make this dish at home with the same quality.
And don’t worry about whether you can ruin it! Beef wellington is actually super simple to make. Just wrap your beef filet and mushroom duxelle in pastry.
The secret to its superior taste is how you make the mushroom filling. My suggestion is to add some herbs and heavy cream to it.
In Spanish, “carne asada” means “grilled meat,” and that’s pretty much everything about this dish. Now, some may think this is a bland dish, but that’s not true.
One bite of this dish makes your palate burst with Mexican flavors! It’s a famous dish in the cuisine of Guatemala and other Latin American countries.
To attain that, the vital part is marinating your meat with citrus juice like lime juice or orange juice. Not only does this liquid mixture improve your dish’s flavor, but it also makes your beef achieve a soft and tender texture.
You feel tired with all the common steak choices? Well, you can use it to make these fantastic fajitas. Full of colors and flavors, fajitas will liven your mood up even on the saddest days.
And what makes me fall in love with this recipe is that you just need one skillet to finish them all, which means fewer troubles and less work.
In its simplest form, steak fajitas contain only steak strips with onions and bell peppers. However, you can make it more flavorsome by using sour cream, shredded cheese, or avocado slices as toppings.
You can’t find any steak fajitas tastier than this! Watch this video:
Do you know that this dish is not really a steak? Yes, it isn’t. But don’t be disappointed because this Salisbury steak doesn’t lose to any beef dishes in flavor.
For an easier imagination, you can think of this recipe as a hamburger without the buns and pickles and served with a rich gravy mushroom sauce.
And what’s the best thing about Salisbury steak? It’s that you can cook it right in one pan, which means the sauce will be packed with beef flavor and less clean up afterward.
Just this one pie is enough to fill your whole family. And nothing in this recipe is difficult to find or make. Only simple ground beef, vegetable gravy, and mashed potatoes, you can whisk all of them up instantly without having to look up any online recipe.
Also, don’t mistake this recipe with the infamous Shepherd’s pie. While they share similar appearances and many people use these two names interchangeably, they are still entirely different. This one uses minced beef, whereas the other has lamb as its main ingredient.
These Pork Dinner Ideas Will Satisfy Your Hungry Stomach
If you still find beef too expensive for regular dinner meals, pork will be a more reasonable choice. I promise these pork dishes below are no less delicious.
Pozole is a dish born for parties and gatherings. With a massive pot full of pork stew and various garnishes and add-ins on the table, everyone will be eager to try them together right away!
This pozole here is spicier than other regular pozole stews with all the hot sauce and chiles in the broth. But you can cut down on them so that your guests can freely enjoy this dish without burning their mouths.
This pozole is one of the most comforting foods you’ve ever tried! Watch this video:
Do you know what’s better than tender meat? It’s tender meat with crispy edges. And these pork carnitas are the perfect example of juicy meat inside and lovely crunches on the outside.
But how can I achieve that? Well, this dish requires two cooking processes: First, you need to simmer the pork chunks in oil, chicken broth, and citrus juice. Then, when they turn soft enough, turn up the heat so the meat exterior can crisp to your likings.
Authentic mapo tofu is not just spicy. In fact, a genuine Sichuan mapo tofu needs to be spicy, numbing, hot, tender, and fragrant at the same time.
All of its spiciness and numbness comes from douban (Chinese fermented chili paste) and douchi (fermented black beans), making this tofu dish so unique that no one can forget it after having tried it once.
However, if you aren’t good at spicy food, you can look for other variants of mapo tofu outside Sichuan since they are much milder and less oily.
With Both Beef And Pork, Your Dinner Will Become Even Yummier
Who says you can only use one kind of meat for your dinner? If you mix them in the proper ratio, the more meat, the more flavors. Don’t believe me? I’ll let these recipes speak for themselves!
When it comes to pasta dishes, bolognese sauce is the recipe I always look for. Rich, full of flavor, and packed with meat, what else can I ask for? Not to mention, you can grate some cheese on it for an extra creamy taste.
And my favorite part is this meat sauce can go perfectly with almost every pasta, from long, flat ones like pappardelle or tagliatelle to those in bite-sized pieces such as rigatoni or penne.
No dinner recipe is more classic than a meatloaf. Even in your grandmother/grandfather’s generation, meatloaf has already appeared on American dinner tables. But do you know how to make your recipe tastier than other frozen ones on the market?
The answer is your meat mix. Instead of just beef, feel free to mix up various meats like beef, pork, or veal. Also, don’t overmix your meat filling. I know you want your meatloaf all moist and soft, but doing that way only makes yours tougher and blander.
You can’t imagine how tasty this meatloaf is! Watch this video:
Who says you can’t use breakfast recipes for your dinner? Take this toad in the hold for example: Several sausages are baked with Yorkshire pudding, just the sight of this dish is enough to make people mouthwatering.
And my favorite part is that the pudding here doesn’t need any lard. Instead, it will take the fat from the sausages, making each bite full of the sausage flavor, not to mention the accompanying rich onion gravy sauce.
These Seafood Dinner Dishes Will Comfort You After Work
After a long day working, I would always crave some seafood. Not only can I cook them in a short time, but these dishes also make me feel like sitting by the beach, all relaxing and comforting.
This dish seems really fabulous just by the way you say it. Maybe it’s because French makes everything seem in a higher class.
But don’t fret yet! This dish is just salmon wrapped in parchment paper and baked for several minutes.
I often use basil butter and other summer vegetables like zucchini and lemon to accompany this dish, especially when I want to make it for my family’s dinner on hot, summer days. You can make your own combination, but make sure to leave aside those hard-to-cook veggies.
When all you need is a quick dinner, shrimp scampi is a must since it takes only about 20 minutes to complete! And this shrimp dish is full of butter flavor, making your kitchen smell beautiful while cooking.
You can’t find any dishes easier than this! It only contains cooking shrimps in a butter sauce for several minutes before adding lime juice for more flavors. You can even add wine, so the taste becomes more complex. But since I have kids, I often skip this part.
You don’t have to be a professional to perfect this shrimp scampi. Watch this video:
Who says Italian people can’t handle spicy food? This Fra Diavolo sauce begs to differ as it has tons of chili spices. Even the recipes not containing them will have black pepper instead.
However, what kinds of chili and how much is used are entirely up to you. You can opt for those mild varieties if you don’t favor the spiciness much or go all out with the hottest peppers possible.
Shrimp Fra Diavolo matches well with any pasta or risotto dishes.
It may sound strange, but blackening is really the name of one cooking method. For a dish to be called blackened, it must go through two steps.
First, the main ingredient needs to be coated with melted butter. Then, sprinkle it with the “blackening” seasoning mixture. There are numerous versions of this blend, but all require cayenne pepper.
Your shrimp will gain a nice charred crust outside without ruining the flesh, thanks to these two steps.
Though it sounds like a luxurious dish, this crab imperial is truly simple. It’s just crab meat baked in Imperial sauce, a dressing made of mayonnaise and eggs. Your children can even help you make this dish!
But sometimes, the best lies in the simplicity, and this time, it’s true with this crab imperial as you get to enjoy the flaky, sweet crab meat to the fullest with a rich sauce as the accompaniment. Serve it with some bread or pasta to soak up all the delicious sauce.
In its simplest form, paella is a rice dish mixed with other ingredients, and this seafood version is one of them.
But no matter what variants you choose, paella remains attractive to diners with its bright yellow color from the saffron.
Aside from that, you can use any seafood to your liking. For example, my paella often includes the freshest varieties of shrimps, clams, and mussels possible.
Seafood Paella is a dish that can still maintain its flavor and texture even if it’s been stored in the fridge for a few days. While you should be mindful of the time length cooked shrimps stay fresh in fridges, it’s not a bad idea to make seafood Paella in advance to prep for busy days.
This seafood paella will bring a part of the ocean to your house. Watch this video:
Cioppino’s origin may seem confusing to some of you. Despite being an Italian stew, this seafood soup’s homeland is San Francisco, a California city. Thus, this food whose name begins with “C” is considered evidence of cultural exchange between Italy and America.
Initially, cioppino is a “catch of the day” soup, so there are no fixed requirements for its ingredients. Common choices tend to be clams, mussels, and shrimps. Crabs are also a familiar face, but not many people love them because of the hard shell.
Nothing’s More Filling Than These Noodle Dinners
With these noodle dishes, you’ll never have to sleep with an empty stomach. Whether they come from Asia or Europe, these recipes will knock you out with their flavor!
Forget all the take-out lo mein! Now you can make one yourself at a lower cost and better flavor. Actually, there’s nothing complicated about this dish.
It’s just Chinese egg noodles with different ingredients. And when I say that, it means you can use anything you want, from all vegetables to beef, chicken, or seafood.
And of course, it’s ok even if you can’t find authentic Chinese noodles for lo mein. Use spaghetti, linguine, ramen noodles, or any noodles you can find in your area.
When the weekend comes, I would want to get a bit tipsy with this vodka sauce. Yes, just like its name indicates, this pasta is drenched with a wine-based dressing.
And don’t think of switching vodka with other ingredients! This wine has a distinct peppery and herbal taste that nothing can replicate.
Then, cook it with regular pasta sauce ingredients like tomatoes and heavy cream. You can add some sausages or meat for a heartier meal or keep it in the vegetarian style like this.
Make this penne pasta with vodka sauce for a relaxing night. Watch this video:
This dish looks like you take hours to make, but in fact, it only requires roughly 25 minutes, including preparation time. Too fast for a filling dinner, right?
And the next best thing is you don’t need to stand in the kitchen all the time. Just stir all the ingredients together, top them with lots of cheese, and place them in the oven. All done!
Also, though you can use ready-made ravioli to save time, I still recommend making some on your own, so you can have all the flavors you want.
Some people may not like this dish because it includes raw eggs in the recipe. But believe, all you can taste is a rich, creamy sauce with salty meat instead of the slimy texture that you imagine.
However, you need to toss the eggs right when the pasta is still warm to achieve that ideal consistency. Warm, but not hot. Or else, they will curdle and become somewhat scrambled eggs.
First look at squid ink pasta may take you back! A whole plate of pasta is dyed in black color. Of course, you might have already known that this color comes from the squid’s ink.
Aside from the appearance, is it any different from regular pasta? Obviously, it is! This dish, which is called Lasagnetta Al Nero Di Seppia in Italian, is a specialty of Venice.
As for the flavor, you can imagine this pasta has the whole ocean in it. Full of squid flavor, it’s much more robust than you thought.
Since it tastes like that, squid ink pasta is often served as seafood pasta for a whole oceanic experience.
Don’t be afraid of its appearance! You’ll regret not trying this squid ink pasta. Watch this video:
Maintain Your Health With These Vegetable Dinner Dishes!
Afraid that your weight will increase after all those above dishes? Don’t worry! Here are some dinner recipes full of vegetables to maintain your well-being.
While it’s still ratatouille, this dish is made by baking in the oven for a bit. Why is that? It’s because, that way, your vegetables will turn pretty charred and have a nice crunch on top without being mushy like in a stew.
Aside from that, there is nothing fixed in this recipe. You can use any seasonal vegetables you want. Just remember that various kinds have different cooking times, so don’t place them on the sheet pan simultaneously.
Rollatini is a reflection of authentic Italian cuisine: Simple and elegant. This dish doesn’t consist of numerous ingredients. Just rolled eggplants, tomato sauce, and cheese. But all are of high quality.
As for the eggplant filling, if you’re making this for the first time, go for the classic option with spinach and ricotta cheese. From there, you can make your own versions, like pesto and mozzarella, sausage ragu, etc.
It’s healthy, and it’s delicious. Let’s try making this eggplant rollatini now! Watch this video:
Have You Decided What Dinner Ideas To Make For Tonight?
I hope, with this article, making dinner will become a pleasure for you instead of a challenge. If you are a busy worker, I recommend you prepare these dishes on the weekend and only put the finishing touches on the day you want to eat them.
I think many of your relatives also have the same troubles of finding out what to cook for dinner. So, why don’t you show this article to help them out? And if you have other ideas for dinner, don’t hesitate to share them in the comment section below.