30 Real Food Dinners {Our Family Favorites}

30 Real Food Dinner Ideas your family will love!

Looking for real food dinners your family will actually eat? I’m all for nutrition, but I’m not real big on exotic ingredients or having my family refuse what I’ve cooked because it’s too far outside their comfort zone!

My list of real food dinners focuses on familiar favorites built with nourishing, real food ingredients. They come together smoothly with flavor that has everyone–from husband to picky toddler–asking for seconds.

{Don’t forget to pin this graphic so you can find this list easily next time you need dinner inspiration!}

30 Real Food Dinner Ideas your family will love!

30 Real Food Dinner Ideas

  1. Meatloaf*. I sneak finely grated carrots and diced onions and celery into the loaf for added nutrition and they hardly notice. Your Real Food Journey has my favorite recipe. We love this with a side of baked sweet potato or butternut squash fries.
  2. Honey Baked Chicken*. Melt 1/3 c. butter with 1/4 c. honey, 2 T. yellow mustard, 1 T. Curry Powder, 1 t. salt, and pepper to taste. Pour over chicken parts and bake at 350 till golden brown, basting occasionally. Love this with fall squash and rice or potatoes to slop up the drippings.honey baked chicken...and 29 more real food dinners!
  3. Salisbury Steaks. The gravy I serve over them is made with whole milk and pan drippings, so it’s pretty much amazing. And I can throw these together in the time it takes to make the mashed potatoes we love with them. Recipe in my book.
  4. Beef Str0ganoff*. I do both a simple version, made with ground beef, or a fancy-pants one with cubed steak and red wine. No matter to me–they both rock with sour cream and all those lovely fats! (P.S. that’s Stacy’s recipe, which means it will make you laugh out loud!)
  5. Tacos*. Thanks to my tortilla press, my own seasoning mix, and a family who likes fewer toppings rather than more, this is a cheap, fast meal for us almost every week.tacos + 29 more real food ideas!
  6. Taco Salad. Even faster than #5, and portable. Just mix the meat (cooled), cheese, and veggies in a bowl with a lid, and top with crushed chips, salsa, and sour cream when you get to your picnic spot.
  7. Chicken Fajitas. A variation on taco night, but a different set of spices, because I like variety. (Find both taco and fajita spice mix recipes in my books!) I use beef or chicken, chopped peppers, onions, and tomatoes all fried up in a pan and serve it on a homemade tortilla with cheese and sour cream. Drool.Fajitas+ 29 more real food ideas!
  8. Corn Chowder. Bacon. Corn. Garlic. What’s not to love?
  9. Chicken and Dumplings. Oh, how I love thee. Thou comest together so quickly with such humble ingredients, and thrilleth my soul with thy mouth-watering texture and flavor. ย My favorite recipe is in here.ย chicken and dumplings+ 29 more real food ideas!
  10. Cheeseburger Soup*. I don’t know how I lived without this recipe in my repitiore. I love how you get such a flavorful soup with just ground beef. Must be all the cheese. Traditional recipe with my real food modifications here.
  11. Chili*. I love my recipe because it starts with simple ground beef, but by the time you’re done adding spices, you’d swear it was sausage–so flavorful! Always served with a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkle of cheddar cheese around here. Don’t forget to soak your beans!soak your own beans for chili, and find 29 more ideas for real food dinners!
  12. Chicken Caesar Salad*. Now, we’re gettin’ fancy. But not really. Homemade chicken tenders or grilled chicken tossed over romaine lettuce and doused with Caesar Salad Dressing. My babes usually skip the lettuce, but otherwise, a family favorite.
  13. Spaghetti. Brown the beef, pour in a jar of sauce, and serve over noodles. Or, over spaghetti squash for grain-free night. It doesn’t get simpler. But it can get fancier with a side of the aforementioned Caesar Salad! Oh, and you can make your own noodles, too, if you’re really ambitious!homemade pasta + 29 more real food ideas!
  14. Fettuccine Alfredo*. A little more involved, but nevertheless one of my quickest meals. Boil water for noodles while you whip up one of my homemade alfredo sauces. Saute or steam some veggies in another pan, and fry some sausage or heat leftover chicken in a fourth pan. It can get hectic, but it all gets done about the same time, and topped with Parmesan it’s totally worth the workout.
  15. Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie. This casserole knocked my socks off when I first met it. Easily grain free, and a complete, one dish meal.
  16. Pizza. Well, of course. Use this recipe for the best whole wheat pizza crust EVEH. Then top with whatever you like. (How about a whole head of garlic? Mmm, yes, please.)Best Whole Wheat Pizza Dough!
  17. Calzones. Everything you love in pizza, in surprise form. Roll out the above dough into thin, 8 in. circles. Spread one half with seasoned ricotta cheese, your choice of toppings, and a generous handful of mozzarella. Fold over, pinch to seal, poke a few air holes on top, and bake at 350 till bubbly and brown. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.
  18. Chicken or Turkey Noodle Soup*. I make this every year after Thanksgiving, but it’s perfectly edible year round.
  19. Stuffed Shells and Peppers. Mix ricotta cheese with garlic, Parmesan, basil, oregano, mozzarella, and an egg. Spoon into stuffing shells or quartered bell peppers. Place the darling little boats in a shallow sea of pasta sauce, top with more sauce and cover with more mozz and parm. Bake at 350 for 20-30 min. till bubbly. Some like the pasta, some like the peppers, some like ’em both. This way you please everyone.Ricotta Stuffed Peppers+29 more real food dinner ideas
  20. Chicken Divan. A favorite from my childhood. Great use for leftover chicken, rice, and that broccoli you found on sale. Great use for your homemade mayonnaise. Recipe here and in my book.Chicken Divan + 29 more real food dinner ideas!
  21. Sloppy Joes*. My favorite way to glorify ground beef. Serve over homemade rolls with cheese sprinkled on top. (OK, my husband thinks that last part is weird, but the kids love it.)
  22. Quiche. This manly quiche with beef and spinach is one of our favorites. We love quiche for a quick lunch or dinner.Hearty Quiche+ 29 more real food dinner ideas!
  23. White Garlic Lasagna. You have to taste it to believe it. So yummy, and actually cheaper than regular lasagna because it somehow achieves delectable cheesy creaminess with just Parmesan. It’s a miracle.
  24. Roast Chicken. Served with potatoes, gravy, and steamed veggies. My favorite way to get me some good, leftover chicken meat for casseroles. (I usually do two birds to ensure leftovers.) Sometimes I do this in the oven (recipe here) and sometimes in the crockpot with this recipe.
  25. Macaroni and Cheese*. I know, I know, this doesn’t sound like a nourishing meal, but I make mine with rice pasta, and use whole milk and chicken broth in the cheese sauce. Throw in some leftover meat and veggies, and it’s a complete, cravable meal.
  26. Grilled Chicken and Seasonal Veggies. Weekly around here in the summer, ya’ll. Favorite marinade recipe here.
  27. Burgers and homemade buns. I season my burgers with Worcestershire, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Uh-mazing.
  28. Enchiladas. Pioneer woman wins, hands down, for the best enchiladas in the world. I use my homemade tortillas (again).homemade tortillas+29 more real food dinner ideas
  29. Mexican Lasagna. For when you don’t want to fiddle with rolling the enchiladas–layer tortillas with meat, sauces, and cheese. Complete instructions in my book.
  30. Gyros. I use Steakums and a greek spice mix for the meat. But really, gyros are simply a vehicle for Taziki sauce, if you ask me.Gyros + 29 more real food dinner ideas

There you have it. A whole month’s worth of dinner plans! Man, making this list made me hungry. And we’re having Fajita’s tonight. Yum.

What are you having?one of the best resources to gradually add more real food into your lifestyle

*these recipes can all be found in my book, Your Real Food Journey. It’ll be your new best friend when it’s time to make dinner!

17 responses to “30 Real Food Dinners {Our Family Favorites}”

  1. Meghan Avatar

    I have had many of these dishes with similar recipes and they are all great. Oh, to add more veggies to the meatloaf, you can also finely mince pepper and add it as well. It is what my parents did to get us to eat veggies without knowing it. You barely notice.

  2. Raiko Avatar

    I love all of these but my family loves chicken ceasar salad the most! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Basil Avatar

    It’s really amazing seeing lots of American cuisines,but African cuisines tastes yummy and some serves as medications too

    1. Trina Avatar

      I would love to learn some african cuisine! care to share a favorite recipe?

  4. Rachael Avatar

    These recipes sound yummy! However, I’m confused because the stroganoff recipe has bouillon cubes and she used cooking spray. I can easily sub the spray but I have no idea about the cubes except possibly making my own (never done that before). What real food item do you use there? Thanks!

    1. Trina Avatar

      later on when she uses water? I use chicken broth there, and that gives it the flavor the bullion would have. And just use some coconut oil or butter in place of the cooking spray, and you’re good to go! I have my real-food-ized recipe for beef stroganoff in my cookbook, “Your Real Food Journey”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Christian Avatar

    This post and all the information I’ve seen from you (I just happened upon you today) made me fight tears of excitement and hope. I’m OVERWHELMED for sure with feeding my family and very excited to see your resources. We’re possibly starting GAPS soon for all 6 of us (enter more overwhelmption) and hope by the end we’ll be able to enjoy cheese, dairy and grains again as most of us are intolerant right now. Thanks so much for your effort to help others on their real food/nutritional journey.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Christian, your comment made my day! I’m so glad that I can share the grace God’s given to me for this journey with you. Can I tell you a personal story of a friend of mine who went on GAPS for all the same reasons you named? She and her family of 7 did GAPS for a full year and all her kid’s allergies and sensitivities were resolved. It’s taking her husband and her a little longer to heal their guts (because the longer the damage has been done, the longer the healing process) but last time I saw her she was enjoy cheese and rice again! Please let me know if there is anything further I can do to help your journey! –Trina

  6. Blessing Avatar

    Waoh, mere looking at these dishes make my taste bud go waooozzaaahhh.

    They look so palatable, delicious and yummy and to think that you gave a well detailed recipe is just amazing.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Theresa Avatar

    Going to try the chicken legs and a couple other items. They sound wonderful. However, I found your site looking for a “real food” cheese burger dish. I’m not sure of all your opinions on what makes food real but I’m pretty sure Velveeta NEVER qualifies. Thank you for the other recipe though, maybe you could come up with a good substitute. Thank you!

    1. Trina Avatar

      sorry for the confusion–I posted that recipe before I was confident enough to rewrite the recipe–although I did make note of my alterations below the original recipe! I never use Velveeta, either, but replace it with cream cheese and cheddar cheese!

  8. Lystessa Avatar

    Thanks for this. The honey baked chicken was awesome tonight! Reminds me of chicken in milk ( http://www.thekitchn.com/jamie-oliver-chicken-in-milk-best-chicken-recipe-all-time-80388 )…. but I think I like yours better. Probably since it’s butter instead of milk! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    We used chicken breast and they took quite a bit longer than the chicken drumsticks. Definitely worth the wait.

    I will be back to try more recipes soon!

    1. Trina Avatar

      I’m so glad you loved the recipe! Thanks for sharing your success!

  9. Deanna Avatar

    Oh my goodness. I’m drooling looking at all these recipes. I’ll be pinning and coming back to this list as I do my menu planning the next several weeks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Does that tortilla press do corn and flour tortillas?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Deanna, the press does not work for corn. I have yet to figure out corn torillas.
      Thanks for coming by! Bon appetite!

      1. Karen Avatar

        If you use two pieces of cut off plastic grocery bags a little larger than the press – one piece under your dough and one on top – you can successfully make corn tortillas also. As long a you haven’t turned on the tortilla maker yet that is ๐Ÿ™‚ I had a wonderful lady teach this trick to me. You just press them, remove the plastic and press the next and so on. Keep them covered under a dish towel till you are ready to cook each one.

  10. Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents Avatar

    Thanks for the link love, my sistah!

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