In The Kitchen Meal Plans

5 Surefire Family Favorites for a Busy Week

Mix up your week with a scrumptious slow cooker soup, a simple pasta everyone loves, juicy pork tenderloin with apples, and breakfast for dinner!

"What's for Dinner" with a platter of chicken kabobs pictured behind the caption.

Simply Recipes

One thing I’ve heard more times than I can count this past year, is how demanding the pandemic has been for home cooks. We’ve been working overtime on all fronts, which is why it’s especially nice when meals are met with enthusiasm. Why not game the system this week and cook up recipes that are sure to please? 


Below is a selection of suppers that kids (and grownups) are likely to feel pretty fired up about (and are relatively easy to prepare).

You’ll find an assortment of crowd-pleasers, from classic Cacio e Pepe to our best Buttermilk Waffles. What you won’t find are unusual ingredients or fussy preparations. Another bonus? You’ll get a little dose of fun in this week’s recipes. Case in point is the Taco Soup toppings bar and Chicken and Pineapple dinner on a stick.

  • Cacio e Pepe Pasta

    Cacio e Pepe with black pepper - spaghetti noodles in a white bowl with black pepper.
    Jessica Gavin

    There’s a reason this dish has stood the test of time in Italian cooking. It’s delicious. The recipe involves just a handful of ingredients and takes mere minutes to assemble. It does have a peppery bite, but it’s easy to scale back (or leave out) the pepper for less adventurous eaters. A green or arugula salad is all you need to make this a meal.

  • Slow Cooker Taco Soup

    A bowl of crockpot Taco Soup topped with sour cream and chips
    Lisa Lin

    It’s a hearty, flavorful soup with flexible cooking time and make-ahead options. Turn up the fun factor by arranging a toppings bar of tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream, diced avocado, and cilantro. Invite everyone to dress up their own bowl.

  • Pork Tenderloin with Apples

    Pork Tenderloin with Apples
    Elise Bauer

    This pork dish remains one of my favorites on the site from many moons ago. Perhaps it’s because the prep time is just 10 minutes or that pork and apples are a classic, crowd-pleasing combo. Either way, it’s a winner, particularly with a side of buttery green beans.

  • Easy Buttermilk Waffles

    Easy waffle recipe served on a round plate with maple syrup
    Emma Christensen

    Breakfast for dinner? Why not. Embellish waffles with plain Greek yogurt, maple syrup, and heaps of fresh berries. Make a double batch and freeze the extras for breakfast.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs

    Chicken Pineapple Kabobs Recipe
    Nick Evans

    I think we all can agree that food on a stick is popular no matter your age. These tasty kabobs feature a pineapple soy marinade along with a yogurt dipping sauce on the side. You can ask your kids for help assembling the kabob to take some of the work off your plate. Enjoy these with a side of couscous or brown rice.

  • Weekend Baking: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

    How to make the Best Chocolate Chip cookies from this Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
    Emma Christensen

    Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? Get your kids into the kitchen over the weekend to help you bake this chewy decadent treat.