5 Nostalgic Throwback Dinner Ideas to Get You Through the Week

Tap into your inner child with these five easy dinners. Classics like Pepperoni Pizza Pockets and Herbed Chicken Tenders with Tomato Sauce are meals that the whole family will love!

White Platter Filled with Grilled Polish Sausage and Sauerkraut with text over the image that says, "What's for Dinner?"

This month, we welcome back Marta Rivera for more of her meal plans. Marta is a trained chef, mom of twins, Army wife, and a Simply Recipes recipe tester and developer!

Recreating my favorite childhood recipes is a way to keep things exciting with family dinners. Why not get back in touch with my inner-kid and wax nostalgic with this week’s meals? The only difference between then and now is that I’m footing the grocery bill.

When it comes to childhood favorites, it was the tastiness of the foods that made them endearing to me. Now, as an adult, the ease of prep is just as important (if not more so). What’s more, being able to recreate these dishes in a way that makes them healthier helps me feel better.

One last thing: Looking for dinner ideas? You're in the right spot! We just launched our new paid meal plan service. We have delicious meal plans to suit every taste and lifestyle -- Healthy Eating, Family Favorites, and Vegetarian just to name a few. These one-week plans are $1.95 and, with them, you get a dessert and weekend prep recipe and a shopping list. They're beautifully designed and perfect to print and save or simply load and cook right from your computer!

  • English Muffin Tuna Melts

    Cheesy Tuna Melt bake until the cheese melts
    Nick Evans

    This is my kiddos’ favorite weeknight dinner. So much so, they’ve taken over making them from start to finish. Any ingredient that I can use for two meals, like the English muffins, is more appealing to the mom in me. Breakfast bread turned dinner foundation is a win-win.

  • Broccoli and Cheddar Quesadillas

    Cheddar Quesadillas with Broccoli
    Nick Evans

    Who doesn’t love a vegetarian meal that combines a popular snack and a favorite childhood side dish? As a kid, I remember calling broccoli “little trees,” and I devoured it every time it was given to me. Now that I can prepare it in a handheld meal, I’m more in love with it than ever. Stir together a quick pico de gallo and prep a side of rice to make a more substantial meal.

  • Herbed Chicken Tenders with Tomato Sauce

    Chicken Tenders with Tomato Sauce
    Elise Bauer

    We can’t throwback to our childhood without including a version of nuggets. While nuggets made of gold may be more of what we crave as adults, the chicken version still brings a smile to my face. This recipe also reminds me of a play on chicken parmesan, which you can totally make happen with a generous dusting of parmesan cheese. Toss some pasta in a butter-garlic sauce to serve as an accompaniment.

  • Grilled Polish Sausage and Sauerkraut

    Grilled Polish Sausage with Sauerkraut and onions
    Elise Bauer

    This reminds me of Sundays spent in NYC touring museums. My kids’ idea of a gourmet lunch was stopping at a hot dog cart for a “dawg” loaded with sauerkraut and brown mustard. Kielbasa, instead of hot dogs, is the featured sausage here, but try bratwurst, polish sausage, or your favorite German sausage to switch things up. Fry up some potatoes to serve on the side.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • Pepperoni Pizza Pockets

    Pepperoni Pizza Hand Pies
    Nick Evans

    As a kid, Friday nights meant pizza delivery and a mini-series called Beauty and the Beast. It’s a beautiful memory and one that I’ve carried on now that I’ve become a mom. We prefer to make our pizza at home, but we enjoy switching things up to create different forms of pizza. These pockets are made with either store-bought or homemade pizza dough and sauce, so it screams “easy.” Make it fun by setting up an ingredient station and let the fam customize their pizza pocket fillings.

  • Weekend Baking

  • Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert - ice cream sandwiches in a row
    Simply Recipes Team

    There’s no way you can get a more nostalgic childhood recipe than these. Memories of tearing down the street after the ice cream man (who seemed to enjoy torturing us by driving a little bit farther than was necessary) can be revisited with this easy-to-assemble dessert. Use your favorite ice cream to sandwich between chocolaty, fudgy brownies.