Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes For Busy Families

April 15, 2024

In today’s fast-paced world, a healthy and nourishing meal with your family members can feel like a blessing. However, with everyone’s odd schedules not aligning and time constraints, it gets nearly impossible to fix a nice and warm meal for your family. The result? You end up ordering in or reheating some leftovers that are hardly enough for everyone. To put an end to this dilemma, we’ve put together a list of simple and delicious dinner recipes so that you can end your day on a good note and in the company of your loved ones. With one-pot wonders and 20-minute recipes topping the list, these recipes are a must-have if you are a busy individual who’s trying to find a work-life balance. Let’s get started!

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5 Weeknight Dinner Recipes For Busy Families

1. Carrot Tteokbokki

What You’ll Need (Dinner for 2)

For the carrot cakes:

2 large carrots, peeled and grated

1 cup glutinous rice flour

2 cups rice flour

½ tsp salt

½ cup water

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For the sauce:

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp gochujang 

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp sesame oil

4 cups store-bought vegetable broth

2 chopped green onions for garnish

Sesame seeds for garnish


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the grated carrots, the two types of rice flour, and salt.

2. Gradually add in water, kneading properly until a sticky and doughy texture is attained.

3. Divide the dough into smaller sections, shaping each portion into round shapes. Gently press down on each with a bottle cap to attain the distinctive shape.

4. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Slowly drop the cakes into boiling water and cook them for 3-4 minutes or until they are slightly translucent.

5. Remove the cakes from the pot and place them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

6. To make the sauce, combine gochujang, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame in a small bowl.

7. In another pan, add some sesame oil, followed by the onion slices and minced garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until everything is fragrant.

8. Add the carrot cakes and then the sauce. Make sure to generously coat the cakes in the sauce.

Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top for some crunch. You can also add some chopped green onions as garnish.

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2. One-pot Cheesy Pasta

Wooden Platter

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What You’ll Need (Dinner for 4)

350 g penne pasta

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup full-fat milk

2 tbsp butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp Italian seasoning

½ tsp red pepper flakes

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Freshly chopped basil for garnish


1. In a large pot, combine the pasta, veggie broth, milk, butter, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

2. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom.

3. Once everything comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 10-20 minutes until the pasta is cooked al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed.

4. After the pasta has finished cooking, turn off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese until it’s melted and creamy.

Garnish with freshly chopped basil and serve hot.

3. Chicken & Vegetable Fried Rice

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What You’ll Need (Dinner for 2)

1 tbsp vegetable oil

450 g boneless skinless chicken

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 carrots, julienned

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup peas

3 cups cooked white or brown rice

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

Sesame seeds for garnish


1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add them to the skillet.

3. Stir the chicken occasionally for about 6-8 minutes until it’s browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.

4. In the same skillet, add minced garlic and grated ginger. Sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant.

5. Add in the sliced onion, julienned carrots, sliced bell pepper, broccoli florets, and peas to the skillet and stir-fry for another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender yet crisp.

6. Return the chicken to the skillet and toss it in with the rest of the ingredients.

7. Add the cooked rice and break up any clumps with a spoon or spatula.

8. In a small dip bowl, mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Pour this concoction into the skillet and coat the rice completely.

9. Stir everything together for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve the chicken and vegetable fried rice with some toasted sesame seeds on top for that extra crunch.

In case you haven’t gotten the seasoning right, our salt and pepper shakers are a handy addition to your table.

4. Parmesan Crusted Chicken & Broccoli

Chicken and Broccoli

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What You’ll Need (Dinner For Two):

2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts

2 cup broccoli florets

½ cup grated Parmesan

¼ cup breadcrumbs

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic (minced)

Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon wedges for garnishing


1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.

2. In a small bowl, mix grated Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

3. Place the chicken breasts on a baking tray lined with lightly greased parchment paper.

4. Generously drizzle olive oil over the chicken and season with salt and pepper. 

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5. Coat the chicken in the Parmesan mixture, pressing it down gently so that it fully sticks to the chicken.

6. Arrange the broccoli florets around the chicken breast and season them with salt and pepper followed by a generous drizzle of olive oil.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the broccoli is tender.

Garnish with lemon wedges and enjoy!

5. One-pot Mushroom Rice

Mushroom Rice

What You’ll Need (Dinner for 4):

2 cups long-grain rice

4 cups store-bought vegetable broth

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

220 g button mushrooms

2 teaspoon mixed herbs

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup grated Parmesan

¼ chopped parsley for garnish


1. In a large cooking pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the pot and cook for about 3-4 minutes until they are softened and fragrant.

2. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are softened and browned for another 5-6 minutes.

3. Stir in the rice and mixed herbs, allowing the rice to toast slightly.

4. Pour in the vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Give everything a good stir to make sure the ingredients are incorporated nicely.

5. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, letting it simmer for about 15-20 minutes with the lid on.

6. Once the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is fully cooked, turn off the heat.

7. Fluff the rice with a fork and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

8. Add some grated Parmesan cheese and garnish with some freshly chopped parsley.

That’s it! Your one-pot mushroom rice is ready to enjoy.

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As we journeyed through fragrant and fulfilling dinner recipes for you and your family, we’ve given you some simple recipes so that you can put them together in no time. You can also say goodbye to dozens of dishes circling your sink, thanks to some of these life-saving one-pot wonders. The next time you’re too tired after work and considering ordering in, try out one of these delightful recipes.

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