Our Editors' Favorite Weeknight Dinner Recipes

You can't go wrong with any of these easy, crowd-pleasing dishes.

Shrimp and Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta
Photo: Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

When it comes to weeknight dinners, the Southern Living editors are experts. From toddler-friendly sloppy Joes to a quick scallop recipe that's elegant enough for an at-home date night, these editor-approved recipes will soon be part of your weekly meal rotation, too. Get cozy with editor-loved comfort food dinners like our new take on ragù and a white chicken chili that comes together in the slow cooker. With suppertime wonders like sheet-pan salmon and salsa chicken, you can have a healthy, easy meal on the table without much effort on your part. Our Farmers' Market Pasta Salad makes use of fresh veggies, and our Creamy Chicken Enchiladas turn leftover chicken into a meal one editor "craves more than takeout." On the hunt for a recipe to break you out of your monotonous meal routine? You can trust the Southern Living editorial team's picks to spice up your weeknights. When the family asks, "What's for dinner?" you can expect to see smiling faces with these delicious recipes.

01 of 25

Beefy Skillet Lasagna

Beefy skillet lasagna in cast iron

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Lydia Purcell; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

"This cheesy, saucy one-pan lasagna has all the flavor of the classic, but is ready in less time than it takes to bake a traditional lasagna," says Assistant Food Editor Alana Al-Hatlani. "Stacking all the layers and the extended bake time doesn't typically make lasagna an ideal weeknight dinner, but this easy recipe is the exception."

RELATED: The Only Lasagna Recipe I Need From Now On

02 of 25

Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Chicken and Potatoes

Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Chicken and Potatoes
Becky Luigart Stayner

"From experience, I've found that there's really no way you can mess up this chicken dinner," says Digital Editor Jenna Sims. "I don't have a roasting pan in my kitchen, so I actually use my trusty Dutch oven. I've also used chicken breasts I had on hand instead of the thighs it calls for. The most challenging part of this one dish recipe is chopping the potatoes, which of course isn't even difficult."

RELATED: This Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Chicken and Potatoes Recipe Will Become Your New Favorite One-Dish Dinner

03 of 25

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Crock-Pot Salsa Chicken
Caitlin Bensel

"I love a good slow cooker set it and forget it recipe, and this one is full of flavor and also pretty healthy," says Senior News Editor Rebecca Angel Baer.

RELATED: This 5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Recipe Is the Most Versatile Dinner Hiding In Your Pantry

04 of 25

Orzo Salad with Shrimp and Lemon Dressing

Spring Shrimp-and-Orzo Salad with Lemon Dressing
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

"I love orzo and this dish is one of my new go-tos because you can easily alter it based on what you already have on hand, rather than adding a trip to the grocery store," says Assistant Homes Editor Cameron Beall. "Sometimes I like to switch up the protein with chicken or toss in some arugula. Plus, it makes for a great leftover lunch."

RELATED: Why I'll Never Get Tired Of This Orzo Recipe

05 of 25

Honey-Mustard Baked Salmon with Vegetables

honey mustard baked salmon vegetables
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

"We eat this light and bright sheet pan salmon so often that you might wonder how it doesn't get old," says Associate Editor Mary Shannon Hodes. "Like with any good weeknight dinner, this one is so easily adaptable to what's in your fridge and pantry at the time."

RELATED: I Keep Finding New Ways to Enjoy This 30-Minute Sheet Pan Supper

06 of 25

Farmers' Market Pasta Salad

Farmers' Market Pasta Salad

Hector Manuel Sanchez

"Packed with all the flavors of summer, this is hands-down my favorite dish to make for suppertime," says former food editor Pat York.

07 of 25

Fire-Roasted Tomato-and-Beef Ragù

Fire-Roasted Tomato-and-Beef Ragù
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

"Since it's usually just my husband and me for dinner during the week, we're constantly shrinking recipes so we don't end up with endless leftovers," says Senior Social Media Editor Brennan Long. "I love how easily this kicked up ragù comes together on a weeknight, but also freezes beautifully for dinners later on. It's a flavorful way to dress up everything from roasted spaghetti squash to locally made pasta."

08 of 25

Shrimp and Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta

Shrimp and Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

"We do a lot of grilled protein and roasted veggie dinners at our house, so this easy one-pan pasta is a welcome departure from our regular weeknight meals," says Travel & Culture Editor Tara McCay. "The best thing about this recipe is that I almost always have all the ingredients on hand—especially since I usually use frozen shrimp instead of fresh."

09 of 25

Chicken-And-Rice Bake With Broccolini

Southern Living Chicken-and-Rice Bake with Broccolini in pan with serving spoon

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

"I love to make this for Sunday dinner and the leftovers are always just as delicious as the first night," says Senior Social Media Editor Brennan Long. "I like to substitute Gouda for the Fontina and added a bit of hot sauce to spice things up. The microwave-ready rice makes things extra speedy, too!"

10 of 25

Skillet Beef Enchiladas

Skillet beef enchiladas in a pan on a cutting board with a napkin and serving spoon beside.

Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist: Lydia Pursell

"I love to add in extra veggies like red bell pepper and poblano when cooking the onion for an ever-so-slight kick," says Assistant Homes Editor Cameron Beall. "Sometimes I like to lighten it up by using ground turkey in lieu of ground beef or leaving out the tortillas."

11 of 25

Sweet-and-Spicy Salmon Rice Bowl

Sweet-and-Spicy Salmon Rice Bowl
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

"You won't believe the incredible flavor this recipe manages to deliver in just 30 minutes," says Associate Editor Mary Shannon Hodes. "Not to mention, it's pretty enough for that 'phones eat first' snap I know you're going to post."

RELATED: These Salmon Bowls Will Spice Up Your Weeknight Meal Rotation

12 of 25

Potato-Bacon Hash

Potato-Bacon Hash
Stephen DeVries, Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

"When it comes to 'clean out the fridge night,' as my mom calls it, we use this hash recipe as more of a guideline, not a rule book," says Associate Editor Mary Shannon Hodes, who loves to throw leftovers from the fridge in this one-skillet supper.

RELATED: Our Leftovers Almost Always End Up in This Hash Recipe

13 of 25

Chicken Cutlets With Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Chicken Cutlets With Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
Photographer: Alison Miksch / Food Stylist: Melissa Gray / Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman

"I recently tried this chicken skillet recipe on a weeknight, and it was so delicious and easy to whip up," says Digital Editor Kaitlyn Yarborough. "Just make sure to serve it with something you can ladle all of that creamy sauce onto. You’ll want to drink the sauce—it’s that good!"

14 of 25

Skillet-Toasted Gnocchi with Peas

Skillet-Toasted Gnocchi with Peas
Victor Protasio

"This is the recipe I turn to when I’m too tired to cook and too impatient to order takeout," says Assistant Food Editor Alana Al-Hatlani. "The best thing about this dish is aside from the gnocchi, everything else you need to make it is a pantry staple, plus freezer-staple frozen peas."

RELATED: The One-Pot Dinner Recipe That Saves Me On Busy Nights

15 of 25

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
Southern Living

"If you've got a few minutes and a handful of staple ingredients, you can have these enchiladas in the oven and baking away with just 45 minutes between you and a dish that rivals the takeout fix you've been craving," says former editor Patricia Shannon. "Our Creamy Chicken Enchiladas are the weeknight answer to all of your decadent and comforting food hankerings—trust me, you're going to want to commit this one to memory."

RELATED: I Crave These 10-Minute-Prep Chicken Enchiladas More Than Takeout

16 of 25

Sheet Pan Fajitas

Sheet Pan Fajitas
Photography and Styling: Karen Rankin

"When it comes to weeknight dinners, speed and simplicity are key," says Travel & Culture Editor Caroline Rogers. "With this recipe, which I've made about a million times, all you have to do is chop and bake—what could be easier than that?"

17 of 25

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili
Hector Manuel Sanchez

"Super easy, filling, and goes great with cornbread!" says Deputy Editor Lisa Cericola of this slow-cooker chili recipe.

18 of 25

Chopped Kale Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs

Chopped Kale Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs

Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

"Though it requires a few steps beforehand like hard-boiling eggs and toasting breadcrumbs, this recipe isn't any more difficult than tossing together a bag o' salad, and it's so much more delicious," says Associate Editor Mary Shannon Hodes. "Even my husband, who isn't a kale enthusiast by any means, was wowed by how much he enjoyed this."

RELATED: This Kale Caesar Salad Is So Good, I Ate It Every Day For A Week

19 of 25

Cuban Black Bean-and-Yellow Rice Bowls

Cuban Black Bean-and-Yellow Rice Bowls
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

When you only have 30 minutes and pantry staples to pull together dinner, take a tip from Deputy Editor Lisa Cericola's go-to recipe. "On the nights when I am especially tired or have even less time to cook, this recipe is my secret, trusty weapon," she says.

RELATED: This Practically No-Cook Dinner Is My Go-To For Busy Nights

20 of 25

Acorn Squash Soup

Acorn Squash Soup
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Victor Protasio, Prop Stylist Claire Spollen

"I love a weeknight soup!" says Travel & Culture Editor Caroline Rogers. "This one is my winter go-to, and if I can't find acorn squash, I usually substitute butternut. Don't skimp on the cayenne!"

21 of 25

Lemon-Garlic Butter Shrimp with Broccoli

Lemon-Garlic Butter Shrimp with Broccoli


"The crowning glory of this recipe is the lemon garlic butter," says former editorial fellow Marissa Wu. "I had the shrimp positively bathing in it and made sure to reserve the extra for drizzling after everything was plated."

RELATED: This Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Is My New Busy Weeknight Go-To

22 of 25

Creamy Rice with Scallops

Creamy Rice with Scallops
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

"This recipe feels so indulgent, but it comes together quickly and is absolutely fool-proof," says Senior Homes & Features Editor Betsy Cribb.

23 of 25

Easy Chicken Parmesan

Easy Chicken Parmesan

Stacy Allen; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Hannah Greenwood

"It doesn't get much easier than chicken parm, which is always a crowd pleaser. Plus, you can always switch up how you serve it," says Assistant Homes Editor Cameron Beall. "I like to enjoy it with roasted veggies, like broccoli and green beans, or a big salad."

RELATED: The Frozen Ingredient I Use For Quick Chicken Parmesan

24 of 25

Poppy Seed Chicken

Classic Poppy Seed Chicken

"Calling for just five ingredients (and some butter!), this chicken casserole comes together with just a little bit of stirring so I find it easy to pull together even on busy weeknights. To make the recipe even easier than it already is, you can also use a rotisserie chicken," says Digital Editor Jenna Sims. "I serve it over microwave rice to complete the meal. Plus, the leftovers are even better the next day!"

25 of 25

Slow-Cooker Sloppy Joes


"The thing about a good dinner recipe is that it can take the stress off of meal planning in an instant," says former Senior Editor Patricia Shannon. "When you know it's going to be a winner, it's just one less thing to worry about—especially, if like me, you have a few persnickety eaters gathering around your table every evening. That's precisely how I feel when I add these easy Sloppy Joes to my weekly meal plan."

RELATED: This Big-Batch Slow Cooker Sloppy Joe Recipe Is the Easiest Way To Win Dinnertime

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