Weeknight Winners: Our Most Popular Family-Friendly Dinners to Try in 2020

Skillet Pot Pie with Chicken and Spring Vegetables
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

It can be hard to put a meal on the table that's kid-friendly, hearty, and easy. Luckily, a year of recipes in Southern Living is a year of family-friendly dinners that combine the best of classic Southern food with modern and quick and easy recipes. From timeless Southern dishes like chicken pot pie to fresh teriyaki salmon bowls, these are our favorite family recipes. The kids won't complain when you serve up homemade calzones or sheet-pan nachos, and you'll love how easy these recipes actually are to whip up. With all-time favorite slow-cooker family dinners like chili and pot roast, your family will be full and happy at dinnertime– any day of the week. This year, we're resolving to cook more at home and eat out less, and these family-friendly dinners are the perfect place to start. These easy family dinners are kid-and Mama-approved.

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Old-Fashioned Chicken And Dumplings

Old-Fashioned Chicken And Dumplings
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Chicken And Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is one of the most famous and comforting dishes to ever come out of the South.

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French Onion Soup Casserole

French Onion Soup Casserole
Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: French Onion Soup Casserole

Georgia-grown Vidalia onions are ideal for French onion soup, and this casserole version will be an ultimate family favorite.

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White Cheese Calzones with Marinara Sauce

White Cheese Calzones with Marinara Sauce
Photo: Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: White Calzones with Marinara Sauce

This easy, homemade calzone recipe will be a weekly request at your house after your kids get a taste.

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Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts

Don't pull those frozen chicken nuggets out tonight. This easy dinner is one the kids will love just as much.

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Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole

Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole

Louisville's classic Hot Brown Sandwich gets big-batch treatment with this hearty casserole recipe.

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Skillet Enchiladas Suizas

Skillet Enchiladas Suizas
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Skillet Enchiladas Suizas

If the kids are craving Mexican, don't spend money eating out! Make a hearty enchilada dish right in your skillet.

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Ziti with Mushroom, Fennel, and Tomato Ragu

Ziti with Mushroom, Fennel, and Tomato Ragu
Southern Living

Stick with us here: Although Ragu is usually a meat sauce, we made a veggie version that's just as flavorful and indulgent.

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Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Leeks and Mushrooms

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Leeks and Mushrooms
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Leeks and Mushrooms

Chicken pot pie is a Southern classic that will never get old, and one-dish recipe makes it easier than ever.

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Pork Chops with Tomato-Bacon Gravy

Pork Chops with Tomato-Bacon Gravy
Pork Chops with Tomato-Bacon Gravy

The pan gravy is truly the star of this easy but company-worthy dinner.

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Beef Stew

Beef Stew
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Beef Stew

A cozy bowl of classic beef stew is the best way to warm up on chilly nights, and it's always smart to have a batch in the freezer for the busiest weeks.

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Sweet-and-Spicy Sheet Pan Chicken with Cauliflower and Carrots

Sweet-and-Spicy Sheet Pan Chicken with Cauliflower and Carrots
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Sweet-and-Spicy Sheet Pan Chicken with Cauliflower and Carrots

Is there anything better than a 30-minute dinner that's made in your sheet pan? No, there's really not.

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Turkey with Shallot-Mustard Sauce and Roasted Potatoes

Turkey with Shallot-Mustard Sauce and Roasted Potatoes
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Turkey with Shallot-Mustard Sauce and Roasted Potatoes

The turkey cooks in the slow cooker for ultimate hands-off ease for this dinner that would impress company, too.

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Molasses-Soy Glazed Salmon and Vegetables

Molasses-Soy Glazed Salmon and Vegetables
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food styling: Karen Rankin

Recipe: Molasses-Soy Glazed Salmon and Vegetables

Get a healthy meal on the table for the family in no time with this quick, easy dinner.

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Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Mary-Claire Britton

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

Pot roast is a classic dinner that every family member will agree on, and the slow cooker makes for the easiest prep.

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Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Shepherd's Pie

Although Shepherd's Pie is a traditional recipe from over the pond, it has all the comfort of a classic Southern casserole.

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Sheet Pan Nachos with Chorizo and Refried Beans

Sheet Pan Nachos with Chorizo and Refried Beans
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Sheet Pan Nachos with Chorizo and Refried Beans

It doesn't get more kid-friendly than nachos, and you'll only have to clean up one pan after this fun dinner.

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Fettuccine Alfredo with Leeks, Peas, and Bacon

Fettuccine Alfredo with Leeks, Peas, and Bacon
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

You won't believe how easy it is to make homemade alfredo sauce, and you'll never go back to jarred once you do.

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Sheet Pan Pizza with Corn, Tomatoes, and Sausage

Sheet Pan Pizza with Corn, Tomatoes, and Sausage
Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Pizza night got a hit of fresh summer veggies with this sheet-pan wonder, but don't worry—the kids will love it as much as delivery.

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Brisket-and-Black Bean Chili with Cilantro-Lime Crema

Brisket-and-Black Bean Chili with Cilantro-Lime Crema
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

This slow-cooker chili is an easy, comforting dinner that will fill your family up.

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Teriyaki Salmon Bowls with Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Teriyaki Salmon Bowls with Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Recipe: Teriyaki Salmon Bowls with Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Forget takeout—these teriyaki bowls are an Asian-inspired (and healthy!) meal that the kids will love.

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Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Blistered Tomatoes

Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Blistered Tomatoes
Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

This 25-minute twist on chicken piccata is much more kid-friendly than the original.

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Steak-and-Potato Kebabs

Steak-and-Potato Kebabs
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Tina Stamos

During the summer months, there's nothing better than firing up the grill, and no one can say no to a juicy steak kebab.

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Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Serve this traditional meat sauce over whatever pasta variety you have on hand. This recipe serves a crowd, so you might have leftovers for the freezer.

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Country Captain Chicken

Country Captain Chicken
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Country Captain Chicken

This Lowcountry favorite is packed with flavor from various spices like curry powder, paprika, and nutmeg.

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Gnocchi Gratin with Ham and Peas

Gnocchi Gratin with Ham and Peas
Photo: Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Gnocchi Gratin with Ham and Peas

This gnocchi spin on a traditional gratin is extra cheesy and oh-so-comforting.

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Grilled Pizza with Summer Veggies and Smoked Chicken

Grilled Pizza with Summer Veggies and Smoked Chicken
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Grilling out is a fun way to enjoy family pizza night in the summer, and you can top these pizzas with whichever protein and veggies are in your refrigerator at the time!

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Pecan-Breaded Pork Chops with Beer Sauce

Pecan-Breaded Pork Chops with Beer Sauce
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Southern cooks love pecans and pork, and this dinner recipe combines both. It's pretty enough for company but easy enough for a weeknight dinner.

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Beef Stew with Cheddar Biscuits

Beef Stew with Cheddar Biscuits
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Beef Stew with Cheddar Biscuits

This hearty stew is made in your skillet for easy one-dish cleanup.

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Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini and Mozzarella

Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini and Mozzarella
Photo: Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini and Mozzarella

This baked dish is a fun way to do pasta night that's much easier than the presentation lets on.

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Burgoo

Harry Young’s Burgoo
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Harry Young's Burgoo

This Kentucky-born stew is perfect for feeding a crowd and freezing leftovers for later.

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Martina McBride's Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Courtesy Oxmoor House

Recipe: Martina McBride's Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Readers could not stop raving about this easy Tex-Mex soup from Martina McBride's cookbook, and your family is going to fall in love.

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Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole

Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole
Southern Living

Recipe: Homestyle Ground Beef Casserole

Without a doubt, this reader-favorite casserole recipe became an instant classic this year, and there's never been a ground beef recipe our families haven't loved.

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Heirloom Tomato Pie

Heirloom Tomato Pie Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Pie

This is hands-down our most popular tomato pie recipe of all time, not to mention how beautiful a variety of heirloom tomatoes looks on your table.

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Chicken-Mushroom Skillet

Chicken-Mushroom Skillet
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero

Recipe: Chicken-Mushroom Skillet

This pretty dinner recipe is healthy but filling, and you have to make it if you're a mushroom lover.

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Baked Ziti with Sausage

Baked Ziti with Sausage
Southern Living

Recipe: Baked Ziti with Sausage

Easy, cheesy, and impossible to mess up, this baked pasta is a shoo-in for your weeknight repertoire.

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Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder

Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder

We love using fresh summer corn when it's abundant, and this hearty soup is a way to get it on the table with minimal work on your part.

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Easy Boarding House Meatloaf

Boarding House Meatloaf
Southern Living

Recipe: Easy Boarding House Meatloaf

Since meatloaf has been a prized recipe in every Southern cook's recipe box for decades, it came as no surprise that this old-school iteration became popular with readers. The star of this recipe? The meatloaf sauce—trust us.

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Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Chicken-Spaghetti Casserole
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

This chicken spaghetti is literally the definition of a crowd-pleasing dinner recipe.

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Smothered Enchiladas

Smothered Enchiladas
Southern Living

Recipe: Smothered Enchiladas

Mix up your casserole routine with cheesy, melty enchiladas. The kids will ask for seconds, and you can enjoy a margarita on the side.

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Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Shrimp and Grits Casserole
Antonis Achilleo; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Readers loved this dish for its versatility and how easy it is to serve. Rather than have two separate dishes for shrimp and grits, we combined them into one easy casserole that you can serve at brunch, lunch, or dinner.

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Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese

Roasted Tomato-Cheddar Soup
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Cindy Barr; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese

When in doubt, creamy tomato soup is always going to hit the spot. Serve this easy dinner with a classic grilled cheese, and even the pickiest eaters at the table will be happy.

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King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole
William Dickey

Recipe: King Ranch Chicken Casserole

For any Southerners who've had a King Ranch Chicken recipe for years, this comes as no surprise. A trusty standby for dinnertime, this Tex-Mex casserole has never met an opposer.

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Oven-Fried Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

Oven-Fried Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Oven-Fried Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

There's nothing better than a meal that cooks in one pan, especially when budget-friendly, kid-approved pork chops are the star.

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Easy Taco Casserole

Easy Taco Casserole
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero

Recipe: Easy Taco Casserole

Cleanup following Taco Tuesday has never been easier than with this hearty casserole.

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Macaroni Pie

Macaroni Pie
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Macaroni Pie

Sliceable yet creamy macaroni and cheese? We made it possible.

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Julie Yoste's Mississippi Roast

Julie Yoste's Mississippi Roast
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Julie Yoste's Mississippi Roast

The Mississippi Roast is one of the most popular recipes on Pinterest, so if you haven't tried it, this is the year.

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Rosemary Chicken Thighs and Vegetables

Rosemary Chicken Thighs and Vegetables
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Rosemary Chicken Thighs and Vegetables

This healthy skillet dinner is pretty enough for guests but quick enough for weeknights, and that's what we call a winner.

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Cheesy Potato Soup with Bacon

Creamy Cheddar-Potato Soup with Bacon
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christina Lane; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Cheesy Potato Soup with Bacon

This rich, creamy soup comes together in your Dutch oven from start to finish, so you have less to clean up after dinnertime.

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Pizza Casserole

Pizza Casserole
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Pizza Casserole

From the name of this recipe alone, you know your kids are going to be huge fans of it. This hearty supper tops delivery every time.

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Chicken Tamale Pie

Chicken Tamale Pie
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Chicken Tamale Pie

A corn muffin crust and your trusty skillet will make this your new favorite weeknight dinner.

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Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce
Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce

Although this pasta is paired with a dreamy cream sauce, it remains a light and airy feel.

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One-Pan Hot Honey Chicken and Rice

One-Pan Hot Honey Chicken
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: One-Pan Hot Honey Chicken and Rice

This one-dish chicken and rice dinner packs more flavor than your family will believe.

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Healthy Turkey Lasagna

Lean Lasagna
Hector M Sanchez

Recipe: Healthy Turkey Lasagna

The kids will have no idea that you took your old-school beefy lasagna and lightened it up a bit.

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Ground Beef Vegetable Soup with Gnocchi

Ground Beef Vegetable Soup with Gnocchi
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero

Recipe: Ground Beef Vegetable Soup with Gnocchi

If one kid is craving the comfort of a warm bowl of soup and the other pasta, this hearty soup will be on the table in 30 minutes to satisfy everyone.

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Cowboy Casserole

Cowboy Casserole
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Cowboy Casserole

We know this dinner isn't necessarily diet-proof, but with a tater-tot crust, it's definitely kid-proof, which is enough to hope for one some nights.

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Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry

Skillet Pot Pie with Chicken and Spring Vegetables
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Lydia Pursell; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry

You might not have the time or patience to make old-school chicken pot pie with homemade crust, but this skillet recipe brings you all the flavor you love in half the time.

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Cheesy Beef-and-Spinach Ravioli

Cheesy Beef-and-Spinach Ravioli
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Cheesy Beef-and-Spinach Ravioli

We love any recipe that's done in less than an hour and uses our favorite skillet (and that has pasta and cheese, of course).

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Sheet Pan Greek Chicken with Roasted Potatoes

Sheet Pan Greek Chicken with Roasted Potatoes
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Tina Stamos

Recipe: Sheet Pan Greek Chicken with Roasted Potatoes

This herby, healthy sheet pan dinner has so much depth of flavor.

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