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51 Quick-Prep Meals for Big Families

If you've got about eight mouths to feed in 30 minutes or less, these fun, family-friendly dinner recipes are for you! Get the kids to set the table, and start cookin'. Dinner will be ready in no time.

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Barbecue Pork and Penne Skillet

I’m the proud mother of wonderful and active children. Simple, delicious and quick meals like this BBQ pork skillet are perfect for us to enjoy together after school activities, especially if I have leftover pulled pork. —Judy Armstrong, Prairieville, Louisiana

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Buffalo Sloppy Joes

Lean ground turkey makes this a lighter sloppy joe than the standard ground beef version. A hefty splash of hot sauce and optional blue cheese provide an authentic Buffalo-style flavor. —Maria Regakis, Saugus, Massachusetts
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Bacon-Chicken Club Pizza

A chicken club pizza topped with lettuce, tomatoes and dressing? You’re in for a treat! Vegetables give the cheesy crust a cool crunch. —Debbie Reid, Clearwater, Florida
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Grilled Chicken Ranch Burgers

This is one of the most fantastic, flavorful burgers I've ever made. Ranch is a favorite in dips and dressings, and believe me, it doesn't disappoint in these burgers, either! —Kari Shifflett, Lake Mills, Iowa
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Taco Pizza Squares

Everyone will come running the minute you take this fun twist on pizza out of the oven. I top convenient refrigerated pizza dough with leftover taco meat, tomatoes and cheese, bringing a full-flavored fiesta to the table in under half an hour. —Sarah Vovos, Middleton, Wisconsin.
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Broccoli Beef Braids

Each slice of this fast-to-fix, golden bread is like a hot sandwich packed with beef, broccoli and mozzarella. —Penny Lapp, North Royalton, Ohio
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Pressure Cooker Chicken Chop Suey

If you’re in for a busy evening, here’s a wonderful way to ensure you can still have a healthful supper. It’s tasty, traditional—and easy, too. —Melody Littlewood, Royal City, Washington
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Saucy Skillet Lasagna

Saucy Skillet Lasagna

Thanks to no-cook lasagna noodles, this skillet lasagna makes a fresh, filling, flavorful and fast entree for any Italian meal. —Meghan Crihfield, Ripley, West Virginia
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Heavenly Crab Cakes

When I switched to a low-fat diet, I thought I'd never be able to eat crab cakes again. But then I found this recipe. Now I can enjoy these little patties of paradise…without any guilt! —Laura Letobar, Livonia, Michigan
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Wasabi Beef Fajitas

Beef fajitas get an Eastern spin with gingerroot, sesame oil and wasabi, a type of Japanese horseradish. You can find it in the Asian section at your supermarket. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Flavorful Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Folks can find me grilling, no matter the weather. This moist pork tenderloin has loads of flavor thanks to its special spice blend, and it doesn't get much easier to make. My wife especially likes that she doesn't have to do the cooking! —Steve Ehrhart, Villa Park, Illinois
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Apple-Topped Ham Steak

Sweet apples combine nicely with tangy mustard in this dish to create a luscious topping for skillet-fried ham steak. I especially like to serve this to guests in fall. —Eleanor Chore, Athena, Oregon
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Haystack Supper

Served as the main dish at our family reunion buffet, this flavorful layered taco-style dish was a true crowd-pleaser. Folks were pleasantly surprised to find a rice layer, and everyone enjoys the creamy cheese sauce. —Jill Steiner, Hancock, Minnesota
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Garlic Lime Salmon

This moist and tender fish is lightly seasoned, so leftovers work well in other recipes. —Gail Uchwat, Sand Springs, Oklahoma
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Grilled Huli Huli Chicken

I got this grilled huli huli chicken recipe from a friend while living in Hawaii. It sizzles with the flavors of brown sugar, ginger and soy sauce. Huli means "turn" in Hawaiian. This sweet and savory glaze is fantastic on pork chops, too. —Sharon Boling, San Diego, California
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Sloppy Joe Pizza

If your kids like sloppy joes, they'll love this pizza. I came up with the six-ingredient recipe that's easy to assemble. —Brenda Rohlman, Kingman, Kansas
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Fair-Favorite Corn Dogs

Bring the county fair home to your kitchen with these summer-ready corn dogs. A tip for dipping: Pour the batter in a tall Mason jar and dunk your dogs to create an even coating all around. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Chili Beef Noodle Skillet

Chili Beef Noodle Skillet

A friend gave me this recipe. My husband likes this entree's hearty blend of beef, onion and tomatoes. I like it because I can get it to the table so quickly. —Deborah Elliott, Ridge Spring, South Carolina
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Hot Dog Roll-Ups

Not only do my grandchildren love these cheese-and-bacon filled hot dogs, but they enjoy helping put the meal together, too. It's the perfect solution to a last-minute lunch. —Lyletta Searle, Morgan, Utah
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Pressure-Cooker Garlic Chicken and Broccoli

This simple riff on a classic Chinese chicken dish proves you can savor the takeout taste you crave while still eating right. —Connie Krupp, Racine, Wisconsin
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Shrimp Fried Rice

This delectable shrimp fried rice is filled with color and taste that makes it vanish fast. Our family of four can't get enough of it. Bacon adds crispness and a hint of heartiness. Consider it when you need a different main dish or brunch item. —Sandra Thompson, White Hall, Arkansas
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Dressed-Up Meatballs

Frozen meatballs and a jar of sweet-and-sour sauce make this microwave meal a last-minute lifesaver when racing against the clock. The flavorful sauce is dressed up with a hint of garlic and nicely coats the colorful mixture of meatballs, carrots, green pepper and onion. —Ivy Eresmas, Dade City, Florida
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Hay and Straw

This recipe is not only quick and easy to prepare, it's pretty, too. This colorful pasta dish combines julienned ham, Parmesan cheese, peas and linguine.—Priscilla Weaver, Hagerstown, Maryland
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Tangy Turkey Tostadas

I'm a health fitness specialist and personal trainer, so I know how important it is to make smart food choices to fuel my day. These fast and filling tostadas are packed with lean protein, fiber and a good dose of veggies. Have them any night of the week. —Julie Huntington, Memphis, Tennessee
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Italian Turkey Skillet

It's a challenge to find imaginative ways to use leftovers, especially for turkey after Thanksgiving. Here's a favorite of mine that you can easily make ahead for another dinner option. Prepare the recipe as directed, then transfer to a casserole dish and freeze up to three months. —Patricia Kile, Nokomis, Florida
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Chicken Pesto with Pasta

Prepared sauce accents this warm chicken pesto pasta. Keep pesto in the freezer for the next time you have leftover chicken. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Garlic Toast Pizzas

Between working full-time, going to school and raising three children, finding time-saving recipes that my family likes is one of my biggest challenges. These quick pizzas pack a huge amount of flavor. —Amy Grim, Chillicothe, Ohio
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Spicy Barbecued Chicken

This spicy, saucy chicken is great served with basil-buttered grilled corn on the cob and fresh coleslaw. —Rita Wintrode, Corryton, Tennessee
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Rosemary Garlic Shrimp

Delicate shrimp take on fabulous flavor when simmered in a chicken broth mixed with garlic and ripe olives. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Brunch Pizza Squares

I love using convenience items, like the crescent rolls in this easy recipe. When I serve it to guests, they always ask me for the recipe. To hurry along the preparation of this dish, I frequently brown a few pounds of sausage ahead of time and keep it in the freezer.—LaChelle Olivet, Pace, Florida
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Grilled Tilapia with Pineapple Salsa

Years ago I found a grilled tilapia recipe in a seafood cookbook. The pineapple salsa with cilantro has a touch of spice and goes so well with the flaky, tender fish. —Beth Fleming, Downers Grove, Illinois
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Pork Chops with Glaze

Rosemary adds a special touch to these beautifully glazed pork chops that are just right for any meal. —Louise Gilbert, Quesnel, British Columbia
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Buttery Grilled Shrimp

This is easy and delicious! These shrimp are great with steak, but for a special occasion, brush the sauce on lobster tails and grill. —Sheryl Shenberger, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Corn, Rice & Bean Burritos

No one will miss the meat when you dish up these satisfying burritos bursting with a fresh-tasting filling. They’re fast to fix and won’t put a dent in your wallet. —Sharon W. Bickett, Chester, South Carolina
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Hearty Vegetable Beef Ragu

This recipe is healthy yet satisfying, quick yet delicious. It's on the table in less than 30 minutes—and one that my children will gobble up! If you are not fond of kale, stir in baby spinach or chopped broccoli instead. —Kim Van Dunk, Caldwell, New Jersey
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Parmesan Chicken Nuggets

My 3-year-old is going through a stage where he'll eat only chicken nuggets and French fries. I like to make these golden nuggets for him so I know what he's eating. They're so good, we like them, too! —Amanda Livesay, Mobile, Alabama
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Pizza Ring

Mom made a ring with chicken and broccoli one night. I said I’d rather have pizza. That’s how this recipe was born! —Tricia Richardson, Springdale, Arkansas
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Texas Tacos

I created this recipe by combining a bunch of taco ingredients that my kids like. Once it’s ready, I often keep the beef mixture warm in a slow cooker so the kids can quickly fill taco shells after an afternoon of rigorous soccer practice. —Susan Scully, Mason, Ohio
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Pear, Ham & Cheese Pastry Pockets

I came up with this simple recipe one night for a quick dinner. It's perfect with a cup of soup for a delicious weeknight meal. —Terri Crandall, Gardnerville, Nevada
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Broiled Chicken & Artichokes

My wife and I first made this chicken entree as newlyweds and have been hooked on it ever since, and make it almost weekly. It's so simple and affordable, yet delicious and healthy. Can't beat that. —Chris Koon, Midlothian, Virginia
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Favorite Cheeseburger Pizza

My sister-in-law used to own a pizza restaurant and gave me this awesome recipe that features ground beef, cheddar and thousand island dressing. We like it on whole-wheat crust. —Katie Buckley, Wyoming, Delaware
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Flank Steak with Cilantro & Blue Cheese Butter

I love the combination of the sweet citrus marinade and the strong tang of the blue cheese butter. And my kids just love flank steak. —Gwen Wedel, Augusta, Michigan
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Cilantro Shrimp & Rice

I created this dish especially for my son, who has the pickiest palate. The aroma of fresh herbs is so appetizing––even he can’t resist! —Nibedita Das, Fort Worth, Texas
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Creamy Sausage-Mushroom Rigatoni

In Rome, we dined near the Pantheon. The amazing restaurant is now history, but its memory lives on in this tasty pasta with mushrooms and sausage. —Barbara Roozrokh, Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Avocado Crab Boats

These boats are wonderful with tortilla chips, beans or rice. You can also cover them, pack them on ice, and take them to a picnic or potluck. Straight from the oven or cold, they're always delicious. —Frances Benthin, Scio, Oregon
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Italian Sausage and Provolone Skewers

My husband made sausage and veggie kabobs when we didn't have buns to make classic sausage bombers. Grill ‘em up, then add cheese cubes. —Cindy Hilliard, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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Quinoa-Stuffed Squash Boats

My colorful “boats” with quinoa, garbanzo beans and pumpkin seeds use delicata squash, a winter squash with edible skin that’s cream-colored with green stripes. In a pinch, acorn squash will do—but don't eat the skin! —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

My mac and cheese is simple and has lots of flavor from the cheeses and ground chipotle chile. I use conchiglie pasta because its shape allows more melted cheese to pool inside. Yum! —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Ginger Veggie Brown Rice Pasta

Once I discovered brown rice pasta, I never looked back. Tossed with ginger, bright veggies and rotisserie chicken, it tastes like a deconstructed egg roll! —Tiffany Ihle, Bronx, New York
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Spicy Sweet Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

I wanted to find a way to use pineapple salsa in a recipe. I came up with this super simple, delicious and quick dish! —Erin Schillo, Northfield, Ohio
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Grilled Ham Burgers

My family loves my ham loaf, so I decided to make the ham loaf mixture into patties and grill them—it was an instant hit. Adding the arugula gives these burgers a peppery bite and honey mustard dressing adds just the right sweet and sour flavor. —Susan Bickta, Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Kristin Sutter
A big fan of homegrown cooking, Kristin has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years. She has mastered the art of learning from her inexpert riffs on other people's truly good recipes.