21 Easy Friday Night Dinner Ideas After a Busy Work Week

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Odette Modified: December 29, 2022
21 Easy Friday Night Dinner Ideas After a Busy Work Week
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Friday nights shouldn’t be about waiting for a seat at a busy restaurant. And it certainly shouldn’t be about cooking tirelessly after a busy and stressful working week. Why go through all the trouble when there are easy Friday night dinner ideas you can make at home? They may be easy, but these recipes are special and delicious! They’ll come out tasting as if you’ve worked on them for hours. Let’s admit it, the best way to wrap up a week is with good food.

With that in mind, we listed recipes you can cook instead of dining outside. From quick and easy recipes for dinner parties to fun and budget-friendly food plans, this list will definitely help you on Friday nights. So, get your skillet ready and your knives sharpened, and try these easy recipes!

Quick and Easy Family Dinner Ideas

After a busy work week you just conquered, there’s no doubt you will look for recipes that take little time to whip up. But does that mean you’ll opt for just whatever you can pop in the microwave? Big no! Below is a list of Friday night dinner ideas for the family you can cook effortlessly.

Crockpot Roast Chicken

roasted chicken

Usually, when you hear roast you immediately think of a daunting cooking process that needs 100 percent of your attention. We mean, everyone is scared to burn or undercook parts of the chicken.

With that, it’s time to employ the help of a crockpot! Try cooking this amazing crockpot roast chicken recipe. After all, you will only need a few ingredients and follow even fewer cooking instructions. Trust this roast chicken to give you a delicious dinner with minimal effort after a tiring day.

Recipe for Inspiration: Crockpot Roast Chicken

Fried Rice


Got day-old rice hidden in your fridge? Well, don’t put it to waste and make something you can pair well with your Chinese take-out. We love the combination of gyoza and fried rice, but we heard it goes well with egg drop soup too!

To make this fried rice recipe, you only need carrots, green peas, eggs, sesame oil, and of course, rice. You can also add ground meat if you like and eat it on its own for quicker and easier meal prep. As for us, we love that we can eat it in a bowl while catching up on our favorite TV shows.

Recipe for Inspiration: First-Rate Fried Rice Recipe

Rotini Pasta Salad

rotini pasta salad

Looking for even quicker and easier dishes you can make for a Friday night happy hour? Look no further than this rotini pasta salad! When we say it’s quick and easy, we mean it’s ready within 15 minutes. For this recipe, you only need to boil the pasta and turn your attention to cutting vegetables. Or better yet, prepare everything in advance and put it all together right after work.

Recipe for Inspiration: The Best Rotini Pasta Salad 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Easy Overnight Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Still busy on a Friday? How about using your trusty slow cooker to finish your cooking? Prepare everything the night before or early in the morning before you’re off for work. Cooking time might take hours, but prep time is done in under 30 minutes. We say the time spent is totally worth it for a hearty beef stew!

Recipe for Inspiration: Overnight Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Chicken Pot Pie

simple chicken pot pie recipe

Make use of whatever is in your pantry like a can of chicken soup, frozen vegetables, and biscuits, and turn it into a simple yet delicious pot pie. You can prepare chicken beforehand or prepare it when you get home. Whichever you prefer, this four-step pot pie will be done before you know it!

Recipe for Inspiration: Simple Chicken Pot Pie

White Sauce Pasta With Ham

Pasta In Creamy White Sauce With Ham Recipe

Béchamel sounds intricate and tedious, but believe us when we say it’s one of the easiest sauces to make! For one, it only needs a couple of ingredients like flour, butter, and milk. If you like a little more meat and substance, then add some delicious ham like in this recipe. It’s easy and cheap, making this pasta in creamy white sauce worth adding to your list of Friday night dinner ideas. Count on this recipe to elevate your dinner without much effort.

Recipe for Inspiration: Pasta In Creamy White Sauce With Ham

Southern Mac and Cheese

southern mac and cheese recipe

You can make mac and cheese from a simple white roux and milk just by adding lots of cheese and macaroni. But how about we level up this comfort food a bit more by making a Southern-style mac and cheese?

What makes it Southern? Basically, you make it custard-like by adding eggs and evaporated cream or milk. You can also add a little sour cream to this version, but it’s totally up to you!

Recipe for Inspiration: Southern Mac and Cheese

Chicken Roulade

Working towards a healthier diet? Depend on chicken breast to provide you with lean meat options. It’s incredibly versatile too so you have a myriad of recipes to try. As for us, we love this chicken roulade with creamy tomato sauce because it yields a creamy, flavorful, and tender chicken. Do you know what’s even more amazing? It’s gluten-free too!

Recipe for Inspiration: Chicken Roulade with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Beef Stir Fry

Beef Stir Fry Recipe

It’s not surprising at all to find a stir-fry recipe on this list of Friday night dinner ideas. Why, this 20-minute beef stir-fry is easy to put together. You just have to combine a couple of ingredients, stir-fry for a couple of minutes, and you’re good to go. You can eat it with a bowl of plain rice, but it’s even better with the first-rate fried rice recipe we listed above.

Recipe for Inspiration: Beef Stir Fry

Healthy Friday Night Dinner Ideas

Of course, we won’t forget to put together a list of Friday night dinner ideas for the health buffs or those on a strict diet. Continue reading and find one or two you’d like to try today!

READ ALSO: 27 Delicious Gluten-Free Chicken Recipes To Try at Home

Black Bean Burgers

black bean burgers recipe

Healthy shouldn’t equate to bland and tasteless meals. All it takes is some creativity in the kitchen! To give you an idea of what you can cook instead of boring dishes, take a look at this burger made of black beans instead of the usual beef. Prepare it beforehand so all you have to do after a busy work week is put them all together!

Recipe for Inspiration: Black Bean Burgers 

Grilled Chicken Kabobs

grilled chicken kabobs recipe

You know what they say that about grilling? It gives flavorful meats that are lower in fat and calories. With that, here is a recipe for chicken skewers marinated in honey, garlic, soy sauce, and olive oil. Marinate it the day before so all you have to do is grill them after a tiring week. Our tip? Use a handy electric skillet for grilling to make things a lot easier!

Recipe for Inspiration: Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Air Fryer Salmon

air fryer salmon recipe

Now’s the perfect time to make use of your air fryer! After all, Friday night calls for easy meal preps, right? This tender, melt-in-your-mouth salmon will be done in a snap. It’ll be cooked in just under ten minutes, so preheat your air fryer and get right to seasoning your salmon.

Recipe for Inspiration: Air Fryer Salmon

Friday Night Dinner Party Ideas

For some, Friday night means dinner parties. It’s when you invite friends or colleagues over to enjoy a delicious meal. For some, it also means family movie night. So it’s only natural that we have here fun dinner party ideas you can impress your guests and kids with. They’re not only delicious but also very fun to put together.

READ ALSO: 27 Movie Night Snacks For A Home Theater Experience

Tater Tot Casserole

california surprise recipe, tater tots casserole, ground chicken

It shouldn’t be just you celebrating the end of the week. We’re sure your kids had a tiring one too. So, why not reward them with a dish they love? Perhaps something like this tater tot casserole loaded with ground beef and tons of cheese. What’s amazing about this casserole dish is that it can hide veggies too!

Recipe for Inspiration: Tater Tot Casserole

Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

sheet pan chicken nachos recipe

Aside from the easy meal prep of casseroles, sheet pans are also one good way to easily prepare your meals. Plus, it means fewer dishes to load in the dishwasher too! A Friday night is usually a movie night so we included this sheet pan chicken nachos for everyone to enjoy during the film.

READ ALSO: 10 Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes for Working Moms

This recipe has all the veggies, protein, and of course the tortilla chips your kids love! Prepare some dipping sauces and see everyone’s stress evaporate in an instant.

Recipe for Inspiration: Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

Classic Pot Roast & Rice


Looking for something fancier on the dinner table than a sheet pan of nachos? This slow cooker pot roast might be the one you’re looking for. There’s not much work involved, and the most you’ll probably be doing is cutting a couple of vegetables. Still, that will take just a few minutes, tops!

Recipe for Inspiration: Slow Cooker Classic Pot Roast & Rice

BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza

bbq pulled pork pizza recipe

Creative dinner ideas? We just have the perfect recipe you can make at home! Try this barbecue pulled pork pizza everyone is gushing about. It will be something new instead of the usual pulled pork recipes.

Recipe for Inspiration:  BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza

Cheap Friday Night Dinner Ideas

Not much budget you can work with? Don’t worry. Some recipes will taste expensive no matter how little money you spend making them. Your family may not even notice these recipes are cheap!

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Homemade Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Recipe

A simple roasted chicken using your trusty rotisserie oven is already flavorful enough. But a serving of this homemade mashed potatoes and gravy will elevate your dinner even more! It only needs a couple of ingredients, so might as well try it and partner it with your roasted chicken.

Recipe for Inspiration: Homemade Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Coca Cola Chicken Thighs

coca cola chicken thighs recipe

Got a can of Coca-Cola lying around? Then use it for this Coca-Cola chicken thighs recipe. You might not know it, but mixing it with ketchup and Worcestershire sauce makes for a flavorful chicken marinade!

Recipe for Inspiration: Coca Cola Chicken Thighs

Italian Grilled Cheese and Tomato

italian grilled cheese and tomato recipe

Whether it’s as simple as mozzarella cheese sandwiched in a loaf of buttered bread or as fancy as ultimate grilled cheese, we love a good grilled cheese sandwich. This recipe, however, is slightly elevated than the simple yet well-loved sandwich. How? By adding fresh herbs, garlic, and olive oil of course! Intrigued? Then you better get your cheese and pan ready.

Recipe for Inspiration: Italian Grilled Cheese and Tomato

Crockpot Stuffed Bell Peppers

easy crockpot stuffed bell peppers recipe

Here is another crockpot recipe you can try. Like the slow cooker pot roast, this too is so easy to make. In fact, you only need to follow four easy steps. Another thing we like? It’s budget-friendly as well! For this recipe, we suggest prepping it ahead of time, preferably before you leave for work so your dinner is ready on the dot!

Recipe for Inspiration: Crockpot Stuffed Bell Peppers

Pico De Gallo And Salad

pico de gallo shrimo and avocado salad

Breanne Kato | Flickr.com

If you’re looking for something that goes well with your grilled chicken, pico de gallo is your pick. Yes, it goes well with grilled chicken, burrito, quesadillas, and even turkey burgers! It’s not just limited to tortilla chips as some might think.

Recipe for Inspiration: Pico De Gallo Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Read Next: How to Make Shredded Chicken Quickly and Easily!


Odette is a content writer and proofreader by day, and living her inner artist as a poet and singer by night. She's also a former member of a publication who she now mentors from time to time. She likes how sharing a tiny bit of her life and her journey can help others in return. And because she is a curl embassador, she finds joy in empowering fellow curlies to embrace their natural curls. She also loves doing random acts of service to people she loves by cooking for them during her free time. This girl loves anything pasta and French cuisine though she just went through her Japanese and Korean cuisine phase.