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20 Best Easy Busy School Night Meal Ideas

by Air-fryer
Busy school night meal ideas are a must for busy families. Here are 99 delicious, easy, and family-friendly school night meal ideas that are perfect for busy school nights. Whether you’re using an Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, Skillet, or Sheet Pan this massive collection of quick school night meal ideas are sure to be a hit.

Are weeknights crazy at your house? Are you looking for school night meal ideas that are quick and delicious?

We used to be left scrambling to get dinner on the table too! So, dinners were often a stressful chaotic mess. After investing some time and energy into getting our kitchen organized and efficient we turned around our chaotic dinner situation with quick and easy school night meal ideas.

Whether you’re getting in late from work or rushing out to kids activities these busy school night meal ideas are guaranteed to help make dinner prep a ton easier. Our goal is to help you get a wholesome kid-approved dinner on the table in the least amount of time possible.

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This post is massive and contains only the best school night meal ideas. Fair warning!

99 busy school night meal ideas are guaranteed to please the entire family. To keep things tidy and easy to navigate we’ve divided these school night meal ideas into Instant Pot dinners, Slow Cooker Meals, Skillet Suppers, and Sheet Pan Meals.

Use the table of contents right below to help you hop around this school night meal ideas post a little easier.

Table of Contents

10 Crazy Busy School Night Meal Ideas


Do you own an Instant Pot? If not, you really need to consider adding one to your small appliance artillery because it’s one of the handiest tools when it comes to school night meal ideas.

I held off from buying one for ages because I had convinced myself that all the hype around the Instant Pot was just that … hype. Well, it’s the best money I’ve ever invested. I use my Instant Pot a couple of times a week and it really helps cut down on meal time prep in our house. It’s seriously a must when it comes to quick school night meal ideas.

Here are some of our absolutely favorite one pot wonders. These easy school night meal ideas are awesome because they are easy, quick and come together in one pot. These all-in-one pot school night meal ideas are guaranteed to please even the pickiest eaters because they are just plain delicious.

#1 This Instant Pot Beef Stew via Life Made Sweeter is the epitome of an easy and delicious school night meal ideas. Prep and chop your veggies ahead of time and store them in an airtight container like this Komak Biokips to make getting dinner on the table even quicker.

Total time investment is around 35 minutes to prepare this delicious stew that’s loaded with fork tender meat and tons of healthy veggies. 

#2 Instant Pot Lasagna via Amy + Jack is another delicious must try Instant Pot Dinner. On nights when you and your family are craving comfort food there’s nothing better than this cheesy rich lasagna. This can also easily be made ahead of time and reheated for a quick and easy dinner. This is why this cheesy and comforting lasagna is one of our go to school night meal ideas!

We use the spring form pan that comes with this 6 and 8 quart compatible accessory kit that is available on amazon.

#3 Easy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Burrito Bowls via Recipes Simple is guaranteed to become another family favorite.

It’s 100% another one of our favorite easy school night meal ideas!

This easy all-in-one Instant Pot Meal comes together in under 30 minutes and is packed with flavor. Top with sour cream, shredded cheese, scallions and salsa to make this meal even more delicious.

#4 Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana via Simply Happy Foodie is the perfect dinner for a cool fall evening. Loaded with Italian sausage, potatoes and greens this soup is comfort food at its finest.

We love to swap out the spinach/kale for Swiss Chard for an earthier flavor. This soup also freezes really well (before adding the cream). So, making this in large batches and freezing for busy weeknight dinners is certainly something to consider. ModernKitchen’s reusable silicone food storage bags are a great way to freeze soups. They are leak proof and can be organized  flat to save freezer space.

#5 If you love Salisbury Steak then you’ve gotta try this one-pot-wonder from Cooking with Karli. This Salsbury Steak Meatballs with potatoes and gravy comes together in less than 30 minutes and is one of those school night meal ideas you gotta add to to your meal plan asap!

To up the flavor even more we swap out the french onion soup with powdered onion soup mix and add a splash of white wine. 

Serve with a small side salad and you’ve got a a perfect weeknight meal.

#6 This Instant Pot American Goulash via The Country Cook is another example of  school night meal ideas that is perfect for cool fall nights when the family is begging for pasta. This easy all-in-one Instant Pot dinner takes just 5 minutes in your pressurized Instant Pot and is loaded with flavor.

Top with a 3-cheese blend to make this extra satisfying. 

#7 Instant Pot Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya via Tastes Better From Scratch is packed with flavor. Double the batch to make a ton of leftovers for easy lunches and dinners later in the week. 

Hooray for these easy and delicious school night meal ideas!

#8 This one-pot wonder Pasta and Fagioli from Simply Happy Foodie is a great meatless meal for busy nights.

This delicious recipe requires bringing your pot up to pressure twice; first to cook the past and then to make the stock.  The extra step is so worth it because this is a delicious hearty soup packed with a ton of flavor. 

#9 If you love egg rolls then you’ve got to add this Instant Pot Egg Roll In A Bowl from The Awe Filled Homemaker to your meal plan. 

This one-pot-wonder comes together in just minutes. It’s packed with flavor, low carb and inexpensive to make. It’s the perfect meal for a busy school night!

#10 If you’re a fan of Thai food then this Instant Pot Pad Thai from The Girl On Bloor is a must try. This is one of those school night meal ideas that comes together quickly and is a real treat on a busy school night.

It’s a one pot wonder loaded with flavor that doesn’t taste like it took less than 20 minutes to make. It looks and tastes like you’ve been cooking and preparing for hours! We’re big fans of Watcharee’s Pad Thai Sauce and extra wide brown rice noodles from Clearspring when we make this dish. The extra wide noodles add an extra chew to the meal that compliments the textures so well.

#11 This EASY Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings  from Life, Family Fun is a perfect weeknight meal. Load it with tons of peas, carrots and celery to make this one pot wonder a balanced hearty meal.

#12 If you love stuffed peppers then you’ve gotta try these Best Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers from Sweet & Savory Meals.

Sweet bell peppers are loaded with a tasty mixture of rice and ground beef. These delicious Stuffed peppers freeze well and make wonderful leftovers for lunches later in the week. This is another one of our absolute favorite school night meal ideas because it incorporates all the food groups and provides a satisfying and healthy mean for our family.

#13 Fan of chili? Then you need to add this Best Instant Pot Chili  via the Salty Marshmallow to your meal plan. Loaded with ground beef, beans and heaps of flavor this easy chili recipe is ready in just about 30 minutes. 

#14 This tangy Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken dinner from Life Made Sweeter is one of those school night meal ideas you’ll make over and over again. Tender chicken and vegetables are cooked together in a tangy balsamic sauce that leaves the chicken juicy and flavor. 

Tip*  Easily change up the vegetables by swapping out asparagus for broccoli or cauliflower. We’ve tried this with mushrooms, peppers, snow peas and green beans. Any combination of vegetables work. Simply chop vegetables that require longer cooking times to ensure that all the vegetables cook evenly.

#15 We like to add at least one fish/shellfish meal to our meal plan every week. This Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi from Garden In Our Kitchen is our go-to shrimp dish. Ready in under 30 minutes we love to boost the flavor to this one-pot wonder by topping with freshly grated parmesan and tons of ground black pepper.

#16 If you love chicken pot pie you’re going to LOVE this Instant Pot Chicken Pot Pie recipe from Eating On a Dime.

This recipe serves up all the delicious flavors of a traditional chicken pot pie in a fraction of the time. This easy dinner recipe takes less than an hour and will not disappoint with it’s delicious flavors and savory gravy.

#17 Delicious homestyle Meatloaf and mashed potatoes is a favorite in our home. This Instant Pot Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes from Simply Happy Foodie is a convenient meal that require basic ingredients that you most likely already have at home.

Start to finish this meal takes just about an hour.

*Tip Use a spring form pan like the one included in this Instant Pot accessory kit to make clean up easier. 

#18 Do you love tacos? And, pasta? Then you’ve gotta try this delicious Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta from Aimee Geroux. This one pot wonder is seriously the best of both worlds.

Tip* For some added heat and smoke flavor you can add some Chipotle Morita Chile Paste. Start with a teaspoon and adjust for you heat and smoke preferences.

#19 Ready in under an hour these Instant Pot Beef Gyros via 365 Day Of Crockpot are one of the best busy school night meal ideas you can try.

You can easily make this tender beef same day or prepare it in advance to use through the week for a quick dinner before the kid’s activities. We especially love gyros because you can top them with fresh toppings like red onions, tzatziki and tomatoes and take them with you on the go.

#20 Ever had Cuban Picadillo? Full of bold flavors this Instant Pot Picadillo from Skinny Taste pairs well with simple sides like coleslaw, rice and even white pasta. This easy Instant Pot dinner idea is ready in under 20 minutes.

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