Easy Dinner Recipes and Dinner Ideas For Family Fun

Block parties are a phenomenal way to celebrate summer with family and friends. With the rising cost of gas and travel many people are staying home for vacations ("staycations") and throwing a block party is a great way to get together and celebrate without traveling way. We have some easy dinner recipes to help create your feast and some ideas to make it happen.

1) Get everyone involved early. Notify people in advance of the event by putting save the date invitations in their mailboxes, then follow up in person so they know they are welcome.

2) Divvy up the tasks to make life easier. Have every family bring their own meat to grill, and assign most people to bring a dish to share. Those not bringing a dish can bring buns, condiments, desserts, ice and beverages. Get a headcount early so people know how much to bring.

3) Ask everyone to bring their own plates so there isn't a huge amount of waste at the end of the party and you can be green.

4) Put out sunscreen and bug spray to keep burns and pesky bugs at bay.

5) Assign someone to bring tables and folding chairs, but suggest to guests that they bring lawn chairs too.

6) Stock up on disposable cups.

7) Bring squirt guns, frisbees, balls, hula hoops and other games for the kids to all share.

8) Bring a CD player and some music to set the mood.

9) Have a watermelon eating contest and give out amazing prizes.

10) After dark you can project a movie against the side of someones house and all gather around to watch. Make popcorn to share.

11) Think about making homemade ice cream. Nothing puts people in a better mood faster. The young ones may have never seen it made and the older ones can share great memories of homemade ice cream from their youth.

12) Assign, or hire some teens to help out with the young ones. Make sure no one gets trampled and everyone has a good time.

Some easy dinner recipes to add to your party:

New Oreleans Flank Steak

This recipe multiplies easily to fit a crowd!

Serves 4


2 Tb Red wine vinegar
2 Tsp Light brown sugar
2 Tsp Creole or Cajun Seasoning
2 Tsp Terriyaki Sauce - reduced sodium
1 Tsp Oregano - dried
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Cracked black pepper
1 1/4 lb Flank steak


In a large zip top plastic bag, combine all the ingredients except the steak. Seal the bag to shake to combine the ingredients well. Add the flank steak, seal and shake bag again to coat steak well with marinade.

Refrigerate up to 3 days.

Preheat broiler, or grill, and grill the steak for 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium or cook to your desired doneness. Let the steak stand 10 minutes before slicing crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Honey Mustard Chicken

Simple but delicious. Kids will enjoy it a lot. Use broiler if grill is not available.

Serves 6


5 Tb Honey
5 Tb Dijon mustard
4 1/2 lb Chicken thighs and drumsticks


Mix honey and mustard together in a small bowl. Put chicken in resealable plastic bag or plastic dish with lid, and pour or brush marinade over chicken. Make sure chicken is covered with marinade. Marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour, but not more than 24 hours. It's best to marinate overnight.

Grill the chicken on a preheated grill for about 8 to 9 minutes per side, baste chicken with marinade until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned. Serve chicken warm or cold.

Chipotle Mashed Potatoes

Chipotle chilies, lime, and cilantro transform everyday mashed potatoes into a mouth watering experience. Prep time is 2 minutes, and cook time is 8 minutes.

Serves 4


1 C Milk
2 3/4 C Mashed potatoes - frozen
1 Can Chipotles en adobo, minced
1/4 C Cilantro, chopped
1 Tb Lime juice - fresh
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Black pepper, freshly ground


In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium heat. Add frozen potatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until throughly heated. Remove from heat; add chilies and the rest of the ingredients. Stir until well combined.

Easy Three Bean Salad

Great accompaniment to any meal. Will stay in the refrigerator for up to one week in a tight lidded container.

Serves 8


1 Can Kidney beans - 15 oz, rinsed and drained
1 Can Black beans - 15 oz, drained and rinsed
1 Can Chickpeas - 15 oz, drained and rinsed
1/2 C Parsley - fresh, chopped
1/4 C Olive oil
1/4 C Balsamic vinegar


Combine all ingredients and toss. Cover and chill.

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About The Author, Julie Languille
Julie Languille is a mom of 4 and the computer programmer who created Dinners in a Flash to solve meal planning challenges in her household. Today Dinners in Flash serves clients and offers access to over 2500 mouthwatering recipes. Visit Julie at http://www.Dinnersinaflash.com.