Find easy dinner ideas with hamburger meat (or ground beef) to make cooking for your family easier. With ideas for pasta, burgers, meatballs sandwiches, and more—and lots of kid-friendly options.

ground beef pasta dinner idea on countertop in three bowls.

Dinner Ideas with Hamburger Meat

Having a half pound or pound of ground beef on hand is such an easy way to get easy family dinners going for your family. And while you probably have some staple recipes you turn to, these are my go-tos that are perfect for families with little kids.

These hamburger meat recipes are made with any percentage of ground beef that you have (I usually buy 90% or 95% lean) and come together so quickly. You can adjust the spices or seasonings for your family according to your own preferences.

Each of these is an iron-rich recipe for kids, has ample protein, and can be made ahead of time as an easy toddler dinner.

And serve them with simple sides to round out the meals, such as Roasted Broccoli, Carrot Fries, Mashed Potatoes with Broccoli, or Cinnamon Apples.

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healthy-meatballs-with-spaghetti

Healthy Meatballs

With three kinds of veggies and the texture and flavor your kids expect, this Healthy Meatball recipe is a perfect family dinner option. And since the baked meatballs taste so good, the kids will be happy when you tuck one onto their plates! They’re total comfort food and are great as leftovers.

Healthy Meatballs (with Hidden Vegetables)
With the texture you expect from a traditional meatball but added nutrition from three types of veggies, your whole family will love these.
Healthy Meatballs (with Hidden Vegetables)
healthy meatballs in large bowl and small kids bowl
mini-meatballs-in-skillet

Mini Meatballs

With classic Italian flavor, greens in the mix, and an easy cooking method, these Mini Meatballs are a super delicious family meal component to share with babies on up to adults. They are great with pasta, in sandwiches, or eaten on their own. I love to simmer them in a pan or pot of marinara sauce for extra flavor. Serve with pasta, noodles, or even top with melty cheese.

Best Healthy Mini Meatballs
Classic Italian meatballs with kale tucked inside to help toddlers eat their greens! (You can of course use the more traditional parsley instead of kale if you prefer.)
Best Healthy Mini Meatballs
mini-meatballs-in-skillet-with-sauce
zucchini-burger-on-bun-on-blue-plate

Zucchini Burgers

Here’s a new take on burger night—add some veggies and cheese (we usually use cheddar) right into the mix for extra flavor, nutrition, and easy eating. These Zucchini Burgers are so darn good!

Easy Zucchini Burgers
Stretch your ground beef and add a veggie right into moist burger patties with this simple family dinner recipe.
Easy Zucchini Burgers
zucchini-burger-on-bun-on-blue-plate
meat buns

Cheesy Stuffed Meat Buns

I’m always on the hunt for make-ahead toddler dinner options that the rest of the family enjoys too and these Cheesy Meat Buns are a big favorite with my people! These meat rolls are basically a cheese burger with the filling tucked into the bun…which means they are super easy to eat and they store and reheat beautifully in the oven.

Cheesy Stuffed Meat Buns
These meat buns have all of the components of a cheeseburger, but are much easier for little kids to eat! Plus: They store well in the fridge and freezer so can be made ahead of time.
Cheesy Stuffed Meat Buns
meat buns
skillet-stuffed-peppers-in-adult-and-kid-bowl

Easy Stuffed Pepper Skillet

With the classic flavors of classic Stuffed Peppers, but much less work, this skillet version cooks up in just 20 minutes for a healthy family dinner option. And it has the added kid-friendly benefit of being served deconstructed to let the kids clearly see what’s in their bowls—including those bell peppers.

Easy Stuffed Peppers Skillet
You can use whichever type of rice your family likes best. We rotate through short grain brown rice, basmati, and jasmine. Adults may want to top their portions with shredded fresh basil and/or crushed red pepper.
Easy Stuffed Peppers Skillet
skillet-stuffed-peppers-in-adult-and-kid-bowl
Ground beef pasta in three bowls and pot.

Ground Beef Pasta

I am always searching for easy weeknight dinner ideas that everyone at my table enjoys—and that don’t take me forever to actually pull together. This pasta recipe, which is essentially shortcut Bolognese tomato sauce, is one of our favorites and I love how versatile it is. I used elbow pasta here, but spaghetti would also work.

Easy Ground Beef Pasta
With a streamlined method and delicious taste, this Ground Beef Pasta is a favorite fast family dinner. It's versatile enough to please a variety of preferences, too.
Easy Ground Beef Pasta
Ground beef pasta in three bowls with cheese and utensils.
zucchini-pasta-in-adult-and-kids-bowl

Pasta with Summer Squash and Beef

With just a few ingredients and a super simple method, you can serve up this fresh pasta dinner to everyone at the table. This is a great option for kids who prefer their pasta less saucy—and to still have a meal that’s satisfying to your adult taste buds!

Easy Pasta with Summer Squash
With just a few ingredients and a super simple method, you can serve up this fresh pasta with summer squash dinner to everyone at the table. It's ready in under 30 minutes and is versatile, too.
Easy Pasta with Summer Squash
zucchini-pasta-in-adult-and-kids-bowl
beef-burritos-on-white-plate

Slow Cooker Beef Burritos

With lots of vegetables right in the mix and a simple slow cooker method, this ground beef recipe is an easy family dinner for the little kids and the parents at the table! And, you can simply add the ingredients to the slow cooker in the morning and the burritos are ready to roll come dinnertime.

Slow Cooker Beef Burrito Recipe with Veggies
If you want to make these vegetarian, try using 2 cups rinsed and drained black beans or pinto beans instead of the ground beef.
Slow Cooker Beef Burrito Recipe with Veggies
easy beef burritos on plate
taco-buffet-ingredients-in-white-plates

Taco Buffet

Serve up an easy Taco Buffet without any cooking or involved prep work and have an easy family dinner on the table in minutes. This taco bar is one of my very favorite family meals and it’s so easy to customize with cheddar cheese and classic taco toppings.

Easy Taco Buffet (No-Cooking Required!)
I prefer to make these vegetarian since it’s easier, but you can of course add in cooked chicken, beef, or shrimp if you like! Add another can of beans or additional corn to feed a larger family or appetites.
Easy Taco Buffet (No-Cooking Required!)
taco-buffet-ingredients-in-white-plates
pizza-bites-on-plate-with-pizza-sauce

Pizza Bites

Wrapping up pizza toppings inside the dough is such a fun take on pizza—and it’s a much more convenient way to offer pizza to littles. These little bites are super versatile and comforting, and store so well.

Favorite Pizza Bites
Fluffy pizza bites are a delicious lunch or dinner option—and you can customize the filling to please your kids! We like these with a little side of warmed marinara sauce for dipping.
Favorite Pizza Bites
pizza-bites-on-plate-with-pizza-sauce

Best Tips for Success


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This post was first published February 2023.

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