6 Kid-Friendly Dinner Recipes the Whole Family Will Love
Having a kid who is a picky eater can cause even the most patient of parents to want to rip their hair out when it comes to dinner. You don’t want to be stuck making multiple meals for the adults and kids. Thankfully, the following six recipes will be a hit with kids and adults in your family, so get cooking!
1. Honey-Lime Chicken Kebabs
Skewered chicken drizzled with honey and served with a sweet side makes for a healthy dinner that will be gobbled up at your table. Cooking Light prepares them with a broiler, but you could also grill them instead.
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons grated lime rind
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 sliced peeled mangoes
- Chili powder (optional)
Directions: Preheat broiler to high. Combine first 5 ingredients; toss to coat. Thread chicken onto 8 (6-inch) skewers. Place kebabs on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 4 minutes on each side or until done.
Combine juice and honey in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Arrange kebabs and mango slices on a platter; drizzle with honey mixture, and sprinkle with chili powder if desired.
2. Farmer’s Market Quesadillas
Fine Cooking has an idea on how to get your kids to eat their vegetables – cover them with cheese! These quesadillas can be made with better for you whole wheat flour tortillas, and you can try to sneak in as many vegetables you think you can get away with.
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup small-diced fresh, mild chiles, such as Anaheim or poblano (from about 2 large chiles)
- 1 1/2 cups small-diced summer squash (from about 2 small zucchini, yellow squash, or yellow crookneck)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 medium ears)
- 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1 cup diced tomato (from 2 small tomatoes)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Four 9-inch flour tortillas
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar (8 ounces)
- Sour cream for serving (optional)
Directions: Heat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Fit a cooling rack over a baking sheet and put in the oven. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chiles and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the squash softens and starts to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the corn and chipotle powder and cook 2 minutes more. Spoon into a bowl, let cool for a few minutes, and then fold in the tomato, cilantro, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture.
Lay several layers of paper towel on a work surface. Wipe out the skillet, put it over medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When it’s hot, put one tortilla in the pan. Quickly distribute 1/2 cup of the cheese evenly over the tortilla and about a quarter of the remaining vegetable mixture over half the tortilla. When the underside of the tortilla is browned, use tongs to fold the cheese only side over the vegetable side. Lay the quesadilla on the paper towels, blot for a few seconds, and then move it to the rack in the oven to keep warm while you repeat with the remaining oil and tortillas. Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve immediately with the reserved vegetable mixture and sour cream.
3. Wagon Wheel Pasta
This isn’t your regular old pasta bake. The Seasoned Mom has updated the dish with kid-approved fun shapes by using wagon wheel pasta. You can try sneaking in some vegetables if you like — perhaps some spinach? Or make the dinner vegetarian by omitting the ground beef. Just try not to get too angry if the kids play with the food — it is shaped like a wheel after all.
- 6 cups uncooked wagon wheel pasta (or other short shape pasta such as rotini or penne)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
- 4 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook pasta for about 1-2 minutes less than called for on the package directions. You want it to be slightly under-cooked so that it doesn’t become mushy when you bake it in the oven later. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, salt, garlic, and pepper. Add beef and mix well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs; mix gently.
Crumble beef mixture into a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the marinara sauce. Drain pasta; place in a large bowl. Add beef mixture; sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Toss until pasta is well coated. Pour pasta mixture into a 13×9-inch baking dish (or into two 8-inch square baking dishes.) Top with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at for approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until top browns and pasta is heated through. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese on top if desired.
4. Barbecue Chicken Tenders
Skip buying fast food chicken tenders because you can make a healthier baked version at home thanks to Eating Well. Serve them with fries, sweet potato fries, or a side of fruit or vegetables.
- 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (see Note)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see note)
- Olive oil or canola oil cooking spray
Directions: Combine barbecue sauce, mustard, and honey in a large bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce in a small bowl. Cut any large chicken tenders in half lengthwise, then add all the tenders to the large bowl with the remaining sauce; stir to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Farhenheit. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Lightly beat eggs in another shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish. Coat each tender in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then roll in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess. Place the tenders on the prepared baking sheet. Generously coat both sides of each tender with cooking spray.
Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each tender over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the tenders are cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Serve with the reserved sauce for dipping.
5. Hamburger and Grape-Tomato Pizza
When you can’t decide if you should make pizza or hamburgers for the kiddos, Martha Stewart has a solution: make both. You can even get the kids to help, letting them add ingredients to the pizza.
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
- All-purpose flour, for work surface
- 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
- 3/4 cup store-bought marinara sauce
- 1 cup grated provolone cheese (4 ounces)
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1/4 pound ground beef chuck
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub a large rimless baking sheet (or a rimmed one, upside down) with oil. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch dough into a 15-by-11-inch rectangle (if dough becomes too elastic to work with, let it rest a few minutes.) Transfer to prepared sheet.
Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Top with provolone, tomatoes, and if desired, onion; scatter beef over top. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until crust is golden, beef is cooked, and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
To make a dinner that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy, try Good Housekeeping‘s fajitas. Since you can build off the basic ingredients, you can swap out items your kids won’t like for one that they will eat. The recipe tells you how to prepare chicken and steak, but you can pick one or the other.
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed with press
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves
- 8 ounces beef sirloin strip steak
- 1 medium (8- to 10-ounce) onion
- 1 large (8- to 10-ounce) green pepper
- 1 pound red cabbage
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus additional wedges for serving
- 8 soft taco-size flour tortillas
- Salsa for serving
Directions: Arrange oven rack 6 inches from broiler heat source. Preheat broiler. Line 18 by 12 jelly-roll pan with foil. In large bowl, combine garlic, chile powder, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place chicken and steak in prepared pan; rub half of garlic mixture all over both. Broil 8 to 10 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of chicken is pierced with tip of knife.
While meat cooks, thinly slice onion and pepper and add to bowl with remaining garlic mixture. Toss to coat. Transfer meat to cutting board and spread onion mixture in same pan. Broil 8 minutes or until vegetables are browned and tender. Meanwhile, very thinly slice cabbage and chop cilantro. Transfer to large bowl. Add sour cream and lime juice and toss to coat. Thinly slice chicken and steak across grain; arrange on serving platter.
On large microwave-safe plate, wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave on High 1 minute or until warm and pliable. Place onion mixture on serving plate and salsa and lime wedges in serving bowls. Arrange tortillas, meat, onion mixture, cabbage slaw, salsa, and limes in a do-it-yourself fajita bar.