There it is again. The same old nightly question: “what’s for dinner?”
In our house, we don’t make separate meals for the kids, except on rare occasions when The Husband and I want something that we know one or both of the kids don’t like. I made that mistake with Red, my oldest son, and he was an incredibly picky eater until he was about ten. When Dub was born I told myself that I wouldn’t do that again and now he eats a wide variety of foods.
I do realize that not everyone eats as adventurously as we do or many kids prefer foods that aren’t so in-your-face. To help with the never-ending question of what to make for dinner when you have kids, I have put together a list of some of my kids’ favorite more kid-friendly meals. All of these meals are tested in our home and are bonafide favorites. I hope that you and your kids will love them, too!
My kids love pasta but sometimes plain old spaghetti isn’t doing it for me. When I was looking up some easy one-pot pasta dishes on Pinterest, I found this recipe and adapted it to my family’s tastes. It is so good, and the fresh chopped veggies, especially the pickles (seriously) just make the dish.
I love the idea of Hamburger Helper, but I don’t love all of the processed and unnecessary ingredients. This recipe from 3 Boys Unprocessed is an amazing substitute for the heavily processed boxed version. Of course, it’s a huge hit for the kids because it’s cheese and pasta.
I have never really liked beef stew because to me, it often tastes a lot like pot roast and I’ve never been a fan of pot roast. This stew is different. It tastes brighter and has more flavor than a standard beef stew. So far I’ve never had one better. True story.
When you look up comfort food in the dictionary, you might see a picture of chicken noodle soup. For some reason, I used to be afraid of making soups and now I have no idea why. They’re very easy and this chicken noodle soup is just about perfect. I love this base recipe, but when I make it I don’t add chicken fat or cayenne and add more spices than the original. I put about a tablespoon of thyme, more salt and pepper, and a little marjoram or oregano.
I have loved quiche since I was a little kid and so do my kids. Eggs and cheese, how can you go wrong? This recipe is a fantastic base to add whatever vegetables and meats you choose. I make my own crust and usually add two kinds of cheese (cheddar and jack), broccoli or spinach, ham, fresh tomato, and green onions. Here is one version of this recipe that I made and everyone loved it: Loaded Quiche
Lemon Garlic Chicken
How many times have you had chicken in the fridge but had no idea what to do with it? This lemon garlic chicken recipe is so easy and so good! It has a lot of flavor and is really fast to make. I like to use bone-in thighs for the most flavor, but it would work perfectly with boneless chicken breasts or thighs as well as drumsticks or bone-in breasts. Serve with a veggie and a side of noodles or couscous and dinner is done!
My husband looooves these burritos! He requests them pretty often and I’m happy to make them because they pack a lot of flavor and are quick to make. It’s also perfect for those nights when you forget to take something out to thaw or for a meatless meal. I usually double the recipe for leftovers and use a can of black beans and a can of pinto beans. I also leave out the jalapeno and add a few dashes of Cholula hot sauce instead. I also make this mock Chipotle corn salsa recipe to add to the inside of my burrito and it’s perfection.
Chinese take out is always a favorite in our house so we have started to dabble in making homemade Chinese food at home. One of our favorites are egg rolls and while they take some time to make, they aren’t hard and they are always a hit with the kids. Instead of pork, I prefer to use a bag of small salad shrimp and we often make them with either lo mein or chicken or beef and broccoli.
Some kids may think that buffalo sauce is too spicy. If your child is one, this recipe could easily be adapted by using plain chicken and different sauces.
I think my kids would eat goulash once a week if I made it. This recipe is easy and so good. I cut this recipe in half since it’s a large recipe and I bump up the spices from the original recipe by also adding about two teaspoons to a tablespoon of oregano, about 1/4 cup of red wine, and more pasta. I also cut the amount of onion in half and add the equivalent amount of green pepper and bump up the pasta from one cup to a cup and a half (or 3 cups as written).
Another ultimate comfort food, chicken pot pie is my leftover chicken classic. Any time we make a whole chicken or Thanksgiving turkey and have enough leftovers, I make a chicken (or turkey) pot pie. This recipe is so good and well worth the time to make it. I use my own crust, but I have recently heard that puff pastry is also a great crust to use for pot pie.
And finally, this has been the longest standing favorite in our house. I started making this before The Husband and I even lived together. This is a truly homemade tuna noodle casserole without cream of something soup and it is made on the stovetop instead of in the oven with a bread crumb topping.
I hope that one or more of these recipes also become your favorite family dinners. If you have a great recipe to share that your kids love, please share it in the comments below. I would love to try it in my house.