Feeding a family can be a challenge sometimes. Getting kids to try something new, pleasing the adults without rocking the boat too much, making something fast because everyone is hungry now…it can all lead to meltdowns and headaches.
I call these three categories of kid-friendly meals my “sanity-savers.” They are my go-to options for weeknight meals because they are (relatively) fast to prepare and everyone enjoys them. Below I explain the three categories’ strengths and also provide some recipes to get you started. I’ll be updating the recipe lists periodically, so be sure to check back for new ideas. I hope you find this a helpful tool for your family!
Kid-Friendly Meal Categories:
- Kid-Friendly Factor: Most kids I’ve met love pasta. It’s fun to slurp and it comes in lots of fun shapes. Since the base of the meal (pasta) is a familiar ingredient, kids are more likely to try new things that are added to it.
- Adult Appeal: This is a meal you can create when you think you have nothing on hand. Keep a box (or two) of pasta in your pantry and you almost have dinner ready. Use up those veggies that are lingering in the crisper drawer, or use frozen ones. Sauces can be created with olive oil, cheese, canned tomatoes, or any combination of those. This is probably the most frugal dinner option.
2. Tacos & Burritos
- Kid-Friendly Factor: This is great for picky eaters. I usually let my kids eat tacos “deconstructed” so that they don’t have to eat all the parts all together. They get to pick and choose the toppings that they like, so they don’t feel like they’re being forced to try something.
- Adult Appeal: You can cater to everyone’s tastes without feeling like a short-order cook. Those who like it spicy can add as much hot sauce as they want without frying the taste buds of everyone else. Family members can add or leave out any loved or hated ingredient.
- Kid-Friendly Factor: Wackiness! It feels like a celebration, like a crazy backwards day. I like to do this on Fridays so that the kids have something to look forward to after a long week. Another bonus is that most entrees are sweet, which is something that kids love.
- Adult Appeal: Remember before you had kids and you could savor a leisurely brunch? Bring back all your favorite recipes that you just don’t have time for in the morning anymore. Add in a Bloody Mary while you unwind from a long day, and you’re good to go.
- Broccoli Rabe & Sausage Rigatoni
- Campanelle with Onions, Bacon & Tomatoes
- Squash & Sage Penne
- Linguine with Pea Pesto by smitten kitchen
- Spaghetti with Pesto Trapanese by Lidia Bastianich
- Pasta & White Beans with Broccoli Pesto by Everyday Food magazine
2. Tacos & Burritos
- Pork Tacos with Avocado-Mango Salsa
- Shrimp Tacos
- Chicken Burritos with Poblano Chiles & Corn by bon appetit magazine
- recipes by Rick Bayless
- the super awesome taco party guide by bon appetit magazine