14 Kid-Friendly Dinner Recipes (That Adults Love, Too)

14 Kid-Friendly Dinner Recipes (That Adults Love, Too)


Glorious are the nights when everyone eats the same dinner with smiles and thank-yous. There are no requests for cereal, and everyone goes back for seconds. From sausage baked ziti to chicken tacos, all of these recipes are major family pleasers at my house.

Loaded with Italian sausage, which packs a ton of flavor, this baked ziti is similar to meat lasagna but without the fuss; easy enough for a weeknight but also special enough for a weekend family dinner; and it also makes a great make-ahead potluck dish. GET THE RECIPE

Marinated in seasoned buttermilk and pan-fried to crunchy perfection, these homemade tenders are delicious plain, dipped in honey mustard sauce, or perched on top of a salad. And they’re not just for picky kids: everyone loves them. GET THE RECIPE

These smoky, spicy Sloppy Joes — or “Sloppy Jenns” as we call them around here — are made entirely from scratch (read: no ketchup or mystery seasoning packets). Pile the beef onto buttery toasted buns and serve with my Sweet & Tangy Citrus Slaw. And feel free to double or triple the recipe for a crowd or to freeze some for later. GET THE RECIPE

There’s always excitement at my house when meatballs are on the menu, but I wasn’t sure how the kids would feel about these because, well, spinach. But they loved them, spinach and all. The addition of turkey sausage not only makes the meatballs tender, but it also adds great flavor without the need for a ton of other ingredients. GET THE RECIPE

Not only do these bowls appeal to kids and adults alike, they can be made in just 30 minutes from ordinary supermarket ingredients. And the beauty of “bowls” is that everyone can create their own. Like it plain? Go for it. Want to dress it up with scallions, crunchy veggies, and cashews? Yes, please. Eating low-carb? Skip the rice and spoon the beef into lettuce cups. You can’t go wrong! GET THE RECIPE

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson. It’s an elegant and remarkably easy dish: most of the ingredients are right out of the pantry, and you can have it on the table in 20 minutes. The sweetness of the marinade causes the salmon to caramelize while cooking, which creates a lovely sear and rich mahogany glaze. GET THE RECIPE

This is a great chicken dish to add to your repertoire. It’s easy enough for a quick weeknight dinner but also elegant enough for company. And kids love it — partly because it bears some resemblance to chicken fingers. GET THE RECIPE

Delicate, bite-sized, and covered in a light cream gravy — what’s not to love about Swedish meatballs? Spear them with toothpicks for a party or spoon them over lightly buttered egg noodles for dinner. Either way, make extra — they disappear quickly! GET THE RECIPE

This quick and easy recipe is adapted from The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. The recipe headnote reads: “If there is one recipe in this book that is guaranteed to have your family moaning with gratitude, this is it. After eating these shrimp, a five-year-old has been known to say, ‘Wow, Mom, thanks!’ And they’ve driven a grown woman to shamelessly lick her plate—in front of everyone.” GET THE RECIPE

No wok needed for this for this easy “takeout” dish of tender steak and crisp broccoli florets in a rich ginger and garlic sauce. Serve it with steamed rice and a delicious, family-friendly dinner is done. GET THE RECIPE

Crisp flour tortillas filled with gooey melted cheddar and shredded chicken in a smoky chipotle-tomato sauce — these are the ultimate quesadillas. GET THE RECIPE

If you’re wondering how to get your kids to eat (or even love) fish, try coating it with a freshly ground corn tortilla crust. This flaky tilapia with a crunchy tortilla chip-like crust is a supper standby at my house. GET THE RECIPE

This pasta dish adapted from Lidia’s Italian Table by Lidia Bastianich is a weeknight winner. Not only is it quick and easy to make — 25 minutes tops — the whole family eats it up, broccoli and all. GET THE RECIPE

Start a Taco Tuesday tradition at your house and kick it off with these chicken tacos. They’re a healthier spin on traditional beef tacos and they’re just as good, if not better. GET THE RECIPE



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