27 answers

Easy Kid-friendly Weeknight Recipes

What are your favorite weeknight family dinners? I'm looking for simple but delicious meals we can all enjoy (without any kid complaints). We seem to be in a very boring rut of tacos, homemade pizza, roast chicken and spagetti. What meals do you and your kids look forward to? I'm sure you all have a ton of great recipes to share. Thanks so much!

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My husband came up with 2 great meals and my kids absolutely love them.... One is pizza sandwiches.... basically a grilled cheese using mozzarella cheese and pepperoni's (where you would normally just add cheese) cut it in three strips and then you give them pizza sauce to dip them in.

The other sounds a little gross but it absolutely wonderful.... it is called macaroni and cheese pizza...

Basically, you make a box or two of mac and cheese as directed. Then you throw in a egg and mix it up... this helps hold it all together... put in a casserole pan and spread out along the bottom of the pan to be the crust.(does not have to be a thin layer.... Then put on pizza sauce, cheese and whatever other toppings you want... Put it in the oven for 20 mins and then serve.... It is great. Kids love it.

More Answers

Taco Salad-Lettuce, taco meat, tomatoes, kidney beans, cheese and ranch dressing.

Refried beans w/ cheese, warm whole wheat tortilla

Rice Casserole-Rice, ground turkey or canned chicken, ROTEL in a can(tomatoes and green chilis) 1 can of water per can of Rotel-Brown meat and then combine all ingredients. Place in oven and cook for about 20 min or until rice is done. Then add cheese or fritos. Cook until cheese is melted. You can omit the fritos, we do now that we are eating healthier.

Pizza Pie-Make mashed potatoes first and brown ground turkey. Add 2 cans of tomato sauce, 1 jar of pizza sauce or 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce to the meat. Put meat on the bottom of a casserole dish, layer with potatoes and top with cheese. Everything is already cooked, so I usually just stick it in the oven for about 5-10 min, so everything can goo together and the cheese can melt. You can add green beans to this as well, but in my experiences the kids like it without:)

Aside from this we just do chicken and veggies, homemade pizza, tacos, etc. We did just have Swedish Meatballs w/ angel hair pasta and the kids LOVED it. They actually like any type of meatballs. We only used ground turkey at our house, but you can always use ground beef for any of the above recipes.

I also just made pizza muffins using the homemade pizza dough. I put the dough in a greased muffin pan, made a hole for the sauce and topped with cheese and they loved that too!

I make all of these for my daycare children too and they all love every recipe! Happy Cooking:)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H., I have a couple favorites of the family. Good old Chili-Mac! Make 2 boxes of mac and cheese, stir in 2 cans of chili! YUM! also, buy a big 6 pound bag of frozen meat balls at Costco, put in a crock pot on low with your favorite BBQ sauce. Serve over white rice. And a salad. Also great for parties!

Also search the internet for "easy recipes". Tons of them come up. One of my favorites is www.razzledazzlerecipes.com but there are many and when you get in them you can search again for quick and easy and it narrows it down more.

There is also a cookbook with 5 and 4 ingredients or less and those are quick and easy.

Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

You could try something like grilled chicken with pasta salad. Cook bowtie pasta and cool it down, then add Italian dressing and some chopped veggies. Serve chilled. We have roasted turkey breast sometimes instead of chicken and I serve it with a baked sweet potato and a veggie. Kinda like Thanksgiving dinner but more modest portions.

We also like to have baked pasta. I brown some ground sirloin and add it to pasta sauce with some chopped mushrooms and a little frozen spinach. After it has cooked together for 15 minutes or so, I add about 1/4 cup of lowfat ricotta cheese and mix in cooked pasta. Transfer it to an oven safe dish and top with shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350 until the cheese melts.

We like fish a lot, but it can get boring. Aside from lemon pepper or garlic dill, I like to grill salmon with teriyaki sauce on it. I serve it with brown rice and steamed broccoli (or carrots for my son who hates broccoli).

I usually try to jot down some meal ideas for the week before I go grocery shopping so I make sure I have what I'll need. I make my husband pitch in his thoughts too. This way I don't have to feel pressed to come up with a dinner plan on a daily basis. :)

there is a great recipe on the Campbells Golden Mushroom soup can that is for a stir fry - basically the soup and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce you use some cut up chicken or beef into strips and can use whatever froen or fresh veggies you want - I turn rice on after browing the chicken (or meat)in a couple of tablespoons of oil -add the veggies (we use a Costco frozen variety) and it is all done at the same time. This is one of our favorites.

D. C

A couple of things that I do,

Cut up a couple of chicken breasts cook in a skillet, Add a half cup to 3/4 cup of salsa (I use mild) and serve over white rice (or brown rice) My kids love it and they are pretty picky eaters.

Another favorite in my household is:

Get some frozen chicken breasts, turn the burner on medium heat put 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan. Fry the chicken breasts. Toss in a can of cream of mustard soup or cream of chicken soup you can also use taco soup mix or nacho cheese soup and serve it over rice or mashed potato's and a side of green beans or corn.

Good luck,


Step mom to 2

The formatting gets kind of messed up, but here are a couple!

Spaghetti with Sausage and Mushroom Sauce
If you like it spicy, use hot Italian sausage instead of sweet.

12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Brown sausage; drain.
Place all ingredients, including sausage, in crock pot. Stir well. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours. Serve over hot cooked pasta. 6-8 servings.

Skillet Beef Tamales

1 pound lean ground beef (I use ½ pound and add a cubed
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped sweet red pepper
2 cups salsa
¾ cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons water (may need more)
6 corn tortillas (6”), halved and cut into ½-inch strips

Saute beef and peppers (and onion, opt.) until meat is browned. Stir in salsa, corn and water. Bring to a simmer. Stir in tortilla strips. Reduce heat; cover and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes or until tortillas are softened (beware of burning). Sprinkle with cheese; cover and cook 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream/yogurt.

Easy Creamy Tomato Pasta
“Saving Dinner” by Leanne Ely, p. 90

2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 pound penne pasta (I use less)
½ pound Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 pound spaghetti sauce
1 cup low-fat sour cream

In skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sauté onion and pepper. Meanwhile, cook pasta. Add Italian sausage to onion mixture and cook till crumbled and cooked. Drain.
Heat spaghetti sauce. Add cooked pasta, sausage mixture and sour cream. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serves 6.

SERVING SUGGESTION: Serve pasta with a spinach salad and some baby carrots.

Sweet Bean Burritos
“Saving Dinner” by Leanne Ely, p. 70

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cans black beans, drained (I don’t drain)
2 medium sweet potatoes, cooked & mashed
1 tsp. cumin

6 flour tortillas
6 Tbsp. cilantro
6 Tbsp. cheddar cheese, grated
Jarred jalapenos, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.

In skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and cook onion and garlic until soft. Add beans, stir in mashed sweet potatoes, add the cumin, and mix well.
Heat tortillas and roll up with bean mixture and added ingredients. Serves 6.

SERVING SUGGESTION: Add a spinach salad and you’re set!

Crockpot BBQ Chicken
“Saving Dinner” by Leanne Ely, p. 223

1 whole chicken
2 onions, sliced
2 cups barbecue sauce

Put chicken in Crock-Pot with onions on top and add the barbeque sauce; cook on low 6-8 hours. Drain off fat and serve.

Note: Cook 3-4 hours if using chicken thighs or drumsticks.

Crock Pot Chicken Indonesian
“Saving Dinner” by Leanne Ely, p. 190
Serves 6

1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced (I use more)
2 teaspoons grated fresh gingerroot
1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup peanut butter

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and cayenne. Place chicken in greased Crock-Pot. Pour sauce mixture over the top. Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 ½ - 7 hours (more like 3 ½ - 4 ½ hours) or until chicken is tender and fully cooked. Remove chicken from Crock-Pot and stir peanut butter into juices until smooth. Serve sauce with chicken.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with brown rice, steamed broccoli, and baked sweet potatoes.

Crock Pea Soup
“Saving Dinner” by Leanne Ely, p. 10

1 pound split peas, rinsed
1 ham bone, optional (I use a ham hock)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled & sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 bay leaf
1 ½ quarts water (use chicken broth if not using ham bone)
Salt and pepper to taste (salt not needed)

Put all ingredients except S&P in crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours, or until peas are very soft. Before serving, remove bone and bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: A spinach salad and some whole grain rolls.

Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken
“Saving Dinner” by Leanne Ely, p. 104

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ onion, chopped
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (or thighs, preferred)
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon curry powder.

In skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and add onion. Sauté till translucent. Sprinkle chicken with paprika, salt and pepper, then add to skillet. Cook till done and browned. Set aside and keep warm.
Mix lemon juice, mustard, honey and curry in small bowl. Add to skillet, mix well, scraping bottom. Return chicken to pan to warm. Serve with sauce.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with brown rice, steamed cauliflower, and sweet potatoes.

Crockpot Tangy Rump Roast

1 rump roast, trimmed - 3 - 5 lbs.

1 package onion soup mix

1 can cranberry sauce - jellied

2 T. butter - softened

2 T. flour

Rinse rump roast and pat dry. Salt and pepper.
Brown roast in oil. Deglaze with water.
Sprinkle the onion soup mix in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the rump roast in next. Spoon the cranberry sauce around and over the roast. Add water from pan. Cover and cook on low 10 - 12 hours.

Remove roast from crockpot and allow to rest while you thicken the gravy. Turn the crockpot up to High. Blend the softened butter and flour into a paste and whisk it into the gravy. Cover and cook on high for about 10 minutes, until thick.
Alternate method – Add butter to drippings. Let melt. Put flour in jar with a little water; shake to make slurry; add to drippings and stir to incorporate. Cook 10 minutes or until thick.
Slice the roast into 1/4" thick slices and serve with the gravy.

SantaFe Chicken
I love my crock pot! Here is a favorite of mine. It uses ingredients I usually have on hand. (From Orlando, FL)
Combine the following in your crockpot:
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn
1/2 cup salsa
After stirring, add:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup more salsa
Cook on low for 3 hours. Then add,
1 block of cream cheese
Cook one more hour. Serve over rice with flour tortillas. Yum!

You can change what you make your pizza on... biscuit dough (flattened out) or bagels or tortillas, etc. for individual pizza, chicken nuggets (cut up your own chicken breasts and use Shake-N-Bake), loaded baked potatoes, breakfast for dinner, pita bread filled with their favorite foods (even taco fixings), taco salad, mini meatloaves shaped in their initials or like an animal, "shish-kabobs" made of just about anything (doesn't even have to be cooked), or just cut up a dinner that they might be bored with into bite sized pieces and tell everyone they can only use a toothpick to eat dinner. Have fun!

We like to have breakfast for dinner every now and then - french toast or pancakes and eggs... it's always a hit!

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