My Best Dinner Ideas for Kids

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These reliable dinner ideas for kids will help you feed picky eaters and little ones delicious family meals all year long.

The photo collage shows several kid-friendly dinner ideas for family meals.

As the author of The Totally Awesome Ultimate Kids' Cookbook, I know that a family dinner needs to be both kid-friendly and something the adults at the table actually want to eat, too.

Food is expensive, your time is limited, and you're trying to raise kids to make healthy choices. That's a lot to juggle all on one plate.

I believe that easy dinner ideas for kids can be quick to prepare, simple to serve, and an incredible way to spend time as a family at the end of a long day.

Whether you're looking for new dinner ideas for your own kids or you're hosting an event with kids you haven't met yet and want to be sure they like what you serve, I've got 70+ easy recipes to help you plan the perfect meal.

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Easy Foods Most Kids Will Eat

Once you've spent any amount of time with a mixed group of kids, you'll quickly learn that each one has their own food rules and preferences.

However, take a glance at the kid menu available at most restaurants, and you'll spot familiar patterns of easy foods most kids will actually eat.

If you're hosting a dinner with a bunch of kids and want to plan dishes you'll know they'll all enjoy, here are a few staples you should keep on hand to help make sure they leave the table with full bellies:

Chicken:

Chicken is tender and mild in flavor. It can be breaded, broiled, air fried, or baked. Keep the seasonings fairly plain and definitely keep some dipping sauces nearby.

Pasta:

The safest bet is usually going to be plain buttered noodles in a short noodle shape like farfalle or penne. But you'll see TONS of kid-friendly pasta ideas in my recipe list below. Stay tuned.

Bread:

Biscuits, dinner rolls, bread slices, toast, pitas, and bread sticks are all going to fill up a picky eater during a meal. Be sure to have a full bread basket on a holiday table when kids are around.

Rice:

Plain white rice or chicken flavored Rice-A-Roni style rice dishes are usually pretty popular with most kids. Just be sure to keep them separate and put any stir fry type toppings on the side.

Veggies with Dip:

Dip is such a magic trick when it comes to getting kids to try a veggie. Be sure to have simple baby carrots and ranch on hand if you've got kids coming over.

Pizza:

A plain cheese pizza, pizza bagel bites, English muffin pizzas, or even French bread pizza are all usually a safe bet with kids. Avoid fancy toppings unless you know the kid.

Serving Tips to Encourage Kids to Eat

How you serve dinner to a kid can make or break how much food they eat during the meal. Presentation totally matters! After all, we all eat with our eyes first, don't we??

  1. Keep it Separate: Grab a divider plate or at least make sure the individual foods don't touch.
  2. Make it Cute: This can be as easy as using a cookie cutter on a piece of cheese to add to the plate or cutting the food to be finger sized for easy pick-up.
  3. Use a Clever Utensil: I keep colorful, fun utensils in my drawer to entice kids with. Kid-friendly food picks poked into bite-sized food always works like a charm, too.

Now let's get to the good stuff!

Here's my list of 70+ delicious dinner ideas for kids that you'll turn to again and again for meals all throughout the year.

Broiled Chicken Tenders

You can marinate or season these broiled chicken tenderloins in countless different ways and then cut them into chicken nugget sized pieces and serve with a dipping sauce cup.

This is a much more nutritious recipe than breaded chicken nuggets and one of the safest bets for dinner tonight.

Easy Broiled Chicken Tenderloins
Learn how to make easy broiled chicken for a quick dinner with easy side dishes or for making cooked chicken to add to pasta salads, quesadillas, or sandwich wraps. You can marinate or season the chicken with countless flavors for mixing and matching into any chicken dinner you have planned.
4.94 from 48 votes
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A broiler pan of chicken tenderloins.

Kid-Friendly Dips to Serve with Dinner

Keep these dipping sauces handy to pair with the chicken nuggets:

Classic Spaghetti

Kids love pasta and spaghetti is usually a safe bet. Add some ground chicken for a boost of protein, too.

Pro Tip: Kids can struggle with twirling long pasta noodles like spaghetti, you could swap out a box of penne or farfalle to make it easier to eat.

Chicken Bolognese
This light bolognese sauce uses ground chicken for a healthier spin on the Italian classic. Easy enough to make on a busy weeknight, your family will love this pasta recipe.
4.50 from 2 votes
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A plate of spaghetti with chicken bolognese sauce has a fork twirling the noodles.

Baked Chicken Tacos

With just 5 ingredients and 10 minutes, you can make a big pan of baked chicken tacos for the family.

Be sure to serve all the toppings separately and let the kids top their own.

Baked Chicken Tacos
10-minute crispy baked chicken tacos use seasoned rotisserie chicken meat for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Pile up the fresh taco toppings and serve with your favorite Mexican rice or taco side dishes.
5 from 1 vote
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A platter of crispy baked chicken tacos has bowls of tomatoes, green onions, and sour cream in the background for garnishing.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Kids love small slider sandwiches and I make them in tons of different flavors but we keep coming back to this classic ham and cheese combo.

My kids love the poppy seeds on top, but you might want to leave it off on half the pan.

Gooey Ham and Cheese Sliders
These totally easy, utterly delicious, Hawaiian roll ham and cheese sliders are perfect for making for your next party. Make a big pan in minutes and watch them disappear.
4.93 from 38 votes
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A filled baking pan of mini ham sliders with butter dripping off the top and a sprinkle of poppyseeds on each one.

Chili Dogs

My thick ground beef chili bowl recipe also makes an amazing hot dog topping.

You could offer it as a soup side dish to a plain hot dog or ask your kids whether they want to scoop it right on top.

Ground Beef Chili Bowls
This super-thick ground beef chili bowl recipe is delicious served with Frito chips for dunking but also makes an excellent chili dog topping or baked potato filling.
5 from 50 votes
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A white soup bowl filled with thick ground beef chili topped with shredded cheese and sliced green onions. There's a spoon and a pile of potato chips on the side.

Cheese Pizza

Kids can be picky about even the most basic recipes. When it comes to pizza, they may prefer a certain ratio of sauce to cheese.

Your best bet? Make a homemade pizza together and let your child help determine just how it gets assembled! BONUS: Fun in the kitchen together for pizza night.

Cheese Pizza
The best cheese pizza ever starts with an easy pizza crust, fantastic pizza sauce, and the best cheese topping ever.
5 from 39 votes
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A homemade cheese pizza is sliced and ready to serve.

Make Ahead Mac and Cheese

Boxed mac and cheese is super popular with kids because of its smooth texture but this baked mac and cheese recipe with buttery breadcrumbs on top is my kids' favorite version of all time.

Make Ahead Mac and Cheese
This easy baked mac and cheese recipe is the perfect side dish or dinner fix. Topped with plenty of crunchy breadcrumbs and perfectly cooked pasta, it will be your go-to recipe at the holidays.
4.57 from 41 votes
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A blue baking dish filled with mac and cheese with bread crumb topping. A serving spoon has removed a portion to show the creamy elbow noodles.

Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

Creamy chicken wild rice casserole includes two kid favorites: chicken and rice. You could easily scoop a serving without the toasted almonds on top.

Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
This warm and delicious chicken wild rice casserole has tender chunks of chicken breast in a creamy herb sauce mixed with wild rice and Monterey Jack cheese. Top the baked casserole with crispy bread crumbs and sliced almonds for crunch. You can make it ahead and freeze for a special family dinner down the road.
5 from 1 vote
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A white baking dish has chicken wild rice casserole topped with bread crumbs and almonds. A scoop is missing.

Creamy Taco Pasta Skillet

This Mexican style homemade Hamburger Helper skillet is made with lighter ground turkey. Everyone at my table loves it.

Creamy Taco Pasta Skillet
This lightened up one pot recipe is the perfect family-friendly comfort food. Made with lightened up ground turkey, diced tomatoes, and your family's favorite taco seasoning, this easy skillet dinner is always a huge hit.
4.50 from 6 votes
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A bowl of elbow noodles coated in a creamy taco mac sauce with ground turkey.

Chicken Chimichangas

Make crispy chicken chimichangas in the air fryer with just the right fillings your kids will love. You can customize your own chimichanga with all the extras and everyone at the table is happy.

Air Fryer Chicken Chimichangas
These make ahead chimichangas are filled with shredded chicken, shredded cheese, and easy vegetables for a quick and easy dinner in a pinch. You can prep them in advance and freeze them for an even faster dinner on a busy night.
5 from 34 votes
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A crispy chimichanga has been sliced open to show the melted cheese inside. Sour cream and salsa are on top.

Sloppy Joes

Classic sloppy joe mix is delicious on a regular hamburger bun but you could even serve it on smaller slider buns to make it cuter.

Bake a pan of tater tots or frozen french fries and let the kids turn it into a potato bar topping.

Crock Pot Sloppy Joes
Prepare this Crock Pot Sloppy Joes recipe for a make ahead dinner on a busy night or freezer meal for dinner down the road. Serve it on hamburger buns, over a baked potato, or with tater tots for a family-friendly dinner.
4.41 from 5 votes
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A sloppy joe sandwich on a soft bun has some filling dripping onto the plate and potato chips on the side.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

A simple grilled cheese with my homemade tomato bisque soup is sure to be a kid favorite.

Go the extra step and cut the grilled cheese into fingers or cubes for easier dunking.

Tomato Bisque Soup
Creamy tomato bisque soup is filled with softened vegetables for extra flavor and pureed for an elegant but easy soup to serve as a dinner entree for 8 or appetizer for 16.
5 from 1 vote
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A white soup bowl filled with tomato bisque has brown bread croutons floating on top.

Cheese Tortelloni with Pesto

This is an easy upgrade from plain buttered noodles. Use a store bought pesto sauce with cheese tortellini. You can keep the roasted tomatoes off to the side.

Cheese Tortelloni with Pesto
This super easy 3-ingredient dinner is perfect for making the night after a Costco run. Easy cheese tortelloni tossed with pesto and served with roasted tomatoes is a delicious and satisfying dinner in a pinch.
5 from 2 votes
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A bowl of cheese tortellini with pesto sauce and roasted tomatoes.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Creamy fettuccini alfredo is delicious by itself but tastes even better with chunks of chicken on the side.

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce
This homemade Alfredo sauce is quick and easy to make on a busy weeknight. So much tastier and healthier than the jarred variety, it uses real ingredients you likely already have on hand!
5 from 43 votes
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A plate of spaghetti coated in homemade alfredo sauce sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Baked Chicken Parmesan

When I make my baked chicken parmesan for the kids, I always have to leave one without the cheese on top. We're all still eating the same dinner, it's ok to customize a small detail like that!

Baked Chicken Parmesan
Baked chicken parmesan is a comfort food classic made easy in the oven. Coated in savory bread crumbs, the chicken bakes up moist and juicy with delicious tomato sauce and melted cheese on top.
4.71 from 17 votes
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A dinner plate has a serving of baked chicken parmesan, farfalle pasta, and a green salad.

Baked Turkey Burgers

I load my turkey burgers up with arugula, tomatoes, and cheese, but this light and zippy turkey burger gets the perfect texture when baked in the oven and the kids can eat theirs just plain.

Baked Turkey Burgers in the Oven
These flavorful, juicy turkey burgers will easily replace ground beef in your rotation. Bake them in the oven and get them nice and crispy under the broiler or pop them in the air fryer, you won't even miss the grill!
5 from 1 vote
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An oven baked turkey burger sits on an open faced bun and is topped with fresh tomato slices, green arugula leaves, and a melted slice of cheese. Tater tots sit next to it for a side dish.

Roasted Sausages and Potatoes

My husband and I love spicy sausages but the kids like them mild. This recipe lets you bake just the right combo so everyone at the table is happy.

Roasted Sausages, Potatoes & Apples
This fall comfort food classic is a hit with kids and parents alike. The easiest weeknight dinner with some fresh apples and spicy sausages from the market.    
5 from 45 votes
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A baking dish is filled with roasted sausages, potatoes, and apples. A jar of mustard and a platter of baked pretzels are in the background.

Minnesota Tater Tot Hotdish

My old fashioned Minnesota tater tot casserole has perfectly crispy tater tots on top of a tender ground beef filling with sweet corn hiding inside. Kids love the ratio of topping to filling here, it's just right.

Minnesota Tater Tot Hotdish
This old fashioned hamburger tater tot casserole has been a family favorite in Minnesota for generations because it is so easy to prep and is a hearty dinner for a cold night. You can make it ahead and freeze it to get prepared for a busy night.
4.96 from 44 votes
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The tater tot casserole has a spoon scooping a serving, you can see the ground beef, green beans, and corn with golden brown tater tots on top.

Chicken Tetrazzini (No Mushrooms)

Tetrazzini is traditionally made with mushrooms but that's the big one on our family's No Cook List.

My chicken tetrazzini casserole is the safest bet when serving picky kids.

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole
This rich and creamy easy chicken tetrazzini casserole is a big hit with kids. Creamy pasta with shredded chicken and sweet peas is a freezer-friendly casserole you'll make over and over. A “mommy meals” staple.
4.86 from 7 votes
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A blue baking dish has a spoon scooping out a serving of chicken tetrazzini pasta with peas.

Chicken Enchiladas

Cheesy chicken enchiladas are a great next step for kids who love tacos. It's all the same flavors but in a new presentation.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken enchiladas are always a hit with kids who love Mexican food but they usually take a lot of time to prepare. This fast and easy recipe comes together quickly with several busy-parent shortcuts.
4.97 from 51 votes
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A baking pan filled with tomato sauce covered chicken enchiladas.

Open Face Turkey Sandwich

Thanksgiving can be a challenge for kids, there's a lot of unknown at the table. Keep it welcoming for them and suggest they turn their turkey into this simple open face turkey sandwich and you'll be a holiday hero.

Open Face Turkey Sandwich
These open face turkey sandwiches with gravy are the perfect way to use up leftover turkey breast and Thanksgiving gravy but also make a delicious and easy dinner any night of the year.
5 from 32 votes
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A piece of sourdough bread has chunks of turkey meat and gravy on top.

Italian Meatballs

For the kids who don't like or can't eat pasta, why not serve the Italian meatballs with party picks??

Italian Meatballs
Make a batch of these easy Italian meatballs and you'll have enough to serve over pasta with tomato sauce one night and make a batch of Italian wedding soup on another night. The meatballs can be prepped and stored in the fridge for 3 days or frozen for later.
5 from 1 vote
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A skillet filled with meatballs and tomato sauce sprinkled with Italian herbs.

Saucy Pork and Noodle Bake

This is my mom's most famous recipe of all time. It's fed generations of kids who all learned to love it.

Saucy Pork and Noodle Bake
Kid-friendly comfort food at it's best! Cheesy noodles mixed with corn and leftover pork, it's the perfect casserole to make ahead and keep prepped in your freezer. This recipe is older than dirt, provided by my mom!
4.41 from 282 votes
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A white baking dish is filled with wavy egg noodles, chopped pork, and corn and red peppers to show the final baked saucy pork and noodle bake casserole.

Easy Chicken Gyro Wrap

Another great family recipe is this warm chicken gyro wrap. I load mine up with all the veggies but the kids can eat it assembled just how they like with the veggies on the side like a salad.

Chicken Gyro Pita Wrap
Love classic gyros but want a healthier spin on those tasty handhelds? Grilled chicken with a homemade tzatziki sauce wrapped in a toasted pita bread is a fantastic dinner for warmer evenings.
5 from 42 votes
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A pita is wrapped around chicken gyro meat with fresh tomatoes and slices of red onion. The sandwich sits next to some fresh lettuce.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

A great next step after a classic cheese pizza is to try making a homemade BBQ chicken pizza. The tangy barbecue sauce is similar enough to traditional marinara but new enough to be an adventure.

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Homemade barbecue chicken pizza on an easy fresh pizza dough crust takes only a few minutes to prepare with these shortcuts. Use your favorite storebought BBQ sauce and seasoned chicken tenderloins for the most delicious pizza this Friday night.
5 from 1 vote
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A baked BBQ chicken pizza has been sliced for serving.

Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs Stir Fry

While I might toss all the elements of this stir fry bowl into one big heap, when I serve it to kids you can bet each piece is separate. Meatballs, rice, and veggies, all in one easy dish.

Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs Stir Fry
This quick and easy dinner recipe uses Aidells pineapple and teriyaki chicken meatballs from Costco with a few simple ingredients to make a delicious family dinner in minutes.
4.96 from 47 votes
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A serving of teriyaki meatballs with pineapple and vegetables over rice.

Turkey Taquitos

Tacos you can dunk?? YES, Please. These delicious turkey taquitos are great finger food for kids.

Baked Turkey Taquitos
These baked turkey taquitos are a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Light ground turkey seasoned with taco spices is rolled up with diced tomatoes, peppers, and shredded cheese. Baked to a crisp in minutes, they are perfect for dunking in sour cream and salsa.
5 from 4 votes
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A platter of rolled-up turkey taquitos sits next to a bowl of sour cream and a bowl of salsa.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Classic chicken noodle is always delicious but this chicken pot pie soup has sweet tender veggies in the mix and comes together quickly.

Ina's Chicken Pot Pie Soup for the Real World
This budget-friendly version of Ina Garten's chicken pot pie soup recipe is easier to make and more affordable for real world families but still has all the amazing homemade flavor from the original.
4.34 from 3 votes
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A bowl of chicken pot pie soup has a croissant on the plate next to it.

Red Chicken Chili (No Beans)

Another tricky ingredient for kids is soup beans, my easy red chicken chili has no beans and I've sold it to the kids by calling it "taco soup" since it is served with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Red Chicken Chili with No Beans
Light and healthy red chicken chili with tons of tomatoes and fresh peppers but no beans. Top it with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and serve with tortilla chips for dunking.
4.43 from 28 votes
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A white bowl of tomato-based chicken chili has shredded cheddar and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

This freezer friendly casserole helps ensure you always have a kid-friendly dinner on hand. You could bake it separately on the off chance you want to make a true adult adventure dinner but need a safe back up for the kids.

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti
This make-ahead chicken spaghetti casserole is perfect for stashing in your freezer for a busy night. Split the dish into two 8x8-in pans for a small serving dinner or easy side dish.
5 from 1 vote
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A square pan of chicken spaghetti is ready to be frozen in aluminum foil wrap.

Baked Meatball Subs

Baked meatball subs start with frozen Italian meatballs. You can keep them warm in a crockpot or back a big pan of subs all at once for a big family dinner.

Baked Meatball Subs
This delicious and heart meatball sub recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight. You can have a hearty meal on the table in just minutes.
5 from 46 votes
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A blue plate has a long baked meatball sub with tomato sauce and melted cheese.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Creamy chicken and rice soup is much thicker than traditional chicken soup broth and can be easier for kids to eat with a spoon.

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup
This 15-minute Instant Pot soup recipe is made with tender chicken thighs and boxed wild rice blend. Fresh onions and celery give a homemade taste to a quick and easy chicken soup your family will love, even on a busy weeknight.
4.34 from 3 votes
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A white bowl is filled with a creamy chicken and wild rice soup.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

My take on classic chicken noodle soup actually has just a hint of tomato in the broth to add more flavor and color to the meal. Kids love those tender wavy egg noodles floating on top.

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
This delicious and easy crockpot chicken soup is an easy healthy dinner to make on a lazy weekend afternoon or busy work night for your family. Tasty chunks of fresh vegetables and yummy egg noodles make this a big hit with kids.
5 from 1 vote
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A white bowl of chicken noodle soup sits on a blue plate. There are wavy egg noodles and fresh parsley peeking out of the broth.

Cheesy Chicken Roll Ups

Another easy bite-sized sandwich you can bake up quickly is this cheesy chicken roll ups made with refrigerated dough from the grocery store. Serve it with raw veggies and dip for a quick kid-friendly dinner.

Cheesy Chicken Roll Ups
This quick and easy recipe is perfect for a busy night dinner. Sliced chicken and cheese are wrapped up in refrigerated dough and baked for a warm and delicious sandwich.
5 from 1 vote
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A serving of the chicken cheese roll up sits on a plate next to fresh carrots, tomatoes, and a veggie tray with dip.

Apricot Chicken

Sweet apricot chicken with fresh herbs is a cozy dinner for kids. I love it served over a bed of herb butter rice that soaks up all that saucy goodness, it might be a great introduction to food touching for the kids.

Instant Pot Apricot Chicken
This sweet and savory apricot chicken is fall-apart tender and a very easy weeknight dinner. Serve it over herb butter rice with the apricot sauce drizzled over the top.
5 from 35 votes
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A baking dish is filled with saucy apricot chicken sprinkled with fresh herbs.

Chicken Parm Sliders

Bite sized chicken parmesan for little fingers, show me an adult who wouldn't love this, too! For me? It's all about that dusting of parmesan cheese on top of each bun.

Chicken Parm Sliders
Easy baked chicken parm sliders use frozen chicken tenders and slider buns to make a delicious party sandwich that tastes just like your favorite Italian restaurant entree. The recipe makes enough for 6 appetizer servings or 3 - 4 heartier portions.
5 from 45 votes
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A white platter of chicken parm sliders shows the tomato sauce and melted cheese.

Chicken Pot Pie

A traditional two-crust pot pie usually makes kids suspicious about what is hiding inside. I put everything out in the open with this lighter chicken pot pie and serve it with biscuits on the side.

Lighter Chicken Pot Pie
This light chicken pot pie has a deceptively creamy base just loaded with tender shredded chicken and vegetables. Easy enough for the busiest of weeknights, this is comfort food you'll feel great about serving the family.
5 from 41 votes
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A baking dish with creamy chicken pot pie has phyllo dough on the top.

Italian Wedding Soup

While there are a lot of veggies hiding in this soup broth, my kids still count this as one of their favorite soup recipes because the meatballs inside are sooooo tasty. They also love the plump Israeli couscous noodles I use to mix things up.

Italian Wedding Soup
Easy Instant Pot Italian wedding soup can also be made on the stovetop for a quick weeknight dinner using frozen meatballs for a fast shortcut.
5 from 1 vote
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A bowl of soup has meatballs, couscous, and carrots with spinach in chicken broth.

Taco Skillet

If your kids only want to eat plain tacos without any toppings, try serving this veggie-heavy taco skillet instead!

I plop the skillet right down on the table trivet and serve it with a big bowl of tortilla chips for dunking. They eat soooo many more veggies this way.

Easy Taco Skillet
This easy taco skillet will be your new favorite way to enjoy tacos with the kids. Serve the delicious filling in the skillet nad let everyone go dunking with tortilla chips.
5 from 1 vote
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A cast iron skillet holds ground turkey taco skillet with melted cheese and fresh green onions sprinkled over the top.

Stuffed Pizza Buns

You can prep ahead these stuffed pizza buns with different fillings and bake them when the kids are ready.

I serve them with a big green salad on the side.

Homemade Pizza Buns
These easy stuffed pizza buns are made with a homemade pizza dough and then rolled like cinnamon buns and baked in the oven with your favorite pizza toppings. The recipe features an easy dough that can be made in a stand mixer as well as my favorite bread machine pizza dough variation.
4.50 from 2 votes
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A dinner plate with two pizza buns and caesar salad.

Chicken Fried Rice

Another way to get kids to eat more veggies is to tuck them inside this chicken fried rice recipe. The scrambled egg and chicken ensure they get a good boost of protein from the meal, too.

Easy Chicken Fried Rice
This easy stove-top fried rice recipe is perfect for using up leftover chicken with a bag of frozen veggies. Quick enough for a busy weeknight dinner, kids will gobble it right up!
5 from 3 votes
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Ham & Cheese Stuffed Potatoes

For kids who love ham and cheese, these stuffed potatoes bake up quickly by starting in the microwave but then get a crispy finish in the oven.

I use thick cut deli ham and a bag of shredded cheese to keep it easy.

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Potatoes
For a hearty meal, serve 2 potato halves per person. Or for a lighter meal, pair one potato half with a bowl of soup or salad.
5 from 1 vote
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Two ham and cheese stuffed potatoes are on a serving plate with a fork.

Pasta Rosa with Sausage

The touch of cream in this "pink pasta" dish makes the whole meal just a little sweeter. Add bulk Italian sausage for a boost of flavor when you want something a little more delicious than regular spaghetti.

Kids love forking that corkscrew pasta shape!

Pasta Rosa with Sausage
Toss your favorite pasta shape in this rich and creamy tomato sauce with sautéed sausage and onions. Top with grated parmesan cheese and serve for the ultimate comfort food.
5 from 1 vote
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A white bowl holds curly pasta coated in a creamy tomato sauce with crumbled sausage and parmesan sprinkled on top.

Ground Beef Stir Fry with Noodles

Elevate a package of ramen by making this easy ground beef stir fry with veggies. Kids love eating those curly noodles with their fork, they stick so much easier than regular long noodles.

Easy Beef Stir Fry with Noodles
Easy weeknight dinner recipe for busy families. This 6-ingredient beef stir fry with noodles is always a hit with kids. Swap the veggies for a custom dish they'll love.
5 from 2 votes
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A white bowl of ramen noodles and ground beef with red peppers and broccoli.

Healthy Dinners for Kids

For kids who don't want their food to touch and prefer to eat all the elements separately, dinner planning is actually as easy as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Pick a Main Dish Protein: I have recipes for chicken, pork, and fish.
  2. Pick 1 - 2 Easy Vegetables: It's easy to say no to one veggie, but the more options there are on the plate, the more likely you'll get them to try one.
  3. Pick 1 Simple Side Dish: Stick to plain rice, bread, or potatoes.

Here are a few great options to help you check off all those boxes:

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

For the nights when you just can't look at another piece of chicken, my juicy roasted pork tenderloin is the next best thing.

The delicate texture and mild flavor is acceptable to most kids, especially when you slice the pork thinly for their servings.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Learn how to cook Smithfield pork tenderloins in 3 easy ways for a fast prep family dinner. Mix and match the suggested seasonings to pair with your favorite side dishes for a custom family meal you can change up time and time again.
4.98 from 47 votes
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Two Smithfield pork tenderloins have been seasoned and roasted. They are now served on a white platter with fresh rosemary garnish.

Baked Chicken Breasts

Though chicken tenderloins are our go-to chicken dish for kids, a sheet pan of baked chicken breasts is great to prep for family meals all week long.

You can mix and match this recipe with 12 easy seasoning variations included in the recipe here:

Easy Baked Chicken Breasts
This super easy baked chicken breasts recipe can be combined in nearly unlimited ways for delicious chicken dinners using your favorite spice blends and marinades in your pantry right now! Mix and match any of the flavors listed below and use your baked chicken to toss into pasta, salads, sandwich wraps, or make rice bowls.
5 from 2 votes
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A baking pan lined with foil has finished baked chicken breasts on top.

Oven Baked Salmon

My kids love to call this "pink fish" and it was the first seafood dinner I was able to successfully manage to get my picky eaters to enjoy.

Oven Baked Salmon
This simple oven baked salmon is perfect for beginner cooks or for a busy weeknight. Just 3 ingredients and 15 minutes to a delicious and healthy dinner.
5 from 39 votes
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A platter of oven baked salmon next to roasted asparagus has a fork showing the flaky pink fish.

Easy Grilled Meatball Skewers

For kids who love meatballs, grill them up on skewer kabobs for a fun presentation.

HINT: Grill all the veggies on separate kabobs so they don't touch. This also ensures that each kabob cooks for the perfect time.

Easy Grilled Meatball Skewers
This thick and sticky homemade teriyaki sauce is so much better than the store-bought variety and is perfect for glazing an easy skewer of grilled meatballs.
5 from 1 vote
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A platter of 4 meatball skewers with teriyaki glaze. A plate of grilled vegetables and fresh pineapple are in the back.

Romano Chicken Meatballs

My homemade chicken meatballs in a delicate romano lemon sauce pairs really well with green vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, and green beans.

Chicken Romano Meatballs
This light and delicious romano meatballs are made from ground chicken, Italian seasonings, and grated cheese and are browned in a delicious lemon garlic sauce with fresh asparagus. Serve them over a dish of buttered noodles or enjoy them for a simple dinner on their own.
5 from 1 vote
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A skillet filled with meatballs, lemon slices, and asparagus spears.

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs

Mask the darker color of chicken thighs with this sweet and savory honey garlic glaze. Chop it into smaller pieces and serve along plain white jasmine rice.

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs
Prep this honey garlic chicken in 5 minutes for an easy oven baked dinner your family will love. Serve over rice or peanut butter noodles for a special treat.
4.98 from 47 votes
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A white plate has jasmine rice and a pile of honey garlic chicken thighs sprinkled with fresh green onions.

Garden Lasagna Cupcakes

My kids LOVE to help make this easy vegetable lasagna recipe that uses wonton wrappers instead of pasta noodles for a quick prep.

Garden Lasagna Cups
Deliciously cheesy vegetable lasagna cups are a fun recipe to cook with kids. Set up all the fillings in an assembly line at the counter and let your young chefs prepare these homemade lasagana cups featuring fresh zucchini, spinach, corn, and tomato sauce with plenty of bubbling hot cheese.
5 from 1 vote
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A muffin tin filled with garden lasagna cupcakes shows the spinach and tomatoes covered in melted cheese.

Garden Salad

A classic garden salad is one of the easiest ways to get kids to eat vegetables. They can build their own salad or just eat a bowl of greens until they get used to it.

Garden Salad
Prep a large batch of garden salad for an easy dinner side dish all week long or for easy prep ahead work week lunches. Set out your family salad bar every night with your favorite salad dressings and toppings. Be sure to see my fun seasonal variations in the notes below.
5 from 1 vote
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The fresh garden salad is served in a white bowl. You can see lettuce, cherry tomatoes, croutons, and cucumber.

Dill Dip

For the dippers, serve a platter of raw veggies or just simple baby carrots with a light dip like my zesty dill dip.

Dill Dip for Veggies
This easy dill dip for veggies or chips is a quick cold dip for serving at your next party. Delicious when paired with fresh baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, raw broccoli, and celery sticks.
4.96 from 47 votes
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A bowl of dill dip has a baby carrot dipping in it. Cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs are on the platter behind it.

Roasted Broccoli and Carrots

As much as I love my farfalle primavera, that's a lot going on in one bowl for a kid.

Instead, I roast the veggies separately and keep the pasta served on the side.

Roasted Broccoli and Carrots
This easy roasted vegetables side dish is perfect for serving alongside your favorite Italian pasta dishes or even tossing right into a pasta primavera.
5 from 2 votes
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A baking sheet is filled with roasted broccoli and carrots.

Air Fryer Green Beans

When you cook green beans in the air fryer they get awesome crispy edges. My kids gobble these up every time!

Air Fryer Green Beans
These quick and easy air fryer green beans make the perfect healthy side dish for dinner.
5 from 45 votes
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A white plate has a pile of freshly roasted green beans hot from the air fryer basket.

Glazed Baby Carrots

My mom got my sister and I to eat veggies by serving up this brown sugar glazed baby carrots on holidays. It's a great way to introduce the texture of cooked carrots for kids.

Glazed Baby Carrots
Sweet glazed baby carrots with brown sugar, butter, and a dash of ginger, make an elegant and easy vegetable side dish for a weeknight dinner but are pretty enough for your holiday table.
5 from 51 votes
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A white bowl is filled with glazed baby carrots, a blue napkin is tucked underneath.

Herb Butter Rice

When you're ready to move up from just plain white rice, this herb butter rice is delicately seasoned and pairs with almost any of the main dishes listed above!

Instant Pot Herb Butter Rice
This quick and easy herb butter rice is the perfect side dish for many holiday dinner ideas. The simple herbs pair perfectly with any chicken, fish, or shrimp dish you want to serve.
5 from 2 votes
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A white bowl is filled with herb butter rice and a spoon.

Oven Roasted Mini Potatoes

These crispy potatoes make an excellent dinner side dish with any of the meaty mains listed above.

Oven Roasted Mini Potatoes and Onions
These crispy roasted mini potatoes with onions, mustard, and simple seasonings are an easy side dish to make any time of year. Pair it with your favorite main dish, they work great with chicken, pork, sausages, and even fish.
5 from 2 votes
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A white bowl of roasted potatoes.

Garlic Bread

Crispy fingers of homemade garlic bread are sure to entice any kid to enjoy their family dinner.

Homemade Garlic Bread
Easy homemade garlic bread is the perfect quick side dish for a busy weeknight dinner.
5 from 1 vote
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The baked garlic bread is on a cutting board and has been cut into wedges for serving.

Dinners for Kids to Make

While all the recipes I've mentioned so far are great for parents to make for the kids, when you're ready to teach the kids to cook, you need easy recipes they can make on their own or with a little assistance from you on the side.

My list of easy dinner ideas for Yo Yo Nights is filled with simple dishes the kids can prep and eat all by themselves with no help from you.

The list of easy recipes for kids to make for dinner include family-friendly dishes that might require a little oversight from an adult in the room if your kids are younger but would be perfect for an older teen to make all by themselves.

More Family Dinner Tips

If you're looking for dinner ideas for kids that means you understand the importance of gathering around the table as a family.

You're doing the best work raising the next generation to have a positive attitude towards meal times.

Here are a few more helpful tips I hope will encourage you along the way:

The photo collage shows 5 delicious dinner ideas for picky eaters including chicken nuggets, sliders, and pizza buns.

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