One of the hardest things about cooking for little people is trying to plan great meal options the kids in your life will actually love. Let’s face it, kids are picky eaters and having more than one picky eater can make meal planning an impossible task. Luckily, we’re here to help!

We’ve scoured the web for the best dinner recipes that we’re sure your kids will love (or hopefully they’ll at least love some of them!) From unique dishes like tater tot nachos to classic kid-friendly meals like mac and cheese, these meals are bound to satisfy the bellies at your table. If you’re looking for fun and easy dinner recipes your kids will love, consider these 18 awesome meal ideas below:

1. Pizza Casserole

Invented by a kid, this recipe is 100 percent kid-approved. Pepperoni and pasta combine to make a mouth-watering meal that will satisfy meal-eaters of every age! It’s essentially two fan favorite dinners to enjoy at the same time. Plus, it’s super easy to make and freeze ahead for hassle-free cooking.

This filling casserole recipe is loaded with ground beef, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and more ingredients that will flavor penne pasta like a pizza. It takes just 15 minutes to prepare, 45 minutes to cook, and yields six servings. If you want to freeze he casserole, simply follow the steps and allow it to cool instead of baking.

Elena Shashkina / Shutterstock

2. Tater Tot Nachos

Talk about a crowd-pleaser! Even if your kids don’t love Mexican food, they’ll go nuts over a plate of tater tot nachos. So will the adults, for that matter! This kid-friendly take on a tasty dish that can be easily customized depending on your family’s taste preferences.

Buy a package of tater tots and follow the directions to prepare them. Cook up some ground beef in the meantime and flavor it with some taco seasoning. Once both are ready, combine them and top with extra ingredients. Shredded cheese, sour cream, chives — whatever you’d typically load your nachos with, enjoy with the tater tots!

AS Food studio / Shutterstock

3. Pizza Quesadillas

Most kids love pizza, and this is a fun new twist on the old standard that they can help make! Pizza quesadillas are simple to prepare and I guarantee that your kids will love them. Let the fun begin with this 10 minute recipe from Taste of Home.

It only takes three steps to make four servings, starting with heating the spaghetti sauce until warm. Prepare the tortillas with butter on one side and cheese, salami, and pepperoni on the other. Top with another tortilla before putting it on a griddle over medium heat. After two to three minutes, they’ll be ready to enjoy!

Elena Veselova / Shutterstock

4. Buttermilk Chicken Tenders

Do your kids love ordering chicken tenders at restaurants? Then why not give it a try and make your very own at home. The tenders are soaked in buttermilk, which makes them juicy and moist. Needless to say, your kids love them! This recipe from Dinner Then Dessert yields 16 servings and takes just one hour to make.

You can add extra breadcrumbs to make the tenders crispier, depending on your taste preference. The recipe also walks you through oven-baked chicken tenders that are a healthier alternative to deep frying. Serve alongside some homemade french fries and your kids can enjoy a restaurant-worthy meal from home

Liudmyla Chuhunova / Shutterstock

Advertisement

5. BBQ Chicken Pizza

The next time you make grilled chicken, grill some extra to use for this delicious BBQ chicken pizza the next night! This pizza is simple and comes together in no time, and you won’t believe how delicious it is. The tangy sauce, the melted cheese, and the juicy chicken make for such a flavorful, yummy combination!

This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction uses gouda cheese for a smokey flavor and cilantro for some freshness. If you want to skip the homemade dough, simply buy some dough from the grocery store and go from there. Piling the ingredients onto the pizza can be a fun way to get your kids hands-on in the kitchen.

Medolka / Shutterstock

6. Bacon Pierogi Bake

In this comforting casserole, pierogies are smothered in a creamy sauce and then topped with gooey cheese, crisp bacon and fresh tomatoes. This is a family favorite for sure! This recipe from Lets Dish Recipes yields six servings. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook, making it a low maintenance dinner that can be whipped up in a jiffy.

The recipe calls for one pack of frozen potato and cheddar pierogies placed in a baking dish. You’ll prepare the bacon on a skillet and add the other ingredients gradually. Once the mixture is complete, pour it over the pierogies and cook in the oven until cooked. Top with bacon, green onions and tomatoes and it’s ready to eat!

Pronina Marina / Shutterstock

7. Baked Macaroni And Cheese

My mom always made this Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe when I was growing up – we never had the boxed kind. Luckily, it’s super easy for anyone to give a go. This recipe from the Food Network takes less than an hour and yields up to eight servings.

After cooking the pasta and cheese sauce, you’ll place it in a baking dish followed by the breadcrumb and butter topping. It will be ready to eat once the dish bubbles around the edges after about 15 minutes in the oven. Toss up a salad or steam some broccoli and you have a full meal that is delicious and very comforting.

Sunny Forest / Shutterstock

8. Chicken Tacos

Tasty chicken tacos – an easy weeknight meal for busy parents. The ingredients are something you can always have on hand whenever you’re short on dinner ideas on busy weeknights. Taco shells (hard or soft), sour cream, cheese, shredded lettuce, and corn are just some of the many ingredients kids can decorate their tacos with.

If you don’t have time to actually cook chicken, have some pre-cooked chicken in the fridge. You can season it with your desired flavors and save tons of time. You can switch the recipe to beef or even fish if you start to get bored of the chicken.

Joshua Resnick / Shutterstock

Advertisement

9. Muffin Tin Cheeseburger Cups

These mini burgers are made in a muffin tin and because of that, you can whip up a large batch quickly! It’s made up of buns, ground turkey or beef, cheese, and some veggies for flavoring. Top with pickles and your favorite condiments to enjoy these mini burgers to the max!

This Forkly recipe is super easy to follow and takes no more than 20 minutes to cook. They would be great for any family dinner, potluck or birthday party and they certainly get the stamp of approval from the kiddos. It would be perfect to serve alongside French fries for a filling and addicting meal.

10. Quick & Easy Instant Pot Macaroni And Cheese

As a child, macaroni and cheese was always a favorite of mine. If you’re like most people and purchased or received an Instant Pot as a gift this year then you’ll be happy to know you can make your kiddo’s favorite meal, mac and cheese in it too! This Forkly recipe comes together in just 15 minutes – perfect for busy nights.

The ooey-gooey dish only requires a handful of ingredients: macaroni noodles, water or broth, salt, butter, garlic powder, milk or cream, and your choice of shredded cheese. Add presentation points with some parsley and your elevated mac and cheese is complete.

11. Easy Weeknight Leftover Chicken Quesadillas

Quesadillas are such an underrated meal! They’re simple, delicious, inexpensive, and are kid and adult-friendly. This Forkly recipe uses leftover or store-bought rotisserie chicken to simplify the meal and pair it with our delicious 5-Ingredient Copycat Chipotle Burrito Sauce!

This dish yields four servings and takes minutes to prepare. You’ll need a frying pan or panini press to make the quesadillas. Choose your favorite type of cheese to shred and flavor your quesadillas with. You can serve this meal alongside sour cream or mashed avocado. They’re super easy to dip into your favorite sauce and will become a go-to dinner whenever you’re dealing with chicken leftovers.

12. Easy Upside-Down Pizza Casserole

This tasty Forkly recipe gives you all the comforting satisfaction that casseroles have to offer with a delicious spin of pizza flavors. To save time, prepare the pizza casserole the night before so it’s ready to place into the oven as soon as you’re home from work the next day.

The recipe yields six servings, takes 30 minutes to prepare, and up to 60 minutes of cooking time in the oven. Feel free to swap out the Italian sausage with turkey instead. This flavorful pizza is enhanced with diced pepper, minced garlic, mozzarella cheese and more melt-in-your-mouth ingredients that will everyone reaching for seconds!

Advertisement

13. Instant Pot Pizza

If you’re looking for yet another way to put your Instant Pot to use, look no further than this pizza recipe from Forkly. Pizza casseroles can be made in so many ways with a variety of flavors and ingredient choices. Say hello to a whole new way of making pasta. Making this dish in your Instant pot requires no additional clean up with multiple pot usage-you don’t even have to boil your pasta separately.

This dish takes about 15 minutes to prepare and yields six servings. It’s loaded with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni slices, Italian seasoning, and lots more. Prepare this Instant Pot Pizza with any type of pasta and enjoy!

14. Left Over Spaghetti Nests

If you’re seeking to stretch one dinner into two then look no further, this is the recipe for you. These spaghetti nests are a great way to make leftovers new again. The muffin tin also offers convenience by binding the pasta together so you can eat them with your fingers, what child doesn’t love that!

This Forkly recipe yields 12 servings and takes no more than 20 minutes to whip up with leftover spaghetti. All you have to do is fill the muffin tins with pasta covered in sauce and top with some cheese. Once the spaghetti is slightly browned on the edges, you can let it cool a bit and garnish with basil.

15. Easy Weeknight Instant Pot Copycat Hamburger Helper

There is perhaps nothing quite as easy to whip up on a busy weeknight as Hamburger Helper. It’s quick and inexpensive to make and most kids won’t say no to noodles, cheese, and meat. But you can clean up the ingredients of this store bought dinner and make it far tastier by creating it from scratch in your Instant Pot.

This Forkly recipe yields up to eight servings. If you have leftovers, allow it to cool completely before storing it in the fridge in an airtight container. It should be good to eat for up to one week. Bon appetit!

16. Kid-Approved Vegan Mac And Cheese

If you follow a vegan lifestyle or have a lactose allergy no need to worry! Your children and yourself don’t need to miss out on a childhood favorite like mac and cheese, Forkly has got you covered. This Forkly recipe will satisfy your mac and cheese craving all the while providing you and your children with an excellent serving of vegetables.

After preparing this mac and cheese, you’ll be left with four to six servings. It should take no more than 10 minutes to prep and about 40 to 60 minutes for cooking. Serve immediately while the pasta is still warm and dig in!

Advertisement

17. Quick & Easy Instant Pot Deconstructed Lasagna

While I love to cook, I just don’t have the time that goes into a meal like homemade lasagna, even though I adore this dish. Enter, the Instant Pot. It takes a small fraction of the time and tastes exactly the same as traditional lasagna, making it a favorite in my books!

The easy Forkly recipe provides up to eight servings. If you’d like to lower the fat content, feel free to reduce the amount of mozzarella cheese used. You could also switch to a low-fat cottage cheese. Top with basil for some added flavor and presentation points and enjoy.

18. Tater Tots Casserole With Cheddar Cheese

This is a fun dish that is easy to assemble and makes for a hearty meal for a family. It is a very interesting way of serving tater tots (or fried potato rounds), which everyone loves. This recipe from AllRecipes takes only 10 minutes to prep, half an hour to cook in the oven and yields eight servings.

To make it nice and creamy, the recipe calls for one can of condensed cream of mushroom soup. You’ll know the dish is ready once the tater tots appear golden and crispy. Feel free to remove the cheese from this dish — it works with or without it. Enjoy!

Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa loves experimenting with food of all cultures to make unique healthy dishes. When she’s not browsing Pinterest for new recipe inspiration she likes to pick up a DIY project and use her creative hands to make art or crafts. In her down time you can find her watching the latest documentaries on Netflix or going for nature walks.

Following any diet alone can be hard but if you're able to encourage the entire family to participate you may be more inclined to...
So as a mom of 3 school-aged children you can probably guess that the word "SLIME" has become part of our regular vocabulary.
If you have a school aged kid in your life, chances are - you're in the midst of this weird trend...slime making.
The last few years has had a growing trend of green smoothies. It's simply an ingenious way to enjoy a sweet, healthy, refreshing...
When you dreamed of life with children, you envision beautiful lifestyle with your well-behaved children (not like those screaming...
Have you been hearing about the "Ketogenic" diet (aka The Keto Diet) as much as I have lately?
Kids love to help their parents make meals. Cooking with kids not only helps you spend quality time with them after school but it...
There's no denying that most kids love mac and cheese. There's no denying that most adults do as well.
Every parent should make an effort to make food fun for kids! Dressing up basic snacks like fruit, veggies and sandwiches will put...
Say cheese! Happy National Cheese Day 2012, everyone! It's time to celebrate America's favorite food and what better way to...
Popsicles are a great way to quench your thirst and keep cool on hot summer days.
Maintaining a healthy diet for your kids can be a difficult task.
Advertisement
Food
Recipes You Can Make With Tater Tots