15 Quick And Yummy Dinner Recipes For Kids

Quick And Yummy Dinner Recipes For Kids

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Dinner is an important meal of the day. No disputes there.

It is the fuel that keeps the body going for the next 10-12 hours that go without food. A healthy dinner, with the right foods, can also contribute to healthy sleep (1). Dinnertime is also about spending time with family, talking about the events of the day, and sharing some memories! Of course, a nutritious meal completes the dinner.

MomJunction has compiled a list of 15 kid-friendly dinner recipes so you can read, cook, and relax, as there won’t be any fussing at the dinner table now!

Vegetarian Dinner Recipes

Veggies must be a part of your child’s every meal. So here are five easy dinner recipes for kids that use at least one vegetable but no meat or eggs.

1. Easy veg gnocchi

Easy veg gnocchi

Image: iStock

Learn how to make a healthy, flavorful gnocchi that the entire family can enjoy for dinner.

You will need:

  • 16oz gnocchi
  • ½ medium onion
  • 2 ½ cup mushroom slices
  • 28oz canned tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cup spinach
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

[ Read: Healthy Breakfast Ideas For Kids ]

How to:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and onions and saute for a minute.
  2. Add mushrooms and saute for four to five minutes. Add minced garlic and saute for another minute or two.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes from the can, along with the juice and give a stir.
  4. Add the seasonings, salt, and then spinach. Stir carefully until the spinach wilts.
  5. Add the gnocchi and stir to mix the ingredients. Let it simmer for three to four minutes or until the gnocchi is cooked.
  6. Stir in the parmesan before you take it off heat, and dinner is ready!

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 10min
Serves: 3-4

2. Broccoli and Gruyère gratin

Broccoli and Gruyère gratin

Image: Shutterstock

A simple creamy dinner dish with the goodness of broccoli and the tasty Gruyère cheese.

You will need:

  • 2 large bunches of broccoli, chopped roughly
  • 2 cups (8oz) grated Gruyère cheese
  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Kosher salt and black pepper for taste

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2.  Fill a large pot with half an inch of water and bring it to a boil. Add broccoli and let it steam for three to four minutes, or until it becomes tender. Drain any remaining water and transfer the broccoli to a plate.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour to it and stir for two minutes, but do not let it darken.
  4. Stir in the milk and let it simmer for three to four minutes. Remove it from heat and stir in one cup of cheese, along with salt and pepper.
  5. Toss the broccoli with the sauce and transfer it into a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and bake for 35-40 minutes or until it turns golden brown.

Remove from oven and let it sit for ten minutes before serving!

Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 45min
Serves: 8

3. Asparagus pizza

Asparagus pizza

Image: iStock

How do you get your child to eat something as tasteless but healthy as an asparagus? By putting it on the pizza, of course!

You will need:

  • 1 12-inch thin pizza crust
  • ½ pound asparagus
  • ½ pound mozzarella, cubed
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • Black pepper fro seasoning

[ Read: Bread Recipes For Kids ]

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Prepare the asparagus by removing the woody end and trim away the spiky leaves. Using the same shaver, shave multiple layers of the asparagus stalk and set them aside. So not use any tough ends.
  3. You can make the pizza dough yourself or get a ready-to-use pizza base (thin). Sprinkle the parmesan and then the mozzarella cubes on the pizza base.
  4. Top the mozzarella with the asparagus and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust becomes brown.
  5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the sliced scallions.

Slice the pizza, sprinkle some chili flakes, oregano, and pepper to add some before you eat.

Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 10-15min
Serves: 2-3

4. Sweet potato taquitos

Sweet potato taquitos

Image: Shutterstock

A taquito is a Mexican roll with fillings of your choice. We chose sweet potatoes, which are rich in nutrients and low in calories!

You will need:

  • 3 cups sweet potatoes, diced
  • ½ of a red onion
  • 12oz black beans, canned
  • 8 whole wheat tortilla (6-inch)
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon each of salt and garlic powder

For the dip

  • 1 medium avocado
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon lime juice
  • Salt to taste

How to:

  1.  Peel and cook the sweet potatoes until soft. You can bake, boil, or steam them.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Prepare a baking sheet with food spray on it.
  3. Chop the onions and coarsely chop the cilantro leaves.
  4. In a bowl, mash the sweet potatoes, add a can of black beans (drained and rinsed), onion, cilantro, and spices.
  5. Fill the tortilla wraps with the mashed sweet potato mix and then roll them. Make as many rolls as you can with the filling.
  6. Place the rolls, seam-side down, in the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the rolls after ten minutes.
  7. Mash the avocado, sour cream, cumin, lime, and salt to make the dip.

This is a no-spill dinner recipe that your kids will enjoy!

Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 25min
Serves: 4

5. Pasta with fresh tomato sauce

Pasta with fresh tomato sauce

Image: Shutterstock

Pasta is an all-time favorite dinner dish. This recipe uses fresh pasta sauce, instead of the canned one, making it healthier for the kids.

You will need:

  • 12oz linguine pasta
  • 1 ½ pounds large tomatoes
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Cook the linguine pasta as per the instructions on the pack. Drain it and put it back in the pot.
  2. Quarter the tomatoes and puree them in a blender along with the garlic, oil, salt, and pepper to taste.
  3. Toss the pasta and half the basil in the fresh tomato sauce.
  4. Sprinkle the parmesan and remaining basil. Serve.

Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 20min
Serves: 4

[ Read: Healthy Meals For Kids ]

Non-Vegetarian Dinner Recipes

These dinner recipes contain meat in some form and we have included bacon, pepperoni, seafood, chicken, and ham dishes.

6. Spaghetti pizza

Spaghetti pizza

Image: Shutterstock

If your kid likes pizza and spaghetti, this is the perfect dinner recipe for her.

You will need:

  • 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For toppings

  • 1 jar marinara pasta sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 pack pepperoni

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and grease a 15×10×1 baking dish.
  2. Cook the spaghetti as instructed on the pack. Drain and rinse the spaghetti and put it back in the pot.
  3. In a bowl, beat the milk, eggs, and salts for a minute.
  4. Add the milk mixture, cheddar and mozzarella cheese to the spaghetti and mix.
  5. Pour the spaghetti mixture into the baking dish and spread evenly. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for another 25 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 40min
Serves: 8

7. Hot dog and potato dinner

Hot dog and potato dinner

Image: iStock

Your kid may want a hot dog for dinner, but we know that’s not a good idea. So here’s a quick meal that lets your child have the hot dog and also eat some veggies.

Read on to know how.

You will need:

  • 1 pack (4.7oz) Au gratin potatoes
  • 2 1/3 cups hot water
  • 6 hot dog sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup frozen peas and other vegetables of your choice

How to:

  1. Heat a medium-sized skillet and stir in the potatoes, sauce mix, hot water, and milk.
  2. Stir in the frozen peas until they are separated. Let it come to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Let it be on heat until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Now stir in the sausage pieces and cook for three to four minutes or until the sausages are hot.
  5. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on it and cover. Let it cook for about five minutes.
  6. Take it off heat and serve.

Preparation time: 5min
Cooking time: 35min
Serves: 5

[ Read: Chicken Recipes For Kids ]

8. Mini meatballs & broccoli bowl

Mini meatballs & broccoli bowl

Image: Shutterstock

This dish combines meatballs and broccoli. The recipe takes some time to prepare, so make it when you have enough time.

You will need:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 4 cups broccoli
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For Teriyaki sauce

  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons honey

How to:

  1. Mix all the ingredients except honey to make the Teriyaki sauce. Whisk them until properly combined. Stir in the honey and whisk until it dissolves.
  2. Chop the broccoli into small pieces and grate the ginger. You can also add grated carrots if you want. Set them aside.
  3. Mix the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, salt, and carrot for the meatballs. Mix properly and make small balls.
  4. Heat oil in a large pan and add the meatballs. Cook on medium flame for five to six minutes and let the sides turn brown. Add the chopped broccoli and stir for a few more minutes, until the broccoli is tender and lightly cooked.
  5. Once the meatballs are cooked on the outside, pour the Teriyaki sauce into the pan. Simmer it and cook until the meatballs are properly cooked and the broccoli is soft. The sauce should thicken as well.
  6. Take it off heat and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.
  7. Serve with hot rice.

Preparation time: 30min
Cooking time: 25-30min
Serves: makes 52 mini meatballs

9. Chicken pot pie casserole

Chicken pot pie casserole

Image: Shutterstock

When you want to give a healthy dinner for your teenaged girl or boy, this recipe will come handy.

You will need:

  • 2 cups shredded chicken, cooked
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14.5 oz can chicken broth
  • 10.5oz can cream of chicken soup
  • 9-inch pie crust, refrigerated
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup flour, if you want to thicken the sauce

[ Read: Sandwich Recipes For Kids ]

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a two and a half quart baking tray with cooking spray.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, on medium heat. Add onions, carrots, peas, salt, and pepper. Saute the vegetables for four to five minutes or until the onion is cooked and the veggies are soft.
  3. Add the chicken pieces, broth, and soup. Stir in the milk and flour (optional). Mix well until all the ingredients are mixed well. Let it cook for another four to five minutes.
  4. Transfer the ingredients from the skillet to the baking dish. Cover with the pie crust and cut slits into the dough using a sharp knife.
  5. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust becomes brown.
  6. Let it cool for ten minutes and serve.

Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 50min
Serves: 6-8

10. Kid-friendly fish tacos

Kid-friendly fish tacos

Image: Shutterstock

Not all kids may like eating fish. But if yours does, you might want to try making these fish tacos for dinner.

You will need:

  • 8 tortillas (6-inch)
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 (8oz) fillets flounder
  • 2 big ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 fresh limes, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Stack the tortillas and wrap them in an aluminum foil and warm them in the oven.
  2. Whisk the sour cream, salsa, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Heat a nonstick pan. Oil the fish on both sides and cook it in the pan on high heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook the fish for around four minutes each side, or until it turns brown on both the sides.
  4. Move the fish from the pan to a plate and drizzle the lemon juice on it. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  5. Flake the fish into large pieces using a fork.
  6. Prepare the tacos by placing the piece or pieces of fish in the center of the taco. Top that with chopped tomatoes, cabbage, onion, and the sour cream (just a drizzle). You can also add cilantro for added flavor.

Serve and enjoy your taco night!

Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 5min
Serves: 4

Quick And Easy Dinner Ideas For Kids

When you have had a tiring day or do not have enough time to cook up an elaborate meal, these recipes will come handy.

11. Bean and bacon soup

Bean and bacon soup

Image: Shutterstock

Soup for dinner can be a good idea when your child is not feeling very hungry or does not want to eat solids.

You will need:

  • 4 strings bacon
  • 15oz can of great northern beans, drained
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper for taste

[ Read: Vegetarian Recipes For Kids ]

How to:

  1. Heat a large skillet and cook the bacon strips for six ot eight minutes or until they become crisp. Transfer them to a plate with a paper or a cloth towel. Break them into small pieces once they cool down.
  2. Heat the same saucepan again and add the carrots. Let them cook in the bacon drippings for five minutes. Stir in the onions, garlic, and celery and cook on medium heat for another three minutes.
  3. Add beans and two cups of water. Bring the veggies to a boil, and reduce the heat from medium to low. Let it simmer for ten minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and use a masher to partially crush the beans, until the soup becomes somewhat thick.
  5. Stir in the parsley, salt, pepper, and the bacon. Let it sit for another minute.

Serve hot.

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 15min
Serves: 4

12. Orecchiette with roasted broccoli and pine nuts

Orecchiette with roasted broccoli and pine nuts

Image: iStock

Cold pasta salads are excellent for summer evenings. Here is a recipe that you can try for your child.

You will need:

  • 12oz (3 cups) orecchiette pasta
  • 1 bunch broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup parmesan, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack. Retaining three-fourth of the water, drain the rest and put the pasta back in the pot.
  3. Grease a rimmed baking sheet and toss broccoli, pine nuts, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast them for 18-20 minutes, stirring once in between, until the broccoli turns soft.
  4. Toss the pasta with the broccoli and pine nut mixture, reserved pasta water, and butter.
  5. Garnish with parmesan on top before serving.

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 15min
Serves: 4

13. Skillet cheeseburger mac and cheese

Skillet cheeseburger mac and cheese

Image: iStock

Mac and cheese would perhaps be the staple dinner dish of every child. While that is a big ‘No’, you can treat the kids to a plate of delicious, creamy macaroni once in a while. Here’s how!

You will need:

  • 1 lb macaroni
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups cheddar, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Black pepper powder
  • Salt to taste

How to:

  1. Boil water in an eight-quart stock pot and season with salt. Cook the pasta in it, according to the instructions on the pack. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  2. In a large saucepan, saute the ground beef. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat chunks. Add salt and pepper and mix well. Add garlic and stir once. Drain any excess fat using the spoon.
  3. Add the tomatoes and milk and bring to a boil. Then, simmer for five minutes.
  4. Turn the heat to low and fold in the pasta and one cup of cheddar cheese. Stir until the ingredients are combined properly. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar on top and cover the saucepan.
  5. Simmer for a minute or until the cheese starts boiling.
  6. Sprinkle parsley on top and serve hot.

[ Read: Pizza Recipes For Kids ]

Preparation time: 5min
Cooking time: 15min
Serves: 4

14. Sheperd’s pie in a cup

Sheperd’s pie in a cup

Image: iStock

Shepherd’s pie is a filling meal that your kid might enjoy if he or she has a healthy appetite. This is a recipe that can be modified a bit to make lunch-in-a-jar.

You will need:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3 carrots
  • ½ onion
  • 2 ½ cups mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

For mashed potatoes

  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

How to:

  1. Chop potatoes into small cubes and boil until they become tender. Drain them and set them aside.
  2. Chop onions, grate carrot and mince garlic. Slice mushrooms and set them aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium flame, and add a tablespoon of oil. Add the onions and saute for two to three minutes. Add garlic and carrots and saute for another minute or two.
  4. Add mushrooms and ground turkey and cook until they become brown.
  5. Add flour and spices to the mixture in the skillet and combine well. Stir in tomato paste, peas, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce and stir. Simmer for five minutes until it becomes thick.
  6. Add the boiled potatoes, milk, sour cream, and salt in a bowl and mash them using a wooden spoon or a masher. Mix until it becomes creamy.
  7. Fill small cups with meat and vegetable mixture. Top it with the mashed potatoes and garnish with fresh herbs. Serve!

You can replace the bowls with mason jars to make on-the-go shepherd’s pie for your kids.

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 25min
Serves: 4

15. Instant Pot with quinoa and veggies

Instant Pot with quinoa and veggies

Image: iStock

This is a quick meal you can make on weeknights. Filled with nutrients and colorful vegetables, this is a healthy dinner recipe you would want to include in your child’s diet frequently.

You will need:

  • 1 ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1 /2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 red tomatoes
  • ½ cup black olives
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • ¼ cup almonds, for garnish
  • Salt to taste

How to:

  1. Rinse the quinoa and drain it. Chop celery stalks and bell pepper.
  2. Add quinoa, bell pepper, and celery into a pot. Add one-fourth spoon salt, spinach, and vegetable broth in the Instant Pot. Close the vent of the pot properly and set it on high pressure and time it for one minute.
  3. Chop the tomatoes and olives in the meantime.
  4. Once the pot is ready (it should beep), wait for 15 minutes until the pot cools down and the pressure releases naturally.
  5. Add olives, pesto, and tomatoes into the pot and mix well.
  6. Top with almond slices and serve warm or cold.

Use the Instant Pot only if you are comfortable using it. Otherwise, you can cook the quinoa using other methods.

[ Read: Easy Egg Recipes For Kids ]

Preparation time: 10-15min
Cooking time: 1min
Serves: 4-5

Some of the dinner dishes we have included in this article contain allergens such as pine nuts, fish, and milk products. So ensure you check if your child can tolerate the ingredients used before trying these recipes. You can also get a bit creative, without changing the essence of the dish entirely, by replacing some of the ingredients to make the dishes vegetarian or vegan.

Your kitchen is your canvas!

What is your child’s idea of dinner? Share your ideas and quick dinner recipes for kids here.

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