The struggle is real when it comes to finding recipes for dishes your kids will love just as much as you do. No one knows that better than Giada de Laurentiis, who has been whipping up meals for her daughter Jade for the past nine years.
“When Jade was younger she loved anything in a cupcake form,” Giada says, revealing that she’d enlist her daughter’s help in preparing the food in order to get her more interested. “It’s also a texture thing for young children. They can hold things and touch them and put them in their mouths while they’re making them. The more colors you add to that variety of choices the better. It’s like doing an art project, but it’s an edible art project.”
Want to invoke some edible art projects of your own into your child-friendly kitchen? Here are some of Giada’s top versatile and kid-friendly recipes that are sure to impress even the pickiest of palettes.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes
These colourful “cupcakes” are full of kid-friendly ingredients like cheese and pasta, but they’re also a touch healthier thanks to the addition of tomato, asparagus and broccoli.
These pockets are the perfect size for smaller hands and can be customized to any kid’s specific tastes. Plus, they’re just super fun to eat, especially with this killer dipping sauce.
Get creative and play with the idea that we eat with our eyes first with this take on an old favourite. Watch pasta night take flight with perfectly positioned, baked noodles and bocconcini balls standing in for “eggs.”
Caesar Salad Taco Bites
Fun, bite-sized tortilla-chip “tacos bowls” are loaded with creamy salad and topped with a crispy hint of cheese, making these an instant, kid-friendly win.
Giada’s Pizza Grilled Cheese
Let your kids have the best of both worlds with this pizza-inspired take on a grilled cheese sandwich that’s both fun and easy to whip-up. And maybe make one for yourself while you’re at it.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus in Cucumber Cups
These pretty little cups are full of vegetables, but their bite-sized nature makes them appetizing to kids who prefer to eat with their hands. Bonus points: they’re sure to impress any adult diners too.
Meatloaf is a great way to sneak some extra veggies into your kids’ dinner, plus it’s easy to reheat leftovers. Make this recipe super kid-friendly by baking the mixture in muffin tins instead of a loaf pan for individual “cupcake” servings.
Parmesan Fish Sticks
Gone are the days of frozen fish sticks for dinner. Now, your kids can enjoy this fresh version instead. Serve them up with some fun dipping sauce for an easy and healthy weeknight dinner.
Sweet Potato Puffs
Your kids may not even realize how much fibre and vegetables they’re eating with these sweet, cinnamon-laden treats — great for dessert or as an appetizer at a kid-friendly party.
A Dip Bar
Kids love options and colours, so why not give them the best of both worlds by creating a little protein-packed dip bar for dinner? Serve with their favourite raw veggies or whole-wheat crackers.