With four children of her own, Ree Drummond knows a thing or two (or four!) about feeding kids. From classics like Sloppy Joes and burgers to more adventurous fare like lettuce wraps and shrimp foil packets, here are The Pioneer Woman’s easiest dinner ideas for kids.
Kid Friendly Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are an excellent choice for dinner on those balmy summer days. Ree suggests getting the kids to help make this recipe while teaching them some valuable kitchen skills.
Skip the freezer aisle and try your hand at preparing these classic homemade chicken nuggets. They’re perfect for little hands to dip in ketchup, sweet and sour, or any of their favourite healthy homemade condiments.
Taco Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps
Chicken Caesar salad wraps are always a hit with kids. Ree Drummond gives hers a Southwest twist by adding Mexican seasonings and adobo sauce, making it a great alternative for Taco Tuesday.
Simple yet hearty and full of flavour, this beef stroganoff is a comfort food favourite ready in under 20 minutes. Your kids will love every forkful of buttery egg noodles and tender morsels of seasoned sirloin.
BBQ Chicken Baked Potatoes
This recipe may seem daunting, but there are a few shortcuts you can use if you’re short on time. Make a few extra baked potatoes with your Sunday dinner, and opt for a store-bought rotisserie chicken. The kids can help out by adding the stuffing to the spuds.
Classic Tuna Melts
Family dinner can be as simple as some toasted English muffins topped with tasty tuna salad and melty cheese. And for those pickier eaters, you can adjust the seasonings and leave out both the artichoke and olive.
Triple Pepperoni Pizza
Whether you make your own dough or opt for a pre-made version from the supermarket, pepperoni pizza is always a kid-approved dinner. And if you made a bit too much dough for your base, here is a tasty way to transform homemade pizza dough for lunches, dinners and even desserts.
Sloppy Joes are a hit any night of the week for both kids and the young at heart. Ree makes hers with spiced ground beef on buttery toasted Kaiser rolls, and serves them with potato chips.
Ranch Pork Chops
Sheet pans dinners help you prepare a meal in a snap by reducing the cooking time. They’re also a great way to get your children in the kitchen to help. Ranch dressing mix is used to season the pork chops, potatoes and beans so you get that delicious flavour in every bite.
Tofu Lettuce Wraps
If your kids love tacos, these lettuce wraps filled with chili-seasoned tofu, corn and sliced avocado are a great idea for a meatless dinner on a hot summer evening. Lay out the lettuce leaves and fillings, and let the little ones have fun assembling their own wrap.
Teriyaki Shrimp and Pineapple Parcels
For a fast and flavour-packed weeknight meal, add cooked rice to foil parcels, then add plump shrimp, pineapple tidbits, and strips of red bell pepper tossed in teriyaki sauce. With this recipe, dinner will be on the table in just 30 minutes.
Broccoli Cheese Mac 'n' Cheese
A sure way to get the little ones to eat their veggies is adding them to a baked mac and cheese. The velvety sauce uses a blend of sharp Cheddar, processed cheese and grated Parmesan, and a breadcrumb topping adds some crunch.
Grilled Veggie Burritos
Use leftover grilled squash and zucchini for these hearty vegetarian burritos the kids will love to eat. Serve with rice or salad on the side for a satisfying meal after an action-packed day.
A fast and cheap pasta recipe that couldn’t get simpler. This penne is made with butter, onion and Pecorino Romano. It’s a satisfying, kid-friendly dish that’s ready in less than half an hour.
Thai Lettuce Wraps
This build-your-own dinner made with fresh vegetables and Thai-seasoned chicken strips will let your kids create their own yummy wraps. You can also get them in on dinner prep by having them place the prepared fillings into bowls.
French Bread Pizza
For those times that everyone in your family is craving something different for dinner, French bread pizzas are the way to go. The kids will love hamburger and taco toppings while the grownups can try pepperoni-jalapeño or Greek salad garnishes.
A simple chili that’s ready in less than an hour, this recipe will be one that the kids ask for again and again. Serve it with garlic bread or tortilla chips, and then use the leftovers for nachos or tacos another night of the week.
Ravioli alla Bobbi
On your way home from the office, pick up some fresh cheese ravioli. Serve them tossed in a creamy sauce with ham, pesto, broccoli, asparagus and cherry tomatoes.
When the kids just can’t wait for dinner, these tasty burgers are ready in only 20 minutes. Use either a skillet or griddle to cook the burgers, then serve them on soft buns with slices of cheese.
Whether it’s Taco Tuesday or your kids have friends over for dinner, this is a recipe you’ll keep coming back to. Arrange the tortillas, seasoned beef, and all the fixings on the table, and then let everyone customize their own tacos.
Italian Chicken Sheet Pan Supper
Sheet pan suppers are quick and easy to prepare when your kids just can’t wait for dinner. This recipe features Italian seasoned chicken thighs with green beans and cherry tomatoes for a colourful and tasty dinner.
Quick Shells and Cheese
It’s possible to make homemade mac and cheese in just 15 minutes with this recipe from Ree Drummond. Simply cook your pasta shells, and then make the creamy sauce with grated Cheddar-Jack, processed cheese, milk and butter. After the first time you serve this to your children, they’ll ask for it again and again.
Lighter Fried Pork Chop
This recipe will have dinner on the table in under 20 minutes, which is perfect for making before taking the kids to their evening games or classes. Plus, the lightly fried pork chop served with baby spinach and cannellini beans is healthy and scrumptious.
Greek Grilled Chicken
Ree’s Greek feast with grilled skewers, fresh cucumber, cherry tomatoes, feta, olives and roasted red pepper hummus is a breeze to make. Plate it with pita bread on the side, or fill the pita pockets for dinner on the go.
The Cheesiest Quesadillas
If a summer playdate turns into a slumber party, cheesy quesadillas are a quick way to feed the kids so they can get back to the fun. Turn them into a meal by serving veggies and dip or a salad on the side.