We have never been a household that makes multiple options for meals. We make one meal for dinner and that’s what everyone eats. Usually that meal consists of a protein and some vegetables but we aren’t entirely strict about no substitutions. For example, if my husband and I want brussels sprouts, we might make my daughter a side of broccoli. We have followed this rule since she started eating at 6 months old. Over the years, we’ve found a few kid-friendly comfort food recipes we always keep in the rotation that everyone in the family loves.
A few of our own kid-friendly comfort food recipes:
- Turkey Meatballs – this is our own recipe. We (obviously) don’t use exact measurements, but I tried to describe how we make them as easy to follow as I could. We serve these over green pasta, and always have some leftover that are an easy lunch to heat up!
- Mix together about 2lbs of ground turkey, 1 egg, 3 shakes of garlic powder, 3 shakes of onion powder, 4 shakes of Adobo, a few shakes of salt & pepper, about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 1 big handful of Mozzarella cheese, about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce (we use Rao’s), about a cup of breadcrumbs (enough to get your mixture to a consistency that’s not too sticky where you can form the meatballs).
- Make 1 inch meatballs out of your mixture and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil (easy clean up!) Cook for about 15 minutes on 350 degrees, then turn and cook another 10.
- While those are cooking, heat up tomato sauce in a large pot on the stove. I usually use the rest of the Rao’s used earlier in the recipe, plus another half of a jar. As you bring the meatballs out of the oven, drop them into the sauce and let sit to simmer for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
- Serve over prepared noodles of your choice.
- Stuffed Peppers – this is another recipe that is our own that we change up a bit depending on what we have on hand! It’s also great for kids because you can sneak some veggies in. It’s also easy to alter a bit if there’s something you want in it that your kids don’t! My daughter also doesn’t love the actual peppers, so we just make her the stuffing and put it in a bowl for her.
- We usually stick to ground turkey or ground chicken for these. Prepare about 2 pounds in a pan over the stove. Add whatever veggies you’d like until everything is cooked. We love chopped up mushrooms, kale, zucchini, and carrots! Once cooked add about 1/2 a cup of tomato sauce (again, we usually use Rao’s) and mix until everything is coated.
- While that mixture is cooking, we also prepare some sort of “rice” on the side. This is where you can mix things up or substitute things depending on tastes. We usually do quinoa, orzo, brown rice, or cauliflower rice…or a mixture of two of those together.
- From here, my daughter’s usually goes right in a bowl. We take ours and stuff it into peppers, add a little cheese on top and bake for about 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
A few recipes we like to follow:
- 30 Minute Shepherd’s Pie from Pure Joy Home – we LOVE Shepherd’s Pie! This is the basic recipe we follow, but you can always tweak it a little for your family. We switch up the veggies and sometimes we substitute turkey instead of beef. We’ve also used mashed cauliflower on top instead of potatoe for a lighter carb option. It all depends on what we have on hand and what I have time to make.
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie from Spicy Southern Kitchen – I also LOVE a good chicken pot pie! We ate frozen chicken pot pies for years and I was always disappointed with the amount of chicken and veggies. This recipe is SO easy because you just use a rotisserie chicken. Genius! Be sure to adjust it for whatever veggies your kids like the most.
- Bolognese Sauce from SkinnyTaste – first off, if you haven’t visited the SkinnyTaste website, you are missing out big time. This is where I go anytime I’m not sure what to make for dinner. The website makes it SO easy to sort by what type of meal you’re looking for. You can also just browse through “Kid Friendly” meals. We also love making this in bulk and freezing some of it for another night.
- Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai from A Couple Cooks – ok, I know I’m going out on a limb here listing this as a “kid’s meal,” but Pad Thai is a favorite in our house, and I came across this healthier version once and gave it a shot. We always add chicken, shrimp, or both to this recipe and my four-year-old eats it up with no questions asked.