Around here, the “at-home date night” is a regular staple. How we pull this off is really rather simple. I prepare supper for the kids early on, we go through our regular evening/bedtime routine, and then we reconvene for a grown-up meal where we eat, sans kids. Sometimes we grab take-out from one place or another, others I prepare a “fancier” dish just for us. Either way, we both really look forward to these evenings together.
Deciding what to eat as a couple might be the easy part, however. For many people I talk to, it’s more of an issue to figure out what to make for just the kids.
If, like me, you’re a bit averse to the idea of serving up chicking nuggets or mac and cheese every week, let me offer a list of suggestions for great quick suppers that typically please little people:
1. Cheesy Beans & Rice– This dish is a HUGE staple around here. My children all absolutely adore it and I love the flexibility of it. It’s super easy to customize the amount you cook and leftovers are tasty on nachos or in a burrito. My kids love black beans or pintos with their rice and cheddar or co-jack as the cheese. Two out of three eat it with ranch dressing. This one is quick, cheap, and easy and can be made mild or spicy to suit your kids’ preferences.
2. Egg Wraps– Eggs cook in a flash and provide a nice dose of protein. Most kids are pretty content with eggs and cheese on tortilla. Using pre-sliced cheese (cheddar, jack, American, whatver) makes it come together even faster!
3. Homemade Cheese Pizza– Since you can make a pizza, with a fresh dough crust, in 3 minutes (minus baking time), this one is a great, kid-pleasing option! No need to wait for delivery or serve frozen pizza. Making your own can be a piece of cake.
4. Cheesy Peas & Rice– I cook rice in chicken stock, stir in frozen peas toward the end, and fold in abundant shredded sharp cheddar cheese once it’s done. Sound boring? I think so, too. That doesn’t change the fact that almost all kids I know scarf it up and, well, it’s crazy easy to make.
5. Hummus, Carrot Sticks, Pretzels, & Cheese (in photo above)– Sometimes, you don’t even have to cook to make a good, balanced, kid-friendly meal! The dip-ability level is high with this one and that makes it all the more appealing. I made my own hummus here, but you can absolutely buy it and save yourself a step.
6. Cinnamon-Sugar Oven Pancake– Serve this alongside some fruit and a slice of deli ham, and you’re good to go. You can even make the batter ahead of time and have it ready to pop in the oven.
7. Cheddar Apple Chicken Salad Wraps– These can be served in lettuce leaves if you’re kids are cool with that or tortillas is they’re not. There’s nothing “funky” in it and it’s a great summer meal.
8. Pasta Salad– My kids love pasta salad. I think lots of kids do. You’ll likely want to use a milder dressing like ranch or creamy Italian, but you know your children the best! You can add chicken or diced ham, carrots or broccoli, diced tomato or even chopped apple. The sky’s the limit! Pasta salads are highly customizable and they not only CAN be made ahead of time, they actually taste BETTER when made ahead. Perfect!
Feeding the little people needn’t be complicated! It also doesn’t have to be boring.
What are some of your favorite quick and kid-friendly meals?