5 Quick, Kid-Friendly Recipes for Busy Nights


Did you ever notice that kids want to eat dinner every.single.night? The little buggers always want to be fed, even when you’re exhausted and only have a 20-minute window between soccer and swim practice. With homework and after-school activities, evenings can be chaotic. It can be tempting just to toss a chicken nugget at your kids or pull the mini-van through the drive through.

Don’t do it! Although (spoiler alert) I’m no chef, I enjoy cooking and sitting down to dinner with my family. Here are a few tried-and-true, quick-and-easy, kid-friendly recipes that you can whip up in a flash on those busy weeknights.

Quick, kid-friendly recipes for busy nights

1. Basil Chicken from Skinnytaste 
This Thai-inspired dish is chicken breast in a simple garlic, soy, and oyster sauce. I leave out the serrano chile so as not to burn a hole in my children’s cute cheeks, and I usually serve it over brown rice. Trader Joe’s has fantastic frozen rice that takes three minutes in the microwave.

Skinnytaste has lots of easy, tasty recipes and is one of my go-to sites for meal planning. Here are some of the site’s top recipes. 

2. Pasta with Sausage, Peppers, and Feta from Cooking Light   
This pasta dish is satisfying and delicious; my husband and son squeal in delight when I make it. Turkey sausage, red peppers, and pasta pair perfectly with melted feta. I use whole-wheat pasta and studiously avoid eye contact when they ask me what the “red things” are. I also leave out the olives to avoid hearing the shrieks of disgust that olives provoke in my house. Poor olives get such a bad wrap among short people.

3. Garlic-Honey-Ginger-Glazed Salmon from Sally’s Baking Addiction  
Truthfully, my kids moan and groan when I tell them we’re having salmon for dinner, but they eat their words with this sweet and savory recipe. It says to marinate the salmon, but it is truly not necessary. It’s worth it to take a few extra minutes to grate your own garlic and ginger for the glaze.

This site also has a no-fail chocolate chip pumpkin bread that makes for a quick and easy breakfast for the kids. 

4. Prosciutto Pizza with White Sauce from Cooking Light 
This white pizza calls for you to make your crust from scratch, but ain’t-nobody-got-time-for-that-on-a-Monday-night. I get a store-bought pizza crust and skip to Step 4 of this recipe. The simple white sauce is accented with swiss-like Gruyere cheese. The chives on top definitely add a certain “je ne sais quoi.” I also like to put the prosciutto on the pizza before baking it because raw prosciutto freaks me out just a smidge.

5. Ravioli with Green Beans and Brown Butter Sauce from She Knows
This recipe is admittedly a bit low-brow, which is probably why my kids love it. Let’s face it: kids love ravioli. Add a little nutty brown butter and green beans, and you’ve got a ridiculously simple, quick meal that evokes a celebratory “Yes!” from the kids. The recipe calls for six tablespoons of butter; I half that amount and don’t miss it at all.

Dinnertime can be simplified. Hope these recipes make your evenings a little less frantic, a little more centered, and a lot more delicious!


  1. These recipes also look good for a retired couple who don’t feel like spending too much time cooking!

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