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Best Kid-Friendly Pasta Recipes

Best Kid-Friendly Pasta Recipes

Kid-Friendly Pasta Shopping Tips

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Kid-Friendly Pasta Cooking Tips

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.

We can all use a win in the kitchen every now and then, especially when it comes to being able to quickly prepare meals that our whole family will enjoy. With that in mind, we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up our top 30 kid-friendly recipes that will have everyone leaving the dinner table happy, healthy, and full-bellied. What more could you ask for?

50+ Family-Friendly Recipes to Solve the “What’s for Dinner?” Dilemma

If there’s one thing harder than deciding what to make yourself for dinner, it’s coming up with easy dinner ideas for your kids. You want to get something on the table that’s fairly quick to make and doesn’t require a lot of effort. And you also want a meal that the kids (and ideally the whole table!) will devour, while contending with food preferences that can ping-pong from week to week. And it can feel even trickier when you have a picky eater on your hands.

Our go-to solution is keeping a short roster of kid-friendly dinner ideas on hand. Whether you have an eater who adores chicken, or one who will always say yes to pasta, these 53 dinner recipes have you covered.

Quick Kid-Friendly Dinner Recipes the Entire Family Will Love

The definition of "kid-friendly" certainly varies from child to child, but there are a few common threads you'll find among recipes that appeal to families. First, they're easy for parents to throw together, and, in some cases, for kids to help out with preparing. They often draw on familiar ingredients&mdashlike pasta&mdashand favor simple preparations in favor of complex sauces or lots of spices. And they're usually customizable with elements that can easily be left out or swapped in, whether it's omitting the fresh basil garnish or using familiar American cheese in lieu of sharper Gruyère.

The recipes in this collection feature something for everyone: They're accessible for finicky eaters, but hardly boring or bland. Yes, there's pasta (spaghetti with a speedy tomato sauce, penne with broccoli, gnocchi with peas, and a no-fail mac 'n' cheese)&mdashbut there's also lots more, including dishes from some tried and true, kid-friendly cuisines, such as Mexican and Chinese.

The breaded chicken cutlets shown here are a fantastic example of how tasty kid-friendly food can be: They're crispy, crunchy, savory, and wonderfully filling. You start by pulsing oats in a food processor until finely ground, then add umami-rich Grana Padano cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. This becomes the breading for chicken tenders, which you fry in a skillet. Cut them into strips for little fingers to pick up, or leave them whole for older diners to cut on their own. They're delicious with a squeeze a lemon, a squirt of ketchup, or whatever else your family's heart desires.

Most importantly, child-friendly dinners don't have to be dull or unhealthy. Here, a collection of ideas that will appeal to family members both young and old.

Kids’ pasta recipes

You can rely on our family pasta recipes for filling midweek meals that kids will love, with favourites like lasagne, mac ’n’ cheese and spaghetti Bolognese.

Cooking with kids: Spaghetti & meatballs with hidden veg sauce

Teach children how to make this pasta supper - it's a tasty family meal packed with nutrients

Pasta with salmon & peas

Make this salmon pasta in under 20 minutes for a dinner the whole family can enjoy. Kids will love the fun-shaped pasta while packing in fibre and omega-3

Chicken pasta bake

Enjoy this gooey cheese and chicken pasta bake for the ultimate weekday family dinner. Serve straight from the dish with a dressed green salad

Sausage ragu

Feed the family this comforting, budget-friendly sausage ragu with pasta. You can freeze the leftovers for another time and it tastes just as good

Macaroni cheese with veg

Boost the veg in this family favourite - top spinach and cherry tomatoes with creamy mac 'n' cheese for a dinner that's rich in calcium and fibre

Creamy ham & mushroom pasta bake

Use up the leftovers in your fridge with this hearty family supper dish

5-a-day Bolognese

Get all five of your five-a-day with this spaghetti Bolognese. The hidden veg in the sauce makes it ideal for kids and you can freeze any leftovers

Pasta with tomato & hidden veg sauce

Get your family to eat more veg with this superhealthy pasta sauce recipe which counts as 5 of your 5-a-day. The sauce is freezable too

Tuna & broccoli pasta bake

A family favourite, this filling and warming supper is ready in under half an hour - and uses lots of storecupboard ingredients

Pick & mix pesto pasta salad bar

Put out all the ingredients for classic pasta salad with pesto dressing and let the kids pick whatever they like to stir in – it's great for fussy eaters

Sausageball pasta bake

Using leftover sausagemeat to make meatballs is a thrifty way to jazz up an oven-cooked pasta pot

Bacon & mushroom pasta

A simple one-pan pasta dish with bacon, mushrooms and pesto - ready in under 30 minutes

Easy tuna pasta bake

A simple cheesy tuna bake that's filling and guaranteed to be a hit with the kids

Creamy courgette & bacon pasta

A quick and creamy carbonara-style tagliatelle that showcases delicious courgettes contrasted with cream and pancetta

Simple springtime pasta

Put some spring into your pasta with this light dish, on the table in just 10 minutes

Sausage, kale & chilli pasta

This simple sausage and kale pasta dish is perfect for feeding the family. Give it a modern twist by using orecchiette, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser

Tuna pasta bake

Whip up this cheap treat using storecupboard ingredients, tinned tuna and sweetcorn

Broccoli pasta bake

A versatile pasta bake is a midweek staple and this recipe can even be made ahead and frozen for extra convenience

Spinach & courgette lasagne

Enjoy a vegetarian lasagne bursting with spinach and courgette, held together with a creamy mascarpone sauce. It's a filling midweek meal for all the family

Best Healthy Kid-Friendly Dinners

Self serve dishes offer both variety and independence, two very important things. We parents want our kids to eat a variety of foods and our kids want to be independent (yes, I’m looking at you my 3 picky eaters) when it comes to selecting what foods they will eat.

In my house, the best healthy kid-friendly diners are always the self-serve type where everyone can create their own plate or bowl. When making a main dish with a couple of sides, be sure to include at least one option everyone will like.

In my humble opinion, the best kid-friendly dinners are always the type of meals parents can feel good about feeding their family and for me, they are the ones I hand pick and select inside the Classic Meal Plan. Having a plan for my meals is the glue that keeps my family dinners together.

How to Get Kids to Eat Healthier

Parents always want to know how to get kids to eat healthier. I’ve already mentioned that if you want your kids to eat healthier, you’ll actually have to cook a variety of foods all the time -not just get kids to try something once.

Here are some helpful tips to get kids to eat healthier:

While my family and I love snacks, I limit them to once a day and no less than 2 hours before a meal. Constant snacking depletes the appetite, and your child can miss out on quality nutrition in eating a well-balanced meal at dinner which usually results on battles at the table.

Out of sight, out of mind. If you keep chips, sodas, snack bars, and candy in the house, that’s exactly what they’ll reach for. The best way to avoid this? Get rid of it. Stop buying it.

Many parents tell me that all their kid eats is cereal, pb&j, mac and cheese, and chicken nuggets. I always reply with “what would happen if you stopped buying those things?” I assure you that their world will not end.

Many of these foods have added sugars which create a craving for… more sugar! If you want to kid to eat healthier, get rid of it.

Replace items like chips with whole grain crackers, banana chips, or plantain chips to serve with hummus or guacamole.

Items like sliced apples, bananas, oranges are an easy item to grab and replace the convenient processed foods.

For a sweet treat, try making Chocolate Brownie Protein Bites or easy and homemade Cookie Dough Snack Bars. Both are made with all natural ingredients that add in nutrition.

If eliminating processed foods and sugars is something you’re curious about let me send you a sample plan and a list of foods to stock your pantry here.

What do you think? Are you ready to introduce healthy kid-friendly recipes into your rotation of family dinner ideas?

To get you started, here’s a printable version of that Chicken Teriyaki recipe I was telling you about earlier…

Love simple recipes like this one? Download a sample MOMables Meal Plan where you’ll find 5 dinner recipes, a done-for-you shopping list, and a step-by-step meal prep sheet!

Low Fat Pasta Recipes You'll Be Wanting Again And Again (And Again)

Pasta is naturally low in fat, but high in carbs. So yes, you CAN eat pasta on a low fat diet (in moderation, as always). Instead, it's all about the type of toppings you're using. Cream sauces are big no, no. But, things like chicken, vegetables and lentils all work just fine. So, whether it's Chicken Pasta Salad, Lemon Asparagus Pasta or Vegetable Spaghetti, there's plenty of ways for you to enjoy a easy, hearty pasta dish but without the fat! For the inspiration you need, check out some of our fave low fat pasta recipes now.

There's nothing worse than a pasta salad with mushy pasta. Learn how to cook pasta (it's trickier than you think!) and get your fusilli perfectly al dente.

Kids’ pasta bake recipes

Kids will love to help make these simple, comforting pasta bakes. Choose from budget-friendly family favourites such as tuna pasta bake, lasagne and macaroni cheese.

Tuna & broccoli pasta bake

A family favourite, this filling and warming supper is ready in under half an hour - and uses lots of storecupboard ingredients

Cheesy broccoli pasta bake

Whip up this cheap, simple and satisfying meal in just 30 minutes.

Sausageball pasta bake

Using leftover sausagemeat to make meatballs is a thrifty way to jazz up an oven-cooked pasta pot

Easy classic lasagne

Kids will love to help assemble this easiest ever pasta bake with streaky bacon, beef mince, a crème fraîche sauce and gooey mozzarella

Easy tuna pasta bake

A simple cheesy tuna bake that's filling and guaranteed to be a hit with the kids

3-veg mac ‘n’ cheese

Sneak vegetables into macaroni cheese, a popular family meal that becomes even more nourishing for kids with the addition of butternut squash, leeks and peas

Chicken pasta bake

Enjoy this gooey cheese and chicken pasta bake for the ultimate weekday family dinner. Serve straight from the dish with a dressed green salad

Cauliflower cheese & spinach pasta bakes

Somewhere between macaroni and cauliflower cheese, these pasta bakes are perfect for a cold day

Rigatoni sausage bake

A great way to get kids to eat spinach, this comforting sausage supper dish is also perfect for a hungry crowd

Ravioli lasagne

Cook this lasagne for the family on a busy weeknight. It only takes 15 minutes to prepare and uses just five ingredients, including shop-bought ravioli

Spicy cheese & tomato bake

A super-simple pasta bake that uses sundried tomato pesto, paprika and two cheeses - Parmesan and goat's cheese

Tomato pasta bake

Make this simple student pasta and tomato dish for a delicious, filling and budget-friendly supper. It is a great way to use up simple storecupboard ingredients.

Easy oven frittata

Sure to become a firm family favourite, this dish is packed with peas, sweetcorn and peppers - it'll help you get your 5-a-day

Breakfast Kid-Friendly Instant Pot Meals

Oh my goodness. These gigantic Instant Pot Pancakes are so fun for supper! Does anyone else serve breakfast at supper-time? I hope I’m not the only one!

The best thing about this Instant Pot Frittata is that you can customize it to include the added ingredients of choice.

Not all of my kids like French toast, but for those that do this Banana French Toast in the pressure cooker is a great choice.

Oatmeal made in the IP is divine! My kids are a huge fan of flavored oatmeals like this Maple Brown Sugar one, but if your kids prefer plain oatmeal you can do that too.

Also, my kids like yogurt. To the tune of 30 or more little tubs a week! I don’t know that it is in any cheaper made in the IP, but it’s definitely tastier, you can customize flavors after, and you can control the input and choose organic or whatever milk and starter you like. Here’s how to make yogurt in the IP for kids.

If you like the idea of frittata, but have lots of individual tastes to feed, you can also make Pressure Cooker Egg Muffins and customize each one!

This Strawberry Cheesecake Breakfast Quinoa is a fun way to get your kids to try this different grain. Because strawberry. And cheesecake.

Again for those kids who love Mexican flavors, here is a fun breakfast casserole to try!

This beautiful and sweet Instant Pot Lemon Blueberry Breakfast cake is perfect for mornings when you have a sweet tooth!

60 Family-Friendly Dinner Recipes to Please Even the Pickiest Eaters

These quick, easy dinner recipes are so delicious it'll be hard for even the pickiest eaters to say no. Don&rsquot believe us? Give this list a look and try one out. We're sure your little ones will be asking for seconds! Best part: they're easy to make too. With plenty of slow cooker meals and easy one pot meals ahead&mdashsome dishes only take 10 to 15 minutes to put together! We&rsquove got classic favorites as well as fresh, kid-approved pastas and casseroles. If you&rsquore ready to take on a cheap dinner idea that's also a crowd-pleaser , take a look through some of our favorite dinner ideas right here.

Lasagna's a classic kid fave, but it takes hours to cook in the oven, right? Not this simple one-pan version, which can be put together in just 40 minutes.

Craving a kid-friendly dish that'll also appeal to adults? Whip up this creamy, cheesy pasta dish. It's a surefire hit.

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