You know this one had to make the list -- but we've added a twist. Macaroni and cheese doesn't have to be a gloppy, cheesy bowl of fat and empty calories. If you use whole wheat pasta and reduced fat cheese, you can still create a creamy comfort food that's amped up with nutrients. Your kids won't balk, and you won't feel like you've lost the nutritional battle in favor of one hassle free menu item. You can do even more with that skillet or baked cheese dish by adding some vegetables and maybe a can of tuna every once in a while. When you're dealing with a classic like macaroni and cheese, though, this can be tough. It's hard to hide peas in cheese.
If your children are still pretty young, you might be able to convince them that mac and cheese always has a little broccoli in it. No, no, this isn't as crazy as it sounds. Cheese has a mild but pervasive flavor, and a few vegetables buried inside may not cause an outright revolt at the table. It's worth a try. We have a few interesting options below. They're homemade, which puts them head and shoulders over the packaged stuff, and they can be dressed up or down depending on what works for you.