On your way home from work, you suddenly realize you have no idea what you're going to cook for dinner. Not only do you need to come up with something fast, your kids have to be willing to eat it. And at this late hour, you assume your options are limited to fast food and frozen dinners.
Sound familiar? Kids are a handful, especially when you're trying to get them to eat a healthy, balanced meal. When you're pressed for time, the notion of making dinner often just seems like too much. However, even if don't have the time to plan or make any complicated recipes, you can still put together a quick, delicious dinner -- one that your kids will love.
Read the next page to learn how to sneak healthy greens into one of your kids' favorite meals. Plus, by making it at home, you won't have to pay a delivery fee.
Pizza is a dinnertime classic, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring -- there are so many ways to dress it up and make it fun! Make your own pies by using store-bought dough and adding your own cheese and toppings. You can also make smaller, personalized pizzas with tortillas, bread slices or pita bread.
As a matter of fact, feel free to get creative with the toppings you add to your pizza. This is a great opportunity to sneak some veggies into the meal, so pile on the bell peppers, mushrooms and spinach. If you want to add meat, go hog wild by adding ham, beef, pork or chicken. Heck, you can even make a breakfast pizza for dinner by topping eggs, sausage or bacon on the pie and using gravy instead of marinara sauce.
Plus, you can get some much-needed help in the kitchen. When it comes to pizza, your kids will love to help you cook -- they'll be more than excited to create their own masterpieces!
Meaty and Veggie-filled Couscous
Couscous can really make your dinner pop! Like pasta, couscous is made from granules of durum wheat and is generally steamed, though it can also be boiled or even just soaked until it reaches a fluffy and airy consistency. It's often compared to rice in terms of texture and flavor. Add chicken or beef to the dish for a hearty meal, or try mixing in a few mild spices and herbs like garlic or rosemary to make a flavorful and exciting dish. Veggies such as corn, green beans or squash also work well.
Quesadillas are quick, easy and delicious. Just grab some tortillas, cheese and your meat of choice (chicken, beef and shrimp are the usual add-ins with this dish), and you've got a cheesy, tasty dinner that you and your kids are sure to love. Don't be afraid to spice it up with other ingredients, too -- you can put just about anything in a quesadilla! Look at what you already have in your refrigerator and get creative. This is another one of those meals your kids will beg to help you with, which means less work for you!
Custom-made Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a classic kids' food. The great news is that it doesn't have to come from a box anymore! There's an endless array of quick and easy recipes, so you can have a great homemade dinner on the table in no time. All you need is cheese and pasta (and it doesn't have to be macaroni!). Add chunks of chicken breast, a few slices of ham or a handful of ground beef, and throw in some veggies such as red and green peppers, chives or corn to give this basic dinner a little kick. If you prefer the simple, classic recipe, don't be afraid to try different cheeses -- or a combination of your favorites! Parmesan, Gouda and Swiss cheeses go great with the always-classic cheddar.
We know you're not used to drinking your dinner, but smoothies are a perfectly nutritious and tasty way to down a meal. Because smoothies are primarily made with fruits and vegetables, they're actually one of the healthiest dinner options out there for your family, as they're filled with antioxidants, fiber and calcium. Plus, it's easy to sneak in some green superfoods like spinach or kale, as your kids won't even be able to taste them and will never be the wiser.
To make dinner smoothies, pour milk or fruit juice (but beware of added sugars in the juice) and whatever fruits and vegetables you want into a blender and blend until the mixture is fully circulating. Of course, you can't just toss anything in there -- it's safe to assume an olive-carrot-prune smoothie wouldn't win any taste awards -- but work with the flavor combos you think you and your family would enjoy. Soon enough, you'll be tossing your leftover fruits and veggies into the blender and pouring out a drinkable dinner everyone will be waiting to knock back.
Kids are more likely to eat food they've helped to prepare. Here are 5 Italian dishes kids can make from HowStuffWorks.
- Monticello. "'Pomme d'Amour' Tomato Seeds."TheThomas Jefferson Foundation. 2009. (Nov. 14, 2011). http://www.monticellocatalog.org/600067.html
- Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia, the. "Tomato." Monticello. (Nov. 14, 2011) http://www.monticello.org/site/house-and-gardens/tomato