If you’re struggling to get a meal onto the table at the end of a busy day, you’re not alone! And these easy 20-minute quick dinner ideas for kids hit all the marks for fast, nutritious, and accessible. And they’re meals that both little kids and adults can share too.
Quick Dinner Ideas for Kids
Whether you work, stay home, do some mix of the two, have one kiddo or 7, love to cook or hate it, serving up dinner that the kids and adults can agree on when you’re short on time is HARD. (And it’s hard even for those of us who write about it for a living!)
To hopefully help give you a few new quick and easy ideas to share with your family, these 7 recipes are ready in about 20-30 minutes OR LESS and are designed for everyone at your table.
You may need to adjust how something is cut (and cut things smaller for a baby eating finger foods or a one year old) or add hot sauce or more salt to an adult portion.
Otherwise, here’s hoping these ideas are useful for you and your family.
TIP: Find my Master List of Family Dinner Ideas here.
Monday: Instant Pot Chicken and Beans with Rice and Easy Sides
You can serve this easy family dinner idea—with chicken, beans, and a veggie-sauce mixture—as taco filling, or pair it with rice. It works in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker and you could even buy precooked rice.
Round it out with some fruit and dessert, or some shredded cheese, sour cream, or salsa depending on what your family likes best.
TIP: The veggie sauce gets pureed quickly so you don’t have to worry about your kids picking out a stray veggie chunk.
Tuesday: Egg Tacos with Warmed Tortillas, Fruit, and Assorted Taco Toppings
Scramble as many eggs as you need for your family, stir in cheese, and serve with warmed tortillas and your favorite taco toppings such as shredded lettuce, chopped avocado, sliced bell pepper or guac.
(These Bean and Cheese Quesadillas are also fast and easy.)
TIP: To warm a stack of tortillas, wrap with a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, or until warm, flipping the stack over once halfway through.
Wednesday: Deconstructed Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Browned Meat with Peas
One kid doesn’t like tomato sauce, one kid loves meat but a parent doesn’t, another can’t stand peas but her brother is obsessed.
Make pasta night easier on yourself by putting all of the options into separate bowls and letting everyone help themselves to the foods they want.
I like using a jar of marinara sauce on weeknights (and every other day, if I’m being honest), though you can also make homemade marinara. And frozen peas warm up in under about 2 minutes. Brown the ground beef (or turkey or chicken) in a small amount of olive oil in a large pan for about 8-10 minutes.
You can make all of the components of this meal ahead and simply warm up right before dinner time, or quickly cook when you get home.
Try rotisserie chicken, fully cooked sausage, fully cooked shrimp, or cooked marinated tofu to make the protein even easier.
Thursday: Family Style Stir-Fry Noodles with Sesame Tofu
My kids love this easy family dinner: Rice noodles simply need to soak in hot water to soften, so that can be happening while you saute some tofu and veggies in a pan on the stove.
I like to use toasted sesame oil and saute the tofu cubes on both sides (about 4-5 minutes on each side over medium heat) with some simple veggies like broccoli florets, edamame, shredded carrots, or even corn.
You can top with homemade Peanut Sauce or use a store bought kind.
TIP: In the morning you plan to make this meal, take the tofu out of the package and drain it. Place between two towels on a plate and top with another plate and something heavy like a bowl. Put in the fridge to drain during the day. This will help the tofu get a little crispy when you cook it.
Friday: Deluxe Cheese Plate
This is so good for the end of the week! Pull out all lingering veggies, fruit, cheese, meat, and snack foods and arrange them on a plate to share. We like to include thinly sliced salami (cut it up into smaller pieces as needed) and add foods we all like such as hummus, cheese, and nuts.
Adjust the ingredients here according to the chewing abilities of your kids and add different crackers, meats, and cheeses that appeal to both kids and parents.
(This is a great way to clean out the fridge and pantry.)
TIP: Find more snack dinners ideas here.
Saturday: Sandwich Night with Roasted Potatoes and Fresh Veggies
Whether you like BLTs, grilled cheese (add some ham to make them fancy!), a classic turkey sandwich, BBQ Chicken, or some other sandwich, this dinner idea makes pulling together a homemade meal on the weekend fast and efficient.
Add some roasted potatoes or frozen (and then cooked!) French fries on the side or go with baked beans, a simple salad, and/or fruit.
Serve a sandwich with the elements separate on a plate for little kids who aren’t quite up to chewing a regular sandwich. You can do the bread in little cubes or sticks and cut up the other elements quickly with a pair of kitchen scissors.
This skillet supper feels fancy enough for Sunday dinner but is easy enough to pull off if you spend the whole day running around with the kids. There’s a veggie mixed right into the rice and it goes nicely with a glass of white wine…just saying.
We also like to add some sliced Italian bread to this one!
P.S. It’s also a nice time to remind us all that prepared food, takeout, and leftovers are easy options too. For any night of the week.
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What’s your favorite fast family dinner? I’d love to know so please share below in the comments!
This post was first posted in October 2018.
Week of Easy Kids Dinners (Plus Egg Tacos to Share)
Made with just a few ingredients, these Huevos Rancheros Tacos are an easy dinner to share with the kids…with as many or as few toppings as you like.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or olive oil)
- 8 eggs
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole (optional)
- 8 tortillas (taco size, flour or corn)
Warm a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the butter or oil to the pan. When melted, spread around the pan with a spatula.
Crack the eggs into the pan and stir regularly but gently with a spatula until cooked through, about 4-6 minutes. Add shredded cheese and sprinkle with salt, if desired, to serve.
Meanwhile, add 4-8 taco size tortillas to a tortilla warmer or wrap with a damp, clean kitchen towel. Warm in the microwave for about 1 minute.
Serve tacos with any toppings you like such as shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole, or hot sauce (for the adults.
For kids under about 2, it may be easier for them to chew the tortillas if warm and cut into thin strips.
Add a sprinkle of salt and cumin for more flavor.
Add a side of fruit and warmed beans to make this more substantial.
Serving: 2tacosCalories: 388kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 19gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 350mgSodium: 625mgPotassium: 228mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 704IUCalcium: 216mgIron: 4mg