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50 Kid-Friendly Meals (That Aren’t Chicken Nuggets)

Dish out these kid-friendly recipes for your little ones. These dishes will please even the pickiest of eaters (seriously!).

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Muffin-Tin Lasagnas

This is a super fun way to serve lasagna. —Sally Kilkenny, Granger, Iowa
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Skillet Mac & Cheese

This creamy mac and cheese is so simple it’s almost too easy! Kids always go for the rich cheese flavor, but I’ve never met an adult who didn’t love it just as much. —Ann Bowers, Rockport, Texas
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Chili Dog Pizza

My girls love it when I make this mash-up pizza with hot dogs and chili. It’s a marvelous way to use up leftover chili. —Jennifer Stowell, Smithville, Missouri
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Easy Meatball Stroganoff

This recipe has fed not only my own family, but many neighborhood kids! They come running when I make this supper. It's one of those things you throw together after work on a busy day because you know it works. —Julie May, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
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Meaty Sloppy Joe Pockets

It’s easy to turn sloppy joes into hearty hot pocket snacks. I make the filling ahead and use refrigerated biscuits. I time them so they’re done baking just before kickoff. —Shelly Flye, Albion, Maine
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Waffle-Iron Pizzas

These little pizza pockets are a fun mashup using a waffle iron. Try adding your favorite toppings or even a few breakfast fillings, such as ham and eggs. —Amy Lents, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Mini Mac & Cheese Dogs

We wanted to get creative with hot dogs, so we made a mac-and-cheesy one. Pile on the extra cheese, relish and even bacon. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
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The Elvis Sandwich

Like the King himself sang, you'll be "all shook up" when you taste this savory-sweet sandwich. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Over-the-Top Baked Ziti

I adapted a ziti recipe to remove ingredients my kids did not like, such as ground beef, garlic and onions. The revised recipe was a success with my family. It’s so versatile: You can use jarred sauce, double or triple the recipe, and even freeze it. —Kimberley Pitman, Smyrna, Delaware
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Pizza on a Stick

My daughter and her friends had fun turning sausage, pepperoni, veggies and pizza dough into these cute kabobs. Give our version a try or make your own using you favorite light pizza toppings. —Charlene Woods, Norfolk, Virginia
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Ham & Swiss Baked Penne

As a kid I loved to the hot ham and Swiss sandwiches from a local fast-food restaurant. With its melty, gooey goodness, this bake makes me think of them. —Ally Billhorn, Wilton, Iowa
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Brief Burritos

With three children in school, evenings are often hectic and short on time—especially during the holiday season. I can put this dish together after school and still have time to run back to town for evening activities. Best of all, the kids love it. —Ginger Burow, Fredericksburg, Texas
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BBQ Meat Loaf Minis

Kids can have fun helping to prepare these mini meat loaves in muffin cups. For extra spice, we sometimes add 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 cup of salsa. —Linda Call, Falun, Kansas
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Ham and Cheese Puffs

These tasty little bites go over well with kids. They're also delicious with soups or as party appetizers. —Mrs. Marvin Buffington, Burlington, Iowa
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Homemade Fish Sticks

I am a nutritionist and needed a healthy fish fix. Moist inside and crunchy outside, these are great with oven fries or roasted veggies and low-fat homemade tartar sauce. —Jennifer Rowland, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
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Beefy Chili Dogs

For years, people have told me I make the best hot dog chili out there. It’s timeless, it’s family-friendly, and I carry the recipe with me because people ask for it. —Vicki Boyd, Mechanicsville, Virginia
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Pizza Roll-Ups

Since getting this recipe from our 4-H club, it's been a regular after-school snack. We like to dunk these bite-sized pizza treats, made with refrigerated crescent rolls, in spaghetti sauce. —Donna Klettke, Wheatland, Missouri
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Mini Shepherd's Pies

These savory little pies may be made with simple convenience items, but I'm just as confident serving them to drop-in company as I am to my husband and three boys. —Ellen Osborne, Clarksville, Tennessee
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Deluxe Pizza Casserole

This is the family favorite dish for special occasions, and we always make it for my granddaughter's birthday. Mushrooms are a wonderful addition if you like them. —Vickie Oldham, Dubuque, Iowa
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BLT Wraps

My mom and I used to make these easy wrap-ups for summer days at the lake with our entire family. These days, we love to bring them to picnics and days in the park. —Jonnah Burks, Brighton, Missouri
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Frito Pie

Frito pie is legendary in the Southwest for being spicy, salty and cheesy fabulous. Here’s my easy take on this crunchy classic. —Jan Moon, Alamogordo, New Mexico
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Corn Dog Twists

Kids will have as much fun making as they will eating these cute twists on hot dogs and buns! Set out bowls of relish, mustard and ketchup for dunkable fun. —Melissa Tatum, Greensboro, North Carolina
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Citrus-Honey Chicken

We raise heirloom-breed chickens, so I'm always looking for chicken recipes. This one with oven baked chicken tenderloins and orange and honey flavors is tops at our house. —Beth Nafziger, Lowville, NY
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Reuben Rounds

Fans of the classic Reuben sandwich will go crazy for baked pastry spirals of corned beef, Swiss and sauerkraut. They're so easy to make, and bottled Thousand Island dressing makes the perfect dipping sauce. —Cheryl Snavely, Hagerstown, Maryland
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Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

When my kids were small, I'd stuff leftover chicken into these oven-baked quesadillas. I often grab rotisserie chicken instead. —Pam Martin, Canandaigua, New York
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Kids' Favorite Chili

This third-generation hearty chili is a family favorite. It's a sweet and easy chili that's sure to warm up the whole family on those chilly fall nights. —Terri Keeney, Greeley, Colorado
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Garlic Bread Pizza Sandwiches

I love inventing new ways to make grilled cheese sandwiches for my kids. This version tastes like pizza. Using frozen garlic bread is a timesaver. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Skillet Nachos

My mom gave me a fundraiser cookbook, and this is the recipe I’ve used most. My whole family is on board. For toppings, think sour cream, tomatoes, jalapeno and red onion. —Judy Hughes, Waverly, Kansas
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Homemade Pizza

This recipe is a hearty, zesty main dish with a crisp, golden crust. Feel free to add your favorite toppings. —Marianne Edwards, Lake Stevens, Washington
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Biscuit Turkey Bake

As a college student, I go for stick-to-your-ribs foods that are also easy on the budget. Here's one that fits the bill. I like to bake this casserole for friends' birthdays. —Stephanie Denning, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa
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Peanut Butter, Apple and Raisin Sandwich

Tart, sweet and crunchy, these open-faced sammies are a perfect after-school (or after-work) snack. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Air-Fryer Nacho Hot Dogs

Adults and kids alike will love these Southwest-inspired air-fryer hot dogs. This meal is not only budget-friendly, but it's hot, cheesy and delicious, too. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Flying Saucers

These handy pita pocket sandwiches can be filled and served ready to eat... or you can set up a make-your-own buffet with ingredients that the kids can choose to suit themselves.
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Peanut Butter-Banana Yogurt Parfaits

For a lightning-fast breakfast, I layer vanilla yogurt with bananas, peanuts and multigrain cereal. It’s crunchy, easy and perfect for kids.—Teresa Miller, Hamilton, Indiana
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Cheesy Fiesta Beef Casserole

Over the years I’ve tweaked this recipe to end up with a wonderful, quick weeknight meal. Feel free to spice it up with jalapenos, if you prefer a little more heat. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Loaded Pulled Pork Cups

Potato nests are simple to make and surprisingly handy for pulled pork, cheese, sour cream and other toppings. Make, bake and collect the compliments. —Melissa Sperka, Greensboro, North Carolina
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Crispy Almond Tilapia

Since changing to a healthier style of cooking, I’ve come up with new coatings for baked fish. I use almonds, panko bread crumbs and a smidge of hot sauce to add crunchy texture with nice heat. —Amanda Flinner, Beaver, Pennsylvania
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Muffin-Cup Cheddar Beef Pies

My kids love these beef rolls so much. I always make extra since they heat up so quickly. I give the kids their choice of dipping sauces—spaghetti sauce or ranch dressing are the top picks. —Kimberly Farmer, Wichita, Kansas
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Grilled Italian Meatball Burgers

I just love these burgers! They're a big hit with kids and adults. I serve them with sliced green peppers, tomato and onion slices and a jar of crushed red peppers on the side for adults. Kids enjoy them best "as is." —Priscilla Gilbert, Indian Harbour Beach, Florida
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Homemade Peanut Butter

We eat a lot of peanut butter, so I decided to make my own. My homemade version is easier on my wallet, and I know what ingredients are in it. It's also a lot tastier! —Marge Austin, North Pole, Alaska
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Pigs in a Poncho

For pigs in a blanket Mexican style, we add refried beans and green chilies. Spice it up even more with pepper jack, jalapenos and guacamole. —Jennifer Stowell, Montezuma, Iowa
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Muffin-Tin Pizzas

I just baked these mini pizzas and the kids are already demanding more. The no-cook pizza sauce and refrigerated dough make this meal a snap. —Melissa Haines, Valparaiso, Indiana
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French Toast Sticks

Learn how to make french toast sticks with this quick and easy recipe. I like to have them handy in the freezer for a hearty breakfast in an instant. They're great for buffets because they can be eaten on the go. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Toasted Mexican Ravioli

We like Mexican and Italian foods, so spicy breaded ravioli gives us the best of both worlds. We serve sauce on the side and pass the queso fresco. —Cristy King, Scott Depot, West Virginia
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Three-Cheese Meatball Mostaccioli

When my husband travels for work, I make a special dinner for my kids to keep their minds off missing Daddy. This tasty mostaccioli is meatball magic. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan
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The Ultimate Grilled Cheese

These gooey grilled cheese sandwiches taste great for lunch with sliced apples. And they're really fast to whip up, too. Here's how to make grilled cheese the right way. —Kathy Norris, Streator, Illinois
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Walking Tacos

These Walking Tacos are great for an on-the-go dinner, campfire meal or easy game night supper. The ingredients transform a bag of chips into a taco in a bag! —Beverly Matthews, Pasco, Washington
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Broccoli, Rice and Sausage Dinner

The first recipe my kids requested when they left home was broccoli with sausage and rice. If fresh zucchini or summer squash is available, add it to the mix. —JoAnn Parmentier, Branch, Michigan
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Air-Fryer Taco Twists

Why serve tacos only in ordinary flour or corn tortillas? For a mouthwatering change of pace, try these air-fried tacos baked in flaky, golden crescent rolls. My family enjoys them for a warm lunch or light dinner. —Carla Kreider, Quarryville, Pennsylvania
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Mama Mia Meatball Taquitos

We love lasagna, but it takes too long on weeknights. My solution: meatball taquitos. My kids get the flavors they want, and I get a meal on the table in a hurry. —Lauren Wyler, Dripping Springs, Texas

Hazel Wheaton
Hazel is a writer and editor who has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years in the fields of travel, jewelry arts and food. As the editor of the Taste of Home Christmas Annual (among other titles), she's in the holiday spirit all year round. An enthusiastic baker, she's known for her cookies, cakes and other baked goods. And she still wishes she could cook like her mother.

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