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45 Pasta Recipes for Kids (That Are Picky-Eater Approved!)

Got a picky crew? These pasta recipes for kids will make planning your weeknight menu simpler than ever.

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Makeover Slow-Cooked Mac 'n' Cheese

This recipe is a clear example of comfort food at its finest; it's rich, hearty and extra cheesy. And because it's made in the slow cooker, it's also extremely easy. —Shelby Molina, Whitewater, Wisconsin
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Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

I try to make foods that are not only kid-friendly but that are also easy to reheat because my husband works long hours and often eats later than our children. If you like, use reduced-fat cheese and ground turkey for a lighter version. —Melissa Stevens, Elk River, Minnesota
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Ham & Swiss Baked Penne

As a kid, I loved to 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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Turkey Sausage with Pasta

If you're looking for recipes with turkey sausage, stop here. This has the perfect blend of meaty, veggie and cheesy goodness. You'll be craving what's good for you when this pasta dish is on the menu. —Mary Tallman, Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin
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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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Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Buffalo chicken is a favorite in our household. Combine it with pasta, and you have the ultimate comfort food. If you prefer less spicy food, the addition of sour cream, ranch dressing and mozzarella provides a creamy texture and cooler flavor that nicely balances the spice in this Buffalo chicken pasta dish. —Kathy White, Henderson, Nevada
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Sloppy Joe Pasta

Since I found this quick-to-fix recipe a few years ago, it's become a regular part of my menu plans. Everyone loves the combination of sloppy joe ingredients, shell pasta and cheddar cheese. —Lynne Leih, Idyllwild, California
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Tender Beef over Noodles

I dress up stew meat with noodles and a slightly sweet red sauce for this satisfying main dish. It goes great with a salad and garlic bread. —Olivia Gust, Salem, Oregon
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Chili-ghetti

I came up with this recipe when unexpected guests stopped by and I didn't have enough chili to go around. The spur-of-the-moment main dish is now a family favorite. —Cindy Cuykendall, Skaneateles, New York
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Italian Sausage with Bow Ties

We often have our favorite pasta when company comes over, and I’ve shared this Italian sausage recipe several times. Now many of my friends make it for their families, too. —Janelle Moore, Auburn, Washington
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Taco-Filled Pasta Shells

I've been stuffing pasta shells with different fillings for years, but my family enjoys this version with taco-seasoned meat the most. The frozen shells are so convenient, because you can take out only the number you need for a single-serving lunch or family dinner. Just add zippy taco sauce and bake. —Marge Hodel, Roanoke, Illinois
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Four-Cheese Chicken Fettuccine

As a cattle rancher, my husband's a big fan of beef. For him to comment on a poultry dish is rare. But he always tells me, "I love this casserole!" I first tasted it at a potluck; now, I fix it for my family (we have a 3-year-old daughter) once or twice a month, and I'm asked to take it to most every get-together. —Rochelle Brownlee, Big Timber, Montana
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Wagon Wheel Casserole

My ground beef hot dish is a family pleaser. We love the combination of ingredients.—Barbara Hopkins, Lusby, Maryland
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Double Jack Mac

This spicy mac and cheese recipe came about when I asked my two sisters what they would like to add to mac and cheese to make it special. One said pepper jack cheese and the other said black beans. I liked both of the ideas and this is the result. The black beans add color and nutrition. The pepper jack cheese adds zip and fun. —Andrea Johnson, Freeport, Illinois
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Gnocchi Chicken Skillet

Stovetop chicken and gnocchi recipes like this one make for a homey dinner in a hurry. Personalize it with your own favorite sauce and seasonings. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Slow-Cooker Turkey Pesto Lasagna

My cheesy, noodle-y lasagna makes any slow-cooker skeptic a believer. It’s easy to prep while my kids nap, and dinner’s ready when their dad walks in the door at night. We bring more pesto and marinara to the table for our resident sauce lovers. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
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Parmesan Bow Tie Pasta with Chicken

On lazy summer weekends, we like chicken and yellow squash tossed with bow tie pasta. Add extra fresh grated Parmesan for a Sunday touch. —Sarah Smiley, Bangor, Maine
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Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

When chicken Parmesan meets stuffed shells, it's love at first bite. The texture of the chicken holds up in the deliciously creamy and cheesy mixture. —Cynthia Gerken, Naples, Florida
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Tortellini Carbonara

I've made this bacon, cream and Parmesan cheese pasta sauce for so many years and have always called it a carbonara. Low-and-behold, I recently found out it's actually more like an Alfredo sauce. In either case, it's absolutely heavenly and a great option for company! —Cathy Croyle, Davidsville, Pennsylvania
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BLT Skillet

This quick weeknight meal reminds me of a BLT, with its chunks of bacon and tomato. The whole wheat linguine gives the skillet dish extra flavor and texture. —Edrie O'Brien, Denver, Colorado
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Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

This recipe was inspired by my daughter's favorite food—Buffalo wings! It tastes as if it came from a restaurant. —Melissa Millwood, Lyman, South Carolina
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Quick Chili Mac

This combines chili with one of my favorite pasta dishes. I often serve it for company or potlucks and occasionally add taco seasoning or use beanless chili and add black beans. —Lee Steinmetz, Lansing, Michigan
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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I created this dish after my father had triple bypass surgery. He loves comfort food, and I wanted him to be able to enjoy a rich and tasty dish like mac & cheese without all the fat and butter. It's also a smart way to sneak in some veggies for children. —Megan Schwartz, New York, New York
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Southern Barbecue Spaghetti Sauce

I revamped our favorite sloppy joe recipe into this thick spaghetti sauce that simmers in the slow cooker. The flavor is jazzy enough to be interesting to adults, yet mild enough for the kids to enjoy. —Rhonda Melanson, Sarnia, Ontario
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One-Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

When the weather’s too chilly to grill burgers, I whip up a big pot of this cheesy pasta. Believe it or not, it tastes just like a bacon cheeseburger, and it’s much easier for my young children to enjoy. —Carly Terrell, Granbury, Texas
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Hurry-Up Ham N Noodles

These noodles are a rich-tasting entree. The basic, hearty dish is ready to serve in almost the time it takes to cook the noodles. It is super for a luncheon or any time I’m in a hurry. —Lucille Howell, Portland, Oregon
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Lasagna Casserole

While growing up, this was the meal I always wanted on my birthday. Mother made the sauce from scratch, but I use store-bought spaghetti sauce to save time. Replace the ground beef with Italian sausage if you want more spice. —Deb Morrison, Skiatook, Oklahoma
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Garlic Bread Pasta Torte

My kids love to stuff spiral pasta inside bread for a clever dinner torte. We save the bread crusts to make garlicky croutons for salad. —Melissa Birdsong, Waleska, Georgia
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Skillet Mac & Cheese

This super creamy mac 'n' cheese is so simple it seems almost too easy! Kids really go for the rich cheese flavor, but I've never met an adult who didn't love it too. —Ann Bowers, Rockport, Texas
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Weeknight Pasta Squiggles

This zesty pasta dish is ideal for busy weeknights. It's low on ingredients and easy to prep, and it tastes so comforting when the weather turns cool. A salad on the side makes this healthy pasta recipe a meal. —Stacey Brown, Spring, Texas
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One-Skillet Lasagna

This is hands-down one of the best skillet lasagna recipes our testing panel has ever tasted. With classic flavors and cheesy layers, it’s definitely kid-friendly. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pizza Spaghetti

This recipe came to me when I saw someone dip a slice of pizza into a pasta dish. My wife and kids love it and so do my friends! —Robert Smith, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Fiesta Ravioli

I adapted this recipe to suit our taste for spicy food. The ravioli taste like mini enchiladas. I serve them with a Mexican-inspired salad and pineapple sherbet for dessert. —Debbie Purdue, Freeland, Michigan
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Authentic Pasta Carbonara

I learned on my culinary internship in Tuscany that real Italian cuisine is simpler than you think! This carbonara is quick, simple and delicious, just the way they like it in Italy. —Lauren Brien-Wooster, South Lake Tahoe, California
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Saucy Chicken & Tortellini

This heartwarming dish is something I threw together years ago for my oldest daughter. When she's having a rough day, I put on the slow cooker and prepare this special recipe. —Mary Morgan, Dallas, Texas
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Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Orzo

Broccoli and rice casserole tops my family's comfort food list, but when we need something fast, this is the stuff. Chicken and veggie orzo cooked on the stovetop speeds everything up. —Mary Shivers, Ada, Oklahoma
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Cajun Chicken Lasagna

Destined to be a new favorite with all around the table, this zesty take on traditional Italian lasagna nods to the Gulf Coast. Increase the amount of Cajun seasoning if you like spicier fare. —Mary Lou Cook, Welches, Oregon
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Spaghetti & Meatball Skillet Supper

I developed this one-skillet spaghetti and meatball dish to cut down on cooking time for busy nights. The beans, artichokes and tomatoes bump up the nutrition factor, while the lemon and parsley make it pop with brightness. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Country Bacon-Beef Mac and Cheese

Wow. Meaty slow cooker mac and cheese is easy to make, very tasty and kids love it! —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Stovetop Cheeseburger Pasta

Cheeseburgers are delicious in any form, but I'm partial to this creamy pasta dish that seriously tastes just like the real thing. It's weeknight comfort in a bowl. —Tracy Avis, Peterborough, Ontario
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Pizza Lover's Casserole

When you're looking for a surefire crowd-pleaser for a kids' party, it's hard to go wrong with pizza. This dish delivers the taste of pizza in a convenient and delicious casserole. Pair it with a salad and bread, and you have a great meal for a table full of kids without the pizzeria tab! —Jackie Hannahs, Cedar Springs, Michigan
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Slow-Cooker Mac and Cheese

This classic casserole is a rich and cheesy meatless main dish. I've never met anyone who didn't ask for a second helping. —Bernice Glascoe, Roxboro, North Carolina
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Stovetop Beef and Shells

I fix this supper when I'm pressed for time. It's as tasty as it is fast. Team it with salad, bread and fruit for a comforting meal. —Donna Roberts, Manhattan, Kansas
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Pretty Penne Ham Skillet

I'm a busy nurse, so fast meals are a must. This pasta is a tasty change of pace from potato-ham casseroles. —Kathy Stephan, West Seneca, New York
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Chicken Pesto Meatballs

These tender, pesto-stuffed meatballs get gobbled up in our house. They're short on ingredients, but packed with flavor. I always make a double batch, freezing the other half for a busy night. —Ally Billhorn, Wilton, Iowa

Annamarie Higley
Annamarie Higley is an Associate Print Editor for Taste of Home magazine, as well as the brand's special issue publications. A midwestern transplant originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, trivia-ing, and—you guessed it!—all things cooking and baking.
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