Next Week's Meal Plan

5 Kid-Friendly Dinners Parents Can Love from Amy Palanjian

published Nov 2, 2019
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Credit: Amy Palanjian

Getting dinner on the table can feel like a total feat in the best of times. Add two full-time working parents and three young kids (including a baby and a toddler) who need some hands-on attention, often right when dinner needs to be made, and it’s a whole lot trickier. This week, Amy Palanjian, a food editor and writer, blogger, podcast host, and mom — who joins us as part of our freshly launched Kitchn Collective — is sharing a week of impossibly easy and delicious dinners everyone around the table will enjoy.

Amy Palanjian’s Family-Friendly Dinners

These five quick family dinners are easy to make and suit the sensitive palates of kids while still offering something interesting for adults. I typically add simple sides of fruit and cheese to round out the meal and ensure that there’s something on the table that everyone likes. I serve most meals family-style to allow the kids to decide what they want to eat from what I’ve served. (This also limits the amount of times I need to get up from the table while I’m trying to feed myself!) It’s not a perfect system, but it works reasonably well, which is all you can hope for when feeding a family!

Credit: Amy Palanjian

Monday: Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Mondays are all about quick and easy in our house, and I love this broccoli pesto because it checks both of those boxes and my kids love it. I typically add some frozen peas for extra protein — I add them to the bottom of my colander, then drain the pasta right on top of them. Voila! They’re thawed and warmed. A side of cut fruit helps to round things out.

Get the recipe: Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Credit: Amy Palanjian

Tuesday: Vegetarian Quesadillas with Beans and Cheese

My girls are mildly obsessed with beans, so we have tacos or quesadillas every Tuesday. I love these easy quesadillas because they’re quick to make, I can make them ahead (if I find myself with extra motivation), and they pack well as leftovers for the next day’s lunches! We like to have them with salsa and sour cream for dipping.

Credit: Amy Palanjian

Wednesday: Skillet Stuffed Peppers

My husband loves stuffed peppers, but I’ve always found them to be a bit of a pain to make, so this skillet recipe delivers on flavor but is easier to prep. We usually pair this with basmati or jasmine rice and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Recently, I’ve been leaving the meat a little chunkier so my baby can have a few pieces to hold in his fist and chew on, baby-led-weaning style. (I simply salt the skillet after I remove his portion.)

Get the recipe: Skillet Stuffed Peppers

Credit: Amy Palanjian

Thursday: Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Extra Protein

Broccoli cheddar soup is one of our favorite cold-weather comfort foods — although I admit that my kids mostly use their servings as a dip for crackers or toast! (Hey, whatever works.) I love this recipe because it’s easy to keep simmering away in the evening, it has extra protein from split peas, and it freezes incredibly well.

Credit: Amy Palanjian

Friday: Pizza Rolls with Spinach and Cheese

A Friday isn’t really a Friday in my book without pizza, but getting home at 5 p.m. and actually making homemade pizza feels like a stretch. Instead, I try to make a batch or two of these Pizza Rolls every few weeks so we can pull them out of the freezer and quickly warm them up. I serve them with a simple salad and whatever fruit is left in the fridge (even if it’s applesauce). It’s just the right note to end the week on.

Amy Palanjian is a writer, editor, and the founder of Yummy Toddler Food, a site filled with practical feeding advice and wholesome, happy recipes for families with little kids at the table. She’s also the co-host of the Comfort Food podcast and is a member of the new Kitchn Collective.

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Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But we’re firm believers that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. We want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking one or a family of four or five. Every week we share a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests or from a guest contributorfor Next Week’s Meal Plan!