Next Week’s Meal Plan: 5 Fast and Easy Toddler-Friendly Dinners Everyone Will Eat

updated Jun 19, 2019
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Credit: From Left to Right: Joe Lingeman, Maria Siriano, Joe Lingeman, Maria Siriano

Welcome to Next Week’s Meal Plan! Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But I’m a firm believer that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. I 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 for one or a family of eight. Every week, I’ll be sharing a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests, or from a guest contributor.

It’s one thing when you’re hungry and want to eat ASAP, but it’s another thing entirely when hungry toddlers are part of the picture. If you’re looking for meals that come together quickly and satisfy both you and the little ones, look no further. This meal plan is filled with our easiest weeknight recipes that lean on smart grocery store shortcuts to minimize time in the kitchen.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

No matter how old you are, it’s hard to resist the draw of buttered noodles or tortellini. Keep it simple with butter and grated Parm for little eaters who prefer something plain, then top the rest of the servings with roasted cherry tomatoes (cooked in garlic-infused melted butter) for a fresh yet simple sauce.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

These easy oven-baked chicken tenders have a secret ingredient that gets them super crispy without a three-step breading process or even hot oil. Since the oven’s on, toss some vegetables on another sheet pan for a simple side, and while everything cooks, stir together a quick pantry sauce for dipping.

Breakfast for dinner is the midweek reprieve we all need, and it doesn’t get more fun than tacos — especially since they’re easy to customize to meet everyone’s preferences. Round out taco night with fresh or jarred salsa, sliced avocado, and a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

File this recipe under dinners to make when you need something fast and easy that the whole family will devour, and no one has it in them to wait for delivery to arrive. Inspired by a takeout favorite, this chicken dinner is blanketed in a sticky-sweet teriyaki sauce, and is great paired with rice and some steamed veggies.

Finish out the week by giving pizza night a twist — literally. To keep things easy, I always start with a ball of store-bought pizza dough. Just don’t forget a side of sauce for dipping.


New to meal planning? Start here.