21 Kid-Friendly Meal Ideas

Welcome to the Weekly Meal Planner! Whether you work all day and are out of steam when the dinner hour hits, or are fresh out of  ideas and in a cooking rut, we are here to make your life easier. Note: We’ll include tips for picky eaters and easy food swaps if you don’t have an ingredient on-hand.

This week, we are focusing on meals that will please everyone in the family, or at least can be broken down into components that will please even the pickiest eaters. You can stop being a short-order cook and make just one dinner each night… paradise.

Pastas, burgers, and pizzas are always good bets. Kids don’t have to survive on frozen chicken nuggets every night – we promise! We will also focus on packed lunches this week to help inspire brown bags beyond PB&J.

Insider Tip: It’s always a good idea to have a platter of fresh fruits and veggies you know your kids like (like raw carrots, cucumbers, grapes, and sliced apples) on the dinner table so they are sure to have a healthy side.

Meatless Monday

Lunch: Cold Ginger, Soy and Honey Sesame Noodles sound exotic, but just have a few ingredients and are anything but boring.

Dinner: Surprise the family with a childhood favorite of Rachael’s: Lasagna Bread Pizza. Serve with salad for a full meal, and skip the beef for a Meatless Monday twist.

Snack: Everyone will love these three-ingredient Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies. And, they’re great for lunches!


Lunch: Today’s packed lunch is mini on size but big on taste with Lunch Box Sliders like Bagels and Cream Cheese or PB&J Pancake.

Dinner: Creamed Spinach Knife and Fork Burgerscan be a meal for everyone. If you have kids who won’t even look at spinach, serve them the burger without the spinach topper. Who can resist a homemade burger a-top toasted, buttered, white bread? Be sure to have your kid’s crudité platter ready so they get their veggies.

Snack: Homemade Honey Graham Crackers are delicious on their own or topped with peanut or another nut butter.


Lunch: Skip the same old sandwich today and make Pasta Salad with leftover pasta and other ingredients you already have in the fridge.

Dinner: Kids will love Cacciatore Chicken Thighs with Whole Grain Pasta, since chicken and pasta have broad appeal. If you have a kid who isn’t a sauce fan, just serve with a tiny bit of sauce, or without altogether.

Dessert: Raspberry Bars are super-delicious and they freeze well. No raspberry jam on-hand? Use your family’s favorite like strawberry or mixed berry instead.


Lunch: Pack a thermos full of Mini Meatball Orzo Soup for a warm and filling midday meal.

Dinner: Leftover Lover’s Turkey Tetrazzini features kid favorites like pasta, peas, broccoli, and turkey. If you don’t have turkey on-hand, use leftover or rotisserie chicken.

Snack: Ham and Cheese Rice Balls repurpose leftover rice into something even better. Feel free to swap-in any veggie or protein you have handy – just be sure to chop all the ingredients into very small pieces.


Lunch: Pizza Sushi (tortillas rolled with cream cheese, sauce, and pepperoni) will make your child the most popular kid at lunch.

Dinner: Quick and Easy Pork Tenderloin is tasty and comes together in a flash. Feel free to skip the sauce for kids.

Dessert: Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars are homemade Twix bars – but even better!

Entertaining Saturday

Brunch: Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Waffles leave frozen waffles in the dust.

Dinner: Impress your guests with Risotto with Peas and Pistachios. Add protein like grilled or roasted chicken for an extra-hearty meal.

Cocktail: “Get Cozy” Sangria is a BLD cocktail – great at a weekend brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Family Sunday

Brunch: Christmas Breakfast Casserole is delicious all year round and easy to make with staple ingredients like frozen waffles, eggs, and ham. Prep it the night before for a relaxing Sunday morning.

Dinner: Comfort food delight Cheesy Italian Penne Shepherd’s Pie features turkey with mac and cheese right on top. Get ready for lots of requests for seconds!

Dessert: There’s nothing like family bonding over chocolate with Super Simple Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondue.

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Rachael Ray