Kid-Friendly Recipes (That You'll Love, Too)

One dish CAN please both picky kids and gourmet grown-ups. These recipes can be tweaked for each.

Kid-friendly recipes

David Roth

One Dish, Two Ways

It's the classic family dinner dilemma: Finding a dish your kids will eat and you can enjoy, too. Don't dumb down your dinner or cook separate meals. Just pick recipes that can adapt easily for both picky eaters and sophisticated palates. Use each of these nutritious recipes as a starting point, then add a playful twist for a kid-friendly meal and an upscale adaptation for a gourmet dinner you'll love.

Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp Kebabs

Randy Mayor

Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp Kebabs

Top-rated by readers, these simple kebabs are sure to please kids. (Who doesn't love a meal-on-a-stick?) If you don't want to fire up the grill, sauté the shrimp and veggies in a pan, or try a grill pan.

For Kids: Sweeten the marinade by adding orange juice. Boost the veggie quotient by adding bell peppers, broccoli, or onions to your skewers. Serve it to kids on a bed of brown rice for a wholesome meal.

For Adults: Include scallops on the skewers. To add depth and flavor to the marinade, add grated ginger and minced garlic, Dijon mustard, and red pepper sauce to the marinade. Serve it on top of brown rice or lemon orzo.

View Recipe: Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp Kebabs

Lemony Green Beans

Karry Hosford

Lemony Green Beans

This wonderfully adaptable recipe will become a go-to side dish that works alongside fish, chicken, poultry, and many other main dishes.

For Kids: Skip the lemon juice and sweeten the dish with a touch of honey or maple syrup. Serve on top of steamed white or brown rice along with a piece of grilled chicken for a complete meal.

For Adults: Try a spicy variation to the dish: add crushed red pepper, cumin, and slivered unsweetened coconut to the hot oil. Sauté for a minute or two, then add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve garnished with a mixture of mint and cilantro leaves. Complete the meal with brown rice and grilled chicken.

View Recipe: Lemony Green Beans

Crab Cakes

Jan Smith

Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are equal parts yummy and elegant. The key to making sure that these fragile crab cakes don’t fall apart during the cooking process is to refrigerate the uncooked patties for a few hours before pan-frying them.

For Kids: This dish is very mild, and kids will enjoy these cakes burger-style, tucked in between buns with a touch of mayonnaise and ketchup.

For Adults: Serve the crab cakes over a bed of seasonal greens and top them with a red pepper mayonnaise: Diced red pepper, a touch of garlic, cayenne pepper, and mayonnaise mixed well.

View Recipe: Crab Cakes

Strawberry Agua Fresca

Strawberry Agua Fresca

This refreshing frozen drink is best with summer-sweet berries, but can be made year-round with other readily available fruit.

For Kids: Use berries of their choice. For a fun presentation, let them help you freeze individual berries with some water in ice-cube trays to create whimsical ice-cubes that add playfulness to this drink. Sweeten with honey instead of sugar, if you prefer.

For Adults: Make this drink a frozen cocktail with the addition of silver tequila and a touch of Triple Sec.

View Recipe: Strawberry Agua Fresca

Lemon-Grilled Chicken Breasts

Randy Mayor

Lemon-Grilled Chicken Breasts

Keep chicken breasts on hand, and you'll always have options. Creative pairings mean endless dinner possibilities. No-grill option: Brown the chicken in a pan as opposed to firing up the grill. Or, try a grill pan.

For Kids: Serve the chicken diced on some baby spinach greens along with your kids' favorite dressing, or serve it atop couscous made with chicken broth and raisins. Nutrient-boosting option: Top with homemade fruit salsa.

For Adults: Serve with caramelized onions, spicy tomato salsa, and homemade guacamole. Or serve it on the kid-friendly couscous above, adding diced olives, cashews, and lemon zest. Warm salad option: Diced, atop baby spinach greens sautéed with mushrooms, garlic, and cayenne.

View Recipe: Lemon Grilled Chicken Breasts

Simple Baked Eggs

Beau Gustafson

Simple Baked Eggs

The charm of this recipe lies in its simplicity and versatility. Because the preparation is so mild, this baked egg dish is perfectly suited for young tastes.

For Kids: For a fun presentation, trace a smiley face on the finished eggs using ketchup.

For Adults: Top the finished eggs with a touch of caviar, scallions, and a small dollop of unsweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche.

View Recipe: Simple Baked Eggs


Becky Luigart-Stayner


This is a very versatile side dish that makes a wonderful accompaniment to grilled chicken or lamb kebabs and sizzling curries.

For Kids: If strong spices are a deal-breaker, you can leave all but the cumin. You can also sweeten the yogurt and then try this dish with grapes instead of the cucumber and onions or small, diced pineapple.

For Adults: Substitute jewel-like pomegranate seeds for the cucumbers and onions, and use honey to sweeten the yogurt a little, to balance out the spices. It is a perfect side to accompany our lightened Lemon-Ginger Fried Chicken.

View Recipe: Raita

Broiled Peaches with Hazelnuts and Vanilla Ice-Cream

Broiled Peaches with Hazelnuts and Vanilla Ice-Cream

This dish adds a nutritious sweet topping―fresh peaches―to the all-around favorite vanilla ice cream. A sprinkle of nuts contributes heart-healthy fats.

For Kids: Replace the hazelnuts with their choice of nuts and allow them to add their own final garnish – chocolate sprinkles, diced bananas, whipped cream and of course a cherry on top.

For Adults: For a touch of indulgence, top this dish with a Kahlua-flavored whipped cream: Beat ½ cup chilled heavy cream with 1 ½ tablespoons Kahlua, for a heaping tablespoon of whipped topping per serving.

View Recipe: Broiled Peaches with Hazelnuts and Vanilla Ice-Cream

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