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72 Best Kid-Friendly Dinners for Weeknights

Tired of the dinnertime battle? Check out these kid-friendly dinners that will please kiddos and parents alike. Best part: They all get on the table in a hurry so you can enjoy some extra family time!

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Cheesy Pepperoni Buns

A pizza version of the sloppy joe, this hot and melty open-faced sandwich is a surefire kid pleaser. Adults love them, too! —Tanya Belt, Newcomerstown, Ohio
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Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

I try to make foods that are not only kid friendly, but are also easy to reheat since 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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Tacos on a Stick

Teens like assembling these creative kabobs almost as much as they like devouring them. The whole family is sure to love the sensational Southwestern flavor of this twist on beef shish kabobs. —Dixie Terry, Goreville, Illinois
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Sloppy Joe Pizza

If your kids like sloppy joes, they'll love this pizza. I came up with the six-ingredient recipe that's easy to assemble. —Brenda Rohlman, Kingman, Kansas
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Pizza Pasta Casserole

Kids will line up for this zippy pizza-flavored dish. The recipe makes two casseroles, so you can serve one to your family right away and keep the other in the freezer for another night. —Nancy Scarlett, Graham, North Carolina
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Cheeseburger Cups

A terrific recipe for moms with young kids and busy lives, this simple, inexpensive dish is made with handy ingredients and takes just a short time. Best of all, kids will go absolutely crazy for these darling dinner bites! —Jeri Millhouse, Ashland, Ohio
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Steak Sandwich Kabobs

Skewers with seasoned steak, bread and veggies are grilled and topped with provolone cheese for a fantastic meal. Coleslaw, spruced up with chopped walnuts, is a great side for the kabobs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Fair-Favorite Corn Dogs

Bring the county fair home to your kitchen with these summer-ready corn dogs. A tip for dipping: Pour the batter in a tall Mason jar and dunk your dogs to create an even coating all around. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Hearty Pita Tacos

You don't need to skimp on flavor when trying to eat healthy. Our 9-year-old daughter enjoys helping us make these tasty tacos, and likes eating them even more. —Jamie Valocchi, Mesa, Arizona
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Game-Night Nacho Pizza

Some like it hot with jalapenos; others like it cool with a dollop of sour cream. But one thing’s for sure: This is “nacho” ordinary pizza night. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia
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Tangy Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs

Tangy sauce, a green pepper and some pineapple chunks transform premade meatballs into something special. Serve them over rice for a satisfying main dish. —Ruth Andrewson, Leavenworth, Washington
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Pork Chops with Parmesan Sauce

Moist and tender chops make a speedy and comforting weeknight meal. They’re dressed with a smooth, creamy sauce seasoned with Parmesan, onion and a hint of nutmeg, parsley and thyme. Here’s a new family favorite! Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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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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Mexican Turkey Roll-Ups

This is the perfect recipe when you're hungry for a dish with Mexican flavor and want to use turkey. These roll-ups are fun and so tasty, even kids like them. It's a different use for leftover turkey. —Marlene Muckenhirn, Delano, Minnesota
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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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Waffle-Iron Pizzas

These little pizza pockets are a fun mashup using a waffle iron. Try adding your favorite toppings or even a few breakfast fillings, such as ham and eggs. —Amy Lents, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Garlic Chicken with Herbs

Pan-roasting garlic cloves turns them into rich, creamy deliciousness. This chicken is fantastic with crusty Italian bread or mashed potatoes on the side. —Kathy Fleming, Lisle, Illinois
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Dill Pickle Hamburger Pizza

My husband's favorite foods are pizza and cheeseburgers, so I combined the two in a pizza with mayo and dill pickle juice topping. People who try it always laugh in surprise because it's so good. —Angie Zimmerman, Eureka, Illinois
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Hot Dog Pie

A co-worker who loves hot dogs shared this recipe with me. Baked in a purchased pastry shell, the pie is easy to assemble and is on the table in just 30 minutes. —Amy Bullis, Henryville, Pennsylvania
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Parmesan Fish Sticks

I wanted a healthier approach to fish sticks and developed a baked tilapia with a slightly peppery bite. My husband and sons love the crispy coating. —Candy Summerhill, Alexander, Arkansas
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Southwestern Spaghetti

Chili powder and cumin give a mild Mexican flavor to this colorful one-skillet supper. With chunks of fresh zucchini, it's a nice change of pace from typical spaghetti dishes. —Beth Coffee, Hartford City, Indiana
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Pizza Pancakes

I clipped this recipe from our local paper a few years ago. It's a tasty lunch treat for hearty appetites. Plan on doubling the recipe for hungry grandkids. —Maxine Smith, Owanka, South Dakota
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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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Hot Dog Roll-Ups

Not only do my grandchildren love these cheese-filled hot dogs, they enjoy helping put the meal together, too. It's the perfect solution when you need a last-minute lunch. —Lyletta Searle, Morgan, Utah
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Tater Tot-chos

Playing with food is loads of fun when you have Tater Tots and taco toppings. Let kids build their own for smiles all around. —Eleanor Mielke, Mitchell, South Dakota
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Smothered Burritos

My brother-in-law teased that I only knew five ground beef recipes. I proved him wrong with my inventive spicy burritos. —Kim Kenyon, Greenwood, Missouri
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Muffin-Tin Lasagnas

This is a super fun way to serve lasagna for make-ahead lunches, potlucks or other fun get-togethers. My daughter took some of these to work and by noon was emailing me for the recipe. —Sally Kilkenny, Granger, Iowa
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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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Chicken Rice Skillet

Pleasant seasonings and plenty of vegetables highlight this traditional chicken and rice pairing. Leftovers are great reheated in the microwave. —Jan Balata, Kilkenny, Minnesota
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Indiana-Style Corn Dogs

One of the best parts of the many fairs and festivals in Indiana is the corn dogs! My family loves corn dogs, so I fix them fairly often at home. —Sally Denney, Warsaw, Indiana
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Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner

This skillet dinner is doubly quick. The leftovers-if there are any-can be reheated to make a second meal as tasty as the first. —Karen Grimes, Stephens City, Virginia
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Frito Pie

Frito pie is legendary in the Southwest for being spicy, salty and cheesy fabulous. Here’s my easy take on this crunchy classic. —Jan Moon, Alamogordo, New Mexico
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Grandma's Swedish Meatballs

My mother made these hearty meatballs when we were growing up, and now my kids love them, too. My daughter likes to help shake the meatballs in flour. —Karin Ness, Big Lake, Minnesota
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Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

Kids love this casserole because it combines two of their favorite fast foods. And I like the fact that I can whip it up with just four ingredients. —Karen Owen, Rising Sun, Indiana
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Sweet Potato-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

I was looking for ways to spice up traditional chicken nuggets and came up with this recipe. The chips add a crunchy texture and flavor, while the meat is tender on the inside. —Kristina Segarra, Yonkers, New York
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Steak & Mushroom Stroganoff

This homey recipe of steak and egg noodles in a creamy sauce is just like what we had at my gran's house when we visited. It's one of my favorite "memory meals," as I call them. —Janelle Shank, Omaha, Nebraska
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Chili Dog Pizza

My girls love it when I make this mash-up pizza with hot dogs and chili. It’s a marvelous way to use up leftover chili. —Jennifer Stowell, Smithville, Missouri
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Stovetop Turkey Tetrazzini

A very special aunt shared this fun spin on creamy tetrazzini. We think it’s even better the next day. —Tasia Cox, Niceville, Florida
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Mama Mia Meatball Taquitos

We love lasagna, but it takes too long on weeknights. My solution: meatball taquitos. My kids get the flavors they want, and I get a meal on the table in a hurry. —Lauren Wyler, Dripping Springs, Texas
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Ham & Swiss Baked Penne

As a kid I loved to the 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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Lunch Box Pizzas

When you have these fun-to-make mini pizzas, it's no challenge finding lunch fare that the kids enjoy. Plus they pack nicely in sandwich bags and travel well, so there's no mess. —Rhonda Cliett, Belton, Texas
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Skillet Ham & Rice

Ham, rice and mushrooms make a tasty combination in this homey stovetop dish. It goes from start to finish in just 25 minutes. —Susan Zivec, Regina, Saskatchewan
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Whole Grain Chow Mein

My kids are picky eaters, but teriyaki and hoisin sauces work wonders with them. They love the meatballs, and I swap the noodles for whole grain pasta. —Kelly Shippey, Orange, California
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Veggie Tacos

These vegetarian tacos are stuffed with a blend of sauteed cabbage, peppers and black beans so filling, you won't miss the meat. Top with avocado, cheese or a dollop of sour cream. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pigs in a Blanket

These baked hot dog sandwiches appeal to kids of all ages. Even my husband, Allan, admits to enjoying every bite! We like to dip them in ketchup and mustard. —Linda Young, Longmont, Colorado
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Chicken-Pepper Alfredo

When I want a lighter dinner, I use lean turkey bacon in this recipe. It gives the pasta that richness you want without all the extra fat. —Courtney Harris, Denton, Texas
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Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Rice

I like the challenge of inventing recipes with ingredients I have on hand. This easy-peasy meal fits the bill. —Colleen Doucette, Truro, Nova Scotia
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Meatball Submarine Casserole

We were hosting a bunch of friends, and after a comedy of errors, I had to come up with a new plan for dinner. Turns out that much-loved meatball subs are even better as a hearty casserole—so delicious! —Rick Friedman, Palm Springs, California
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Turkey Salsa Bowls with Tortilla Wedges

Delicious and nutritious, this dish was a favorite of the kids who participated in the junior chef classes I taught at my church. The recipe encouraged creativity and healthy eating as students designed their own salsa bowls using whole grains, vegetables and lean protein. —Jean Gottfried, Upper Sandusky, Ohio
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Pierogi Quesadillas

When I had hungry children in the kitchen and nothing but leftovers, I invented these quesadillas. Now it's how we always use up our potatoes, meats and sometimes veggies. —Andrea Dibble, Solon, Iowa
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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

My mac and cheese is simple and has lots of flavor from the cheeses and ground chipotle chile. I use conchiglie pasta because its shape allows more melted cheese to pool inside. Yum! —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Italian Beef Patties

Make these pizza flavored patties and watch the kids devour them! Give them a try in buns for a pizza-like cheeseburger, or try them on rice or with a side of deli pasta salad for a super-fast fix. —Deanna Maciejewski, Bridgeton, Missouri
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Pizza Ring

Mom made a ring with chicken and broccoli one night. I said I’d rather have pizza. That’s how this recipe was born! —Tricia Richardson, Springdale, Arkansas
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Crispy Sage Chicken Tenders

One of my mom's favorite chicken recipes used fresh sage. Her version was smothered with gravy, but we like these panko-crusted tenders as they are. —Deb Perry, Traverse City, Michigan
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Chicken Pesto with Pasta

Prepared sauce accents this warm chicken pesto pasta. Keep pesto in the freezer for the next time you have leftover chicken. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pizza on a Stick

My daughter and her friends had fun turning sausage, pepperoni, veggies and pizza dough into these cute kabobs. Give our version a try or make your own using you favorite light pizza toppings. —Charlene Woods, Norfolk, Virginia
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BBQ Meat Loaf Minis

Kids can have fun helping to prepare these mini meat loaves in muffin cups. For extra spice, we sometimes add 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 cup of salsa. —Linda Call, Falun, Kansas
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Chicken Pizza

Chicken Pizza

My fun twist on typical pizza is an excellent way to use up leftover pesto. And since it’s loaded with protein-rich chicken and black beans, it’s hearty enough to satisfy everyone! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Skillet Mac & Cheese

This creamy mac and cheese is so simple it’s almost too easy! Kids always go for the rich cheese flavor, but I’ve never met an adult who didn’t love it just as much. —Ann Bowers, Rockport, Texas
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Whole Wheat Pasta Bake

With a casserole this rich and saucy, it’s tempting to skip the crunchy topping and dip a fork straight into the skillet. But as one taster noted: “The bread crumbs on top make this one extra special.” —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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15-Minute Meat Loaf

I combined a few great-tasting meatloaf recipes to create this flavorful 15-minute version, which my husband loves. And because it's made in the microwave, the entree is perfect for busy nights. For an extra boost, I flavor the meatloaf with onion soup mix.—Deb Thompson, Lincoln, Nebraska
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Gouda Turkey Club

With this recipe, two can enjoy the taste of something new and elegant in minutes. All you need to add is the ambiance for a bistro meal at home. —Karen Harris, Littleton, Colorado
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Garlic Toast Pizzas

Between working full-time, going to school and raising three children, finding time-saving recipes that my family likes is one of my biggest challenges. These quick pizzas pack a huge amount of flavor. —Amy Grim, Chillicothe, Ohio
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Triple Cheese Twists

Our stovetop macaroni and cheese is extra special, thanks to the buttery crumb topping. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Zesty Grilled Ham

If it's ham, my kids will eat it, but they like this kicked-up recipe best of all. Even the small ones eat adult-sized portions, so be sure to make plenty. —Mary Ann Lien, Tyler, Texas
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Turkey Ranch Wraps

Here's a cool idea that's ready to gobble up in no time. It's a terrific use for deli turkey. Just add lettuce, tomato, green pepper, shredded cheese and ranch dressing for a flavorful blend. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pizza Quesadillas

When my husband and I needed a quick meal, I fixed this recipe using leftover ingredients. Unlike traditional Mexican quesadillas, it calls for Italian meats, cheeses and seasoning. Serve it with a green salad for a simple dinner for two. —Barbara Rupert, Edgefield, South Carolina
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Italian Submarine

My Italian husband grew up eating this flavorful sandwich, which his mother used to make it after Saturday chores were finished. Put the sub together a few hours ahead and refrigerate, then serve with chips, veggies and dip for a delicious meal. —Christine Lupella, Fifty Lakes, Minnesota
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Tortilla Chicken Bean Soup

Tasty toppings jazz up this no-fuss soup that has Mexican flair. The recipe for this sure-to-please soup was given to me by a friend. I make it often for company, and everyone asks for the recipe. You can substitute pinto beans in red chili sauce for the regular pinto beans and cumin called for in the recipe. —Michelle Larson, Greentown, Indiana
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Hearty Beef Ravioli

In this fun family-friendly supper, we add our favorite taco toppings to beef ravioli. It's easy for kids to customize their own fixings for a no-fuss meal. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Caesar Chicken with Feta

My tomatoey chicken is the perfect answer on those crazy days when supper has to be on the table in 30 minutes, tops (doesn't hurt that it's delicious, too). —Denise Chelpka, Phoenix, Arizona
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Ranchero Supper

This hearty dish is fast and easy to fix after a busy workday. We like to use hickory and bacon baked beans and serve it with fruit or a green salad for a complete meal. —Karen Roberts, Lawrence, Kansas

Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.

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