22 Kid-Friendly Dinners You Can Make In 20 Minutes
Between coordinating pick ups, running errands, and picky eaters, hectic weeknights are when it’s most tempting to phone it in when it comes to getting dinner on the table. These recipes just made those nights a heck of a lot easier—they’re ready in only 20 minutes, they’re nutritious, and they’re simple and tasty enough for even the pickiest of eaters to get behind. From cheesy pastas and flavor-packed fajitas, to kiddie classics like chicken fingers and mini pizzas, there’s a guaranteed family favorite on this list.
20-Minute Chicken Enchiladas
Quick tip: While the sauce cooks, shred the chicken. For a spicy kick, top with chopped jalapeños.
Skillet Red Beans and Rice
Look for trinity blend (a mix of onion, bell pepper, and celery) with the prepared produce. Or make your own with 3/4 cup onion, 3/4 cup celery, and 1/2 cup bell pepper.
Mini Bow Ties with Bacon and Peas
Finishing your peas and carrots is exponentially more exciting when bacon is involved. In fact, almost every dish is more exciting when bacon comes to play, so feel free to swap your family's favorite veggies into this versatile pasta.
Pork Stir-Fry with Snow Peas
A great stir-fry needs only 2 or 3 vegetables as the base; any more would slow cooking and interfere with the sear, or keep other elements from shining through. Use vegetables with bold, contrasting colors (green snow peas, green beans, or broccoli florets; red bell pepper; and yellow squash). We love lean, flavorful pork tenderloin here, though you could substitute chicken thighs or thinly sliced flank steak. A little meat goes a long way here; slice and sear the remaining pork tenderloin for sandwiches, grill and top with a fresh salsa, or dice and sear for soup.
Chicken Potpie Skillet Pizza
Try this quick, playful spin to turn pizza night on its head—in a good way. You get all the creamy goodness of chicken potpie, in a fun, eat-with-your-hands way that kids will love. Grown-ups will dig it, too, especially if you offer hot sauce at the table. Cooking the pizza in a preheated cast-iron skillet makes the crust wonderfully crispy so that it doesn’t sog out when the creamy sauce goes on. Be sure to use only 10 ounces of dough (though you’ll likely have to purchase in a 1-pound or larger ball); save the remaining dough to make breadsticks the next night.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Our take saves 446 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 1,260 milligrams of sodium over one serving of a leading chain's sweet and sour chicken.
Cheesy Chicken Fajitas
Chicken taco meets 7-layer dip in this fiesta of a skillet supper. You can swap in black beans or kidney beans for the pintos. For extra zest, serve with cilantro and lime wedges. Savor all the flavors of Taco Tuesday without any of the guilt. You can easily make vegetarian fajitas by removing the chicken and adding sliced zucchini, diced carrots and potatoes. Convert taco night into a buffet taco bar and let everyone build their own fajita.
Creamy Chicken Quesadillas
A creamy base helps the cheese go further and keeps the chicken moist. For a crisp exterior, coat the filled tortillas with cooking spray instead of coating the pan.
Family-Style Chicken Spaghetti
A family favorite swaps jarred sauce for fresh--which requires just a few ingredients and less than 10 minutes.
Silky Tomato Soup with White Beans and Garlic Oil
Creamy, silky tomato soup is the ultimate comfort food. We've elevated the traditional soup with the addition of white cannellini beans and toasty garlic oil. You won't miss any of the cream or calories from this dairy-free tomato soup as the texture is still silky from blending the tomato base. Serve alongside our revamped Grilled Cheese Skillet "Panini" for a meal kids and adults will all approve of. With the addition of the white beans, each serving provides 8 grams of protein making this vegetarian meal foolproof.
White Bean and Vegetable Bowls with Frizzled Eggs
This easy bowl of brothy goodness is loaded with both veggies and umami depth--it's comfort food you can feel good about. It's also great for times when the food budget is tight, as it costs only about $11 for 4 servings.
Turkey and Swiss Sloppy Joes
This twist on a classic sandwich swaps the sweet, barbecue-style sauce for a white sauce enriched with nutty Swiss cheese.
Chicken Fingers and Green Beans with Tahini Sauce
Chicken fingers aren't just for kids. Savory-sweet and addictive, the tahini-tomato dipping sauce offers a palate intrigue adults will love but enough flavor familiarity to keep it kid-approved.
Pork Medallions with Scallions and Magic Green Sauce
Scallions are used three ways: in a sauce, as a vegetable, and as a garnish. The sauce can be made a day ahead and magically transforms the simplest food into something spectacular. Try it on chicken or steak, too, or as a spread in a sandwich.
Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups
A little sugar balances the vinegar tang in the turkey mixture and helps develop wonderful crispy bits in the pan. Delicate butter lettuce leaves have a nice cup shape for filling; you could also use romaine.
Pasta with Chickpea Sauce
Spicy Chicken Shawarma
Mac and Cheeseburger
Mac and cheese gets heartier, and possibly even more family-friendly, when you stir ground beef and fire-roasted tomatoes into the cheese sauce. Make sure to drain the tomatoes so the sauce doesn’t get too thin. We call for whole-grain rotini, but any short pasta shape will work here; just do try to go whole-grain for more nutrition. This budget-friendly dinner costs less than $9. If you don't have dry mustard (used for added depth), stir in a teaspoon of Dijon.
Mini Mozzarella-and-Kale Pita Pizzas
We split the pitas in half before toasting so the crusts can get extra crisp.
Nutty Fried Rice
We incorporate lots of nutty flavor into traditional fried rice using sesame oil, cashews, peanut butter, and sesame seeds.
Shrimp and Broccoli Rotini
This is a great go-to pasta recipe that you can whip up in a pinch with essentially whatever you have on hand. You can try swapping the shrimp for white beans to turn the lemony seafood pasta into a vibrant vegetarian entrée.