Parenting has taught me many things, one of which is that the more time I spend on making dinner the less likely my kids are to try and/or like it. So I've pared down my mealtime repertoire and found success in simplicity.

Check out these kid (and adult) friendly recipes with 5 (or fewer!) ingredients.

Cheesy chicken rolls

I've discovered that if I offer anything that begins with the word cheesy, my kids will gobble it up.

Ingredients:

  • 2 multi-grain or whole-wheat tortillas, or experiment with interesting flavored ones (I spend more time in the tortilla section of our grocery store than I care to admit)
  • 1/2 cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped (and I do mean finely)
  • 1 small Roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar (or any reduced-fat cheese variety)

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the tortillas.
  2. Divide the mixture evenly and spread on the two tortillas. 
Roll up each tortilla and place them in a skillet prepped with cooking spray on medium-high heat.
  3. Cook until cheese is melted.
  4. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

PB and banana waffle sandwiches

This is the perfect on-the-go breakfast -- when I'm running late dropping my son off at preschool and my daughter won't get in the car because she can't find the perfect hair bow to match her outfit. (She's 2 by the way. Is that normal?)

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole grain toaster waffles, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter or any other nut butter or seed butter (my kids love sunflower butter and hazelnut spread as well)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced thin

Directions:

  1. Spread the nut butter equally on both waffles.
  2. Add banana slices to one waffle.
  3. Top the waffle with banana slices with the other prepared waffle.
  4. Cut in half and go! If I have time to make myself one, I find it'll keep me satisfied until lunchtime.

Cowboy mac chili

I can round up my whole family with this easy cowboy chili.

Ingredients:

  • Ground turkey
  • 1 can vegetable broth
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup (do not add water)
  • 1 can chili beans or pinto beans with jalapenos (if your family likes the spice!)
  • 1 cup whole grain elbow noodles (or other small pasta shape)

Directions:

  1. Brown turkey in a large stockpot until cooked completely through.
  2. Add remaining broth, tomato soup and beans and bring to a boil.
  3. Add noodles and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until noodles are cooked through to desired texture.
  4. Serve with store bought or quick-cooking corn bread and softened butter and honey for a real treat.

More recipes

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Healthy breakfast: Walnut flax waffles
Honey-soy grilled salmon with edamame

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Rachel Voorhees May 22, 2012
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I need to make all of these for my kids! Maybe they will then eat dinner!
Nichole Beaudry May 21, 2012
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Love this, Molly! My mom used to make something like the Cowboy Mac Chili and you've left me craving it! I'm keeping this list handy for those all-too-frequent nights when I have no idea what to make for dinner!