Cheap Healthy Dinner Ideas for Kids
American goulash, also known as old-fashioned goulash, is the perfect economical family meal. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, so this satisfying dish can cook in just one pot.
Recite your ABC's while you enjoy this kid-friendly soup that you can feel good about serving--it's packed with healthy vegetables. If you can't find alphabet noodles, any small pasta (like orzo) will work.
Two-Ingredient-Dough Margherita Pizza
You won't believe how quick and easy it is to make this healthy pizza. Thanks to a two-ingredient dough that combines self-rising flour and Greek yogurt, there is no need for a rise time. Just roll, top and bake, and you'll have a delicious dinner on the table in under half an hour.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
This classic chicken recipe for crispy chicken breasts filled with ham and melty cheese is baked, instead of fried, for a lightened-up, delicious dinner.
Healthy Oven-Fried Pork Chops
These whole-wheat panko breadcrumb-coated pork chops get just as crispy as fried chops, but they're healthier. Oven-frying saves you fat and calories while producing chops that are crispy on the outside, yet juicy inside. Serve with steamed broccoli and baked sweet potato for a satisfying weeknight dinner.
Make nachos a healthy dinner when you top them with an easy 30-minute chili. Serve this healthy recipe with sliced scallions, avocado, fresh tomatoes and sour cream, if desired.
Tortilla Pepperoni Pizza
This easy pizza takes only 15 minutes from start to finish and uses simple ingredients you could find in your pantry. Tomato paste adds flavor without sogging out the crust. Skip the pepperoni for a vegetarian-friendly version, or add your own favorite toppings.
Black Bean Tacos
Mixing mashed canned beans with whole beans and seasonings makes an incredibly simple taco filling from your pantry. Top these speedy 5-ingredient tacos with lettuce, tomato and salsa or any of your favorite taco toppings.
Grilled teriyaki chicken with pineapple can be made with just a few pantry staples. Although it's delicious when made with canned pineapple, fresh pineapple and its juice can easily be used in its place. Serve with brown rice and snow peas.
Oven-Fried Beef Taquitos
This healthy beef taquitos recipe calls for baking instead of deep-frying, making the taquitos substantially healthier than what you'd get at a restaurant. One order of these little deep-fried, rolled-up tacos at a restaurant can set you back almost 1,000 calories and 60 grams of fat! Don't worry if some of the taquitos crack open while baking--they're still crispy and delicious. Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole and reduced-fat sour cream.
Quick Roast Chicken & Root Vegetables
Roasted chicken in 45 minutes? No problem. This technique of starting bone-in chicken breasts on the stovetop and finishing them in a hot oven with vegetables gets a hearty dinner on the table in a hurry. While everything roasts, you still have time to make a quick pan sauce with shallot and Dijon mustard. Serve with a spinach salad.
This truly tasty half-hour vegetarian chili is made possible by using convenient canned beans and tomatoes (no pantry should be without them). Whole-grain bulgur adds another layer of toothsome texture and nutritional heft. This chili is relatively mild, so it's a good crowd-pleaser. If you like it spicy, add extra chili powder or serve with hot sauce.
Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes
Potatoes are one of the great comfort foods, especially when stuffed with a satisfying mixture of lean ground beef and broccoli florets plus reduced-fat sour cream and Cheddar cheese. Add a tossed salad and you have a healthy and hearty meal that will leave you feeling good.
Oven-Barbecued Pork Chops
Need a little summertime flavor? Try this swift recipe and enjoy a “barbecue” indoors. Make it a meal: Serve with coleslaw and cornbread.
Instead of having a greasy, battered coating, the tofu “steaks” in our revamped Parmigiana are breaded and lightly pan-fried in just a small amount of oil then topped with part-skim mozzarella, fresh basil and your favorite marinara sauce. This Italian classic will please even those who are tofu-phobic.
Cheesy Chicken Pasta
This ooey-gooey pasta dish is a crowd-pleaser for adults and kids alike--think rich and creamy macaroni-and-cheese tossed with cauliflower and chicken. Serve with a spinach salad.
BBQ Chicken Tenders
These crispy chicken “wings,” made with boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, stay crispy with only a light coating of oil--no deep-frying needed. Serve as an appetizer or try them for dinner with crunchy vegetables and dip on the side.
Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes
Two of our favorite comfort-food sandwiches join forces in these family-friendly dinner sandwiches. We found that softer buns make this easier to eat, and it's all the better when wrapped takeout-style in a sheet of foil.
Cheese Quesadillas with Peppers & Onions
These 15-minute quesadillas are a notch above basic with the addition of sautéed peppers and onions. Let the kiddos load them up with the toppings at the table.
One-Pot Greek Pasta
A little bit of Sunday meal prep goes a long way in this one-dish Mediterranean pasta recipe. The pasta is cooked ahead of time and stored in the fridge to use for meals all week, but any leftover cooked pasta you have on hand will do. Chicken sausage with feta is especially good in this recipe.
Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Casseroles make perfect meal-prep dinners--this enchilada version is so easy to prep ahead. The whole casserole can be built and left to hang out in the refrigerator for up to three days. Then all you have to do is bake it off on a busy night and you have a healthy dinner on the table in a jiff. The quick homemade enchilada sauce in this recipe is great when you don't have any of the canned sauce on hand--just season crushed tomatoes with spices and salt for an instant enchilada sauce.
Skillet Chicken Parm
We skipped breading in this healthy one-dish chicken Parm recipe to save time. There's still plenty of gooey cheese, and the garlic, pepper flakes and oregano lend big flavor. Serve with pasta or in a hoagie roll with the sauce (there's lots of it) spooned on top. In sandwich form, it's easily wrapped in foil and eaten on the go. Excerpted from The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, published by ABRAMS © 2017.
Mexican Skillet Lasagna
This easy Mexican-inspired lasagna recipe replaces the noodles with tortilla strips that become like tender ribbons in the cayenne- and cumin-spiked tomato sauce. Topped with Cheddar and cream cheese, the lasagna is just as soulful as its Italian cousin and can be made on a busy weeknight in about 30 minutes using a single skillet. Excerpted from The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, published by ABRAMS © 2017.
Freezer Bean & Cheese Burritos
This copycat version of store-bought frozen burritos is perfect for meal prepping. Make a big batch to store in the freezer for healthy packable lunches or a quick campsite meal.