21 Budget-Friendly Dinners Kids Will Love


Even the pickiest of eaters will love these budget-friendly dinners for kids. We take kid-friendly classics like sloppy joes, mac and cheese and quesadillas and add a healthy spin. These recipes make it easy to sneak in a serving of veggies that they'll happily eat dinner. Recipes like BBQ Chicken Tenders and Baked Beans with Ground Beef are delicious, flavorful and loved by the whole family.

01 of 21

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. Source: EatingWell.com, June 2018

02 of 21

Quick Turkey Meat Sauce

Quick Turkey Meat Sauce
Christine Ma

This lean Bolognese is made with ground turkey instead of ground beef and the result is just as delicious! Plus, finely chopped mushrooms are incorporated into the sauce (undetected!) for an easy way to eat more vegetables. Serve this healthy, hearty sauce with your favorite pasta, or over polenta with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Source: EatingWell.com, October 2018

03 of 21

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

sweet potato and black bean chili

Make a double batch of this quick vegetarian chili, full of black beans and sweet potatoes, and eat it for lunch the next day or freeze the extras for another night. We love the smoky heat from the ground chipotle, but omit it if you prefer a mild chili. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and coleslaw. Source: EatingWell Soups Special Issue April 2016

04 of 21

Shredded Chicken Tacos


This taco recipe is a great choice for midweek dinners, even if it's not Taco Tuesday! Instead of beef, we use moist, boneless chicken thighs and to make things easier for you, the taco filling is cooked in a slow cooker, so you can prepare it in the morning and come home to a delicious meal. Source: Diabetic Living Magazine

05 of 21

Classic Mac & Cheese


No sneaky ingredients here, just delicious comfort food. You can enjoy this super-cheesy mac and cheese in the same time it takes to cook the boxed version. Whole-wheat noodles add fiber, while sharp Cheddar adds richness. A hefty twist of black pepper balances the cheese's salty tang. Source: EatingWell.com, August 2018

06 of 21

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. Source: EatingWell.com, February 2018

07 of 21

Crispy Chicken Schnitzel with Herb-Brown Butter


This healthy recipe for crispy chicken schnitzel involves coating the chicken breasts with fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs and oven "frying" using a mist of olive oil cooking spray instead of frying in lots of oil. Serve on a bed of mixed greens or with mashed potatoes. Source: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2014

08 of 21

Mini Meatloaves with Green Beans & Potatoes


This healthy meatloaf recipe and side dishes are all made in the oven on two sheet pans so that everything's ready for the dinner table at the same time. The potatoes go into the oven first to start roasting while the mini meatloaves and green beans are prepped and added to the oven partway through. Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2014

09 of 21

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. Source: EatingWell.com, March 2018

10 of 21

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Adults and kids alike devour these crunchy pretzel-coated chicken nuggets. What really makes them special is the tart-sweet cranberry dipping sauce. Make some extra sauce to spread on post-holiday turkey sandwiches. Source: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2018

11 of 21

Chili-Cheese Nachos


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. Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2017

12 of 21

Chicken Sausage & Onion Pasta

Convenient fully cooked chicken sausage is a great flavor starter for this easy pasta recipe with just three ingredients you can keep stocked in your freezer or pantry for fast dinners. Just add some sautéed onions and pasta and you have a super-simple meal that the entire family will love. Source: EatingWell.com, April 2018

13 of 21

Chicken Parmesan Pizza


Upgrade pizza night with this recipe makeover that combines two all-time favorites--pizza and chicken Parm--into one quick and easy pizza (no dipping and breading required!). Source: EatingWell.com, March 2018

14 of 21

Baked Beans with Ground Beef


Upgrade baked beans from classic side dish to a meaty main meal by adding lean ground beef. The final result, a superfast hearty casserole, is an easy and fast dinner option. Ground turkey or even sausage would work nicely in this dish. Just watch the sodium. Source: EatingWell.com, May 2018

15 of 21

Roast Chicken & Sweet Potatoes


Caramelized sweet potatoes and red onion are the bed for chicken thighs that cook up fast in a very hot oven--perfect for a quick healthy chicken dinner. Serve with a fall salad of mixed greens, sliced apples and blue cheese. Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2012

16 of 21

American Goulash

American Goulash

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. Source: EatingWell.com, March 2018

17 of 21

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. Source: EatingWell.com, February 2018

18 of 21

Sloppy Joe Casserole


Like sloppy Joes? Then you'll love this sloppy Joe casserole recipe. This kid-friendly dinner has the classic sloppy Joe flavors kids love, while parents will like all the veggies that are packed in to make it a healthy meal. Source: EatingWell.com, December 2019

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Pressure-Cooker Chili

Pressure-Cooker Chili

Chili cooks in just 15 minutes when it's made in a multicooker. The beef gets infused with the flavors of chili powder and cumin. Shredded cheese, scallion and sour cream round out the meal, but feel free to garnish with whatever toppings you choose. Source: EatingWell.com, July 2018

20 of 21

BBQ Chicken Tenders

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. Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2010

21 of 21

Easy Chicken Fried Rice

Easy Chicken Fried Rice

Frozen mixed vegetables make this healthy chicken fried rice recipe quick, easy and economical. If you don't have leftover cooked rice, be sure to thoroughly cool your rice before adding it to the wok--if it's too warm, it creates too much steam and sticks to the wok. To quickly cool warm rice, spread it out on a large baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your ingredients, about 15 minutes. Source: EatingWell.com, November 2017

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