Family, How To, Lifestyle

The Best Recipes for Picky Kids and Teenagers

When you have a house full of picky eaters, AKA little ones and teenagers, it can be difficult to find recipes that everyone approves of. We’re here to help – here are 5 recipes that are sure to please even the most particular members of your family.

“Can’t Get Enough” Chicken Spaghetti
8 oz spaghetti noodles
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz) package Velveeta cheese, cubed
½ cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp dry Ranch dressing mix
2 to 2 ½ chicken, cooked and chopped
1 (3 oz) package pre-cooked bacon bits
1 to 1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9 x 9 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, then drain and set aside.

3. In a saucepan, add the cream of chicken soup, Velveeta and chicken broth. Cook the mixture on low until the cheese melts, stirring constantly. Stir in the dry Ranch mix until combined.

4. Stir in the cooked spaghetti, the cooked chicken and the bacon bits. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and top it with the cheddar cheese.

5. Bake the dish uncovered for 30 minutes or until heated through. Yum!

Mexican Lasagna
1 pound lean ground beef
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder, preferably New Mexican
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cups frozen sweet corn
1 (4 oz) can fire-roasted diced green chiles
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
12 8” large flour tortillas
12 oz Mexican cheese blend
1 (6 oz) can sliced olives, drained
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


1. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef, onion, paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to the skillet. Brown the beef for 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, beans and corn. Stir to combine and continue cooking while you prepare the baking pan.

3. Add about 1/3 of the enchilada sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan. Lay a few tortillas on the bottom of the pan, slightly overlapping until the pan is covered.

4. Spoon half of the beef mixture on top of the tortillas in the baking pan, spreading evenly. Add another layer of tortillas on top of the beef mixture. Then add another 1/3 of the enchilada sauce to the tortillas and about ½ of the cheese.

5. Distribute the green chiles over the cheese and then add the remaining beef, spreading it evenly. Add another layer of tortillas and then spoon the remaining enchilada sauce and remaining cheese on top.

6. Garnish the top with olives and scallions and then bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the lasagna is warmed through.

7. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the cilantro on top. Enjoy!

Mini Meatloaf
½ cup panko bread crumbs
¾ cup whole milk
¾ lb ground beef or ground turkey
¼ cup ketchup, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, add ¼ cup of the bread crumbs. Add the milk and let it soak up the crumbs completely, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, remaining ¼ cup bread crumbs, ketchup, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

3. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, mix the ingredients gently until just well combined. Do not over-mix!

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the beef mixture into 12 mini loaves, each about 3 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1 ¼ inches high. Arrange them on the prepared pan about 1-2 inches apart. You can also divide the mixture into 4-6 equal portions if you have mini non-stick loaf pans!

5. If baking freestanding loaves, bake until the bottoms are browned, about 20-25 minutes. If using loaf pans, bake until a meat thermometer in the center of the loaf registers 160 degrees F, about 25 minutes.

6. Offer additional ketchup when serving and enjoy!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Alfredo Pizza
1 can refrigerated classic pizza crust, like Pillsbury
2 Tbsp butter, softened
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
¾ cup Alfredo pasta sauce
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken or just cooked chicken
1 ½ cups packed fresh spinach leaves
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend or shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a large dark or non-stick cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll the dough onto the cookie sheet, pressing it out to a 15 x 10-inch rectangle.

2. Spread the butter evenly over the dough and then sprinkle the Parmesan over the butter. Bake the crust for 7 minutes, then remove it from the oven.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the Alfredo sauce and cooked chicken. Spread the mixture evenly over the partially baked crust. Top with the spinach leaves and cheese.

4. Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. Bon appetit!

Macaroni and Cheese Muffins
½ cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 lb elbow macaroni
5 cups whole milk
1 ½ lb sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp kosher salt
½ cup freshly ground pepper

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
½ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter, then dust with flour, tapping out any excess flour.

2. Bring a saucepan that is ¾ full of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and return to a boil. Cook just shy of al dente, about 6-7 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Set aside.

3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to darken, about 3 minutes.

4. While whisking, slowly add in the milk, raise the heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 3-5 minutes.

5. Add the cheeses, salt and pepper, and then stir until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove the mixture from heat.

6. Add the macaroni and stir to coat it evenly. Cover to keep the mixture warm.

7. To make the topping, stir together the butter, bread crumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl until well-mixed.

8. Fill each prepared muffin cup to the rim with the macaroni mixture. Sprinkle the muffins with the topping mixture, dividing it evenly.

9. Bake the muffin pan until the tops are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let them cool completely in the pan.

10. Refrigerate the muffins, still in the pan for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours, to ensure they hold their shape.

11. Unmold the muffins using a small, sharp knife. Re-warm them in a 350 degrees F oven for about 5 minutes, then serve!


Let us know in the comments below if you give any of these recipes a try!


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