These are the dishes our children happily eat over and over.
You might assume that the children of New York Times food editors and writers have adventurous palates. Surely, you might think, a person who spends so much time cooking and eating would raise a fearless eater who happily devours composed salads for school lunch. But, dear reader, you’d be wrong. Most of our kids are just as picky as anyone else’s.
Who knows why some kids are so tough to please at the table? Maybe their tastes are still developing, perhaps it’s one of the few ways they can exert their independence, or it’s possible they have legitimate biological sensitivities to certain tastes, textures and smells. Whatever the reason, just like you, we struggle daily with what to cook for our kids that they’ll actually eat and enjoy.
And so, we’d love to hear from you and your kids about the New York Times Cooking recipes they love. What are the recipes they request or, if they’re still quite little, what are the dishes you turn to again and again? Tell us which ones make them do a little happy dance when you answer the question “What’s for dinner tonight?” If you alter the dishes or serve something alongside, let us know about that, too. (Bonus points if you include a quote from your child.) Send it all to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and your (and their!) answers might be included in a special section we’re working on.
In that spirit, here are a handful of recipes our kids really do love. Not to say yours will, too, but here’s hoping.
Dahlia, Melissa Clark’s 14-year-old daughter, loves her mom’s recipe for skillet chicken with tomatoes, pancetta and mozzarella, better known in these parts as “pizza chicken.” Dahlia makes a salad to serve alongside. “She’s an expert,” Melissa said. (See? There is hope!)
Emily Weinstein’s 2- and 5-year-olds love rice and beans, like this one-pot recipe from Ali Slagle. Over the weekend, they devoured plates of black beans, rice, avocado and simple shredded pork that she cooked in an Instant Pot. (Follow this Melissa Clark recipe, or just season the pork with salt, sear it, add some water to the bottom of the pot and then use the cook times in the recipe as a guide.)
Winter, spring, summer or fall, this chili from Sarah DiGregorio is the one dish my 8- and 10-year-old daughters are always thrilled to eat. These days, to save money, I soak and cook dried white beans instead of buying canned. (Half of a one-pound bag is just right for this recipe, but I typically cook the whole bag and double up on beans or freeze what I don’t use.) Serve solo or over rice with sour cream and shredded Cheddar on the side. Leftovers are great for another dinner or packed into a Thermos for lunch.
Cate Doty, an author and former New York Times Cooking editor, has an 8-year-old daughter who loves this cozy meat pie, which was adapted from “Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking” by the chef Michael Solomonov. It’s made with store-bought (yay!) puff pastry, ground beef, cinnamon, dill and parsley. Serve it with salad or whatever vegetable your child will eat.
“Milky oats” is what Yewande Komolafe’s 3-year-old fondly calls Genevieve Ko’s overnight oats, a perfect recipe for busy schedules. You can make it with milk or any dairy-free alternative you prefer. And when it comes to add-ins, the list is endless: Cranberries, raisins, dried blueberries or whatever fruit your picky toddler is currently into work great.
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