How to handle 'what's for dinner?'

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

What's for dinner? The dreaded question we hear every night.

Finding something the kids will like can be a real challenge. But I'm here to make it just a little bit easier.

If you have a hard time getting your child to eat vegetables, add broccoli to macaroni and cheese. Mini handmade pizzas are another great way to get your child interested in vegetables. Have kids choose which toppings to put on their pizzas. The options are endless and can satisfy everyone in the family. Below are some kid-approved and family-friendly recipes.

Mini Pizzas

  • pizza crust (frozen bread dough or rolls work great, or try mini pre-made pizza shells)
  • 2 jars pizza sauce
  • bite-size mushrooms, onions, green pepper, zucchini, pepperoni, ground beef or sausage
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Thaw and let bread rise. Separate into 4 pieces and form 4 round pizza shells. Let rise for 30 minutes before assembling pizza. Ladle on sauce, cheese and other toppings. Once all topping are on, bake until crust is lightly golden.

Pizza Casserole

  • 1 12-oz. pkg. combination cheddar and mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 6 oz. pepperoni
  • 1 jar or 2 cans pizza or spaghetti sauce (I use a 28-oz. jar of spaghetti sauce)
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 12-oz. pkg. of bow tie pasta
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  1. Cook macaroni and drain. Brown hamburger with onion, drain off fat. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sauce with macaroni and hamburger in a 2-quart casserole dish. Layer the pasta mixture, alternating cheese and pepperoni. Top with cheese and pepperoni. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, or double the recipe and bake for 40 minutes. Can be frozen. Serves 4. Serve with a salad and garlic toast. Enjoy!

Chicken Fingers

  • 1 large egg
  • splash of water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 chicken breast halves; skinless and boneless
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  1. Beat the egg lightly with a whisk. Beat in the water, then the dry ingredients, whisking until smooth.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until oil reaches temperature of 360 degrees (or use deep fryer).
  3. Using tongs to hold chicken strips, dip in batter and allow excess to drip off. Carefully lower, one by one, into the hot oil. After about 1 minute, turn the strips. Continue to turn the strips occasionally until they are golden, cooking for a total of 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a tray lined with paper towels. Pat more towels on top to absorb excess oil.
  4. Serve immediately with barbecue sauce or sweet and sour sauce.

Laurie Dixon is central Ohio's original BAGLady and Sunny 95's Savvy Shopper! Read her blog every day on Get savings tips on everything from food to fun. Learn to shop smart and save money!

More ideas

Macaroni and Cheese with Warm Tomato Salsa
  • 1 lb. penne pasta, or your favorite pasta shape
  • salt
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (12-oz. bag)
  • freshly ground pepper
Warm Tomato Salsa
  • tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes in juice, preferably no salt added
  • 1/2 can water
  • 1 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. In a sauce pan, saute the onion, garlic, peppers and celery. Add the diced tomatoes, water, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low for 5 to 10 minutes. Spoon over each serving of macaroni and cheese.

Pizza Pot Pie

  • 3/4 lb. ground round
  • 1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 8-oz. package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 26-oz. jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 13.8-oz. package refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese blend parchment paper
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook ground round and sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink.
  2. Drain beef mixture, reserving 1 teaspoon skillet drippings. Reduce heat to medium. Saut onion in hot drippings for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute or until tender. Add mushrooms and saut 8 to 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in beef mixture, pasta sauce, Italian seasoning and salt. Bring to a light boil and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Unroll dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Invert a 9-inch round baking dish or pie plate onto center of dough. Cut dough around edge of baking dish, making a 9-inch circle. Remove excess dough around baking dish. Remove baking dish.
  4. Pour beef mixture into baking dish and sprinkle with cheese. Immediately top with dough circle. Cut an "X" in top of dough for steam to escape. Place baking dish on an aluminum foiled-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees for 16 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a tossed salad.