Cooking with our little ones and adding variety to our home menu can sometimes feel overwhelming, right? But fear not! We’ve got your back with 15 fantastic ideas to whip up fast, easy, and super fun dinners!
While some recipes may need adult supervision—like when we’re chopping fruits or using the oven—this note is all about sharing and making life sweeter, healthier, and more enjoyable for everyone we love. So go ahead, dive into these amazing recipes, and let the culinary adventure begin in your own kitchen!
Irresistible Summer Fruit Shakes
A top glass, plastic cup, or bowl are all great choices to present these shakes. Full of summer fruit, these berry blends are the ideal way to enjoy them on every hot day. You can also make them with any fruit your kids love. Or even create new ones by mixing different fruits like oranges and peaches or strawberries and raspberries.
You just need milk and strawberries; if you want the shake to thicken, you can add strawberry ice cream and some heavy cream! You can present them with a bowl of fruit next to it and whip cream with a paper straw—every moment can be an opportunity to teach and talk about recycling materials and ecology with our family.
As kids grow, they can make this by themselves.
Brownie Batter Dip
Chocolate makes everything better! This brownie-batter variety fits everyone’s style. Grab some fruit, cookies, or salty snacks, and start dunking or buttering!
In a bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mmmm, so delicious, and kids will lick the spoon! (And it’s ok; this doesn’t need an oven.) So it’s easy and safe.
Beat in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, milk, and a secret ingredient, vanilla, until smooth. This is very important; make sure you tell the kids to beat it until it’s smooth (they can experience, have fun, make an effort, and even try it with their finger, and in that funny moment we can explain the importance of correct utensils in terms of health and function). If desired, sprinkle with M&Ms or whatever works for your family. Serve with dippers of your choice.
We always try to encourage a balance between sweets, chocolate, and fruit! So if you bring cut fruit to the table in little pieces, kids will eventually grab them and copy our behavior. You can also make a game, like one dip with salty treats and one deep dip with fruit, or even suggest: who can create the most balanced snack using this amazing sweet dip? Enjoy!
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
With only four ingredients, it just might be the easiest recipe for homemade vanilla ice cream. There’s no need for an ice cream maker! Just follow the directions to learn how to make homemade ice cream by hand and enjoy the result. Everything made at home with extra love is more special, and when we get to share it with our loved ones, especially our kids, everything tastes so much sweeter!
You need 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups half-and-half cream, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Combine all ingredients, stirring to dissolve the sugar completely. You can use a big bowl that fits in your freezer. Serve immediately or store in covered containers in the freezer.
Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Honey Syrup
Special days require a special breakfast to start on the right note. This idea mixes up so fast that it’s perfect for busy mornings as well!
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large container. Put the eggs, milk, and oil into the dry ingredients, and then add the chocolate chips. Pour the batter by 1/4 cup onto a lightly greased hot griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top; just cook until the second side is golden brown. You can serve with syrup of your choice, and for the final touch, who doesn’t like more chips over the pancakes like sprinkles?
Bacon Cream Cheese Pinwheels
Kids, friends, and everybody else will melt with these cream cheese pinwheels. It’s hard to resist this roll, bacon, and cream cheese in one bite! You can make them at home for your family, and it’s a fun activity for rainy days.
You are going to need: 3 ounces of softened cream cheese; 1 tube of refrigerated crescent rolls; 2 tablespoons; 5 bacon strips cooked and finely chopped; and 1 teaspoon of 2% milk.
We usually have these things at home in the pantry or the freezer. It always helps to preheat the oven to 375°. Mix the cream cheese and milk until blended. On a lightly floured surface, unroll the crescent dough into one long rectangle (tip: press perforations to seal). Just spread the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle it with bacon. Roll up, starting with a long side; pinch the seam to seal. Cut the roll crosswise into slices. Place on ungreased baking sheets, cut side down. The only thing left to do is bake for 12–15 minutes or until golden brown!
You can refrigerate leftovers if there are any!
Kiddie Crunch Mix
The mix is a delightful treat for kids, and you can easily increase the amount to fit your needs. You can grab whatever you have at home in your pantry, and it becomes more appealing and playful for kids because of the different textures and colors, and they can also add some extra toppings on their own.
TIP: Place in individual bags or pour some into colored ice cream cones for a fun presentation.
Some ideas you can use: frosted animal crackers, cup salted peanuts, M&M’s, miniature pretzels, yogurt- or chocolate-covered raisins. There’s no wrong choice in this crunchy mix. Just make sure to save everything after to keep it very crunchy and fresh. Many adults craved some of these also, so always make more, and you can save them in jars or ziplock bags!
Ice Cream Cookie Dessert
This Oreo ice cream cake’s so easy to prepare! This chocolaty, layered treat is one of Mom’s and Dad’s most-requested recipes.
You will need: 1 package of Oreo cookies, crushed and divided; 1/4 cup melted butter; 12 gallons of softened vanilla ice cream; and 1 jar (16 ounces) of hot fudge ice cream topping. Warm 1 carton (8 ounces) of frozen whipped topping, thawed.
Grab a big bowl and combine 3-3/4 cups of cookie crumbs and butter, then press into a greased 13×9-inch dish or mold. Spread with ice cream, cover, and freeze until set and done! With the kids, you can drizzle fudge topping over ice cream, cover, and freeze until set. Another idea is to spread with whipped topping, sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs, or let your kids and their imaginations go wild! Magic always happens with our family making desserts (even “mistakes” can improve flavor or make something healthier by “forgetting extra unnecessary sugar”). Cover and freeze for 2 hours, or until firm.
Lemon-Apricot Fruit Pops
These orange ice pops are a light and refreshing summer dessert! You can make them the flavor of your choice. Healthy, fresh, and low in calories—what more can we ask for in a home summer snack?
You will need 1/4 cup orange juice (or the fruit of your choice), 1/4 cup lemon juice, just 4 teaspoons of sugar, 1 cup sliced fresh apricots (4-5 medium), and 1/2 cup ice cubes.
Important things you need: six freezer pop pouches, molds or six paper cups (3-ounce size), and wooden pop sticks. so easy to buy everywhere, no worries!
Blend the ingredients, cover, and process until it’s done! Some people like to add some fresh mint; go with your gut; trust your taste; it helps if your kids like to be part of the process, so they can also want to mix and create new versions during the hot days! After all, summer is long.
Frozen Chocolate Monkey Treats
These bananas are nutty and yummy. Just coat bananas in chocolate and dip them into peanuts, sprinkles, or coconut.
Insert a popsicle into each banana; transfer to a waxed paper-lined baking sheet (optional). Freeze until completely firm, about 1 hour. Melt chocolate and stir until smooth (you can use your microwave; it takes seconds). Dip each banana in chocolate—important tip: allow the excess to drip off! And the fun parts begin! Grab and dip each banana in the different toppings your kids love and have prepared in different bowls. Ideally, return to the baking sheet. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving! Maybe kids just want to dive right in; it’s ok! But if you want to make them as a surprise or to serve at an event, make sure to respect the freezing time and use the baking sheet.
Yogurt and Honey Fruit Cups
Let’s offer our kids the chance to eat a combo of fresh fruit and creamy orange-kissed yogurt to guarantee the best energy boost to start the day, making great choices for their minds and their bodies. We all like to start our day with something sweet and energizing, and by being a bit more creative with our visual presentation, we can make sure that our little ones can have their sweet fruits too. It’s a win-win for all. Easy and fast to make, with fruit that we have at home and cereals from our pantry to add something crunchy.
Try to always save a jam jar or just use see-through tableware so that kids can see color and layers; it’s a treat for the eyes and the mouth.
Just divide the fruit among individual serving cups or jars. Put layers of the yogurt, honey, orange zest, and extract (optional); put it over the fruit, or layer the fruit also at the bottom. Let the kids also be involved in the process of making this for themselves once in a while. But first impressions count! We, as adults, are also very attracted to food when it’s visually appealing.
It’s easy, cheesy, and finger-lickin’ good. Yes, popcorn at home, maybe movie night, or just enjoying games with the kids at home—this classic never disappoints. Summer or cold, you can never go wrong with popcorn!
You need: 3 quarts popped popcorn, 1/3 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons ranch salad dressing mix, and 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes.
Place the popcorn in an ungreased 13×9-in. baking pan. Combine the remaining ingredients, pour over the popcorn, and toss to coat. DONE!
Creamy Frozen Fruit Cups
To give a refreshing boost to many meals, we share this idea to prepare these cool, fluffy fruit cups. They’ve been well received at family gatherings and summer barbecues.
You need 1 package (8 ounces) of softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 jar (10 ounces) of maraschino cherries, drained, 1 can (11 ounces) of mandarin oranges, drained, and 1 can (8 ounces) of crushed pineapple, drained.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Halve around 10 cherries; chop the remaining ones. If you want something to look more stylish, set aside halved cherries and around 18 orange segments for garnish. Add the pineapple, pecans, and chopped cherries to the cream cheese mixture. Fold in the whipped topping and remaining oranges. Freeze until firm. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving. Top with mint, if desired.
Extra tip for presentation: Line muffin cups with paper or foil liners. Spoon fruit mixture into cups; garnish with reserved cherries and oranges.
These toasts are great for princess parties. If you use lemon curd instead of jam; it works perfectly!
You need just white bread, toast, tablespoons of seedless strawberry jam, buttercream frosting, sprinkles for every princess, queen, and king out there, and silver or gold edible glitter.
With magic-loving hands, you spread jam over toast. Top with buttercream, sprinkles, and edible glitter. And just watch the smiles on every little dreamer light up.
A sweet take on breakfast: fruit tacos! They’re so easy and delicious. Pick your choice of fruits depending on what’s in season. The idea is to put everything available on the table, and everyone can make and choose their taco. You can cut bananas, oranges, strawberries, or whatever your family likes, and also try new ones like kiwis! All kids are attracted to colors, and this is a fun and playful way to teach your kids to make healthier choices, and it’s still sweet and full of energy! To start and have a great, powerful day!
You can also top the tacos with cream cheese and yogurt. And if you are feeling adventurous, instead of buying the tacos, you can use pancakes; then top with banana or raspberries, and wow! You have a new pancake taco! A very unique one.
If you want to go for it with the pancake tacos, this is what you have to do: Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Combine the egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla; stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Preheat a griddle over medium heat. Lightly grease the griddle. Pour batter by 1/2 cupful onto the griddle; cook until bubbles on top begin to pop and the bottoms are golden brown. Turn and cook until the second side is golden brown. Meanwhile, beat together cream cheese and yogurt. Spread over pancakes; top with banana and raspberries. Fold up.
Peanut Butter, Krispies, and Chocolate Sandwich
Saturday morning can be so easy, and I’m happy to start the day with this fun and delicious crispy chocolate waffle. You just have to spread peanut butter over the waffle, top it with Rice Krispies or nuts, and add chocolate! Is there any treat faster and more kid-friendly than this one?
Extra Tip: If you don’t have waffles, you can spread peanut butter over any type of bread you have at home, toasted or not, and then top it with Rice Krispies and chocolate! Done! Smiles all around.