As I drove into the office this morning, the thermostat on my car read -1°. Like much of the country, Kansas City is currently under a deep freeze. The best thing about temps this low is warm and delicious comfort foods. But, some of my favorites are not exactly favorites of kids. “This chili is too spicy!” “I don’t like potato soup!” Grrrr! What I need are some good kid-friendly recipes that still warm the body during these super chilly winter days. In my hunt for recipes to match these qualifications, I came across a couple that I can’t wait to try!
The recipe below is a chili recipe that is easy on the spice, which will hopefully get fewer complaints from the kiddos – my little weirdos don’t like spice!
Crock Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili
1.3 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
1 teaspoon oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
10 oz. can Rotel Mild Tomatoes
8 oz. can plain tomato sauce
¼ cup low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the turkey. Season with salt and break up with a spatula while cooking. Cook until no longer pink and add to slow cooker.
- Add oil to skillet and sauté the onion, garlic and pepper over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add onion, garlic and pepper to the slow cooker and stir in corn and tomatoes, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt and mix until well blended.
- Pour chicken broth into slow cooker and add bay leaf.
- Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 6 hours.
- Serve with desired toppings.
*** We like using frito corn chips and cheese as toppings, but any toppings you typically use will work.
Kids love Tater Tot Casserole, right?! Even moms and dads will appreciate this warm and toasty recipe on a cold day.
Tater Tot Casserole
1 pound of ground beef
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 package of frozen tater tots
2 packages of shredded cheese
½ Tbsp salt
2 tsp garlic salt
½ Tbsp pepper
- In a skillet, add ground beef. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Brown until slightly crispy and then add to slow cooker.
- Add cream of chicken soup and diced tomatoes and mix.
- Arrange tater tots on top.
- Cover and cook on Low for 3 hours.
- Sprinkle cheese on top and cook for another 30 minutes.
Good ole Mac and Cheese is another kid favorite, but I despise the kind in the box with the powder cheese. I have a couple of tasty and delicious Mac and Cheese recipes that I pull out at home, but they’re more suited to a grown-up taste, so my kiddos turn their noses up to them. (Seriously, these kids are picky.) But, this recipe is good for everyone – it’s not out of a box, but works well with a child’s palate.
Kid-Friendly Homemade Mac and Cheese
16 oz. box elbow macaroni noodles
10 Tbsp butter, divided
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk
12 oz. cheese
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
4 Tbsp dry bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Cook macaroni noodles and drain.
- In a separate saucepan, melt 1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and slowly add milk, stirring.
- Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes. Turn off the burner and add cheese, salt and pepper, stirring until the cheese is melted.
- Add the macaroni noodles and mix well.
- Pour everything into a 2 quart casserole dish.
- Melt the additional 2 Tbsp of butter and mix with bread crumbs and a dash of pepper. Sprinkle mixture over the mac and cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
Corn dogs are another food kids love. The recipe below is a healthier option – and honestly much tastier than the frozen corn dogs out of a box! J
Baked Corn Dogs
1 ½ cups flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp vegetable oil
4 precooked smoked chicken sausages
- Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper. Make a well in the center and add milk, eggs and oil. Mix just until combined.
- Insert a popsicle stick into one end of each sausage leaving enough for a handle. Dust the sausages with flour and tap off excess. Using the handle, rotate each sausage over the bowl as you spoon batter over it to evenly coat.
- Place each “corndog” on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Use a spatula to reapply batter that has slipped onto sheet. Return from oven and bake until golden, about 20 minutes.
- Serve with desired toppings.
This last recipe is one from my own kitchen. I love it because kids can make them almost by themselves, which is great because it gives them something to do. It also allows them to make something to their own liking.
Biscuit Mini Pizzas
1 package of canned biscuit dough
1 jar of pizza sauce
1 package of shredded cheese
mini pepperonis or any other pizza toppings you enjoy
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Flatten out each of the biscuits expanding them slightly to form the pizza crust and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Spread each “crust” with pizza sauce.
- Sprinkle with cheese and add toppings.
- Bake until biscuits are golden and cheese is melted – about 8 minutes.
Here’s hoping the temperature rises soon. But, in the meantime, you and your kiddos can stay warm and toasty with these delicious comfort food recipes!