5 Kid-Friendly Dishes to Make at Home

According to The Guardian, nearly 60% of adults ages 18 to 25 leave home without the ability to cook five simple dishes. But with a little planning, parents can show their kids that cooking can be fun and exciting well before they’re off on their own. Plus, the kitchen is a great place for family bonding.

The YMCA of Austin helps bring families and food together through its Parent & Me Cooking Class. The program teaches kitchen safety and cooking basics along with some quick and easy recipes.

For those ready to get started right away, these five kid-friendly recipes will help teach children a few culinary fundamentals while they create tasty meals. Ingredients for each recipe are available below!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

  1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a bowl, combine parmesan, parsley, garlic, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add beef and breadcrumbs and mix gently. Form into 16 balls.
  2. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally until browned, typically 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce and then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through, typically 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Drain, and return to pot. Then, add meatballs and sauce, and toss gently. Serve with Parmesan.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart.


Mini Spinach and Cheese Pizzas

  1. Heat your broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Then, arrange pita halves on sheet, cut side up.
  2. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, oregano and garlic. Next, season with salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, spread ricotta mixture on pitas, and top with spinach and bocconcini. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Broil until cheese is melted and starts to brown, 4 to 6 minutes, rotating sheet from front to back halfway through baking. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of A Girl Worth Saving.


Donut Apples

  1. Divide cream cheese among three small bowls. In one bowl, add 1 teaspoon honey. In another bowl, add melted chocolate. In the last bowl, add remaining teaspoon honey and pink food coloring. Stir each bowl together until combined.
  2. Slice apples and use a biscuit or cookie cutter to hollow out centers.
  3. Spread mixtures on apple slices and top with sprinkles.

Recipe courtesy of Delish.


Vegan Pepperoni Pizza


  1. Wash and thinly slice the zucchini.
  2. In a baking dish, mix hot sauce with tamari and balsamic vinegar. Add the zucchini and mix, so that they are covered well.
  3. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.
  4. Pro-tip: Put the spiced zucchini in the oven and bake at medium heat (320°F/160°C) for 10-15 minutes before storing in the fridge.


  1. Mix all ingredients for the dough into a bowl and knead well. Your dough should be slightly moist but sticky. Let dough sit for a couple of minutes to set.
  2. Form the pizza crust by spreading the dough.


  1. Preheat oven to 390°F (200°C).
  2. Spread the tomato paste on top of the crust. Add your marinated spicy zucchini slices. Top off with vegan cheese to your desired amount.
  3. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Contentedness Cooking.


Gluten-free Mac & Cheese

  1. Fill a saucepan with filtered water and bring to a boil. Add gluten-free macaroni pasta and oil and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the pasta al dente; soft, but with a little bit of bite to it. The oil helps keep the gluten-free pasta from sticking together.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a skillet over medium low heat. Once melted, sprinkle rice flour on top of the butter and whisk vigorously to combine. Cook for one minute while whisking.
  3. Add milk to the butter mixture and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking as it cooks and thickens, typically about 8 minutes.
  4. Add salt and rosemary to the sauce mixture and stir well to combine. Add more salt to taste if needed.
  5. Drain the pasta and add it to a large mixing bowl. Pour the sauce over the pasta and add cheddar cheese. Gently stir everything to combine.
  6. Pour the mac and cheese into a well-greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the macaroni and bake at 375 for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Recipe courtesy of A Girl Worth Saving.

To learn more and register for our Parent & Me Cooking Class, click here


Kaitlyn Morris is a Marketing & Communications Intern. She is a junior at Texas State University and is studying Advertising & Mass Communication. 

All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

Contribute to the Y

We believe that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. As the leading nonprofit committed to helping everyone thrive at each stage of life, we are uniquely positioned to take on new and long-standing challenges more comprehensively than anyone else.

Your support through the YMCA of Austin’s Annual Giving Campaign makes this possible.