Kids can be tough critics and it’s not always easy to find something that everyone will enjoy at a family gathering. But fear not – this roundup of 11 CHOW recipes will keep the adults happy and be sure to please even the pickiest eaters. These recipes are simple, full of fresh ingredients, and many can be made on the grill in the yard to maximize your outdoor summer family fun.
1. French Chicken Kebabs
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are marinated in mustard, orange zest, and orange juice and then grilled on skewers with black olives and slices of fennel. Get our French Chicken Kebabs recipe.
2. Sloppy Joes
3. Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are as classic as grade school lunch gets – try this updated version by griddling the sandwich (in a large frying pan or on the grill) for a gooey and satisfying snack. Get our Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly recipe.
4. Almond Butter and Apricot Jam on Sourdough
If you’re looking for an adult-friendly PB&J alternative, try this take with almond butter and apricot jam (or any flavor you have on hand) and use sourdough instead of the traditional white or whole wheat bread. Get our Almond Butter and Apricot Jam on Sourdough recipe.
5. Classic Mac Salad
This updated picnic side dish features a tangy sour cream, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, mustard, and paprika-spiked sauce that make it way more exciting and appealing than the traditional mayo-based pasta salad. Get our Classic Mac Salad recipe.
6. CHOW slider
A great kid-sized burger, the CHOW slider is made from lean ground chuck and garnished with dill pickle slices. You can use a pan to cook these burgers or throw them on the grill. Get our CHOW slider recipe.
7. Chicken Parmesan Mac and Cheese Bites
This Italian-twist on mac and cheese with added protein is perfectly child-sized made in muffin tins. Parmesan, mozzarella, and oregano meld together beautifully and you can use leftover rotisserie chicken and make this a last-minute appetizer. Get our Chicken Parmesan Mac and Cheese Bites recipe.
8. Spinach Pesto Fusilli
Baby spinach takes the place of this basil in this summery pesto with parmesan, garlic, lemon and pine nuts. Throw in some cherry tomatoes to add color and kids won’t be able to resist. Get our Spinach Pesto Fusilli recipe.
9. Whole Wheat Margherita Pizza
A healthy whole wheat pizza crust paired with a simple whole-milk mozzarella and fresh basil leaves is a great lunch or dinner choice if you’re entertaining family and friends. Get our Whole Wheat Margherita Pizza recipe.
10. Pasta Carbonara with Peas
This simple pasta with Pecorino Romano and pancetta is an easy weeknight pick and you can throw in any summer vegetable you have on hand to substitute for the peas. Get our Pasta Carbonara with Peas recipe.
11. Easy Chicken Stir-Fry
Stir-fry is one of the easy Asian dishes that kids love - bell peppers, snow peas, garlic, scallions, and boneless, skinless chicken are tossed together with oyster sauce, soy sauce, and dry sherry. Feel free to add in any other vegetables like eggplant, string beans, or summer squash to jazz up the mix. Get our Easy Chicken Stir-Fry recipe.
Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC's best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.