School drop-offs, work meetings, errands … our days feel busier than ever. We know what it's like to be spread thin and still want to put a delicious dinner on the table you can feel good about.
But if you've got little ones to feed, sometimes it can feel like you have to make two dinners just to make sure everyone's happy when they sit down to a meal. And no one wants to feel like they're on an episode of “Chopped” at the end of a busy day.
To help you out, we've collected some of our favorite kid-friendly chicken recipes that will please every member of your family. Plus, we'll show you how to transition chicken recipes into more plant-friendly meals. Let's get cookin'!
Make Meal Time a Breeze
Let’s be honest — no one wants to feel like Lucy at the chocolate factory trying to play catch up, especially in the kitchen. And remaking favorite kid-friendly chicken recipes doesn't have to be complicated or make more work in the kitchen. Keeping a few pantry staples on hand can help you remake many recipes into more plant-friendly versions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Veggie-Based Broths: Whether you're making soup or savory gravy, skip the chicken and beef broth and look for vegetable or mushroom-based broth to create rich umami flavor in your dishes.
- Reinvented Dairy: There's no need to stick with animal-based cheese. Swap out regular mozzarella cheese for delicious plant-based mozzarellas like Miyoko's or Violife.
- Plant-Based Meats: When you need to save time and give yourself a break, plant-based nuggets like Nowadays can make any meal more kid-friendly and save you loads of effort in the kitchen.
5 Kid-Friendly Chicken Recipes Gone Plant-Based
From finger foods to comfort food classics, these flavorful dishes are so yummy even a picky eater will be asking for seconds. Leftovers will be perfect for lunches too!
1. Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo
Pasta nights are tailor-made for weeknights and busy families. While spaghetti and meatballs are the perfect family-friendly standby meal, sometimes it's fun to switch it up and try another beloved dish.
With a few simple tweaks, you can give classic alfredo a plant-based makeover that will please even the pickiest taste buds. Start by swapping out the animal-based sauce with Nora Cook's vegan alfredo sauce. It cooks up in just 15 minutes and freezes well so you can double the ingredients and have a batch for later.
Upgrade this homey dish (and add a protein boost) with plant-based chicken nuggets like Nowadays. There's little to no prep time, and you can make the sauce while boiling the noodles and bake a tray of hot and crispy chicken nuggets. Add a dusting of freshly chopped herbs or plant-based parmesan for a delicious vegan version of chicken alfredo.
2. Cozy Chicken Pot Pie
While this creamy chicken classic might be a better choice for a relaxing weekend, you can still look forward to comfort food gone plant-based. Check out this ultra-savory and filling chickless pot pie that’s sure to become a family favorite you’ll make again and again.
There’s no need for a side dish as pot pie is a great way to sneak some extra veggies on everyone’s plate. Carrots, peas, and potatoes in a silky sauce and perfect crust make for a one-pot meal.
No need to roll up your sleeves and bust out the rolling pin and flour (who has time for that anymore?). You can find pie crusts with real and recognizable ingredients, so you won’t have to compromise on a single thing.
3. Savory Chicken Sliders
Chicken burgers and grilled chicken are warm-weather staples, but what about when you want to enjoy something similar year-round? Trade boneless chicken breasts for crispy plant-based chicken nuggets for a fun take on a family favorite. Chicken sliders with comeback sauce are fun to eat and endlessly delicious. Another bonus? They make great appetizers if you’re planning a multi-course smorgasbord.
Perfect for when you’re short on time, these little sliders come together in under a half-hour with a spicy sauce that’s downright addictive. You can also swap the sauce to make delightful BBQ chicken sliders as another weeknight-ready, kid-friendly dinner.
Psst: Don’t forget one of the simplest dinner recipes: classic nuggets and fries. Add some honey mustard, ranch, or sweet and sour to a plate of nuggets and a tray of homemade oven sweet potato fries for a better option to the old standby.
And just so you know, Nowadays nuggets are made with just 7 recognizable ingredients and are free from fillers and junk you definitely don’t want to see in your nuggets. (Spoiler alert: not all chicken nuggets are created equal.) Nuggets from Nowadays make it easy to feed your kids something you can feel good about and are tasty enough to please every member of the family.
4. Vegan Fajitas in Hurry
When you need a truly one-pot meal, it’s hard to beat tossing ingredients into your slow cooker and letting it do the work while you and your family are busy with the day. But sometimes we forget to load up the crockpot and need a meal in a hurry. Enter these vegan fajitas, which ensure you’ll have dinner on the table in just 15 minutes.
Made with mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, and onions, these fajitas are filled to the brim with vegetables. That said, feel free to omit or replace any veggies that your kids don’t like. Even better, toss in some crispy plant-based nuggets for a more filling, high-protein meal.
But don’t stop at fajitas. This mix would also make a delectable filling for enchiladas or in a batch of crispy nugget tacos with fresh pico de gallo. You could add them to quesadillas for the ultimate upgraded cheesy chicken quesadillas.
It’s possible to have a Mexican-themed night filled with chicken tacos and other easy chicken recipes, now made plant-based!
5. Quick Chicken Fried Rice
It’s always nice to have at least one “everything but the kitchen sink” type recipe — something where you can toss in those leftover veggies still hanging out in the fridge. Taste of Home’s chicken fried rice recipe is simple and easy to prepare. It’s also a terrific way to use leftovers and have a perfect kid-friendly dinner in 30 minutes.
Another easy dinner idea is to swap the rice for noodles and add extra veggies for a simple stir-fry. To go plant-based, try adding Nowadays nuggets at the end of cooking — they’ll stay crisp while adding texture and flavor.
Kid-Friendly Chicken Recipes for the Whole Family, Now Made from Plants
Sometimes finding kid-friendly chicken recipes that will leave everyone at the table happy can feel like a tall order, but it doesn't have to be. Planning ahead, carefully choosing recipes, and taking some prep shortcuts can save hours and make the time spent cooking for your family more rewarding and less hectic.
Even better, Nowadays nuggets are the perfect way to transition a traditional recipe to something more plant-forward, so you can experiment with remixing old favorites. They can be the cornerstone of family-friendly recipes you and yours enjoy for years to come.