I got so many emails in response to my newsletter last week, on what New York Times Cooking staffers feed their kids, that I’m devoting this entire edition of Five Weeknight Dishes to reader suggestions.
I could include only a fraction of the dishes, but I did want to shout out the parent who let his children believe that Kenji López-Alt’s burgers are, in fact, his recipe (“Dad’s famous cheeseburgers”). That is big dad energy, and I love it. (I also relate: I want my children to worship “my” roast chicken.)
But first! Please don’t stop reading if you don’t have kids, or kids who live at home. Most “kid food” is just really delicious, straightforward food. I promise there are recipes below that you might like.
A personal chef who has cooked for several families in New York City said that tacos bars were always a hit: “Carnitas, chicken, fish — all have been loved.” This recipe from Kay Chun takes a few hours to cook, but you can (and should) make the pork ahead. When it’s dinnertime, broil the pork for a few minutes to crisp it up and let everyone assemble the tacos to their liking. A much faster (and vegetarian) alternative: bean and cheese burritos.
A reader named John mentioned that he made meatballs in bulk for his kids, using a combination of beef and Italian sausage. (This sounds great.) It reminded me of this Yasmin Fahr recipe for shortcut meatballs, in which you roll sausage meat — which is seasoned and ready to go — into small meatballs that cook alongside broccoli and mushrooms. If you’d prefer whole sausages, use them instead. (Poke them a few times with a fork.) The cook time should be about the same, maybe five minutes longer. An alternative for weekends: baked ziti with sausage meatballs and spinach.
Several readers also mentioned fried rice, and Sam Sifton’s version is designed to be done freestyle, from start to finish, using leftovers from your fridge and veggies from your freezer. It’s a no-recipe recipe, so you won’t see exact measurements for the ingredients. Just wing it, and use a large sauté pan if you don’t have a wok. Here’s a recipe with more exact measurements, if you’d prefer that: tofu and broccoli fried rice.
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