Last week I got an email from a reader named Rachel that really spoke to me, and will probably speak to anyone who’s ever had to feed children or another phalanx of picky eaters:
Could you also please share a recipe that all three of my kids will eat? One eats most things but not peanut sauce, one eats only cucumbers and pizza, one eats only dino nuggets and whatever I am currently eating, especially if I’m very hungry and not in the mood to share.
The stringent randomness of kid preferences, the irritating puzzle of how to feed everyone with one meal, the cannibalization of your own dinner — it’s all here. Rachel, I see you.
I picked two recipes below that may work in that scenario, and a few others that I’m making for dinner myself. And here at The Times we recently published an excerpt from my wonderful colleague Melissa Clark’s new cookbook, “Dinner in One,” which is packed with one-pot recipes like this crispy chickpea stew with greens and lemon.
Send me detailed, funny and/or exasperated emails about feeding kids at email@example.com. If you don’t have kids at home, just send your recipe requests. Lastly, if you like what we do at New York Times Cooking, please consider subscribing, which supports our work and also gets you access to our database of more than 20,000 recipes. You can subscribe right here.
Maybe at first glance this dish by Kay Chun doesn’t seem like an all-ages recipe. But it definitely is. For little kids, make the salmon and rice as directed, then plate those plain, not touching each other, with whatever fixings they may eat (avocado, cucumber, etc.). Everyone else can get the whole beautiful bowl, or a version customized to their specs.
This is the dish I had in mind for Rachel. Its proper name is Skillet Chicken With Tomatoes, Pancetta and Mozzarella. But Melissa Clark, who wrote this saucy, cheesy recipe, calls it Pizza Chicken, and so we will, too. Feel free to skip the pancetta.
“Sizzling” is such a good cooking word, so evocative. This recipe by Kay Chun takes only 15 minutes to make and delivers a sizzled garlic-ginger-scallion sauce you can use to douse silken tofu. I’d serve it with rice, but you could also top it with fried eggs.
This is a recipe that could convert you to sheet-pan cooking. It’s by Ali Slagle, and all you have to do is toss the ingredients with oil and run them under the broiler for 15 minutes while you cook pasta or rice, or slice bread. Make it with vegan sausages if you like.