The Good Life

Easy Summer Dinners You and The Kids Will Love

Jul 10th, 2019

by Alec Lower

Easy and fun dinners you can make in a pinch that the kids will love (and so will you).

Easy Summer Dinners You and The Kids Will Love

Easy and fun dinners you can make in a pinch that the kids will love (and so will you).

by Alec Lower

Well, here you go again. One kid has baseball practice at seven. Another one has gymnastics at nine. You’ve got 20,000 emails to answer tonight, and somewhere between all that, you all need to eat dinner.

There’s a ton of options for things you could grab on the way to your kid’s events. There’s a burger joint. There’s a sub place. That stuff is terrible for you though and eating out at fast food places is generally a bad habit to get into.

So how can you still have a home-cooked meal with barely any time on your hands? It turns out there’s a lot of super tasty meals that are actually quite quick and easy to make. Your loved ones will appreciate a wholesome home-cooked meal and you’ll appreciate how quick and easy these recipes are.

So let’s dive in!

Homemade French Bread Pizza

homemade french bread pizza

French bread pizza is among the easiest and quickest recipes, and who doesn’t love pizza? All you need is a loaf of french bread, whatever pizza sauce you prefer, and a block of cheese (mozzarella is a great choice).

Ingredients

  • French bread
  • Pizza sauce
  • Cheese











Steps

  1. Slice the bread in half lengthwise
  2. Spread sauce evenly across the sliced bread
  3. Shred your mozzarella and sprinkle it atop the bread
  4. Add whatever toppings you prefer
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is totally melted

That’s it. You now have a crunchy munchy homemade meal for your family and all it took was about 15 minutes.

SN Tip: using whole wheat bread instead of traditional french bread is a great way to make a helathier variety of french bread pizza that everyone will still love.

Fun ways to mix it up:

  • Buffalo chicken pizza: Use buffalo sauce instead of red sauce and top with grilled chicken. Add a drizzle of ranch or bleu cheese if you’re not big on the spice.
  • Alfredo pizza: Skip the red sauce again, this time for a creamy alfredo sauce. Add chicken and tomatoes for toppings.


Tater Tot Grilled Cheese

tater tots, cheese, and oil on a cutting board

Grilled cheese is always a favorite among the kids. It’s generally simple and easy to make as well, but it can get a little stale over time. Spice it up with another savory treat: tater tots.

Forego the white bread for this crunchier, tastier alternative.

Ingredients

  • 12 tater tots
  • Cheese slices of your choice











Steps

  1. Heat a pan on your stovetop and then arrange tater tots in a rectangle on the pan. You can make the rectangle however big you would like, but we recommend three tater tots by two tater tots as it holds together the best.
  2. Do this twice.
  3. After the tots have heated for a brief minute or two, take a spatula and push down on each side so they squish together and form two tater tot bread-like entities (yum!).
  4. Add your favorite cheese and combine both tot entities to make a sandwich.
  5. Cook like a regular grilled cheese from here on out.

While it may take a little longer than a french bread pizza, you can still make this fun and savory meal in under 30 minutes, and it’s so much better than chicken nuggets or a burger from a fast food place.

Fun ways to mix it up:

  • Make it a patty melt. Add a beef patty or thick cut ham slice to add some substance to your tater tot creation.
  • Flavor the crust. Sprinkle some chili powder or garlic powder on the tots while they’re cooking to give the crust some extra flavor.


Pepperoni Rolls

pepperoni rolls

Yet another play on pizza, this fun and quick dinner that the kids will love is more of a hot pocket than an actual pizza.

Ingredients

  • Rolls
  • Pepperoni
  • Shredded cheese











Steps

  1. Crack open the rolls and lay them out flat on a cooking sheet
  2. Lay some pepperoni slices down and sprinkle mozzarella on top
  3. Roll up the dough and then cook at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes

This is the simplest recipe in history. It is that easy.

Fun ways to mix it up:

  • Brush the finished product with a garlic sauce. Garlic knot pepperoni rolls sure sound good.
  • Include a marinara dipping sauce on the side.


Mini Hot Dog Rolls (Sometimes called pigs in a blanket)

mini hot dog rolls (pigs in a blanket)

Kids love hot dogs. But what do kids love more than hot dogs? Smaller hot dogs. There is just something fun about bite-sized hot dogs. They’re snackable, dippable, and you can never eat too many. Fortunately, they’re really easy to make as well.

Ingredients

  • Hot dogs
  • Crescent rolls











Steps

  1. Cut the hot dogs into thirds
  2. Slice the rolls to an appropriate size and wrap the hot dog slices inside of them
  3. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes (or until rolls are golden brown) at 375 degrees

Fun ways to mix it up:

  • Include a mustard or marinara dipping sauce on the side.
  • Make the hot dogs whatever size you’d like. See if you can make a footlong pig in a blanket.


Cheese Quesadillas

cheese quesadilla

Perhaps the most simplistic recipe ever, a cheese quesadilla is a fun and customizable meal that both you and the kids will love and will only take a few minutes to make.

Ingredients

  • Tortillas
  • Shredded cheese












Steps

  1. Lay the tortilla flat on a skillet and then heat it on the stove top. Some people like to spread a little butter on the tortilla before this. That’s up to you.
  2. Let the tortilla cook until you start to see air bubbles forming
  3. Now sprinkle your shredded cheese on the tortilla
  4. Once the cheese is completely melted, fold the tortilla over using a spatula.
  5. Let it finish blackening around the edges and then take it off the pan and stuff it in your face (allow it to cool before stuffing it in your face)

Fun ways to mix it up:

  • Pick a variety of your favorite cheeses and make a three-cheese quesadilla, or a five-cheese quesadilla, or a SEVEN-CHEESE QUESADILLA ok we may have gone too far.
  • You can really put anything in a quesadilla. Add your favorite meats or veggies and just mix and match and see what you and the fam like the most.


Taco Sandwich Quesadilla Pizza Foodstuff Item

taco sandwich quesadilla

This particular recipe is a lot of fun to make and can also be altered very easily. So if you read this and have a great idea on how to make it better, feel free to try it (and let us know because we want to try it as well).

Ingredients

  • Two tortillas
  • Taco meat
  • Seasoning
  • Your cheese of choice
  • Sour cream
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Salsa if you’re into that






Steps

  1. Lay out a flat tortilla and spread taco meat and shredded cheese on it while leaving some space around the edges.
  2. Cover it with a second tortilla and then cook both sides of the tortilla creation until it’s crispy.
  3. Spread some sour cream on one side, and then top it with lettuce tomato, and salsa.
  4. Cut it into sixths.
  5. Eat it.

Fun ways to mix it up:

  • Use bison meat instead of regular ground beef. Bison is leaner and healthier for you and your kids, and it tastes great too.
  • Use queso instead of sour cream for an extra cheesy creation.

There’s no need to stress about dinner if you’ve got a busy night ahead. Just dive into one of these tasty savory and easy meals that you and your kids will love. You’ll be done making it in no time and it will be way better than stopping at the grease factory burger joint.

Alec Lower
Alec Lower
Social Media and Content Specialist
After graduating from NC State, I joined Second Nature in the summer of 2018. I have always loved writing and enjoy blogging on subjects that are important to families and homeowners. Outside of work, I love to fish and am a huge college sports fan.