5 Kid-Inspired Dinners to Transport You Back to Childhood

When the going gets tough, the tough eat mac and cheese and chicken fingers. 💪
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Monday: Creamy Stovetop Mac 'n' Cheese

creamy stovetop mac n cheese

It's macaroni adultified with breadcrumbs, chicken stock, thyme, and a healthy pour of sauv blanc. Nostalgia with a side of wine—what's better on a Monday night? 

Recipe: Try our Creamy Stovetop Mac 'n' Cheese

Tuesday: Buffalo Joes with Blue Cheese & Carrot-Celery Slaw Relish

buffalo joes blue cheese carrot celery slaw relish

Give those sloppy Joes you loved eating as a kid a saucy upgrade. With mouth-watering buffalo sauce, plenty of blue cheese, and a veggie slaw piled high, these sandwiches are sure to make you as happy as your childhood self was on Joe night. 

Recipe: Try our Buffalo Joes with Blue Cheese & Carrot-Celery Slaw Relish

Wednesday: 'Nduja Grilled Cheese

'Nduja Grilled Cheese

Ditch the Kraft singles of yesteryear in lieu of a much, much tastier fromage—fresh mozzarella. Add in spicy salami, baby arugula, and a dash of balsamic, and these cozy, Italian-style grilled cheeses are yours for the taking. 

Recipe: Try our 'Nduja Grilled Cheese

Thursday: Ritz Cracker Chicken Fingers with Sriracha-Soy Ketchup

Ritz Cracker Chicken Fingers with Sriracha-Soy Ketchup

Chicken fingers coated in crushed Ritz crackers is quite literally a childhood dream. Make it slightly more adult (and even more flavorful) with the tangy-spicy dipping sauce. Serve the crispy fingers with Monday's leftover mac and cheese—if there is any. 

Recipe: Try our Ritz Cracker Chicken Fingers with Sriracha-Soy Ketchup

Friday: Pepperoni & Hot Pepper Pizza

pepperoni hot pepper pizza

Recipe: Try our Pepperoni & Hot Pepper Pizza

Was any night of childhood better than pizza night? No, and with this pepper-filled pizza, it's still the best part of adulthood. Give your hands a break by using store-bought dough, then load it up with marinara sauce, mozzarella, Fresno chiles, and pepperoncini. While you're at it, you might as well make some of our grown-up crispy rice treats to have post-pizza party.

Shopping List

For the creamy stovetop mac 'n' cheese:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup sauvignon blanc
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 1 tsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 8-oz. package cheddar cheese spread, such as Alouette
  • 1 8-oz. package cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar
  • 1 lb. chiocciole pasta (large shells) or elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley

For the buffalo joes with blue cheese & carrot-celery slaw:

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. superfine sugar
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2-3 ribs celery
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 lb. ground turkey or chicken
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 red Fresno or Holland chile peppers
  • 1 tsp. (about 1/3 palmful) ground allspice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup turkey or chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup Frank's RedHot sauce
  • 3 tbsp. (packed) light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 6-8 burger rolls
  • 2 cups crumbled smoked blue cheese or regular blue cheese crumbles

For the 'nduja grilled cheese:

  • 3 cups baby arugula (about 3 oz.)
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. ’nduja (spreadable spicy salami)
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella

For the Ritz cracker chicken fingers with Sriracha-soy ketchup:

  • Canola oil
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 rounded tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. granulated onion
  • 20 chicken breast tenders
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha
  • 2 tbsp. dark, aged soy sauce or tamari
  • Finely chopped scallions
  • Celery sticks and hot giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables)

For the pepperoni & hot pepper pizza:

  • 1 lb. store-bought pizza dough
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 12 slices pepperoni
  • 1 red Fresno chile
  • 2 jarred pepperoncini
  • 1 tbsp. honey