The New York Times has posted a roundup of 14 kid-friendly meals that you can prepare in 30 minutes or less….if you have the kind of kid who likes food seasoned with anchovies, cumin or ginger. If, on the other hand, you are raising a child who does not ask to celebrate her birthdays at Per Se, you may need some more realistic options.

Here are my nominees for 9 meals that children will actually eat—because outside of New York, we don’t dream of a world in which our kids actually eat something different for lunch and dinner every day for an entire week:

1. Buttered noodles
20 minutes

  1. Cook pasta.
  2. Cover pasta in a metric crap ton of butter.
  3. Do not allow pepper, cheese or—heaven forbid!—parsley within 500 feet of the noodles.
  4. Serve and wait for pasta to cool until point of rejection.
  5. Reheat in microwave; serve with a liberal sprinkling of threats about your unwillingness to reheat again.


2. Noodles with red sauce
4 minutes

  1. Remove leftover buttered noodles from refrigerator.
  2. Rinse liberally in colander to remove traces of butter.
  3. Open jar of tomato sauce; dump on noodles.
  4. Microwave for 45 seconds.
  5. When questioned, assure child repeatedly that no, they are definitely not tasting any butter in there.


3. Chicken drumsticks
15 minutes

  1. Buy rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.
  2. Detach legs from chicken; place on plate with three cherry tomatoes.
  3. Reserve leftover chicken for later disposal when you find it at the back of the refrigerator.


4. Pizza
18 hours

  1. Call your local pizza parlour and order half plain, half pepperoni.
  2. Wait 30 minutes.
  3. Serve pepperoni pizza to older child; serve middle slice of plain pizza to youngest child.
  4. Argue for 30 minutes about whether your youngest child can taste the pepperoni.
  5. Order a second, plain pizza, and wait another 30 minutes.
  6. Place in freezer because child has already fallen asleep by the time it arrives.
  7. Microwave leftover pizza for lunch.


5. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
5 minutes plus additional time for shopping

  1. Purchase all-natural peanut butter, fruit juice sweetened jam and whole grain bread. Leave on counter where they will signal your family’s commitment to wholesome eating.
  2. Get the Welch’s grape jelly, Skippy and Wonder Bread out from the secret cupboard nobody else looks in.
  3. Spread bread with condiments and serve to children.
  4. When your co-parent calls on the weekend to say that the kids are refusing to eat the PB&J sandwich made from the ingredients you left out, say that you are totally mystified because the kids always eat the sandwiches you make.


6. Moroccan chicken with Persian rice
5 hours including preparation time

  1. Prepare chicken tagine and Persian rice; keep warm.
  2. Drop children at their grandparents’ house.
  3. Return home to enjoy your meal.


7. Hot dog
30 seconds

  1. Place hot dog in microwave for 30 seconds.
  2. Remove warm hot dog; place in white bun.
  3. Serve hot dog; remove plate after child has finished eating the bun and one bite of the meat.


8. Peas and rice
20 minutes

  1. Prepare white rice in rice cooker as directed.
  2. Microwave frozen peas until heated through.
  3. Ask Mexico to build a giant wall.
  4. Serve rice and peas on plate, separated by the wall the Mexican government has provided for you.


9. Yogurt and banana
1.5 hours

  1. Prepare one of The New York Times’ kid-friendly meals.
  2. Spend 30 minutes trying to persuade your children to eat it.
  3. Tell them that if they can’t eat what The New York Times tells them to eat, they can get themselves some yogurt and a goddamn banana.