cheesy enchiladas

The dinner hour is always a little easier when cheese is involved. This versatile dairy product not only tastes great, it helps solves so many dinnertime challenges: idle kids can grate cheese, picky kids can drown their plates in it, and the whole family can experiment with new flavours simply by changing up the cheese.

See for yourself with this collection of cheese recipes grownups and kids can make together, from cheesy pastas to savoury pancakes to gooey stuffed chicken breasts.

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instant pot mac and cheese

Ready in: 19 minutes

Why we love it: From the name alone, you know this dinner’s a winner. But what sets this macaroni and cheese apart from all the others is the sneaky addition of butternut squash. If your family loves this healthy veggie—great. If they don’t—great! The Instant Pot magically pulverizes the squash into smithereens and it becomes one with the cheesy sauce. Genius.

How kids can help: Get little arms working that box grater! This cheese recipe calls for three cups of old cheddar and a heap of Parmesan.

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BUDGET WATCH
Premium cheeses—like authentic Parmesan, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, if you’re fancy—aren’t necessarily for premium budgets. With their forward flavours and range of textures, just a small amount of premium cheese can go a long way to achieve the satisfying flavour you seek.

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creamy scalloped potatoes with cheese

Ready in: 3 hours

Why we love it: Move over, cheddar! The creamy, gooey goodness of Gruyère is here to take scalloped potatoes to another dimension. Don’t be put off by the long cook time, this decadent comfort food is worth the effort. Using a food processor with a slicing disc attachment to slice potatoes will help shave down prep time, too.

How kids can help: Peeling potatoes is a centuries-old kid job that holds strong today. Potato peelers make it even easier—and safer—for school-age kids to get the job done.

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mozzarella-stuffed chicken breast on asparagus bed

Ready in: 45 minutes

Why we love it: These fancy-looking, cheese-stuffed chicken breasts take about the same amount of effort as a grilled cheese. Even the pickiest kids will dive into a hunk of juicy chicken with molten mozzarella coming out the sides.

How kids can help: Even if they don’t like basil, kids of all ages can help select the best, freshest basil leaves of the bunch before you add (or omit) them inside the chicken.

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TIME-SAVING TIP
Don’t wait in line—get your cheese delivered. At Walmart, chilled items are always packed safely and delivered quickly to your door so you never have to worry about spoilage.

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palak paneer, Indian spinach curry with cheese

Ready in: 22 minutes

Why we love it: This rich and comforting vegetarian meal isn’t weighed down by carbs, instead it’s loaded with nutrient-rich spinach and gently spiced with turmeric and garam masala. Plus, half the fun is digging around for soft, creamy hunks of paneer cheese.

How kids can help: Preschoolers and up can easily cube soft paneer with a butter knife. Or, pull out your smallest cookie cutters to make fun shapes, then just dice up the leftover bits.

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Storage Tip
Plastic wrap is the best way to form a tight seal over your unused cheese and safeguard it from other foods or odours in the fridge.[1]

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mint, tomato and goat cheese pizzas on cutting board

Ready in: 30 minutes

Why we love it: This twist on the classic Margherita swaps basil for mint, and mozzarella for goat cheese. It’s such a simple change, yet it makes same-old Pizza Night feel fresh and new.

How kids can help: Toddlers and up can get their hands on the dough to pull and stretch until each of the four personal pizzas are (roughly) the same size.

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Storage Tip
Once opened, soft cheeses (Brie) keep for one week in the fridge; semi-soft cheeses (Havarti) keep two to three weeks; firm cheeses (gouda and cheddar) will keep five weeks; processed cheeses keep five months; hard cheeses (Parmesan) keep for 10 months.[2][3]

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roasted red pepper and mozarella pasta

Ready in: 25 minutes

Why we love it: For when you tire of tomato sauce, make this super-quick red pepper pasta your new go-to. The secret sauce is just canned soup amped up with the addition of roasted red peppers, along with heaps of melted cheese and chunks of juicy chicken.

How kids can help: Toddlers can help pick fresh thyme off its woody stem; school-age kids can take care of draining and slicing the roasted red peppers.

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zucchini pancakes with feta

Ready in: 25 minutes

Why we love it: Who doesn’t love pancakes for dinner? These feta cheese-studded flapjacks are also loaded with fibre-rich zucchini for a wholesome vegetarian meal. Don’t forget the sour cream on the side.

How kids can help: Kids of all ages will love squishing the water out from the salted, grated zucchini. Let them go to town—the drier the better for crispy pancakes.

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enchiladas with cheddar cheese and broccoli rice mix

Ready in: 35 minutes

Why we love it: Beans, beans, the musical fruit are cooked up with green peppers and packaged broccoli-and-cheddar-rice before rolling into tortillas for a delicious plant-based meal. Top with sharp cheddar cheese for even more flavour and your favourite salsa.

How kids can help: Kids eight and up can de-seed and chop the green peppers, then help roll up the enchiladas and place them in the casserole dish.

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cheesy broccoli and cauliflower casserole

Ready in: 1 hour 5 minutes

Why we love it: No need to spend an hour chopping veggies, this family-friendly side dish calls for pre-chopped broccoli and cauliflower florets. Just dump them in, toss in the cream cheese-Parmesan sauce and bake to golden perfection. This is also an easy make-and-take dish for a potluck dinner party.

How kids can help: Kids eight and up can help break down any large florets into bite-sized pieces before everything is tossed together.

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tomato bacon macaroni and cheese with breadcrumb topping

Ready in: 45 minutes

Why we love it: Bacon, right? And while everyone is shovelling down this ultimate mac and cheese, you’ll feel good knowing it’s made with high-fibre pasta and studded with vitamin C-rich grape tomatoes.  

How kids can help: Kid muscle is needed to grate four cups of cheddar cheese, plus older kids with steady hands can help spray the casserole dish.

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Article Sources

  1. BC Dairy Association. How to store cheese.
  2. Health Canada. Safe food storage.
  3. BC Dairy Association. How to store cheese.

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