10 Adult Twists on Classic Kid Dishes

Next time you get a craving for one of your favorite childhood meals, shake it up with a flavor profile fit for adults. Here are some ideas. 

Think back to your favorite childhood foods. Maybe chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches came to mind. 

You’re not alone if you still crave these classic kid dishes (and a bit of nostalgia). We’ve come up with some ways you can rework them for your adult taste buds while still feeling like a kid at heart when you take a bite. 

1. Grown Up Mac and Cheese

Amp up the flavor by using cheese you would find on your charcuterie board, such as a creamy Gouda or funky bleu cheese, or mix in nutrient-rich veggies like broccoli. Make it decadent with chunks of crab or lobster.  

2. PBJ Milkshake

For a twist on this classic combo, blend grape jelly and peanut butter with vanilla ice cream and a splash of milk. Consider sprinkling some sea salt on top to shake up your childhood favorite.

3. Styled Popcorn

Go from boring butter to an explosion of flavor by drizzling salted caramel on top of your popcorn. Or add some spice by tossing it with Nashville hot sauce or dusting it with cayenne pepper and ranch powder. 

4. Adult Chicken Tenders

Alternative cook methods, such as grilling, baking or air-frying, can put a low-calorie twist on this dish. Mix parmesan and garlic into your breadcrumbs or whisk up a remoulade or flavorful aioli for dipping. 

5. Pigs In a Blanket

Trade the hot dog for Italian sausage (with mozzarella cheese and an onion/pepper mixture) or chorizo before wrapping it. Then pair the chorizo with a chimichurri dipping sauce and the sausage with a spicy marinara.

6. Boozy Popsicles 

Add a fun kick to an ice-cold treat by spiking a homemade raspberry, strawberry or lemonade popsicle with a splash of vodka. Use colored sticks to differentiate them from the kid version.

7. Adult Pop-Tarts

Why eat the processed stuff when these can be easily made at home? For a sweet take, use homemade fillings like apple compote or raspberry jam. Or go savory with ham and brie or make a jalapeno popper version with jalapenos, cream cheese and pepper jelly. 

8. Adult Grilled Cheese

Don’t go basic between the bread! Instead, amp up your flavor profiles with brie or goat cheese, and add in extras like truffle oil, arugula or sundried tomatoes. Try it sweet with brie and blackberry jam or go savory with mozzarella, pepperoni and a spread of marinara. 

9. Styled Fries

Watch this simple side dish come to life with varieties like Thai Fries with peanut oil, lime juice and cilantro; Cuban Fries with ham, pickles, cheese sauce and a drizzle of mustard; or Nacho Fries with all your favorite nacho toppings.

10. Adult Lunchables

This kid lunch was basically our first introduction to charcuterie boards. Cut ham, salami or turkey slices, as well as your cheeses, into circles so they can fit on top of your cracker of choice, and you’re all set. Pair with wine.  


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Written by Kelly Gilmore

Enthusiastic broadcast journalism student with a strong desire to gain an in-depth knowledge of Journalism fundamentals, and experience in the media industry. While Currently in pursuit of a Bachelors degree in Broadcast Journalism, with a minor in Collective consumer behavior I have worked hard at the University of Central Florida in obtaining a passion of knowledge in communications.

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