9 Grown-Up Spins on Your Favorite Childhood Foods

Food & Entertainment

Youth was a simpler time. We had simpler schedules, simpler relationships, simpler palates. In terms of the latter, breakfast consisted of whatever array of cereal our parents so chose to purchase that week; lunch was often some variety of sandwich—usually PB&J, perhaps with fruit and/or crackers to accompany; snacks were a treasure trove of pre-packaged goodies or concoctions we knew how to whip up on our own.

And while, yes, having more flavor in our meals and options at our disposal and, oh, we don’t know, the ability to cook (!!) is a nice perk of growing up, it can still be fun to reflect back on the good old days, when mac and cheese was a solid staple in our diets. Today our team is pulling together a list of recipes that remind us of childhood, but with a decidedly grown-up spin.


Gouda Mac and Cheese

Childhood Foods: 9 Grown-Up Spins on Some of Our Favorites
Photo by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser at A Couple Cooks

Here at Wit & Delight, it’s rare that we’ll ever pass up the tried and true standby of mac and cheese. This version of an always loved dish features smoked gouda cheese and sourdough bread crumbs for more flavor than the childhood version (complete with hot dogs, anyone?) ever delivered.


Artichoke Pesto and Burrata Pizza with Lemony Arugula

Photo by Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest

BEFORE YOU SAY ANYTHING ABOUT HOW MANY VEGETABLES ARE ON THIS PIZZA, let us say a few words to you. Creamy burrata, folks. Marinated artichokes. Basil pesto. Salty green olives. Toasted pine nuts!! Herbs and THEN SOME MORE HERBS. We don’t need to convince anyone that pizza is a childhood staple, but it’s an adult staple, too. And this one? This one is a flavor bomb in your mouth. Go forth, make it, enjoy.


Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich with Brie

Childhood Foods: 9 Grown-Up Spins on Some of Our Favorites
Photo by Lisa Lin at Healthy Nibbles

Is there *any* food more quintessential to being a kid than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Take two slices of bread, slather two ingredients on them, and—boom!—you’ve got yourself a downright delicacy in 2 minutes flat. This particular take on the classic requires a tiny bit more time, but we’re gonna go out on a limb and say it’s worth each additional minute (and then some). Melted brie cheese on grilled toast truly makes the average PB&J sing.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Bars

Photo by Tina Rupp in Food & Wine

The delicacies that came out of our team’s collective freezers in our childhood summers ran the gamut from freezies (of course…a staple) to bomb pops to push pops. One of the most prized treats of all was the ice cream sandwich. This Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Bar recipe features layers on layers of goodness—break-and-bake cookies as a base, topped with ice cream and hot fudge sauce, then dipped into crushed chocolate toffee candy as a topping. GO AHEAD AND SIGN US UP, THANKS.


Fancy BLT on Sourdough with Fried Egg

Photo by Adrianna Adarme at A Cozy Kitchen

Okay. So maybe it’s true that most of us never found ourselves running home from seventh grade to whip up a BLT in our respective kitchens (although if you did, more power to you!!). HOWEVER, we can all admit that sandwiches on the whole? They definitely fall into the category of Food Kids Make for Themselves. And this BLT is a grown-up version we can all thoroughly enjoy. Toasted sourdough bread is the base for tangy mayonnaise, fresh greens, juicy tomato slices, crispy bacon, and perfectly fried eggs. Yes, yes, and yes.


Oreo Ice Cream

Childhood Foods: 9 Grown-Up Spins on Some of Our Favorites
Photo by Beth Baumgartner at The First Year

It’s no secret that kids love ice cream. It’s no secret that we love ice cream. (An anecdote: last week it was made known that there was free ice cream in the hallways of the Wit & Delight studio building, and one member of our team ran out to get herself a cone within…seconds. She exclaimed, “There’s ice cream in the hall!” to no one in particular as she strolled back into the office, fully content. It was all quite impressive.) This recipe calls for just 3 ingredients and, as far as we’re concerned, features the perfect creamy-to-crunchy ratio (as is extraordinarily clear in the photo above!).


Honey Roasted Vegetable + Smoked Gouda Baked Penne

Childhood Foods: 9 Grown-Up Spins on Some of Our Favorites
Photo by Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats

ANOTHER RECIPE FEATURING MORE NOODLES. PLUS MORE SMOKED GOUDA. BECAUSE YOU CANNOT GO WRONG WITH EITHER. We did the hard work of counting, and there are 7 different types of vegetables in this recipe. While that fact may not technically make it very kid-friendly, this dish is sure to shine among the grown-up set—it’s comfort food, it contains cheese, it’s slightly redeemable (given the aforementioned vegetable count), it’s delicious. AND. It’s not complicated to make. We swear. We pinky promise, too.


Mango Lassi Popsicle

Childhood Foods: 9 Grown-Up Spins on Some of Our Favorites
Photo by Jerry James Stone

These popsicles hark back to a simpler time: warm summer days spent biking around the neighborhood and playing night games ’til dark, popping into the house to grab a beverage when you were thirsty or a snack from the freezer when you wanted to cool down. The nice thing about this popsicle version, compared to those of our youths? They’ve got a smaller ingredients list, to be sure, so we can feel good about eating them. An added bonus? They’re easy to make, requiring only 3 ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time. We’re sold.


Black Bean Nachos

Childhood Foods: 9 Grown-Up Spins on Some of Our Favorites
Photo by Gaby Dalkin at What’s Gaby Cooking

Do you remember coming home from school, spreading a nice even layer of tortilla chips on a plate, dousing them in whatever variety of shredded cheese was within arm’s reach, and popping them in the microwave? We do. We really do. It was an easy, tasty snack, and today we’re bringing you a slightly (read: extremely) more flavorful version of the childhood original. These black bean nachos are topped with jalapenos, two types of cheese (*excellent*), thinly sliced radishes, and pico de gallo, among other things!! We are fully on board.

What recipes bring you back to your childhood? Let us know in the comments!

BY Team Wit & Delight - June 24, 2019

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June 29, 2019 2:01 am

Great post

September 16, 2020 6:06 am

Amazing Post, Thank you for sharing this post really this is awesome and very useful.

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