Author Topic: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)  (Read 5463 times)

hunniebun

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Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« on: December 20, 2014, 06:51:46 PM »
Can anyone post a link to a previous thread or make some suggestions on some kid and budget friendly meal ideas?  We are working to cut our groceries from 1200/month to 700/month.  My kids are 5 and 2 and at the height of pickiness.  I have switched up things like instant oatmeal to real oatmeal, and am buying my meat at costco and dividing it up and stocking the freezer. But I feel like I am making the same things over and over again (homemade mac and cheese, tacos, enchiladas, spaghetti and meat sauce, shepard's pie, quiche etc.)  I'd love to hear some suggestions! 

Rezdent

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2014, 06:56:30 PM »
Are you making the same things because you're out of ideas? Or are those the only things that kids will eat?

hunniebun

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2014, 07:39:08 PM »
A bit of both :) 

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2014, 07:50:06 PM »
I've had good luck with the Budget Bytes website. It's not all, like super kid-oriented, but mine have been willing to try most things.

Remember that it's as much about your kids' attitudes as their tastes! If I am serving something iffy, I offer them something they really like to get them to the table, and then if they don't eat their dinner... whatever. Tonight, for instance, was black bean burgers. Well, Little Brother (age 2) was having none of it, and Big Brother also looked skeptical. I offered them each one slice of American cheese (from Costco, naturally). Once Big Brother got going, he ate his whole half-sandwich. Little Brother only tried a few bites, but he had the cheese (and some pre-dinner broccoli and hummus), so it's not like he's gonna starve.

I do usually serve something for LUNCH that they really like--homemade pizza, Costco chicken nuggets, grilled cheese sandwiches, (all with either frozen peas or broccoli and hummus, plus usually a fruit) etc. They tend to fill up on lunch and breakfast, the meals they can count on :-).

FWIW my kids are healthy weights and our grocery bill is about $600 a month. Trying to push it to 5. They eat a lot of yogurt and hummus, both of which I have learned to make.

crispy

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2014, 08:09:11 PM »
My girls like baked drumsticks, quesadillas, all types of soups, and tortilla pizzas (tortillas topped with sauce and whatever toppings they choose).

Rezdent

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2014, 08:24:28 PM »
For finding more recipes: try to add one new dish every couple of weeks.

Kids: it's been my experience that kids will be cautious about foods that they aren't used to seeing.  So when mine were young I had to be a bit repetitive in making a new dish often enough it became familiar.  They'd turn up their noses the first few times, eat a bit the next few times, and then would accept it and even ask for it.

So my MO was something like this:
1. Find a new dish like tuna casserole.
2. Make dish along with something kids liked.
3. Make it again.  Maybe tweak it more to our tastes.
4.  Repeat once every 10 days so until kids established a pattern of eating it.
5.  Pick a new dish, maybe bean or soup.
6.  Make the now accepted casserole and the new dish.  Repeat.

People used to tell me all the time how lucky I was that my kids werent picky.  Maybe.  I like to think some of it was MY persistence with exposing them to new dishes.  I just kept throwing the dish out there. (tuna casserole took months)

It helped me a lot to plan menus weekly.  Eventually I had about 60 main dishes that worked. But I'd forget about some of them until I looked back at my old plans.

hunniebun

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2014, 09:01:09 PM »
Thanks for the tips! I have read that it takes kids between 10 and 30 exposures to accept a new food...so I think it does take time.  I will check out the websites suggested!  Do most people do all their shopping (like fruits and veggies too) at costco?  I find that it is such large quantities that fresh things end up going bad before they get eaten up!

Zamboni

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2014, 09:11:21 PM »
Take a cue from my SIL with six kids and buy a rice cooker/steamer and slow cooker.  Then buy a really BIG bag of rice.  Then realize that you can just dump stuff in the slow cooker, turn it on, and right when you get home for dinner there is delicious food waiting for you.  <- this is quote from my formerly picky son.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2014, 09:22:36 PM »
Re: Costco: No, I rarely buy fruits and veggies there. I mean, I might pick up some bananas or cantaloupes or something and we just eat a lot of that for a while. Mostly I buy things like oatmeal, peanut butter, etc.

I DO buy truly ginormous quantities of sliced or shredded cheese at Costco. I then portion it out into usable sizes and freeze what we don't use right away (once I open the package, that it--unopened cheese stays good a looong time). I suppose cheese snobs are anti-freezing, but I am not a cheese snob. I'm just a mom making homemade pizza on a budget :-). Seriously, I save a lot of money on cheese! And it tastes fine to me.

Check around to find the best prices on produce, shop sales, and use that to help determine your budget. For instance, when zucchini and summer squash go on sale at Sprouts, I make the vegetable polenta casserole from Budget Bytes.

yoga mama

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2014, 10:09:49 PM »
I occasionally buy fruits and veggies at Costco, depends on the price and if it will get eaten or can be easily frozen.  They do have decent selection of frozen organic fruits and veggies.  We also buy cheese there, and shred it in the food processor and freeze most of it in individual zip loc baggies.  I agree with buying in season, even at Whole Foods the local seasonal organic veggies are well priced. 

We sometimes make smoothies.  I put in kale, carrots, a banana, and some frozen fruit and then add some water.  It doesn't take much fruit and the kids (hubby and I, also!) devour them.  I don't know how the cost breaks down but its a tasty way for us all to get some extra veggies.  We buy frozen Daybreak blend (organic strawberries, peaches, mangoes... maybe something else) at Costco and it is perfect for these.  I also second making your own yogurt and hummus.  Hummus is a lot of fun to try new flavors in, and I use Alton Brown's Hummus for Real recipe as a base.

I'm interested in all the responses here, my oldest son turned 3 this week and until a few weeks ago would eat anything.  Now every dinner is a struggle.  Even stuff he devoured recently.  We just make him eat it and deal with the tantrums and hope it makes him a better eater someday :(

TerriM

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2014, 11:30:43 PM »
Yeah.  Welcome to the picky eaters club.  For a while all I made was buttered bread and plain pasta with carrot sticks because that's all one of my kids would eat!

I don't think they actually mind.  I cook one meal for the kids, one for the adults.  If the kids eat what the adults are eating, we celebrate :)

dungoofed

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2014, 01:38:23 AM »
I don't have kids but plenty of my friends do, and I think I'm getting better at picking what they might like.

The simplest I can give you is my slow cooker ribs with creamy bacon sauce recipe, and then a couple of trays of baked vegetables. We usually have rice in the rice cooker in case they turn their nose up at the vegetables, but baked vegetables done right are colourful and the kids tend to get a little adventurous.

Ribs
1.8kg ribs, cut into single ribs
a little salt to rub on the ribs
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon water.

Put the liquids in the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the ribs in standing upright. Cover and set to 4-5 hours on "high."

Creamy Bacon Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
4 rashers of bacon cut into small pieces
half an onion, cut into small pieces
250ml heavy cream
a couple of spoonfuls of oil from the slow cooker
salt

Fry the bacon, followed by the onion, in the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the cream, then add the oil from the slow cooker and a little salt and reduce over a low heat until ready.

(note that you can make variations of this eg substitute out the bacon for some mushroom or even a little Keen's curry powder).


Baked Vegetables

Dice the following:
potato (If you have access to a purple Japanese satsumaimo then this is my recommendation - purple and sweet, the kids seem to love it)
onion (kids seem to go for the caramelized flavour)
pumpkin
fresh asparagus
red bell pepper

Mix the vegetables in a bowl with olive oil and whatever suitable spices you have in the rack (eg rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, etc), plus a little salt and pepper. Chuck them in a baking tray and put them in an oven preheated to 230C (450F) for about 35-45 minutes.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2014, 04:21:05 AM »
For finding more recipes: try to add one new dish every couple of weeks.

Kids: it's been my experience that kids will be cautious about foods that they aren't used to seeing.  So when mine were young I had to be a bit repetitive in making a new dish often enough it became familiar.  They'd turn up their noses the first few times, eat a bit the next few times, and then would accept it and even ask for it.

So my MO was something like this:
1. Find a new dish like tuna casserole.
2. Make dish along with something kids liked.
3. Make it again.  Maybe tweak it more to our tastes.
4.  Repeat once every 10 days so until kids established a pattern of eating it.
5.  Pick a new dish, maybe bean or soup.
6.  Make the now accepted casserole and the new dish.  Repeat.

People used to tell me all the time how lucky I was that my kids werent picky.  Maybe.  I like to think some of it was MY persistence with exposing them to new dishes.  I just kept throwing the dish out there. (tuna casserole took months)

It helped me a lot to plan menus weekly.  Eventually I had about 60 main dishes that worked. But I'd forget about some of them until I looked back at my old plans.

I couldn't help but think of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dANLnHEi19A

Apparently this approach works across the spectrum of species!

mm1970

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2014, 09:21:18 AM »
For finding more recipes: try to add one new dish every couple of weeks.

Kids: it's been my experience that kids will be cautious about foods that they aren't used to seeing.  So when mine were young I had to be a bit repetitive in making a new dish often enough it became familiar.  They'd turn up their noses the first few times, eat a bit the next few times, and then would accept it and even ask for it.

So my MO was something like this:
1. Find a new dish like tuna casserole.
2. Make dish along with something kids liked.
3. Make it again.  Maybe tweak it more to our tastes.
4.  Repeat once every 10 days so until kids established a pattern of eating it.
5.  Pick a new dish, maybe bean or soup.
6.  Make the now accepted casserole and the new dish.  Repeat.

People used to tell me all the time how lucky I was that my kids werent picky.  Maybe.  I like to think some of it was MY persistence with exposing them to new dishes.  I just kept throwing the dish out there. (tuna casserole took months)

It helped me a lot to plan menus weekly.  Eventually I had about 60 main dishes that worked. But I'd forget about some of them until I looked back at my old plans.

I couldn't help but think of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dANLnHEi19A

Apparently this approach works across the spectrum of species!
This is great and it worked a lot with #1, who eats anything.  He's 8.

But #2 is 2.5 and it's a struggle.  Man.

My kids love soup.  So I make a LOT of pureed soup.

Goldielocks

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2014, 11:13:07 PM »
These aren't full meal ideas, but starting points..
Kids are easy in that the idea of meatless dishes is A-ok with them, as long as they get some of the starches that they love.

My 2 yr old liked canned mushrooms.  Go figure.  When the chicken / meat was done, and they kept asking for "more meat", a friend suggested opening a tin of mushrooms.   Bingo!   (Just watch the sodium).   Mushrooms in a can are only $0.50 to $.75 each here.

Other ideas
Home made bread, sweet bread dishes (cinnamon buns, light on the butter)
Home made pickles.  (my nieces are pickle fiends and that family has very low income).
Pancakes for dinner.   (Super hero mom for this one... I added scrambled eggs and apple slices for dessert)
Homemade macaroni.... Pizza...
Pasta with butter and a sprinkle of cheese.  White sauce is always a hit.   Frozen peas added did not cause too big of a fuss.
Cooked carrots.  Homemade applesauce (with free apples from the neighbors, or buy bulk from costco, and freeze the extra from the huge jar).
PB and Jam anything.

Fishingmn

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2014, 06:38:01 AM »
When the kids were young and on days we didn't have a lot of time we'd often do breakfast for dinner. They always loved it -

- Omelets or scrambled eggs & frozen hash browns
- Waffles with strawberries
- Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes with sausage or bacon
- French Toast w/ fruit

Maybe not gourmet or even totally nutritious but they turned out okay :)

GrayGhost

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2014, 08:06:36 AM »
Try stir-fries. Cut up a bunch of vegetables, fry them with spices, oils, sauces, served alongside rice with some meat and you're good to go.

Exhale

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2014, 12:47:09 PM »
- Quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches - can even do things like add thinly sliced apple inside
- Puree veggies (and/or white beans) added into the spaghetti sauce
- Yogurt sundaes - toasted oats, yogurt, fresh fruit
- Make-your-own kebabs (little kids kids make it, grown-up cooks it)

- I put out a dish of veggies (and some healthy dip like hummus or black bean dip) first and then follow up with main dish and fruit for dessert. Not always a popular routine, but has been accepted and works reasonably well.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Mustashian Meal ideas (that kids will like)
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2014, 07:40:09 PM »
Someone mentioned hummus or black bean dip--I do find that my kids love to dip pretty much anything. They didn't like salmon patties until I made them tiny and introduced them as "salmon bites" to be dipped in lemon juiced sour cream!