Does anyone have any ideas for meals that are cheap, fast and healthy and that kids will eat.

Robbie - posted on 07/20/2009 ( 25 moms have responded )

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I am very busy caring for my husband with ALS, keeping up with house work and caring for my children, one who is a very active 4yr old girl. I really need some ideas for meals that the kids will eat and that are cheap and fast. I don't want to skimp on nutrition either.

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Chris - posted on 07/21/2009

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I'm thinking these "freezable" meals would be a good answer for you. Give them a try. .



Make-Ahead-Chicken

1 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

1 tbsp vegetable oil



Cut chicken into ½-in. cubes using Chef’s Knife. Heat oil in 12-in Skillet over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Add chicken and cook 7-10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain chicken, if necessary.



Greek Chicken and Orzo Skillet

To Prepare and Freeze:

1 portion “Make-Ahead-Chicken”

2 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-in pieces

1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (14 oz) garlic and onion flavored diced tomatoes

3 tbsp Greek Rub

In Bag 1, combine chicken and zucchini In Bag 2, combine beans, tomatoes, and rub.

To Finish and Serve:

2 cans (14 oz) each chicken broth

½ cup water

1 lb uncooked orzo



To cook and serve immediately:

Add contents of Bag 2, broth and water to 12-in Skillet; cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add orzo. Cover and cook 5 minutes (or halfway through cooking time according to package directions), stirring occasionally.

Add contents of Bag 1. Cover and cook 5-7 minutes or until orzo is tender and zucchini begins to soften. Remove from heat and serve.



To cook and serve from freezer:

Add contents of Bag 2, broth and water to 12-in Skillet; cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook 8-10 minutes, breaking contents apart as necessary. Proceed as directed above.



Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup

To Prepare and Freeze:

1 portion “Make-Ahead-Chicken

3 cups tortilla chips, finely crushed

2 cups frozen corn

1 can cheddar cheese soup

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

2 tbsp Chipolte rub

In Bag 1, combine chicken, chips and corn. In Bag 2, combine cheese spread, tomatoes and rub.

To Finish and Serve:

2 cups chicken broth



To finish and cook immediately:

Add contents of Bag 2 and broth to (4-qt.) Casserole.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook 12-14 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally.

Add contents of Bag 1 to Casserole; simmer 4-6 minutes or until soup is thickened. Serve soup with optional toppings, if desired.



To cook and serve from freezer:

Cook contents of Bag 2 and broth as directed above, whisking occasionally using Silicone Sauce Whisk.

Add contents of Bag 1 and cook as directed above, breaking chicken apart as necessary using Bamboo Spatula.



Chicken Dijon Chicken Noodle Toss

To Prepare and Freeze:

1 portion “Make-Ahead Chicken”

2 cups frozen peas

¼ lb deli ham, diced into ¼-in. pieces

1 can (10¾ oz) condensed cream of chicken soup

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

In Bag 1, combine chicken and peas. In Bag 2, combine ham, soup and mustard.

To finish and serve:

12 oz uncooked rotini pasta

½ cup water

8 oz sour cream

1 oz grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)

¼ cup snipped fresh parsley



To cook and serve immediately:

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.



Meanwhile, place water and contents of Bag 2 in (12-in.) Skillet; cover. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add sour cream to Skillet. Reduce heat to medium; add contents of Bag 1. Cover and cook 4-6 minutes or until chicken is hot, stirring occasionally.



Toss cooked pasta with parsley. Spoon chicken mixture over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.



To cook and serve from freeze:

Cook and drain pasta as directed above.



Meanwhile, place water and contents of Bag 2 in (12-in.) Skillet; cover. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking contents apart as necessary using Bamboo Spatula. Proceed as directed above.

Smoky Black Bean Chicken Wraps

To Prepare and Freeze:

1 portion “Make-Ahead Chicken”

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 tablespoons Smoky BBQ rub

2 cups cooked rice



In Bag 1, combine chicken, beans and 1-2 tbs rub In Bag 2, combine rice and 1 tbs rub



To finish and serve:

½ cup water

4 oz shredded cheddar cheese

6 11-in flour tortillas

Extra toppings: onion, lettuce, tomatoes, hot sauce, extra BBQ sauce



To cook and serve immediately:

Omit water. Place contents of Bags 1and 2 in Large Skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Assemble wraps as deisired.



To cook and serve from freezer:

Add contents of Bag 1 and water to Large Skillet; cover and cook over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until hot, breaking chicken apart as necessary.

Add contents of Bag 2 to skillet; cook 4-6 minutes or until heated through.

Crystal - posted on 07/21/2009

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You can buy bags of boneless skinless chicken breasts in bulk that over all is a good price, usually anywhere from $5-$8 a bag. Also frozen veggies are cheaper. I sometimes buy bags of the frozen stir fry mix and the chicken and I make a stir fry and serve on white rice, which is also a cheap buy. My husband likes to buy chicken ramen soup and add in some cooked chicken from the boneless skinless chicken breast and some frozen veggies. This makes for a meal its self! I am a coupon nut, I have tons of coupons so I just watch for good healthy coupons and also for the sales at the store and stock up when possible.

I hope this helps!

Crystal

Rebecca - posted on 07/20/2009

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spaghetti bolonaigse is a favourite in my family. i add grated carrot/zuchini(sp?) or any other veg for that matter

Jeni - posted on 07/20/2009

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my kids love wraps...
we get all different kinds of tortillas. and fill them with all sorts of things
two of my kids favs is... the green or red tortilla...lay open...bit of mayo or mustard...couple thin ham of lean turkey slices...some low fat cheese...spinach leaves...tomatoes...sometimes a shredded cucumber or bit of avacado...and roll it up...
the other is ...tortilla...non fat cream cheese...ham slice...and a ton of truit...rolled up...ya the ham and fruit really is good.
now a days i keep tortillas around and they go in and rummage thru the fridge and make all sorts of strange things... and they are really cheap...
these are great in the summer when you don really want to cook and they are cool and refreshing...i like with a nice ice tea or lemonade...and maybe some fruit.

i chop up the veggies and things when i get home from store and then the kids can help create their own meal.we have 5 in our family and for bout 10 bucks we can get 3 days lunches out of the materials...we buy whatever is on sale.

Juliana - posted on 07/20/2009

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Try these meat balls with, cheaper, super nutritive food and delicious for younger kids :

Add to the finechopped meat, 2 tbs of celery , 3 spoons of fine chopped onion, 1 fine chopped tomato, 1 fine chopped carrot, meat sauce ( as worchesteir sauce or soy sauce) salt and peper, one or two eggs, I bread slice soaked in milk with 4 tbs of oatmeal. Try doing these meat balls as burgers, your kid won't notice the carrots, tomatoes nor oat meal in it, you can make them also als burgers or with a deep fry mixture. your kid will love it also your family.

25 Comments

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Amanda-christine - posted on 07/28/2009

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try the baked bean cottage pie with garlic bread... iv put it on the menu page x

Robbie - posted on 07/27/2009

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Wow, you are all so awsome. I never expected this many wonderful ideas. Thank you so much everyone. I love this site, it is so cool. Hope to keep seeing you all around.

Cynthia - posted on 07/24/2009

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Thanks for asking this question! I've grabbed some good recipies, but some not very nutritious. Here's my contribution:



Chicken Breast Parmasean Dinner



4 Chicken Breasts (cut into strips makes it fun for kids)

1/2 cup Parmasean Cheese (the kind in the can you shake out)

1/4 bread crumbs (italian or seasoned is best)

1/4 tsp pepper and oregano (other spices are fine if you like to be creative

Salt to taste (if any at all)

Jar of Pasta Sauce (I prefer anything with mushrooms or spinach)

Pasta of your choice (some made of wheat are yuck, but shells or tube pastas are pretty good)

*** Optional: adding broccoli or spinach is a great way to get some veggies in there.



Preheat oven at 400, start cooking the pasta and steaming the veggies (if you're adding veggies). Mix the cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and spices in a bowl. Dip the chicken in margarine or dip it without, it still sticks ok. Place on a pre-buttered pan (use aluminum foil for easiest clean-up) and bake for 24min. While this is cooking, heat up the pasta sauce.



Serve the pasta, veggies, and sauce with the chicken on the side. Now you've prepared a meal that covers all the food groups at a great price!! Plus, these left-overs are awesome!!!

Jackie - posted on 07/24/2009

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homemade chicken noodle soup. use chicken with bones still b/c it wont dry out when you cook it.add the veggies that you like but cut the pieces really small so they wont fuss b/c the have to eat veggies. use swansons chicken broth and water together then cook the chicken and add the veggies in last. if you cut the veggies small then it will soften up faster. season with some chicken boubon

Karina - posted on 07/24/2009

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my son loves this one....it's mostly a one pan meal



fry in a skillet 2 large onions that have been cut into half moons and a crushed garlic clove, fry until slightly browned in a little oil. add 1 cup chicken broth to skillet and boil until mixture has reduced slightly.

in a baking dish (for oven) place 8 x chicken, pork or beef sausages and about 12 x baby potatoes (cut in half) and toss with a little oil. sprinkle with a handful of olives, some rosemary and bay leaves (fresh are best)...pour the onion, chicken broth mixture over the sausages and potatoes in the baking dish.

cook in moderate oven for 20 mins....after this add the zest of one lemon and some baby tomatoes on the top...bake for another 20 mins....and serve.

really yummy.....i even made it when i had some unexpected guests and they asked for the recipe.



good luck, karina...(australia)

HEATHER - posted on 07/23/2009

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MY 5 YEAR (AND EVEN MY HUSBAND) LOVE CORN DOG MUFFINS!!!! THEY ARE FAST, EASY AND CHEAP.



1 1/4 C FLOUR

3/4 C CORN MEAL

1 EGG

2 TSP BAKING POWDER

1 C MILK

1/4 C BROWN SUGAR

1/4 C OIL

1/2 C CHEESE, SHREDDED

HOT DOGS



MIX ALL INGREDIENTS TOGETHER. (DICE HOT DOGS FINE, OR INTO SLICES). SPRAY MUFFIN PAN, FILL 3/4 WAY FULL WITH BATTER. BAKE AT 400 FOR 15 MIN. (NOTE: THIS DOESN'T WORK IN A 8X8' PAN!! MY MISTAKE!!!)

THIS MAKES ABOUT 15 MUFFINS. BELIEVE IT OR NOT BUT THEY ARE GREAT COLD. MY HUSBAND PREFERS THEM COLD.



OR IF YOUR FAMILY LIKES PANCAKES.....I GOT A RECIPE FROM IHOP!! THEY ARE DELICIOUS!!!!!!



1 1/4 C FLOUR

1 TSP BAKING POWDER

1 TSP BAKING SODA

PINCH OF SALT

1 EGG - SLIGHTLY BEATEN

1 1/4 BUTTERMILK

2 TBSP

1/4 C SUGAR



MIX ALL INGREDIENTS. BLEND BUTTER AND SUGAR. ADD TO MIXTURE. MAKE ON GRIDDLE. ADD FRUIT IF YOU WANT.



HOPE FOR FIND THESE HELPFUL!! THESE ARE TWO OF OUR EASIES AND QUICKEST RECIPES!!



HEATHER ELLEFSON

Juliana - posted on 07/23/2009

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Tortillas in México is the most popular meal at the table when breakfast , lunch or dinner time. Two tortillas are only 50 Kcalories, as the 15% of Calcium, 10% of Iron and 10% folic acid and vitamin C. you can try making more dishes with tortillas , and if you combine tortillas with a beans you get a powerful combination of Iron, aminoacids, good carbohidrates, and minerals as magnesium and calcium. Really good for little kids.

Debby - posted on 07/23/2009

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you can always garnish with cheese or fresh parsley or other green spices or leaves..

Eva - posted on 07/23/2009

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This is a quick recipe that I used to cook when I run out of time getting busy with my 4 kids. You can make white fried rice wrapped with egg. Stir garlic in butter, add chopped chicken, carrot or other vegs, then add rice, salt, pepper, a bit sugar. In another pan, you make omellet very thin which you put fried rice on it and roll it. You can cut into slices before serving or just the roll itself. I hope kids enjoy to eat it.

Debby - posted on 07/23/2009

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I try to cook everything in one pan. For instance, yesterday I made spaghetti.
Brown your desired meat... add any desired veggies (bell pepper, onion, whatever)...
add extra seasoning if you like extra Italian flavor or need seasonings for your health...
stir fry (raise and lower your heat as desired).. add enough water to cover plus a little more... break up and add your pasta .... return to boil & then lower to simmer & cover...
add your tomato or alfredo sauce after about 20 mins. and stir and heat.

Carla - posted on 07/23/2009

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I have one called cheese it chicken! You can use cheese it crackers, Master Piece Bar-b-que potatoe chips. It is easy and my kids eat it up. I use Perdue chicken because it is so moist and juicy!

4-6 Chicken breasts
1 box or bag of crackers or chips (crushed in baggy)
bowl of oil (any kind you like to use I also tried Ranch and it was okay)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse chicken breasts and place in bowl of oil 1-2 at a time. After us place in oil then place in baggy with crushed crackers or chips. Place on cookie sheet and put in oven for 30-45 min. until done. Times vary with different ovens!

I make more than 6 usually for leftovers for work but the kiddos eat it up and I also make steam fresh broccoli (frozen) with butter. Give it a try!

Judi - posted on 07/22/2009

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Half of a baked potatoe flat side up on a bed of shedded cheddar cheese (hair). Then let the kids decorate the face with other cooked vegs. Bean eyes, tomato mouth, sour cream beard, ... whatever. It becomes the edible Mr. Potato Head.

Our kids also loved Bugs on a log. Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins. Of course they always needed extra bugs! This is a side that is easy, adds vegs, and fruits and protein, sounds to good to be true.

Tomato soup and Gold fish crackers let the kids go fishing.

Abby - posted on 07/22/2009

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one thing that is awesome is a crock pot- try this:
pulled pork sandwiches

2 to 2.5 lb pork roast (getting it on sale or with a discount coupon makes it SUPER cheap)

18 oz bbq sauce (any one, stores usually have at least one kind 10/$10 in the summer so you can stock up)

salt and pepper the pork then put in crock pot cover with bbq sauce, and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-5. shred pork with 2 forks and serve on hamburger buns.

It's awesome, easy, and can be super cheap if you get sale pork (especially if there's a coupon with it or you can print one online) and sale bbq sauce. it's healthy too- packed with protein and the fat contents depends on the pork, but it's delicious!!!

Laura - posted on 07/22/2009

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my three year old's favorite thing to do is make her own pizzas. i get the pop-can biscuits, smoosh them out thin, and spread spaghetti sauce, cheese, pineapple and ham on them. bake at 400 for 12 minutes. she LOVES to make them herself and requests them often!

Rebecca - posted on 07/20/2009

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oh and left overs are yummy made into shepards pie or toasted sandwhiches

Pamela - posted on 07/20/2009

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This is a favorite in our house. All you need is shells, cream of chicken soup, and spam. you cook the shells till done, cube the spam into bite sizw pieces, add spam to cooked shells, add cream of chicken soup with equal amount of milk. Heat through and eat.

Kimberly - posted on 07/20/2009

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You are a super woman! I'm putting all of my best recipes up on justamomha.com/pantry-gourmet/ They can be searched by ingredient, "Healthy," or "Easy."

Kietta - posted on 07/20/2009

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I just joined and this was the first question I saw. Its ironic because I actually was thinking about making some this week. Some years back (like 16yrs ago) another Army spouse shared this recipe with me and my kids still love it to this day. I am sure you can use any oil you like for frying.



Eggrolls



I use ground chicken myself but when I learned the recipe it was ground pork or shrimp.

chopped cabbage

fresh garlic (or in jar)

soy sauce (reduced sodium)

bean sprouts

shredded carrots if you like

medium low heat



**steam shredded cabbage with garlic for 3-4 minutes, add garlic carrots, stir constantly while dabbing soy sauce into mixture. You want the veggies to still have a crunch. When the cabbage is almost at the consistency you like, add bean sprouts and cook for another 3 minutes. The sprouts should be somewhat transparent and also still have a snap/crunch to them.



pour mixture into glass bowl and let stand until cool. Do not wrap while mixture is hot.



The bottom line is you can put all the veggies the kids don’t like on the plate into a eggroll wrapper, wrap according to instruction on package and fry for less than 4 minutes until golden. Drain well and take a bite of the top, put a dab of soy sauce or what ever sauce you like, delicious. I will not eat a eggroll from a Chinese restaurant to this day.



*can also wrap fresh fruits. There is no limit.

Meghan - posted on 07/20/2009

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Kids love homemade mac'n'cheese. Rachel Ray has a great basic Mac'n'cheese using white cheddar. It's pretty quick to make and really creamy and yummy! Add some veggies on the side that you know they like. makes enough for leftovers that always get eaten. tuna is a quick protient to add if they like it.

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