Feeding Kids on a Budget

Oh my! Things changed so much in the last couple weeks or so.  The state made the announcement last week schools were to shut down for the rest of the year and move to distanced learning to finish the year.  The schools are doing what they can to alleviate the kids from going hungry by running bus routes to deliver breakfast and lunch and setting up locations where the food can be picked up.  This is a great program, but it’s not reaching everyone.  Reach out to anyone you know so the kids that truly need it can get the food they need.  If they don’t get the food from the school and the parents can’t afford it, these kids learning will be severely impacted.

I want to do my part to help by sharing some easy meals that don’t cost much and will keep the kids fed and eating well because they are things they love.  Hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly, etc. there are several things that are cheap that can feed kids cheaply, but they don’t have to be boring! 

The recipes below are great for feeding the kids.  Feel free to switch up a meat for something you have left over from a meal.  Use BBQ sauce instead of pizza sauce if your kids will eat it.  Use sausage pieces instead of hot dogs if that’s what you have on hand. These are completely customizable to what your kids like and what you have on hand!  Make your grocery list and do grocery pickup from Walmart this weekend.  Then meet me in the kitchen and have fun with some old favorites!

Mini Pizzas

Kids love pizza right?!  This is an inexpensive way to keep the kids happy!

1 can refrigerated flaky biscuit dough (if you only have small kids, get the little can.  I have teenagers and have to get a large can or two)

1 pkg pepperoni or other meat of choice 

Shredded Italian blend cheese

Prepared pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pull individual biscuits in half, creating two rounds. Leaving the biscuit whole would make it too thick.  Cut rounds into quarters, so each biscuit creates 8 small wedges.  Let dough warm to room temperature.  Press wedges onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, forming each piece into mini rounds.  Top each mini round with a piece of pepperoni and a pinch of cheese.  Bake for 5-8 minutes, or just until edges turn golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve with sauce for dipping.  This is so easy to make and so easy to personalize!  You don’t even have to make them bite size.  Pull the biscuits apart and leave them whole for a little bit larger pizza!  So fun for the kids and adults!


Spaghetti Tacos

Jordan did this in my house just recently.  Why not combine two of kid’s favorite meals?

1lb spaghetti, broke in half

Spaghetti sauce of choice

Meat of choice, if desired (we like to use leftover chicken or ground turkey)

Taco seasoning

Stand and Stuff taco shells

Taco toppings as desired

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add broken spaghetti to pot and cook per package directions.  Drain and add sauce as desired.  Set aside until ready to use.  I go light on the sauce for tacos because I add other things like salsa, sour cream and cheese.  Meanwhile, cook meat in large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink.  How long will depend on what kind of meat you choose.  Season with taco seasoning to taste.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line taco shells on baking sheet just slightly overlapping each other.  Bake 7 minutes.  If you time it right, you can have all the pieces done close enough to each other to have all the individual pieces still hot at the end.  Assemble taco by layering spaghetti and meat and then toppings as desired.  

Note: Don’t have taco shells? Make taco shells out of cheese!  Just bake rounds of cheese until brown.  Fold over something so the ‘shell’ forms and leave alone for about 5 minutes so the shell can set then stuff as before!


Mini Corndogs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

¼ tsp. salt

3 ½ tsps. baking powder

¼ tsp. onion powder

½ tsp taco seasoning

1/3 cup melted unsalted sweet cream butter

1 large egg

1 cup milk

Hot dogs, cut into thirds

Line muffin tin with silicone muffing liners or grease well with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 400°F.  In medium mixing bowl, add flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, onion powder, taco seasoning and baking powder. Whisk to combine well.  Make well in center of dry ingredients and add butter, milk and egg. Stir just until mixture comes together and there are only a few lumps remaining.  Fill muffin liners half full and press a piece of hot dog into center of each.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.  Serve hot.

Note: You can also use a mini muffin tin, just make your hot dog pieces smaller and enjoy bite size pieces!  You can also use a short cut and just get corn muffin mix.


Mexican Unsloppy Joes

2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury™ refrigerated Crescent Dough Sheet

1lb lean ground turkey-you may have leftover meat you can use for something else

1 medium onion, diced

1 pkg taco seasoning

1 cup chunky salsa

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, more or less to taste

1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Unroll both cans of dough on work surface and press into two 12x8-inch rectangles. Cut into total of 8 rectangles.  In 10-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked. Drain grease.  Stir in taco seasoning mix and salsa and simmer 5 minutes. Spoon about 1/4 cup meat mixture in center of 1 dough rectangle. Sprinkle with cheese. Fold rectangle over to form triangle and press edges with fork to seal.  Be careful your filling is not too close to the edges. Place on cookie sheet. Brush with egg. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Serve with sour cream or queso if desired. YUM!


 Peanut Butter & Jelly Burrito

PB&J doesn’t have to be boring!  Take it up a notch for the kid who says ‘Really? AGAIN?’

1 banana per tortilla

Flour tortillas

Peanut butter

Jelly, any flavor

2 Tbsps. unsalted sweet cream butter, divided

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet.  Cut banana in half down the length.  Peel banana and heat in skillet 5 minutes on each side. Set aside.  Heat tortillas one at a time 2 minutes on each side.  While tortilla is still warm, spread with peanut butter and jelly and add banana. Roll into burrito.  Mix sugar and cinnamon together.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter.  Using pastry brush spread butter over tortilla just enough to lightly coat.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar as desired.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  Reheat tortillas in skillet 2 minutes on each side. Serve warm.  So good!