Frugal Tip: Don’t Cook It If They Hate It

Remember a few weeks ago when I was cooking like a fiend? Well, I successfully stocked my freezer with about 5-6 weeks’ worth of meals. Everything from meatballs to lasagna, pasta sauce and black bean pie, chicken enchilada casserole and chicken packets.

Unfortunately, not all of these meals have been smashing hits at the FishTable. In fact, I kind of steel myself for at least a minor skirmish when some of these dishes come out of the oven. They’re all good dishes. Keep that in mind.

In fact, last night FishPapa worked late and missed the battle that I waged earlier at suppertime. I sat with him while he ate dinner after we had finished. He said, “Wow. This is really good.” (He qualified that with, “Or I’m just really hungry,” but we’ll ignore that part.)

My point is that the food is good, it’s healthy and it’s inexpensive. However, if it’s a bomb with my kids, if I have to issue edicts of how many bites are required, if I have to pawn off the other frozen meals on unsuspecting friends, well, then it’s no bargain.

Tonight I made another frugal meal: baked chicken legs ($.79/#), seasoned rice ($.25/box), frozen corn ($.33/bag), and King’s Hawaiian rolls ($.23/4 pack). They scarfed it down. There were a few raised eyebrows over the parmesan Rice-a-Roni, but I made everyone have one small spoon-ful, and they lived to tell about it. Most of them even liked it.

It pays to cook what they will eat.

For more frugal tips, visit Crystal’s blog every Friday.

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  1. Do you always have that many meals put away or is this part of baby planning? Yes your little girl looks like you. Very cute I might add. Thanks for sharing the other sweet babies picture too. I usually have a hard time SEEING the baby in those, but this was very clear. I have been praying for you and baby. What a lucky child to have mom make hamburger buns. You Rock.

  2. FishMama says:

    I cook like that about 2-3 times a year. It’s a nice break from cooking everyday, provided it’s something no one fusses about. Ha!

  3. Audra Krell says:

    You are so right! If they don’t like it, it’s no bargain! Still though, if they don’t try things, they will never know. Good luck finding a happy medium!

  4. BarbaraLee says:

    It’s harder cooking for my hubby then the kids not that dd2 isn’t following behind.
    It makes cooking diff. meals a challange.

  5. Briana Almengor says:

    My boys would be eating cereal and/or chocolate for every dinner if I only made what they like to eat. I have seriously picky eaters. Tonight I had to wage war sans the hubby (those are tough nights)…threw in a little bribery (icecream for dessert) and one boy managed to get dinner down the hatch.

  6. AHighandNobleCalling says:

    You are so right. I always tell my kids “Have it your way if at Burger King, at home you will have it my way”. I know, so bad. But it feels so good to say it.

    Seriously though, I don’t allow too much pickiness, but I have often done the “you need to take as many bites as your age” deal a few times.

  7. lol! too true. I bought a bag of fish sticks before I knew Mr. Right didn’t like them. So every couple of weeks I stuff them down his throat so they don’t go to waste, but I certainly won’t purchase them again.

  8. Mother of Many says:

    I so agree. Our rule is to taste everything. I mean, some food just looks bad, but is so yummy.

    I recently cut out snacks from lunch to dinner, unless we have played really hard. By dinner, they are at my feet ready for it. Their eating has improved so so much. I wish I had done it earlier.

  9. Zimms Zoo says:

    We have had a lot of soup and oatmeal the past 3 days, because of when payday falls this month.
    The kids (well the oldest) have really complained. I just remind them that they can always leave the table hungry. Usually they will go ahead and eat.

    I can hardly wait to do some major cooking for baby6. I just might start sooner since we will be getting our side of beef soon.

  10. that’s why I don’t get too complex on my cooking…baked chicken, spaghetti, chili, meatloaf, simple dishes…are eaten and not wasted. It’s not very frugal if you have to keep throwing it out or feeding it to the dogs(not that they mind 🙂 )

  11. Thank you so much for this reminder. It is always a good idea to keep in mind what will be eaten by whom. Sometimes, I fall into the trap of thinking, “oh, this is such a cheap and healthy meal.” And then when no one likes it, my husband or myself also, it isn’t very cheap to eat all the extra snacks and desserts that follow.


  12. I look at it a little differently. I cook what I like. The children will eventually learn to eat what I cook or go hungry. They know if there is left overs it will appear a day or two later, so they usually eat it the first time. I’ve used this method for nearly three decades. My children will try anything new, hoping it will be a new taste sensation. I have only one slightly picky eater in the bunch, because I babied him when an invalid.

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