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Cheap Holiday Recipes for Picky Eaters

Morgan Kelly Burke
Nov. 14, 2011

Erin Chase of $5 Dinners shares 3 wallet-friendly (and kid approved!) recipes as part of the Care.com Interview Series

Sometimes, picky eaters can get the best of your family. But for cookbook author, mother of three and founder of 5 Dollar Dinners, Erin Chase, there's too much good food to be made to keep resorting to chicken nuggets and fries for your kids.

"I always encourage other parents to keep offering the healthy choices," says Chase, whose sons have all been finicky eaters at one time or another. "Offer a wide variety of colors, shapes and textures. Eventually, they will come out of the 'but you loved that yesterday' phase."

Chase shared her three favorite holiday recipes with Care.com, which she's confident will bring any picky eater to the holiday table.

See our kid-friendly holiday menu »


Stuffing has never been more fun and kid-friendly - sweet, savory and super easy for little hands to enjoy!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Makes 12 stuffing cups.


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups golden raisins
  • 6 cups homemade or store bought cube stuffing mix
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 9" homemade or store bough pie crusts (See Green Chili Apple Pie for double pie crust recipe)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease the wells of 12 muffin tins.
  2. To a large saucepan, add the oil and sauté the red onion and chopped celery. After about 3 to 4 minutes, add the chopped apples and broth. Let cook another 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the golden raisins and stuffing cubes. Toss the cooked apples, celery, onions and broth with the raisins and bread cubes, until all the bread cubes have soaked up the liquid.
  4. Cut the pie crust into large circles...large enough to fill the better part of a regular size muffin tin. Press them into the greased muffin tin.
  5. Scoop the golden raisin-apple stuffing into the crust in each muffin tin and press down firmly.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until stuffing begins to golden on top. Let cool slightly before serving.



If vegetables could be candy...these would be it!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Makes 6 to 8 side dish servings.


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons grated or shredded parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss together the olive oil, green beans, minced garlic, Kosher salt and pepper. Spread the green beans out on the foiled lined baking sheet.
  3. Roast in the oven for 8 minutes, tossing quickly at around 6 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
  4. Serve Oven Roasted Garlic Green Beans.


Looking for a new and different twist on your favorite traditional pecan pie? Tossing in some sliced almonds will give your pie a new flavor and texture!

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Makes 8 servings.


    Homemade Crust
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening or butter
  • 2-4 Tablespoons cold water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 4 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds



  1. Preheat oven to 375.Grease a 9" pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. To prepare homemade pie crust, place flour in mixing bowl; add butter and cut in with pastry blender. Add salt and then add cold water 1 Tablespoon at a time. Mix and toss ingredients together with a fork until dough ball forms. Place in plastic wrap or Ziploc baggie and put into the refrigerator while you make the filling. Pie crust can be made up to a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator.
  3. To prepare filling, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla and salt together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Stir in the pecans and sliced almonds into the filling.
  5. Once filling is prepared, take the dough ball from the fridge and place on lightly floured surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the crust dough into a circle at least 12 inches in diameter and gently fold pie crust into quarters. Move the folded pie crust from the counter to the pie plate. Unfold in the pie plate. Pour filling into pie shell. Flute edges in your favorite design.
  6. Bake at 375 for 40 to 50 minutes, or until filling has set in the middle. Use foil to keep the crust edges from burning.
  7. Let cool completely on cooling rack. Refrigerate if you wish to serve chilled. Cover if you plan to refrigerate longer than an hour. Serve Almond Pecan Pie, chilled with whipped cream or warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

All recipes have been republished with permission from $5 Dinners.

Erin Chase is a busy wife and mother of three young boys who lives in Dayton, Ohio. Striving to spend less at the grocery store while creating delicious recipes for her family, Chase started her blog $5 Dinners to help empower and teach others how to be more budget-friendly in the kitchen.

Image used with permission by Erin Chase

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