How to Not Eat Pizza for 2 Months

Feeding the masses at your youth group gathering but out of fresh menu ideas?  Meal planning for a retreat?  Or are you looking for an easy menu list to pass out to the parents who graciously volunteered to make snack supper for the youth group?

It’s okay to admit it – are you just plain tired of pizza?  Try these 9 inexpensive menus for a change.  Each menu is designed to be easy to make, easy to multiply and less than $3.00 per person.

 

9 Cheap Snack Supper Meals that are Not Pizza

1.    Ballpark Fare: Hot Dogs/Chips/Fruit             

Suggested shopping list: Hot Dogs & Buns (estimate 1.5 per person), ketchup, mustard, relish, bag of chips per person; Apples & Oranges (1 fruit per person)

Estimated Cost Per Person: $1.50-2.00

 

2.    Italian Night: Spaghetti or Lasagna/Bread/Caesar Salad*

Suggested Shopping List: Spaghetti  & sauce or Large Frozen Lasagnas, loaves of  French bread, butter, bags of romaine lettuce salad, Caesar dressing, croutons, shredded parmesan cheese.

Estimated Cost Per Person: Spaghetti meal $2.00; Lasagna meal $2.50-3.00

 

3.    Hoagies/Sandwich Bar

Suggested Shopping List: Either loaves of wheat & white bread or sandwich rolls, sandwich meat such as roast beef, turkey & ham, American and provolone cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise, mustard, tomato slices, peanut butter & jelly, bags of chips, sandwich cookies.

Estimated Cost Per Person: $2.00-2.50

 

4.    Mexican Menu: Tacos/Taco Salad/Nacho Bar

Suggested Shopping List: Ground Beef, Taco Seasoning (cooked ahead of time), heated taco shells, tortillas, shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce, salsa, nacho cheese heated in Crock Pot, extras: jalapeños, sour cream, guacamole.

Estimated Cost Per Person: $1.75-$2.00

 

5.    Frozen Food You Heat & Eat: Taquitos, Chicken nuggets, Corn Dogs

Suggested Shopping List: buy bulk quantities of whichever items you plan on serving (estimate 6 taquitos, 6 nuggets, or 1.5 corndogs per person) serve with cut fruit, chips, cookies.

Estimated Cost Per Person: $2.00-2.50

 

6.    Grill it: Hamburgers & Fixings

Suggested Shopping List: hamburger patties and buns (estimate 1.5 per person); American cheese slices; ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomato slices.  Serve with sides such as chips, cookies.

Estimated Cost Per Person: $2.50 per person

 

7.    Breakfast for Dinner: Pancakes/French toast sticks with fruit cup or Breakfast Tacos with fruit cup*

Suggested Shopping List:  For Pancake/French Toast Sticks Meal: Pancake mix, butter, syrup, frozen French toast sticks, powdered sugar, fruit cups, milk and orange juice; For Breakfast Taco Meal: scrambled eggs with and without sausage crumbles (cooked ahead of time), flour tortillas, cheese, salsa, fruit cups, milk and orange juice.

Estimated Cost Per Person: $1.50-2.00

 

8.    Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwich*

Suggested Shopping List: tomato and chicken noodle soups, loaves of white bread, butter, American cheese slices.  Remember to have bowls and spoons on hand.

Estimated Cost Per Person: $1.50

 

9.    Baked Potato and Salad Bar*

Suggested Shopping List: Potatoes (1 per person), shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, butter, sour cream, bags of salad, Italian and Ranch dressing, croutons, optional carrots or additional veggies for the salad.  Caesar salad is also a really popular option.

Estimated Cost Per Person: $1.50-2.00

 

Money saving tips: You can save more by buying in bulk packaging – serving from large bags of chips instead of individual bags will reduce your costs, for example.  Instead of individual soft drink cans, offer 2 liters to choose from or even cheaper, water & lemonade.   Note: I did not include drinks in most of the menus, costs for drinks will be anywhere from free water to about 50 cents per person.

*These menus are easily adapted to meet vegetarian diet needs

 

Questions:

Do you serve a meal when your youth group meets? 

What non-pizza menus have worked well with your youth group?

 

Pin It!

I put together a little Pinboard for snack supper ideas – feel free to check it out.

Special thanks to my youth ministry colleague/former caterer/feeding frenzy expert, Michelle Freeman, for her input on this article.

4 comments

  1. We do the above but also do chicken and Yellow Rice…use the rotisserie chicken and the large bags of Yellow Rice.
    Also don’t forget to look at the frozen food section in warehouse chains. We pick up BBQ Pulled Pork for fairly cheap
    Another breakfast is Breakfast Casserole or as some call it Strata. Use the leftover bread from all the other recipes and get some eggs and cheese.
    For Mexican we do Taco’s in a bag…you use Nacho flavored chips and make it a salad instead of taco shells
    Italian night can include Baked Ziti which is real simple to make ahead and warm up.

    • Angela – great suggestions! Thanks for sharing your ideas.
      I added a couple of things to the Pinboard not mentioned in the article. Chili & Cheese on Fritos is a popular favorite around here.

  2. We like to do a crock pot of chili. It is fairly cheap to make and seems to go a long way. Another way that we do meals cheap is to have parents/other church members pick up the tab. We found that most people can provide 1 or 2 meals a school year.

    • Steven, great point. I’m definitely in favor of parents and other church members providing the meal – it’s a non-threatening, easy way for them to be involved in the youth ministry. We usually paired up 2-3 sets of parents so they get a chance to interact with other parents of teens, too. I’d also recruit a parent to be in charge of scheduling snack supper providers & sending the volunteers a reminder message.
      Now you can pass on these easy, inexpensive menu ideas to the parents & it’s one less thing for you to do. 🙂

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