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Prison food hacks – how to make vending machine food taste better

prison visiting room food hacks

Are you tired of eating the same old vending machine?

I am sure you sick of the vending food if you have been visiting more than four times.  If so, I have some great ideas on how to make that over-processed food taste better!

I spent 15 years visiting Ron in prisons.  I hate to even think about how many vending machine meals we shared together during that time!  Too many, that is for sure.  Over time, I learned a few tricks to make the food taste better.  It was like having a whole new selection of food available to us!  We tried so many food hacks, we got super creative with our meals.  Sometimes, the food was amazing.  Other times, we gagged it down while we laughed over the food disaster we had just created.

In spite of the pain and extreme hardship of our prison years, we have a lot of good memories together.

Making the same old nasty vending machine taste good is one of our “good” memories of prison visits.  Food was a really important part of our time together as a family.  We shared a lot of feelings while we shared our meals together around those little round coffee tables.

Ron Tijerina prison visits tyro blog

"Eating together was a highlight of our prison visit"

Because sharing a meal together is such a great way to bond with each other, it is the highlight of a prison visit. You really want to make this experience memorable for your family. So, you need to get creative with what you have to work with. Another benefit to using these food hacks is that your family prepares the meals together.  I am going to help you make your next prison-visiting-room family meal the best one yet.  I am about to reveal the Tijerina Family Vending Food Hack Secrets publicly for the very first time ever!

Visiting someone in prison can be super stressful if you are not prepared, but it can be a good time to connect and grow together if you ARE prepared. So, let’s make sure you are prepared to get through the gates and into your husband’s arms!

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Here are my secret prison vending machine food hacks:

  1. NEVER heat the bread with the rest of the food! This is my number 1 rule, the bread doesn’t need to be cooked into your sandwich and sandwich together.  Take the time to separate them and heat the meat alone first. Then, add the bun and pop it back into the microwave for another 10 seconds for a much fresher tasting sandwich.
  2. ALWAYS add seasoning. Salt and pepper are a must to add taste to the food you are making. You can also add a little sugar, a lot of catsup and medium amount of pepper to create a barbeque taste, or sugar with mustard warmed together to create a sauce like honey-mustard (well, sort of honey-mustard, but it is a food adventure!) Seasonings will make a huge difference.
  3. Make a Salisbury steak meal with a hamburger, veggie tray and fries. Take the carrots and heat them up with the fries until they are almost done. Remove the bun, add the carrots and fries to the hamburger.  Salt and pepper well, pour about 2 tbsp of water over the meat, and heat the fries, carrots and meat together.  Heat the bun up for 10 seconds—this will be your roll with your meal.  Now, you have a meal for 2.  The rest of the veggie tray items are for your side dish, and the meat with steamed veggies is your main dish. Super yummy for vending food 😊  (NOTE!  In my experience, the carrots were small and skinny.  If the carrots are thick, they will need a little extra cooking time.)
  4. Do not heat up your food until you are ready to eat it. But the food you want as soon as you arrive, but do not heat it up until immediately before you eat.  The thing worse than vending food, is cooked and then cooled vending food.  Super gross!
  5. Nachos! Everybody loves a good tray of nachos. There are 2 versions of nachos that you can create from vending machine food.  Both involve a hamburger or chicken. First one:  A prepared nacho tray with chips and a triangle of cheese sauce.  Heat the hamburger or unbreaded chicken breast up in the microwave (without the bun, naturally!) and cut the meat into tiny pieces to add to the cheese sauce.  Add lots of pepper if you want it spicy.  Heat the meat and cheese together.  Pour it over your chips and enjoy!  Second One: A cheese and cracker tray, a bag of Doritos, and either a hamburger or unbreaded chicken sandwich.  Place the chips on a plate.  Cut the meat into small pieces.  Cut the cheese into very tiny pieces or crumbles.  Sprinkle the meat and then the cheese onto the Doritos.  Add lots of pepper (can you tell I love spicy food?)  Heat in microwave until the cheese is melted.  Super yummy!
  6. Sugar buns. I am sure you are wondering what we did with all of those buns we removed from the meat for nachos.  Well, we cut them up into bite sized pieces, warmed them up, and then rolled them in sugar.  Ta-Da…. They are now sugar buns (almost like a sugar-coated donut hole)
  7. Walking Taco Salad. This one can be a little expensive, but it is worth it! 2-3 bags of Doritos, side salad, hamburger or un-breaded chicken breast sandwich.  Mix up your dressing – salsa, ranch dressing, and lots of pepper if you want it spicy.  If salsa is not available, use ketchup.  Set aside.  Heat up your meat (yes, without the bun!)  then, cut into smaller pieces.  Likewise, crush up your Doritos and add some meat and salad into your bag of Doritos. If you can buy sour cream, it will be a giant plus. Use the buns for dessert (see #6)

These are some of our best food hacks.  Get creative and make some memories while you make your meals for your family to share together in the prison visiting room.

I am rooting for you!


1 Comment

  • Liam Patterson
    Posted May 29, 2019 at 4:19 am

    Awesome post! Thanks for sharing the knowledge and keep up the good work.

Comments are closed.