As a mother of a lot of children, I often get asked this question a lot. How do you feed all of them? I have learned through the years to cook on a frugal budget and use what I have in the pantry. I can get real creative. The first step in cooking for a large family or just a lot of people, in general, is to have some bare bones plan. I cannot always have a menu planned for the week because life happens. Our breakfast is easier now because I am not feeding babies. When I did have babies and toddlers I would have 3 types of breakfast I rotated weekly. Now each child gets their own breakfast, even the 6 year old. I have the same concept of 3 things they can choose from. Lunches were either leftovers or a sandwich with chips and fruit. Lastly, when it comes to dinners I have a fixed menu. All my dinners have a meat or type of protein, veggies, starch, drink, and sometimes dessert. This could be a casserole or each individual item. I have to add that there have been seasons where I had a fixed meal for each day of the week and I did that for one month at a time. For example, I would have spaghetti every Monday and chicken enchiladas every Tuesday etc. for the entire month. This was out of necessity because of finances or just a very busy season in our life.
I have to say that I do not make all my meals from scratch. I use instant potatoes often if I am pressed for time. I also use cake and brownie mixes from the box:) At one time when all 11 children were home all day I was feeding 33 people a day. That is 11 children multiplied by 3 meals per day that is 33 people per day. For the week I would have had made 21 meals.
These are the steps:
- Bare Bones plan, one that fits your family style.
- Make preparations the night before. I know I am having a protein so I take the meat from the freezer or make sure I have enough in the fridge.
- Scan your veggies in freezer or fridge.
- If I am following a recipe I will have it printed if I do not have it on the top of my head.
- Start dinner first thing in the morning. This is especially good if you work outside the home or if you will be away from home a large part of the day. Using the crockpot is great for this!
- Finish the dinner. I either steam veggies or put into a pan from the can and throw a salad together or cut fruit into pieces and put on a plate. Serve a beverage in a pitcher.
Voila! You have a dinner and the family is well fed.