What if you never have leftovers? Feeding a HUGE family... - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
gabbyraja's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Midwest
Posts: 491
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I know eating leftovers is a time and money saver. But seriously, we're a family of 8. 3 growing boys, nursing mother, and my husband who works a very physical job and needs to consume more than the avg number of calories. I physically can not make enough food for there to be leftovers. I could cook 4 chickens and MAYBE have a drumstick the next day. I have to run 2 very large crockpots to cook enough meat and veggies for just one night's meal.  WTH? Does anyone have any ideas on how to cook more for less? Especially for Thanksgiving. We're barely able to feed us all, and MIL and BIL and his family (GF and 3 tween-aged kids) have invited themselves from out of state for a few days. That's 16 people for Thanksgiving dinner. One stove/oven won't be able to make enough food...


FAs, co-sleeping, babywearing, extended nursing, positive parenting, homeschooler

gabbyraja is offline  
#2 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 07:43 AM
 
sanguine_speed's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,644
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

One oven can't cook a bird big enough for 16 people???

Maybe you could serve things that don't need to be cooked as large sides:  salads, rolls, etc., and use coolers if your fridge can't contain it all.  And use the slow cookers, maybe borrow a few to cook and keep hot sides.   Or next time say you can't host because you don't have the capacity to cook everything.

There is also pick-up and delivery of dinner fixings around the holidays here, but that is the least frugal idea.

 

For the every day, maybe you could consider buying an extra slow-cooker or two so that you can cook enough for leftovers?  Or get giant slow-cookers?

Perhaps you could use very large stock pots to make stews and soups to make 2 meals at once.

 

Or perhaps you could visit the large family tribe for more ideas?

 

Last night I cooked 1 giant tray of chicken enchiladas, and while I was at it made another giant tray.  In our case it will serve us 2 meals for 6 of us (one of those is a baby), but in your case the one tray should serve at least one meal, and then another tray on hand could serve you another meal down the line.  Enchiladas in one of those things that is delicious and hearty, but can be time consuming, so making lots at once can be a real time-saver.


4 kids under 10
sanguine_speed is offline  
#3 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 08:43 AM
 
happysmileylady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,216
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I host Thanksgiving for my family and my ILs.  Between all of us, there are 18 people this year, though one is just a 2 month old.  Last year, there were 16.  We do the turkey and mashed potatos, but we have each family bring stuff also.  It's like a potluck Thanksgiving and everyone enjoys it.  Yes, one stove is enough to cook the turkey, we do a 20lb every year.  The sweet potato cassarole brought by MIL and the stuffing my mom brings both need to go into the oven to warm up before serving, they both fit in the rack under the turkey and I can usually get rolls in on one tray next to the turkey roasting pan.  Sometimes they go in after the turkey comes out, and cook while the turkey is being cut (we don't do a special carving thing or anything, we just cut it up and throw it on a platter and that is what goes on the table.   Other things like corn, those are microwaved, and the mashed potatos are made on the stove.

 

So, that's how thanksgiving is handled for our large group.  Now, for the rest of the year...

 

Turkey is ok for the rest of the year too.  If you have a freezer, stock up now on turkey while it's on sale.  By me, there's a sale going on for $0.57 a lb.  You can get a few 20lb turkeys for just your family and then when you roast them, you should have plenty left over for at least one more meal.  And if you have 2 crockpots, you have your turkey roasting in the over, one side filling up each crockpot and you have a whole meal cooking all day, with little effort, and leftovers.

 

Cooking 4 whole chickens...is there a reason you can't do 5 or 6?  Is it just space in your oven?  What about doing cornish hens instead?  They are smaller, small enough that they usually only feed one person each, but you could probably fit a bunch more in your oven...don't know how big it is.

 

Some other thoughts...when you do have smaller amounts of leftovers, like just 2 drumsticks etc, freeze them.  Then when you have enough of a mishmash to make a meal, just have a leftover night.  Not everyone will eat the same thing, but that's ok.  Also, if you have no leftovers, then you have no waste, which is also moneysaving.  And, whether you are cook 4 chickens twice a month, or cooking 8 chickens once and then using the leftovers for a second dinner, you have still paid for 8 chickens, all its saved you is time, rather than money.  So really consider why you feel that you need leftovers also. 

 

Do you have a breadmaker or two?  If you do, you can serve bread with each meal which is kinda filling, that might leave more meat for leftovers.

 

Also, one interesting thing I have found is that if I more smaller dishes to cook with, my DH in particular eats less.  If I make a cassarole in 2 smaller dishes, I have enough leftover to put in his lunch the next day.  If I make the exact same cassarole, but cook it in one larger cassarole dish, the whole thing gets eaten.  I can't explain it. 

 

Another thing I do, if I know I want leftovers for his lunch the next day...  I will sometimes portion that amount out first.  I don't make any extra for it, it's just one serving, and somehow, again, he eats less at dinner.  He doesn't eat his dinner portion and then need to crack into his lunch "leftovers" but if I don't portion it out first, the lunch portion won't be leftover.  I don't know how or why that works, but it does.

 

happysmileylady is offline  
#4 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 08:44 AM
 
cappuccinosmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: SW Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,628
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Cooking 4 chickens definintely would be awkward in a normal size kitchen.

 

Do you do casseroles?  You can fit a lot more calories into a super-sized casserole, and still have it fit in the oven.  You'd also have to use less meat in order to fill your guys up.  (one chicken per casserole, supplemented by cheese, a starch, veggies, etc)

 

Since family invited themselves, I don't think it would be out of order to ask them to pick up things like salad, rolls and pumpkin pie on their way over to your home.  That would eliminate some of it.  Get the biggest turkey that you can, but have enough on the side that people fill themselves up on that.  You should be able to do a huge pot of rice and gravy on the stovetop, and two veggies in the crockpots you have.  Or, use the two crockpots to cook a ton of potatoes, and use the stovetop and some very large pots to do veggies and gravy.

 

The other thing I'm wondering is, does your family just eat until they see the bottom of the pan?  Just because the food's there?  So no matter how much you make, they'll finish it?  You might be able to solve this by making double batches, and then immediately putting the extra batch in the freezer.  Out of sight, out of mind. :lol

cappuccinosmom is offline  
#5 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 08:46 AM
 
dakotablue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 985
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

something I heard on Rachel Ray that might help is that she cooks smaller birds or half of birds, they cook quicker so you could throw more in right away and maybe tent the meat, some would be cooler than the rest (done a few hours before) but there would be more.

 

I actually have a mini oven thing that was given to me at our wedding, its not a crockpot but an actual oven for birds. Wonder if you could maybe get one of those?

 

Oh and one thing Dh's family does (they are Italian) Is they have a pasta dish as well as thanksgiving dish. (like ziti or whatever)


biggrinbounce.gifDS 10/09  sleepytime.gifDS 2/17/11 stork-suprise.gif Blessing #3 sometime 2/13

 

dakotablue is offline  
#6 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 09:09 AM
 
Chicky2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: North Texas
Posts: 2,876
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Yup, outta sight, outta mind here, too.  I'm cooking for 6 regularly now, but it was 7 until this past July when my MIL died.  And I have cooked for 10 on a regular basis in the past, too.  It can certainly be done.  I would examine the way your family eats first.  Do they feel they NEED a whole chunk of meat to feel satisfied, or are they willing to use meat as an ingredient more?  I have no problem cooking up to 6 full size chickens in my normal oven.  You just have to swap them around halfway thru cooking if you don't have a convection oven.  That said, are you using ALL of those chickens?  Do you save the bones for stock?  If I were going to serve whole pieces of chicken in one meal, I'd make sure to use another chicken or two shredded or chopped up in another dish or two, like soup (with the bones for stock), stir-fry, or casseroles.  I also have found that if I put the food on the table, more gets eaten.  If I fix the plates myself, there may be a few who go back for seconds, but somehow I end up w/more food left over.

 

For Thanksgiving, I've cooked for scads of people in my regular ole kitchen (heck, one year I sold 80 pies out of my little ole oven!).  I do up my pie crusts and freeze them a week ahead.  I make the pie fillings a day or two prior to the big day and refrigerate it until time to bake the pies (day before Tday).  I make spinach artichoke dip and freeze it a week ahead.  I peel potatoes and put them in the fridge in water up to a couple of days prior to cooking them.  I chop all my onions and celery for the stuffing a week prior and freeze until i need them (nothing special needs to be done in order to freeze them, just do it on a tray and then plop into a bag).  Same with the bread cubes and cornbread.  I make a sweet potato casserole (not the marshmallow kind!) and freeze it a week or so ahead.  On Tday I have only to make rolls in the morning and let rise in my laundry room til time to bake, and the turkeys (I always do 2--one in the oven and one in the smoker outside).  While the oven turkey is resting after roasting, I bake any casseroles.  While they are baking I do the giblet gravy and set out any relish trays and we always have sweet potato empanadas.  Last minute I pop the rolls into the oven so they are nice a fresh when we eat.  Oh, I also make a dijon brussels sprouts dish, and that goes in the oven between the casseroles and the rolls (or at the same time if I can fit it.)  I prepare the brussels sprouts the night before.


Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

Chicky2 is offline  
#7 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
gabbyraja's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Midwest
Posts: 491
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Ok, first, PLEASE point me to the large families tribe! I need help. I think a lot of the trouble I'm having is in adjusting my expectations. Just 3 years ago we were a family of 4, 2 of them almost still toddlers, so didn't cost much. Now 4 kids (and soon enough 5) and 3 adults are eating, and using electricity, and water, and soap, and TP, and and and.... My dh still cooks as though it's the 2 of us and ds#1. Then he gets upset when there's none left for him. Duh! But I understand because it's just so hard to see $15 worth of scratch ingredients go into a single meal when that could have fed us for 3 days or more just a few years ago.

 

I hate to cook, so I like to cook very large portions at a time and try to have leftovers (which almost never happens, as I mentioned). I put a very large roast and veggies in the crockpot the other night. Biggest crockpot they had at the store, like can cook a smaller turkey. It didn't last the night. It's probably to be expected, but as I mentioned it's just so hard to see it go so fast...

 

Good questions for clarification:

  • Yes, our oven can cook a turkey, but it's small and that's all it's cooking. So all the other things needing to be baked are baking before or after, leaving them not hot at "dinner" time.
  • Love the idea of using crockpots for sides/veggies. Thanks!
  • We have a lot of food allergies, so casseroles are difficult. In fact, most things are difficult. Sigh...
  • Dh's family is coming to MI from CT for the week (again, just found this out this week, totally uninvited). They're staying in a hotel. They're not bringing anything. Luckily MIL will usually end up sliding us some cash for feeding them all week. But it doesn't make it easier to cook/store/clean, etc, especially with a newborn in the house. angry.gif Fil will probably bring something, but he can't cook so it's gross and nobody eats it.
  • DH MUST have meat to feel he's eaten, and he hates turkey or I would stock up. But I've been getting him into nutrition a lot more lately and he's trying to make 51% of every meal raw. Yay!
  • It's very possible that ut of sight out of mind might work.... My issue is that I need to double it to have enough for a second meal, and to do that I'd have to cook it twice anyway (can't fit enough in the oven/stove/crockpot), so it defeats the purpose. I have a hard time finding huge pots, and then they don't fit well on a regular burner, and our oven is small. But more  than one crock is a great idea. I'll put another huge one on my Xmas list.

 

I love all the ideas for Thanksgiving, ladies. Keep them coming, please.

 

 


FAs, co-sleeping, babywearing, extended nursing, positive parenting, homeschooler

gabbyraja is offline  
#8 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 11:36 AM
 
JollyGG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,647
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Do you have a roaster (like this)? They are often on sale around this time of year. I also have divider trays (like this). I pop the dividers in and keep the sides warm in it. Sometimes I cook the meat in it and sometimes I don't.

 

But for regular meals you could cook a second batch of whatever in the roaster really easy.

 

I actually use my roaster very seldom because, other than holidays, I don't cook enough food to fill it.


Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
JollyGG is online now  
#9 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 11:49 AM
 
HappyMommy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,824
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post

......  I make a sweet potato casserole (not the marshmallow kind!) and freeze it a week or so ahead.  ......



Oooooohhhhh yummy!  Please share your recipe!!!

HappyMommy2 is offline  
#10 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 12:38 PM
 
HappyMommy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,824
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

.....

  • My issue is that I need to double it to have enough for a second meal, and to do that I'd have to cook it twice anyway (can't fit enough in the oven/stove/crockpot), so it defeats the purpose. I have a hard time finding huge pots, and then they don't fit well on a regular burner, and our oven is small. ...

 


 

 

Sounds like you need to make extra meals that don't need to be cooked first.   (i.e. one for tonight, one for later)

 

For example, a meatloaf can be formed and then thrown in the freezer raw.  Then, take it out, and cook it when you want to eat it. That saves time because you are only mixing once but eating twice.  Meatloaf can be "beefed" up by using things other than beef: sauteed carrots/onions/celery and cooked lentils. That saves money.  Plus, hamburger in giant bulk portions is often much cheaper.

 

I would freeze lasagne raw too, and just cook it once on the night I wanted to eat it.

 

I do that for enchiladas, although I don't add the sauce until ready to cook.  (so the tortillas don't get mushy)

 

You could get a giant rice cooker and cook gobs of cheap rice at once.  Leftover rice is good for crockpot stuffed peppers, Fried rice (w/ a medley of leftover meats & veggies), and even breakfast on cold mornings. 

 

The fried rice medley would help you use up random bits like your single drumstick, if you throw them all in the freezer for a week.  It is also helpful to get rid of all the remaining veggies on the night before shopping day.

 

I also make chili from all the random bits I have saved each month.  I save any beef leftovers, hamburgers, taco meat, meatballs, etc., and throw them right in the freezer after dinner.  Right before tomatoes go bad, I throw them in the freezer.  On chile day, I roast those tomatoes, plus carrots, onions, etc. with salt and EVOO in the oven and then puree them in a blender.  I save the little bits of leftover salsa and italian red sauce in a baggie. Basically anything red or beefy.  I save the tiny portions of leftover beans. I throw all this in a crockpot, along with cumin and chile powder, and let it cook all day.   Maybe a little beef broth and a spoon of grape jam (or red wine). Sauteed carrots/onions/celery.  I serve with tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream.  Easy dinner!

 

Since you hate cooking, you might try what I do.  If I am cutting things up, I cut a ton of them and freeze them for the week's meals.  Like onions.  Don't want to chop them each night!  So I will put several in my "miracle chopper" (manual food processor) and then save them for the week.  Same with carrots and celery.  That saves me a ton of time since I add these to lots of meals.

 

Other than that, it might be kind of nice to have everything eaten.  Nothing gets wasted!  And you aren't stuck eating the same old leftovers multiple times! 

 


 

HappyMommy2 is offline  
#11 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 02:50 PM
 
my2girlz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 2,458
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

As for the turkey, when we've hosted Thanksgiving (14 people) we've deep fried it out on the driveway. Then we made the sides in the house.


SAHM to the munchkins (14.5, 11.5, 9.5, 3, and almost 2)
my2girlz is offline  
#12 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 03:44 PM
 
mommaof3boz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,520
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I always cook the turkey the day before.  I slice it up, cover it in the broth in a baking pan.  Then it just has to be reheated the next day.  It is the most delish turkey ever.  Also make the mashed potatoes the day before.  Put a bit of extra milk and butter in it the next day and reheat.  Stuffing in the pan not the bird.  green beans or corn on top the stove.  Cranberry sauce in the refrig.  Make the gravy that day.  rolls.  Pie.   I used to cook for 20 a lot and that worked well.

 

If you make tacos use 2 lbs of beef, extra tomato sauce and add in oat meal to make it go further.  Any ground beef tomatoey thing you can add the oatmeal to make it go further.  they won't know.

 

Make rice or noodles your friend.  A smaller roast with lots of gravy over noodles or rice.

 

Serve a salad and a baked potato at least three times a week.  Sprinkling a bit of cheese & bacon bits on a baked potato makes it more filling.  Can make a smaller serving of meat with salad and potato.

 

Learn to make an amazing tuna casserole.

 

Serve peanut butter sandwiches with chili. 

 

Grilled cheeses and tomato soup.

 

Have breakfast for dinner once a week.  Pancakes are cheap to make.  Eggs are very filling.  Dice in a bit of bacon with the eggs.

 

Homemade pizzas with lots of veggies and a bit of pepperonis

 

mommaof3boz is offline  
#13 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 06:21 PM
 
BetsyS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: world of craziness
Posts: 5,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

It also might be helpful to get some different kitchen gadgets.  I love my griddle, for instance.  It cooks pancakes, french toast, nad the like so much faster than a frying pan on the stove.  My grandmother used to love her electric skillet.  If you had one of those, it would be like having an extra burner. 

BetsyS is offline  
#14 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 08:38 PM
 
Usually Curious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

You need a roaster. We have two and at Thanksgiving they both get cranked up. My sister has two, also. We make the turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, green bean casserole and cauliflower and cheese all in roasters. That frees the oven up for pies and sides that guests bring. I routinely serve 20-30 people for Thanksgiving with no problem.

 

I have a large family - 3 adult sized men, 1 teenage boy, nursing mom, 4yo, 3yo, 9mo. My dd and her dh often come over for meals. We often host other large families for Sabbath meals. 

 

All of that to say: I feel your pain.

 

It's winter now so soup is your friend. We try to eat 50% raw, too. We have soup and a big plate of salad, maybe bread on the side. Last night I made a 6qt crockpot of chicken and dumplings, a big pot of mashed potatoes and a huge salad. Scoop of potatoes, ladle of soup on top. It makes both the potatoes and the soup stretch to feed all 17 of us w/leftovers. 

 

I make one chicken feed all 8 of us routinely. I 'bake' it in the crockpot (season the chicken and add about 1/2 c water on high for about 4 hours) then I remove and debone. Put all the bones and skin back in the hot crockpot and fill w/water (and any veggie scraps) and cook on low for 24 hours. I use that for soup later in the week. 

 

You'll find deboned chicken goes further than pieces. My family doesn't realize they're getting a portion instead of a whole piece AND they appreciate not having to mess w/bones. I serve w/pasta, rice or potatoes to make it stretch. 

 

I make a large pot of rice and soak two kinds of beans on Sunday. Monday I cook the beans. I use these for 'convenience' meals during the week. Fast, easy and cheap.

 

If your dh needs more protein you can do what I do for my 19yo athlete. I buy a large package of chicken breasts and ground turkey from Sam's. I marinate and season and grill the breasts and turkey patties. Grill and freeze, dump in a gallon bag. When he gets home from practice and we're not having enough protein to suit him he just takes out a portion (if I haven't already). He gets what he needs, we get what we need and our grocery budget rejoices.

 


If you want to stretch your budget you may just have to change how you cook and how you view a meal. It's taken me several years to adjust my thinking about meals. I grew up w/a meat, two veggies and a salad. That was what you HAD to have for a meal. We don't eat that way very often anymore. 
Usually Curious is offline  
#15 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 08:41 PM
 
Usually Curious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

Also ...

 

Now, I cook a roast in the crockpot w/carrots and onions. I shred the meat and thicken the broth and serve it over mashed potatoes or noodles. Honestly, even my 19yo likes it just as much as a hunk of meat w/a few potatoes and carrots. A lot of what we love is in the flavor of a dish.

Usually Curious is offline  
#16 of 41 Old 11-13-2010, 10:02 PM
 
ikesmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,195
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I second the roaster and we are a family of 6. We always have extra people to feed. I can buy whatever meat is on sale and roast it all to use for the future meals.

ikesmom is offline  
#17 of 41 Old 11-14-2010, 05:19 AM
 
coyotemist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Pacific NW near a lovely mountain
Posts: 1,769
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

This thread has been really helpful!  Now I think I want a roaster!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Usually Curious View Post


If you want to stretch your budget you may just have to change how you cook and how you view a meal. It's taken me several years to adjust my thinking about meals. I grew up w/a meat, two veggies and a salad. That was what you HAD to have for a meal. We don't eat that way very often anymore. 


My Dh had to adjust his thinking, too.  He's an only child.  Now sometimes he puts up with meatless meals, and knows things have to stretch.  Things are different in a bigger family.


"Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?"~Mary Oliver

RT knitting mama  to 3 (& 8 who didn't make it) wife working on 13 years to a silly man who drives me crazy.
coyotemist is offline  
#18 of 41 Old 11-14-2010, 06:24 AM
 
swd12422's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,132
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

No real help here for the "big family" issue, but for Thanksgiving, you could get a big chafing dish like they use at restaurants for buffets. Costco sells them -- they have 3 stainless pans that can go in the oven and you could bake your sides in those the day before or before the turkey, at least... Then just put them on the burner to serve them and keep them warm. They also have a crockpot thing that is similar, it's 3 little crockpot inserts that you can keep warm, but that may only be big enough for gravy for your family!

swd12422 is online now  
#19 of 41 Old 11-14-2010, 03:29 PM
 
Amys1st's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,449
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My MIL raised 9 children, 6 of which were boys. Some tips I saw over the years when she still had some at home (dated DH during HS)

 

-Water at dinner. Cheapest way to drink something. A gallon of milk etc would be gone in seconds otherwise. Nevermind things like soda

 

-plated the meal at the stove. Otherwise doing a family style type thing, the bigger boys would take a lot and then not much left for everyone else.

 

-she stretched meals with noodles, veggies, pasta, rice etc. I learned about rice and about potatoes from her!

 

-bought cheaper cuts of meat for like stew, roasts things like that.

 

-had some casserole type meals that were made with inexpensive ingredients but could still stretch and feed hungry kids.

 

We usually have about 30 at Thanksgiving. SInce they are approaching 80, we all do a potluck. Turkey is cooked there by two of my BILs, but we potluck everything else.


"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
Amys1st is offline  
#20 of 41 Old 11-14-2010, 04:00 PM
 
SandyBeachBums's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Montana
Posts: 725
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You can buy a seperate convection oven. My mom always had one because she liked to bake.

Serve up the meals for everyone. We start with the youngest. We got some sectioned plates like at schools and use those for many meals. Everyone has to eat fillers. My oldest would only eat a chunk of meat and some veg if I didn't make him eat the rice and bread as well.

Once a week I do a big pot of dry beans in my crockpot. The first night it is bean burritos. You can do another crockpot of meat, too. Just put in a roast or chicken thighs and cover with enchilida sauce. We eat on those beans for about three days. We homeschool so they eat them plain or in burritos for lunches or if they don't like dinner. I buy tortillas and stuff at Costco.

I have a set menu plan. I only shop for that.

Cook two starches and two veg for every single meal. Loaves of homemade bread are filling and easy if you have a kitchen aid or other stand mixer. If you have a costco stock up the frozen veg there.

Serve meals that are served on starches. Pulled pork on buns. Stew on mashed potatoes. Stirfry on rice.

Make good cheap desserts like crisp, muffins, banana bread etc.

Set aside the leftovers when they aren't looking. Make a leftover shelf...I use the top shelf.

Check 365 crockpot and make two of her meals a night. Freeze a couple of portions before they eat.

Baked potato night. Make a ton of toppings and an oven of potatoes.

DON'T YOU DARE LET YOUR RELATIVES DO THAT. Call them now and tell them what they need to bring. Give them jobs when they show up. You are a mom of a big family. Time to delegate.

Dready Homeschooling Mom 

17 yob

14 yob

10 yob

4 yog

2 yob

SandyBeachBums is offline  
#21 of 41 Old 11-14-2010, 05:48 PM
 
Knittin' in the Shade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: near Philly, PA
Posts: 4,637
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I've got a family of 6 (all guys with massive appetites, and then me)  I've worked on adjusting their meat expectations, so that the meat is never the "main"/ most filling portion.  Really, americans eat TOO MUCH meat in general.  So, I make sure to have lots of veggie and grain sides, and then have smaller meat portions.  I've also stopped serving things family style and instead I plate everything in the kitchen.  This helps on the kids not serving massive portions that they really don't need to eat.  Typically, I'll roast two chickens (the big roaster ones, at least 7-8 pounds each) with veggies (I put each in a cast iron dutch oven with veggies around it, and pop both dutch ovens in the oven at the same time) and a grain (brown rice is cheap and easy to make head of time; I've got a medium sized crock pot that I'll put it in with some chicken stock and let it cook for a few hours then set aside ill dinnertime so that it just needs to be reheated then.  I usually make some bread in the machine in the morning also, so that's ready to go for dinner. After we eat, I pick the chicken for whatever's remaining meat wise, and then the bones go into the freezer to make stock (I also keep freezer bags with veggie scraps that get tossed into the pot with the bones for the stock)  THe leftover pulled chicken usually is enough to make some chicken salad for kid's lunches the next day, with lots of celery added.

Knittin' in the Shade is offline  
#22 of 41 Old 11-15-2010, 12:38 AM
 
happysmileylady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,216
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

Ok, first, PLEASE point me to the large families tribe! I need help. I think a lot of the trouble I'm having is in adjusting my expectations. Just 3 years ago we were a family of 4, 2 of them almost still toddlers, so didn't cost much. Now 4 kids (and soon enough 5) and 3 adults are eating, and using electricity, and water, and soap, and TP, and and and.... My dh still cooks as though it's the 2 of us and ds#1. Then he gets upset when there's none left for him. Duh! But I understand because it's just so hard to see $15 worth of scratch ingredients go into a single meal when that could have fed us for 3 days or more just a few years ago.

 

I hate to cook, so I like to cook very large portions at a time and try to have leftovers (which almost never happens, as I mentioned). I put a very large roast and veggies in the crockpot the other night. Biggest crockpot they had at the store, like can cook a smaller turkey. It didn't last the night. It's probably to be expected, but as I mentioned it's just so hard to see it go so fast...

 

Good questions for clarification:

  • Yes, our oven can cook a turkey, but it's small and that's all it's cooking. So all the other things needing to be baked are baking before or after, leaving them not hot at "dinner" time.
  • Love the idea of using crockpots for sides/veggies. Thanks!
  • We have a lot of food allergies, so casseroles are difficult. In fact, most things are difficult. Sigh...
  • Dh's family is coming to MI from CT for the week (again, just found this out this week, totally uninvited). They're staying in a hotel. They're not bringing anything. Luckily MIL will usually end up sliding us some cash for feeding them all week. But it doesn't make it easier to cook/store/clean, etc, especially with a newborn in the house. angry.gif Fil will probably bring something, but he can't cook so it's gross and nobody eats it.
  • DH MUST have meat to feel he's eaten, and he hates turkey or I would stock up. But I've been getting him into nutrition a lot more lately and he's trying to make 51% of every meal raw. Yay!
  • It's very possible that ut of sight out of mind might work.... My issue is that I need to double it to have enough for a second meal, and to do that I'd have to cook it twice anyway (can't fit enough in the oven/stove/crockpot), so it defeats the purpose. I have a hard time finding huge pots, and then they don't fit well on a regular burner, and our oven is small. But more  than one crock is a great idea. I'll put another huge one on my Xmas list.

 

I love all the ideas for Thanksgiving, ladies. Keep them coming, please.

 

 



I know what you mean about adjusting to family size.  Two years ago, we were a family of 3, and suddenly, we are a family of 5.  Even though the youngest is a baby, it does make a difference.

 

On your DH hating turkey, I feel like if the rest of the family likes it, then tough on your DH.  I don't avoid making a dish the rest of us like just because one of us doesn't like it.  I have always disliked tuna cassarole, but because DH and the kids all like it, I make it.  I think turkey night is a FABULOUS night for your DH to use up those two drumsticks leftover from when you roasted those 4 chickens:D  Also, are you sure he would notice the difference between turkey and chicken if you use white meat turkey to replace cut up chicken in things like pot pies, tacos etc?  On it's own, especially with dark meat, you really notice the difference, but but when seasoned with taco seasonings, teriyaki sauce in a stir fry, etc, it's not so easy. 

 

Another thing I forgot to mention, you can also stretch meats to make the dish feed more servings with the same amount of meat.  Add beans to ground beef taco meat to get more tacos out of the same amount of meat.  Add rice to pot pies, That sort of thing.  When doing this, whole grains tend to be more filling than the regular version, but may not be money saving if they are more expensive. 

 

Speaking of taco meat, you can brown ground beef ahead of time and freeze it, that will save time on meals that use that.  Also, prep veggies ahead of time by doing things like peeling and cutting carrots as soon as you get home from the store, chopping celery and portioning it into one cup portions, same with peppers, you can even freeze those so you can keep them until you need them and they aren't wasted by going bad before you can use the last stalks. 

 

Oh, also, for meats that are individual cuts, check to see if two people can share the same piece.  So, for a pork chop for example, if two younger kids rarely finish their own chop, but don't leave enough of them to make a full serving another time, try just cutting your biggest chop in half and giving each of them half.  My Dh rarely gets the biggest piece purchased anymore, I tend to take 3/4 of it, and my middle dd gets the other 1/4. 

happysmileylady is offline  
#23 of 41 Old 11-15-2010, 06:57 AM
 
cschick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 919
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

Cooking 4 chickens definintely would be awkward in a normal size kitchen.


Except if you have an old-fashioned turkey roaster, which might both solve her Thanksgiving issue and help with her ongoing issues. Turkey roasters are basically gigantic crock pots. They can cook one big turkey or multiple chickens (ours is either rated for 3 or 4 chickens).  And this is the time of year when you can get them for cheap, especially at Sam's Club or Costco.  I bought ours at Sam's Club about 5 years ago and I've done a big enough turkey for 20 people in there.

 

http://www.google.com/search?q=turkey+roaster&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#q=electric+turkey+roaster&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=HE1&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=ivs&source=univ&tbs=shop:1&tbo=u&ei=70nhTNChPMyjnwfK8-CfDw&sa=X&oi=product_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CDgQrQQwAA&biw=1205&bih=623&fp=10fa48930cd2b7df

cschick is offline  
#24 of 41 Old 11-15-2010, 08:42 PM
 
Thystle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 2,521
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

When you added several members to your grocery bill did you raise your grocery budget at all?

 

 

There are many ways to save money but the simple fact may be you need to spend more.  hug.gif


Resistance is futile Matey
Thystle is offline  
#25 of 41 Old 11-16-2010, 02:09 AM
 
althara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 452
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Eating leftovers is only really a money saver if you're making more food than you can eat in a meal and eating it instead of throwing it away. It can be a time saver, but for saving time it may be better off to make large volumes of food at once. Look at once a month cooking (or once every two weeks cooking, or whatever interval works for you). Depending on freezer space you can prepare double or quadruple quantities of your staple meals and then just heat and serve later. If you're doing OAMC the work load is a lot easier to deal with if you can enlist people to take on certain parts of the preparation and cleanup efforts, especially with a bitty babe.


Working mama treehugger.gif to K energy.gif (2/2007) and A diaper.gif (6/2013). Expecting stork-suprise.gif EDD 10/7/2014.
althara is offline  
#26 of 41 Old 11-16-2010, 03:58 AM
 
Rosehip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,787
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

A few things I make in very big batches (I regularly cook for 6  - 4 adults & 2 kids).

 

Tacos: I make a big batch of filling, using about 1.5 pounds of ground meat & a pound of cooked dried black beans.  I also saute onions first, and use the Trader Joe's seasoning.  You could easily add other veggies to saute - shrooms, carrots, etc.  Instead of "shells" I get the big bags of authentic soft tortillas from bodegas in Hispanic neighborhoods.  They're very cheap (under $2 for maybe 30 tortillas) and MUCH tastier.  I freeze extra filling.

 

Chili:  Again, I add lots of beans & veggies, probably 1:1:1.   Oh, I stretch chili by serving it over brown rice, and with a bit of shredded cheddar on top.  Usually about 1:1 chili:rice, or even more rice.

 

Enchiladas: I make a few trays.  I use the taco filling, or sweet potato filling.  I got a yummy recipe for the sweet potato filling off allrecipe.


Sloppy Joes - again, I serve over rice  & stretch it

 

As for the food allergies - I'm not at all minimizing the issue, but I was wondering if you're going on blood or skin tests or whether the gang has done actual food challenges (this can be done safely in a doctor's office).  A lot of people (including doctors!) don't realize that there is a VERY high rate of "allergies" that show up on blood & skin tests are not actually allergies at all.  That is to say, the person can eat the "offending item" and be absolutely fine.  I just wanted to point this out in case it were a possibility, & it might make your life in the kitchen a bit easier.

Rosehip is offline  
#27 of 41 Old 11-16-2010, 04:36 AM
 
BetsyS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: world of craziness
Posts: 5,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

There is an old freezer cooking book called Mega Cooking that talks about freezer coooking for a large family.  I agree that if the idea of leftovers is to reduce the amount of cooking you need to do, then freezer cooking might work better for you.

 

Lots of people try really, really hard to never have leftovers.  You could reframe your expectations to not have any, and then you wouldn't be frustrated?  Maybe worth a try?  I don't know.... we don't really eat many leftovers here.  I try hard to cook enough for supper and lunch the next day, and that's it.  If there is enough to have 2 meals, I freeze it right away (like if I make 2 casseroles--I freeze one before cooking).  This works better for us.

BetsyS is offline  
#28 of 41 Old 11-16-2010, 08:50 AM
 
Chicky2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: North Texas
Posts: 2,876
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Just wanted to pop back on here and say that I agree wholeheartedly that after a certain point, ya just realize that you really just need to spend more $ on food, whether that is your meat budget, or more things to stretch your meats with such as grains, beans, and veggies.  My sister and I each have 4 kids.  She has 3 boys and 1 girl and I have 3 girls and 1 boy.  When we get together a big (chafing dish) casserole goes FAST.  We were talking about how amazed we can be when all that work goes right into their guts w/nothing left.   She said one day she just realized she had to find a way to spend more $.  We had that realization too, and that's when we approached our food gathering in a much different way.  Instead of going to the store to buy meat, we started looking into cheaper ways to obtain it.  Then we realized that buying a half a cow or a whole pig would go MUCH further moneywise. And then we get the added bonus of all those fantastic bones for nutritious stock.  Then we moved to the country and started raising our own meats.  In the winter we butcher wild pigs that my FIL traps.  We filled 6 freezers (big ones) just for the cost of the work/gas to get there.  We also garden, forage for nuts and berries (great family activity!).  Have you thought about finding a nearby farmer who would like some work done in exchange for meat?  Maybe someone needs stalls raked out?  At the very least, you can certainly buy your meats cheaper if you look around.  HTH!


Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

Chicky2 is offline  
#29 of 41 Old 11-16-2010, 09:25 AM
 
sanguine_speed's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,644
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

luxlove.gif

That's so inspiring.  Way to take control of feeding your family.


4 kids under 10
sanguine_speed is offline  
#30 of 41 Old 11-16-2010, 05:48 PM
 
TwinMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: hiding in the bathroom
Posts: 1,818
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I have the same problem.  Even though I double or triple recipes, with our family of six, we rarely have leftovers.  Most nights I remember to pack up dh's lunch for the next day before anyone eats or he'd never have anything to eat.  All of our meals are gluten-free & vegetarian.  I always think it would be cheaper and more filling to cook meat, but after reading the posts on this thread, maybe not?  I guess it would help to have more side dishes, so that the main dish can stretch longer, but, honestly, after cooking a main dish, a vegetable or two, making a salad, and maybe making (GF) bread, I can't bring myself to cook more.  

 

No suggestions for you, other than packing away some before anyone eats, but tons of empathy!


Homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 18, 18, 10, and 6. 

TwinMom is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off