Big families - post your favorite recipes for a crowd! - Mothering Forums
Frugality & Finances > Big families - post your favorite recipes for a crowd!
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey 10:03 AM 11-09-2011

Our family is growing to include another adult and 3 more kids.  (Two pre-teens and an 8 year old).  Right now it's just dh, 8 yo dd and I so this will be a big adjustment.  I am trying to assemble a notebook full of cheap, filling meals for a crowd.  Any suggestions?

Caneel's Avatar Caneel 10:51 AM 11-09-2011

I love this recipe -


I will often pre-brown ground beef and keep it in the freezer and when I use canned beans, this is a very quick meal.  If you haven't tried it before, rice also freezes wells.  This dish tastes even better the next day.  


FillingMyQuiver's Avatar FillingMyQuiver 11:44 AM 11-09-2011

I've been making a good, thick, hearty herbed potato soup lately.  Add a loaf of homemade crusty bread and it's a very filling dinner.  The original recipe called for just 2 potatoes, but I usually use at least 4 and the recipe is easy to alter to add some more veggies, meat if you like it, or to increase to feed more.


6 medium potatoes, cubed

3c stock (I use homemade chicken)

1/2c butter

2 chopped onions

minced garlic

chopped celery (optional)

1/2c all purpose flour

1 1/2tsp salt

3/4tsp thyme

1/2tsp rosemary, crushed

2 1/2c milk


Cook potatoes in stock til tender.  Do NOT drain.

In a dutch oven or large pot, saute onion, garlic, & celery in butter.  Add flour, herbs, & spices til pasty. Gradually add milk.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Add potatoes and stock.  Heat through.  Mash up potatoes for chunky soup or use an immersion blender til desired consistency.


This feeds my family of 7 (6 eaters though) plus some for lunch.


My family likes a really basic chili recipe of red kidney beans, ground beef, tomato sauce, and this spice mix (I use 3tbsp/ lb of meat).  I like to stretch the ground beef by doing more beans, and serve it over rice.

cristina47454's Avatar cristina47454 01:16 PM 11-09-2011

I was going to post something similar. Not because our family is growing, but because we will be entertaining up to 20 PEOPLE during the Thanksgiving holiday!!! We have about 8 people coming into town to spend several days with us, and my parents and brother & his family (living locally) is another 6 people.  Plus my own household of five.


So far, for dinners I'm thinking: spaghetti and sauce, chili, homemade pizza, tacos/carnitas (crockpot)

For breakfasts: muffins/quickbreads, bacon and eggs, quiche/egg casseroles, pancakes

Lunches, oh boy.  Always tricky. Not quite sure how to feed a crowd without cooking two "dinner" type meals.  Maybe soups, salads and crusty breads? Oh...grill cheese and tomato soup, quesadillas/nachos...We have a dairy intolerance with one of the guests, and another is vegetarian, so there's that too....


Would love to hear other ideas!

carmel23's Avatar carmel23 05:55 PM 11-09-2011


iowaorganic's Avatar iowaorganic 09:31 AM 11-10-2011

Squash soup is pretty inexpensive to make...


Saute one chopped onion in 1/4 c butter.  Add 1 large butternut squash that has been cubed (approx 1" pieces).  Add 3 cups of water and some bouillon (I use vegetable better than bouillon)  sprinkle in some marjoram (don't skip this- it makes is soooo yummy) salt and pepper.  When the squash is cooked- mash it with a potato masher.  Stir in a brick of cream cheese and eat!  Takes about 30 minutes.


I make a lot of bean soup.  Stir fry with brown rice.


I need more ideas.

spiderdust's Avatar spiderdust 07:56 PM 11-13-2011

You're still vegetarian/GF, right?  Any other food concerns for the group?


A big pot of chili, made with whatever beans you like (this is a good way to use up odd bits of leftover beans... store them in a container in the freezer until you have enough to make chili) and whatever veggies you can find cheaply to make it a one dish meal.  Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips.


Baked sweet potatoes topped with leftover chili can be another meal.  Baked regular potatoes are more traditional, but the sweet potatoes are nice.


Lentil & rice burritos with lots of chopped veggies (cabbage is cheap, broccoli is good & inexpensive)


Veggie curry -- again, use whatever veggie you can find at a good price and in season, although any frozen veggies will work too.


Make-your-own nacho bar... refried beans, tortillas, chopped veggies (onion, cabbage, lettuce, peppers, tomato, etc -- whatever you like), cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc.  Obviously the cheese raises the price a bit.


My mom used to make something called "spoon burgers" a lot, which were technically sloppy joes.  Not only did she make it feed all 10 of us, she made it for church suppers and such.  You could easily make it with lentils or TVP.


I'm guessing that most of the foods you eat now would be just fine, you'd just make bigger batches and there will be fewer leftovers.