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Old 04-26-2013, 02:20 PM   #1
Dahlia64
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Help! Meals for big families...

Im not very good at meal planning and need some help! Every night I have to go without dinner because what I make..there is never enough to go around. Tonight we had Italian sausage and I knew that there wasnt enough to eat on rolls for everyone, so I cooked them up and cut them up with onions and peppers and ate them over pasta. I made 8 sausages...and STILL not enough for me. And my kids wanted seconds but there wasnt enough for that even. It makes me feel awful and Im really tired of haveing toast everynite for dinner! If someone could maby give me some pointers or tips that would be great! We have 7 kids and 2 parents and soon another baby who will be joining us at the dinner table! Thanks

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Old 04-26-2013, 02:27 PM   #2
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Umm.. make more food? Lol seriously though,I know the feeling. We went through a phase about 6 mo ago that the exact meal i had made the month before and had left overs wed all the sudden not enough to feed everyone. It's frustrating and a hard adjustment, but all you can do is make more until you get used to the new norm. Also adding something to stretch the food, like adding beans to ground beef, or make lots and plan on having leftovers for lunch the next day

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Old 04-26-2013, 02:29 PM   #3
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Veggies! Cheaper than meat and make the main dish stretch.
What types of meals are you cooking?
When I make spaghetti for 6 I only use 1lb of meat and two lbs of pasta and that's enough for leftovers. Serve it with a side of veggies or a salad and it goes much further.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:12 PM   #4
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Re: Help! Meals for big families...

I would cut up the sausages, mix it together, portion out everything and not let anyone eat until everyone was sitting at the table together- including you! I come from a huge family so know what this is like! And my family LOVED pasta & meat and ate too much of it... they are easy for a lot of people to overeat anyway and most of them probably don't even actually need the seconds anyway - they just want them b/c they are tasty. Before everyone would eat we'd make sure everyone had a plate and each plate had enough food on it, and then once EVERYONE had a sufficient plate people would be called for dinner, and a small portion of seconds could be offered if someone was done and wanted more, depending on who it was (i.e., my dad or one of my brothers in particular who needs a lot of food would get more; a small child would get less, etc.)

eta: I second sides of veggies - I would try to find fun and tasty ways to cook them. My family hated veggies but they only ever really ate potatoes, or the frozen Green Giant kind, boiled (which no one really liked and ended up wasted...) There are much tastier ways to prepare them and they are much healthier anyway.

Also, I would try to encourage them to drink more water because a lot of the time in our culture when people think they are so hungry or still hungry, they actually need more water. And for the ones that just gulp the food down in 3 minutes, if there are any like that (in my family- there are a couple, lol) I would try to gently discourage that and try to encourage them to slow down and enjoy their food - b/c they can also easily still feel hungry when they aren't & apparently it takes 20 minutes or so for your stomach to send the signal to the brain that it's full.

Adding more, lol. You might really NEED to make more, but it might just be the above too b/c as I said, pasta & sausages (meat) are easy for quite a few people to overdo.

Last edited by mel j; 04-26-2013 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:16 PM   #5
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You just gotta make more.....


8 sausages would feed half of us. And we have 7 kids and 2 adults (2 are teens). I double everything.

We ate 15 drumsticks last night and 2 kids were missing. My rule of thumb is one for each small person, and 2 for each big person. Sometimes there are leftovers but that's a good thing.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:28 PM   #6
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With 7 kids myself I know what you mean! Here's what I do...

-double it. Always make enough for 12 servings. If there are leftovers they become lunch the next day. If not, then at least everyone is full.

-make bread, rice, pasta or potatoes for a side dish at every meal. Still hungry, have more potatoes. Bread and butter, corn bread, muffins, baked mashed fried potatoes, rice w cheese or butter, pasta with sause or butter and garlic...

-limit the expensive part of the dish. Under 5yo you get a half serving of meat (half a sausage or chicken breast) and everyone gets one meat. Still hungry? Have some bread.

-make meat the garnish not the main attraction. For most that means casserole type dishes.. But it could mean a small chicken breast, broccoli steamed and rice where the meat is 1/4 of the plate, broccoli the other and half the plate rice unless your carb watching and you change the rice and broccoli.

But the biggest tip? Plate all the plates in the kitchen before you set the food out. Making sure everyone gets their fair share. You don't want to raise selfish children. I never let anyone plate their own food, not even dh. Well guests do, before I plate the families plates
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:30 PM   #7
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Well here I make a huge salad every night and 1-2 more veggies. Sounds like you are using the entree as the entire meal and Americans are the only ones to do this! That meal you described should be a quarter of their plate- that would help alot!!!
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:39 PM   #8
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Re: Help! Meals for big families...

Ok..great tips..but see this is why its so hard for me. I Get so frusterated with things like..my hubby likes to eat cheseburgers ALOT. Its like his number one fav meal (Bleck! I like them once in a while) but anyways..he eats 3 (they go in one pan), I make 5 (SMALL) of them fit into another for the kiddies, THANK goodness 2 of the kiddies dont like them. So by the time my stove has 2 big pans there isnt room for another pan...so I usually skip burgers and dont get one becuase bythe time Im done cooking and putting together all those burgers..I dont feel like standing over the stove for another 1/2 hour..UGH. Thank goodness its summer though because I can use the GRILL!
Maby im not making enough or maby Im not doing enough side dishes...IDK? When I make chicken..I usually make one for everyone. A Big pack of chicken breasts is like $15-$19 here (boneless, skinless) and to me..thats alot of $$ to spend on just one meal worth of meat (or is it?>) IDK. I def need to find more larger meals or how to add to my meals so there is enough for everyone becuase Im tired of toast! GRRRR! Thanks everyone for the tips
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:45 PM   #9
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Re: Help! Meals for big families...

Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdtimemomma View Post
With 7 kids myself I know what you mean! Here's what I do...

-double it. Always make enough for 12 servings. If there are leftovers they become lunch the next day. If not, then at least everyone is full.

-make bread, rice, pasta or potatoes for a side dish at every meal. Still hungry, have more potatoes. Bread and butter, corn bread, muffins, baked mashed fried potatoes, rice w cheese or butter, pasta with sause or butter and garlic...

-limit the expensive part of the dish. Under 5yo you get a half serving of meat (half a sausage or chicken breast) and everyone gets one meat. Still hungry? Have some bread.

-make meat the garnish not the main attraction. For most that means casserole type dishes.. But it could mean a small chicken breast, broccoli steamed and rice where the meat is 1/4 of the plate, broccoli the other and half the plate rice unless your carb watching and you change the rice and broccoli.

But the biggest tip? Plate all the plates in the kitchen before you set the food out. Making sure everyone gets their fair share. You don't want to raise selfish children. I never let anyone plate their own food, not even dh. Well guests do, before I plate the families plates

These are all great ideas! Thank you! Ill try these from now on!

Quote:
Originally Posted by keen1981 View Post
Well here I make a huge salad every night and 1-2 more veggies. Sounds like you are using the entree as the entire meal and Americans are the only ones to do this! That meal you described should be a quarter of their plate- that would help alot!!!

Basically YESS! I am doing that! My mom always cooked like that so perhaps I got it from her! So I should have added like 2 different veggies to each plate as well? Or a veggie and a bread? THANKS!
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:49 PM   #10
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Re: Help! Meals for big families...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahlia64 View Post
Ok..great tips..but see this is why its so hard for me. I Get so frusterated with things like..my hubby likes to eat cheseburgers ALOT. Its like his number one fav meal (Bleck! I like them once in a while) but anyways..he eats 3 (they go in one pan), I make 5 (SMALL) of them fit into another for the kiddies, THANK goodness 2 of the kiddies dont like them. So by the time my stove has 2 big pans there isnt room for another pan...so I usually skip burgers and dont get one becuase bythe time Im done cooking and putting together all those burgers..I dont feel like standing over the stove for another 1/2 hour..UGH. Thank goodness its summer though because I can use the GRILL!
Maby im not making enough or maby Im not doing enough side dishes...IDK? When I make chicken..I usually make one for everyone. A Big pack of chicken breasts is like $15-$19 here (boneless, skinless) and to me..thats alot of $$ to spend on just one meal worth of meat (or is it?>) IDK. I def need to find more larger meals or how to add to my meals so there is enough for everyone becuase Im tired of toast! GRRRR! Thanks everyone for the tips
It might help to utilize other utensils. So, make a side dish in the crock pot, or roast veggies in the oven. Just come up with things that aren't stove top if the main dish is on the stove, and are if the main dish is in the oven.

Also, I make 1.5 potatoes per person and almost always have extra. Stock up around holidays, ham at Easter, pork at New Year's, etc. Soups are good for stretching meals too, I think. Have a sandwich and soup, or make a couple loaves of bread to go with it.

Or, tell us what you like and we can help advise.

Oh, I have experience from family dinners, but there are only three of us at home.
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