~Large Family Meal Planning with Recipes~

Something I have wanted since I was a little girl is a large family. I used to play with a JCPenney catalog.I would make a list of all the needs my children needed. They needed new bedding, new beds, toys, clothes, shoes and so on. And yes, I made lists at age nine. I would also plan different vacations in which we would take a plane…me and my 8 kids to a destination of my choice. Yes..8 kids.
Notice to the right ——————————-> I only have 6 children at this time. (wink)
Many people ask me, “How much do you spend on groceries?” “How do you cook for that large of a family?” “Are your kids picky?” “How do you find the time to cook from scratch?” and my least favorite question, “Can I have your recipe?” I will get to why that is my least favorite question later on.

HOW MUCH DO YOU SPEND ON GROCERIES?
I grocery shop typically once every 2 weeks besides for apples, oranges, grapes, bread and milk which is typically shopped for once a week. Of course, I have a list, every single time I head into the grocery store. I prefer to shop by myself, however, that rarely happens. I usually have 2-3 kids with me, which is not that big of a deal (depending on which kids;)).
I spend a small fortune at Sam’s twice a month and a much smaller fortune at Aldi. I love LOVE Trader Joe’s and would shop there more if it were closer. 
DEALING WITH PICKY EATERS
My kids are not picky eaters. Paul will sometimes whine about tomatoes mixed in with his food. I simply say take a bite with something else and you will not taste it. I normally do not hear any other complaints. All 6 kids will eat salad. All 6 kids like onions(my favorite food). I am very blessed in that area. We typically just do not embrace any complaint. And as long as you try something, we are okay with that. Sometimes people do not like certain foods. I personally do not like raw tomatoes. I doubt my children even know that. I do not make it an issue complaining loudly as some people I have heard before. 
HOW DO YOU COOK FOR A LARGE FAMILY
That is an easy one for me. I think I have just learned as my family has grown. I do not have BIG eaters either. I only have 2-3 kids that want seconds. Three of my girls eat like birds. I do see my boys eating more and more. I used to use a 9×13 dish for everything. I have just now increased to a 11×14 dish, so that I will have leftovers. A 9×13 dish typically feeds us with zero leftovers but an 11×14 gives some leftovers..which is nice.
For breakfast, I am pretty boring. Typically  the kids just want cereal (not the sugary kind)or toast. I love to fix homemade waffles or pancakes and eggs and bacon. 
For lunch, my kids are so easy AND Chloe,before she started working almost always fixed lunch for everyone. Yes, on her own and yes, without me asking. Nice, huh? But the kids love sandwiches  A few other examples might be, tomato soup and grilled cheese, salad,  ravioli, Diorginios Pizza, corn dogs, leftovers, Ramen noodles, cheese and crackers…just typical kid lunch things.
For supper, I love to try new recipes. I LOVE pinterest. I love being told…”Mom,Please fix this.” I do not hear that very often. Usually, its whatever you want Mom is fine. So I keep a running list: spaghetti  tacos, grilled chicken salad, chicken pot pie, chicken penne pasta, chicken spaghetti, roast, potatoes and carrots in the crock pot, chili, veggie soup, potato soup, lasagna, cheesey broccoli casserole, homemade pizza, homemade chicken and noodles, taco casserole, taco soup, Mexican chicken casserole, chicken and dumplings. This seriously a list on Kenny’s phone of recipes he loved so when I call him at work and say,”What should I fix for dinner?” He whips out this list. 
RECIPE SHARING
Okay I do not really like sharing my recipes because it is not usually what people want to see. I have a lot of recipes in my head. 
For example:
Chili
ground beef
tomato juice
tomato sauce
tomato paste
beans
diced tomatos
onion
garlic
chili powder
salt 
pepper
Now here are the questions I get. How much ground beef? My answer as much as you need. How many beans? My answer, however many beans you like in your chili. I can not use your recipe, we do not like onions. My answer then leave the onion out??? How much chili powder? My answer how spicy do you like your chili? How much salt? Well depends on how much of the above ingredients you added. So this is how I cook for a large family, we don’t like a large amount of beans. So guess what, I do not add a lot of beans. We love onion, so we use a whole onion.
Roast
Roast
Red Potatoes
Onions
Celery
Carrots
Salt 
Pepper
 I put it all in a crock pot. Now for the questions. How many potatoes? I fill the crock pot. How many onions? I use one onion because again we love onions. I dice the celery. 
Veggie Soup
I use all the left overs from the roast. We don’t like hunks of meat in our soup, so I cut up the leftover roast and it sort of spreads out. I also save all the little bits of veggies from each meal with the liquid and freeze. I dump it all together and add much more. We eat for 3 days on this soup.
Corn
Lima Beans
diced tomatoes
diced potatoes
green beans
onion
Leftover roast and veggies
Leftover veggies
beef broth
tomatoe sauce
Now for the questions. I use a stock pot because a crock pot doesn’t hold it all. I use as much beef broth as it takes. I use one can of tomatoe sauce because we do not like a lot of red sauce. How much corn? We like corn so we use a lot. We love lima beans so I add a bag.
Lasagna 
I get many compliments and requests for my lasagna. Lasagna is so easy.
whole wheat lasagna noodles
store bought spaghetti sauce(add ground meat, green pepper, onion, garlic)
mozzarella cheese
parmasean cheese
And I layer…that’s it. Layer it!! It’s lasagna. You can not go wrong. If you do not like onion,do not add it. Getting the picture. I just make it according to my families likes.
I do this with every recipe. I just make it mine. I rarely follow a recipe unless it involves bread because I can make bread flop so easily.I still have yet to master that.
Okay one more recipe….
Potatoe Soup
Lots of potatoes
1 stick of butter (i know…eek)
onions
carrots
celery 
garlic
sour creme
one can of creme of mushroom soup
chicken broth
parsley
salt
milk
Dump in crock pot and cook.
How much sour creme? A big dallop. Garlic? I dump some diced garlic in. I dice a lot of carrots and celery. I add the milk at the end so it doesn’t curdle.
How about that for recipes? Sorry that’s how we do things. Just keeping it real….

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