(updated, and with photos!)
I am frequently asked, “How do you feed that many children?” or “What do you feed all of them?”
It always makes me laugh. Mostly because the increase in the amount of food that I need to prepare has gradually increased over the years. I am sure if one day I were single and then the very next day woke up and had to preapre meals every day for nine people that I would find it overwhelming.
A few months ago my friends Darren and Nabby came to visit. Neither of them have children. At one point during the evening Nabby looked over at my cabinet filled with food and said, “Wow, that is alot of food. Are you stockpiling or do you eat all of that?” I thought it was funny because to me it was looking a tad barren.
I buy bread 6 loaves at a time. That will last us for three lunches. They can go through two entire boxes worth of cereal in a morning. My children are big eaters like their father, and luckily they have inherited his metabolism.
I have always thought those plans where you cook once a month and freeze all the food would be really great, except that the sheer volume of food that I would have to prepare is overwhelming. In some ways my everyday cooking is bulk cooking.
I love reading both of your blogs. I was wondering if you could write about meals that you cook for your family? I “only” have three kids and can’t imagine cooking for that many people everyday. It would be like having guests every single day. How do you manage? Do you have any favorite, kid approved (ha-ha) recipes?
Thanks so much!
This is one of the many emails that I have received asking the same basic question. This one mad me laugh the most though. My children are not treated to meals that would be considered holiday or guest worthy every day.
So what are some of our favorite easy meals. The keyword here is EASY. (ANd I asked the kids for their imput. Once I weeded out the answers of CANDY, PIE, and HOT DOGS, I had these.)
I have already expressed my love for the crockpot in the previous post. But not every meal can be put into a crockpot. Nor do I want to make every meal in a crockpot.
In the summer I cook on the grill a lot. I love my grill. But now that the weather is turning colder and soon it will be snowing, I have less desire to stand outside grilling. And it is time to move on to the “winter” recipes. God, I am old and boring if I can categorize my cooking by the seasons.
This recipe is super easy and fast to prepare. One of my favorite ones to make when we are pressed for time in the evening because of activities. It is not a measuring dependent recipe, so feel free to add more or less of the ingredients.
4lbs of ground beef
4 cans of tomato soup
2 jars of salsa
Brown the beef in a large skillet. Drain the fat.
Add the tomato soup and salsa. Let simmer.
If you like it more runny add more tomato soup. If you like it spicier add a touch of tabasco. (We usually reserve that for just the grown-ups as the kids don’t really like it too spicy.)
Serve on buns. Sprinkle it with mexican blend shredded cheeses if desired.
Serve with a tossed salad and some corn chips.
We also like fun meals. The kinds where the kids can help, serve themselves, or make their own version of the meal.
This is a favorite on a Saturday or Sunday evening when we are going to be watching a sporting even or family movie together.
The Crack Bean Dip (recipe in the link) with Tostitos
Buy the chicken wings and tiny legs. Toss with the hot wing sauce and broil.
Same as the recipe above, but with teryaki marinade.
Vegetables and ranch dressing dip.
I put all the food out on the table and they pick and chose what they want. This dinner is especially fun if you eat it in your tv room on a blanket spread out on the floor like a picnic.
*I also do the same but with chicken tenders and then serve it with dinner sized rolls to make little sandwiches.
Who doesn’t love pizza? For a long time I was too intimidated to make pizza. It just seemed so HARD. Now I am not sure why I thought that, but if I thought it I am willing to bet that some of you think it too. Trust me, if I think it is easy, you definitely will.
This recipe makes 3 largish sized pizza crusts. (I double this for our family)
1 1/2 tsp salt
8 cups flour
3 cups water
6T veg oil
4 tsp active dry yeast
I pour the water and oil into the bottom of the bowl. Mound the flour and salt in the middle. Dg a little depression in the top and stick the yeast there. So that when you stir it the yeast comes into contact with water after it has mixed with throughtout the flour.
Stir it all up until it is mixed. Split it into three balls.
Now you knead the dough. Or punch it.
or pound it.
Knead each ball of dough on floured surface until it is smooth.
Use your own discretion at the amount of flour you would like to use.
Spray a pyrex dish with cooking spray (I also spray the top of the dough so it doesn’t get crusty) and put them in a warm place to rise. Let it rise until they double in size (an hour or so. It doesn’t take long.)
Preheat the oven to 400.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough out flat. Spray your baking sheet with cooking spray and dust lightly with cornmeal. This will help it just slide off the pan when it is done cooking.
I put the dough in and let it pre bake for 7 minutes. This helps it get crisp without keeping it in the oven long enough for the cheese to burn.
The kids all love to help with making the dough.My older kids can do all the measuring themselves and really only need minimal supervision. And best of all, they think it is FUN.
The crust can also be wrapped up and frozen at this point to use another time. Fpr something like Breakfast pizza.
Now comes the toppings. The choices are infinite, depending on your likes.
I like to have a variety of chopices and ask the kids to personalize what they want. I have found that they will be more adventurous in their choices if they put it on themselves.
My big pizza making tip is to USE LEFTOVERS!
Make some chicken breast for dinner and have a tiny bit left over, not enough for a full meal? Slice it up and freeze it in a small ziploc. We have even done this with sloppy joe mix, adding it on top of the jar pizza sauce with a little mexican blend of shredded cheeses and had mexican pizza, Ole’.
Teryaki chicken… well that makes an interesting Asian inspired pizza, if you add a little pineapple and green pepper.
I use inexpensive jarred pizza sauce. Spread it around the crust, sprinkle the toppings on and throw it back in the over for another 7-10 minutes.
It really is so simple to make homemade pizza. We almost never buy it anymore, in part because the kids enjoy making it themselves so much.
Those are the top three easiest to prepare kid picked- mom approved meals. I sound like a Jiffy peanut butter ad now don’t I?