Thursday, May 17, 2012

Meal Planning for a Large Family

Q. What is a typical week of meals for your family right now?

A. I love our farming, homeschooling lifestyle. One of the biggest reasons is we get to eat all three meals a day together as a family. This also means somebody has to make all those meals. If we aren't prepared by knowing ahead of time what we will cook there are a lot of disappointed people in the house.

menu board

This is our menu board. It's just a big picture frame with fabric that matches our kitchen behind the glass. The glass part is 16x20. That's a nice big writing space. You'll see why in a minute. During one of our mother/daughter times Brownie helped me cut out the vinyl lettering. I love it! Whoever has cooking for the week fills it out for all to see. Sometimes someone will sneakily erase something or add something else they have been craving.

I suspect we go about menu planning like most everyone else does. We look through our cupboards/pantry to see what we have in stock, search the grocery sales ads for good deals, then scour our cookbooks before actually writing down a menu. This helps to keep our costs down to about $125-$150 a week or about $5.95 - $7.14 per meal for the entire family. {more about our grocery costs in another post}

One thing I have found we do differently is the amount of side dishes we have especially for our biggest meal of the day which is lunch. It is not uncommon for us to have a main dish, at least two or three veggie options, a salad {fruit, jello, pasta or green}, and a bread. We've found instead of tripling a main recipe {that usually feeds 4-5 people} we can get away with making only one recipe because we all fill up with the cheaper side options. Now you know why our writing space on our menu board is so big. We need room for writing all those side dishes! And we do write them all down. After making our menu we can then see exactly what ingredients are needed for each meal and make our grocery list for food we don't already have in stock.

Here are the typical main dishes we have for each meal.

  • oatmeal or granola with lots of topping options - fruit, nuts, cream, cinnamon and other spices, yogurt 
  • cream of wheat
  • pancakes {fruit, oatmeal, whole wheat}
  • waffles
  • biscuits {served with cheese sauce or sausage gravy, or plain with jam}
  • french toast
  • cornbread
  • German pancakes {hootenanny}
  • quiche cups
  • muffins {all types}
  • crepes with filling options
  • eggs - flat, scrambled, poached, or hard boiled
  • hashbrowns
  • sausage
  • bacon
  • toast
  • fruit smoothies
  • cold cereal {only once in a great while}
We always have at least four fruit options available to eat with breakfast: apples, bananas and then whatever is in season - berries, mangoes, grapes, oranges, etc. Our favorite drink for breakfast is milk or chocolate milk.

Lunch: {this is only a sampling}
  • Hawaiian Haystacks
  • Teriyaki Chicken
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Fried Chicken
  • Chicken Broccoli Casserole
  • Chicken and Rice Casserole
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Mexican Haystacks
  • Tacos
  • Enchiladas
  • Burritos
  • Hamburgers
  • Taco Sotp
  • Tin Foil Dinners
  • Navajo Tacos
  • Porcupine Meatballs
  • Lasagne
  • Spaghetti
  • Lentil Stew
  • Beef Stew
  • French Dip Sandwiches
  • Stir Fry
  • Fajitas
  • Quesadillas
  • Lemon Salmon
  • Tuna Noodle Casserole
  • Panini Sandwiches
  • Pizza
  • Baked Potatoes

  • Leftovers
  • Salad {Ceasar, Spinach Strawberry, etc}
  • Choose anything from breakfast or lunch  :)
Side dishes:{a sampling}
  • cooked veggies - plain {peas, green beans, broccoli and cauliflower, carrots, corn, mixed peppers and onions, etc.}
  • raw veggies
  • salads - pasta salad, fruit salad, green salad, jello salad, bean salad
  • potatoes au gratin
  • french fries
  • broccoli roll ups {baked in crescent rolls}
  • black-eyed peas
  • couscous
  • rice
  • Fruits of all kinds - apples, bananas, raspberries, mangoes, strawberries, grapes, oranges, kiwis, etc.
  • Veggies- Broccoli, Cucumber, Cauliflower, Carrots, Jicama, Celery, Grape Tomatoes
  • Cookies
  • Muffins
  • Granola Bars
  • Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
I've shared a lot of recipes over the years. Most can be found by clicking the Cookbook option in my menu board at the top of the blog. Apparently I really like to share desserts!

Just about everything we cook and bake is made from scratch. Good home cooking just can't be beat! It's one of the best ways to show love to your family.

Cocoa Signature with Candy 2 © 2007-2012 Chocolate on my Cranium, LLC all rights reserved


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