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Feeding a Large Family

(32 Posts)
Hedwig06 Mon 06-Aug-12 09:09:38

I am struggling just lately with meal ideas. I doesn't help that I really hate cooking and all that it in-tales grin

I have to cook for 6, DH, Myself, DD 16, DD12, DS10 & DS5.

Nobody like the same things, apart from a cooked dinner, but I'm sick to death of doing this.

I've just bought a Tefal Actifry & a Tefal Shredder, I also have a slow cooker as well, not that I use it.

Does anyone have any meal ideas for us all? I need simple easy meals, as I have NO cookery skills at all.

No mince please, as no-one like it smile

MUM2BLESS Mon 06-Aug-12 10:58:59

oh dear what can I say.

It may be an ideaa to get the older kids involved with the cooking too. It will help them to be independent and also be of help to you.

I would get some cook books or go online and start with some simple things.

The problem you are facing is that you have taken all this on yourself and no one is helping. Do you do the house work all by yourself?

Even though my husband is a brilliant trained chef, I still have to so my share. Dealing with food all day its understandable that he wants a break when he gets home., sometimes

Excuse me for asking did you not get any training when you were at home? We are teaching our kids (16,13,11 and 7 to cook). I refuse to spoil my 3 sons by not letting them learn to do house work etc. My husband does a rota for them to help.

What about pizza, some of my kids make their own. Asda has a mini pizza kit that has brilliant instuctions for the kids to follow.

If you hate cooking why not look at some ideas for cooking in bulk and freezing.

I will be watching this space for tips myself.

All the best.

One more thing, as the kids get older they need to learn to help you more, this will help them and help with the work load.

Hedwig06 Mon 06-Aug-12 12:09:36


Thank you So much for replying, in answer to your question no my mum wasn't a cook either so didn't get any training at all at home.

I have thought about asking the DC to help particularly the older girls, but it seems far to much hassle and extra mess and as I hate it just seems to prolong the cooking and add to the mess.

As a family we don't eat mince, sauces, peppers, spicy food etc. which is why it's so hard to follow recipes as most of the ingredients no one will eat!

I have used the pizza set before which is great for 3 of the 4 DC but DD12 doesn't like pizzas, sausage, bacon, beans, cheese ..... The list is endless hence my trouble

Thanks again x

DiscoDaisy Mon 06-Aug-12 12:13:44

There's 7 of us and there are only a few meals that we all like.
I tend to do a lot of pasta type meals and if someone genuinely doesn't like something then I will do them something quick and simple instead like beans on toast or scrambled eggs.

glammanana Mon 06-Aug-12 12:25:11

Oh my gosh how awful for you,you must have a major headache when it comes to meal times,my son bought me a fab book called The Half Hour Cook by Jeni Littlewood and you will be amazed how easy and cheap the meals are in it,he bought it because there is only now me and DH at home but the meals can be adapted for any amount.My DD has 6 DCs 22yrs down to 9yrs and she refuses to do differant meals if they don't like it tough luck she does do some snack type meals using wraps and pieces of left over chicken and bacon that go down well.It might be a good idea if you enrolled with the Council on a budget cookery course that may get your enthusiasium going.good luck (spelling)oops !

BadRoly Mon 06-Aug-12 12:32:09

I'm not alone grin this has made me so happy grin

Well clearly it hasn't because in an ideal world no one would be asking this question. I have the added treat that dh is away Mon-Thurs so I eat what the children eat so fairly dull unimaginative stuff - gravy dinners, sausage and mash, pasta, pizza, curry, fish and chips type stuff.

Dd1 dislikes mince but we have found she will eat Quorn mince so recently we have been able to add cottage pie and lasagne to the mix (which the other dc love)

Ds1 dislikes potatoes and 'set' egg - so quiches etc are no good (which the other 3 love)

Dd2 blows like the wind and will change her mind mid meal on what she likes/dislikes.

Ds2 eats if he is hungry wink

My biggest bugbear is when dh gets home and I ask what he would like and get the "I don't know, what do you fancy?" angry Because I haven't already torn my hair out during the week trying to keep the dc fed and happy sad

Hedwig06 Mon 06-Aug-12 12:42:11

Badroly - that's me too! DH "whatever you want or I'm not bothered". But when I pick it's hmmm. I don't really want that angry

Thanks everyone I've been feeling really fed up with it all.

Pasta dishes ate out as well as DH doesn't like pasta. I think I'm stuck to doing everyone different things to be honest I just wondered of anyone had a magic wand grin

defineme Mon 06-Aug-12 12:45:11

There's 5 of us and ds1 is asd and picky.
I find serve yourself meals best:
jacket potatoes with cheese/beans/tuna mayo/salad/ whatever I have in to help themselves to
tortillas with either chicken fillets coated in flour egg sesame seeds and fried/quorn chicken nuggets/fishfingers/ and then make wraps with choice of salad/grated carrot/toms/cuc/grated cheese/houmous/yoghurt or burgers and pitta with same selection of stuff
eggs however they like them with bread/oven chips and veg/salad

They really need to be making this themmselves though-at 12 I was doing pasta with sauce/salads/omlettes
Can't they just start with sticking stuff in oven and then move onto other things?
Remenber a cold meal is just as nutritious as a hot meal-we often have one midweek

defineme Mon 06-Aug-12 12:46:18

I would do pasta and let dh have a sandwich-I do that with fish pie!

Hedwig06 Mon 06-Aug-12 12:50:48

I like the idea of the wraps, as DS10 has had these when we having a meal out and loved them.

I would be happy with a sandwich defineme but DH really hates it when I do as it's "not proper food"

I have suggested a slice of pizza, with a jacket spud for dinner one night, but this suggestion was met with a hmm face ......

SquishyCinnamonSwirls Mon 06-Aug-12 12:52:55

It sounds like you're running a café!
I cater most days to about 4/5 extra children, plus dh, dd and I. I tend to make more and plate up meals for the children I cm so it's easy and quick to reheat the next day.
All of the children will generally eat whatever it is I make, it's either that or fruit/yoghurt. I do not have the time to make umpteen alternatives.

The favourites here for everyone are spag bol, chilli, Moroccan lamb with cous cous, Chorizo and pepper stew, fish pie, boiled gammon with mash, beef stew and dumplings, sausages.

Why not sit down with the kids and ask them to help you meal plan and they can choose one meal each to help with? It's a great thing to get them involved and teach them some life skills! If they help make it they're also more likely to eat it.

BadRoly Mon 06-Aug-12 12:56:05

That would drive me spare too - there are advantages to dh being away...

The best thing I ever did was menu plan and write it on the board for all to see. That way they can see and prepare for the meals they dislike! Sounds odd but it really works for ds1. And I always let them eat fruit after they've eaten what I've dished up (small portions, they can always have seconds).

Also, like now in the holidays, I let the older 3 each pick a meal so that they know that there is at least one meal they will enjoy...

Hedwig06 Mon 06-Aug-12 13:02:34

I think I am running a café it certainly feels like it smile

I like the idea of a meal plan, I could ask them all for an idea for one night a week, but to take in consideration others likes and dislikes.
As I'm starting to feel that everyone in this family can't not like everything they said they don't - I think I've just let them get away with it for so long they expect it now.

I don't get to eat my favorite meal every night, they can't expect to either, in fact I can't remember the last time I cooked something I fancied.

Plus meal planning might get the shopping budget under control, its starting to feel like a runaway train at the moment.

Thanks everyone, I'm feeling a bit more positive now smile

SquishyCinnamonSwirls Mon 06-Aug-12 13:09:39

Yay! That's good smile

Meal planning is sometimes a little tedious but makes so much sense. It also means that you all try something a bit different too. My dd loves cooking and really likes browsing through the cook books for inspiration.

Let them know what you're planning, and that you expect them to at least try a couple of mouthfuls of whatever it is they're given, even if they "think" they won't like it!

Oh and why don't you cook whatever it is you fancy most tonight?

If it helps, with the Olympics on, we've been cooking food from different Nations most nights and it's been fun.

Yummymummyyobe1 Mon 06-Aug-12 13:13:08

We do a lot of slow cooking in this house only a small family but for example we make a base and a few meals from there for example:

Lean mince steak


add onion for Cottage pie


Add tomatoes and chilli for a pasta base


Add Red Kidney Beans for a chilli and rice


Add nothing and do a baked potaoe


Cheat and pop oven chips and fish in the oven.

Hedwig06 Mon 06-Aug-12 13:15:50

Thanks squishy xx

I'm just trying to work out a meal planner template so I can print a few copies off.

I think I might pick dinner tonight, I can picture the shock on 5 faces now grin

I am going to look for some cookbooks on the ipad in a bit and then sit us all down together at the table and get them picking meals - fingers crossed it doesn't turn into a big argument.

ElephantsOlympianParty Mon 06-Aug-12 13:16:22

Tbh it sounds as if your DH is causing a lot of the problems! If he doesn't like what's on offer, and won't have a sandwich, then tell him to sort himself out. Better still, get him to plan, shop for, and cook dinner every day for a week and you may find he becomes more open to what's on offer.

dixiechick1975 Mon 06-Aug-12 13:17:22

Can you do a list of meals that eveyone likes - get everyone to help.

Then divide up into categories eg meat, chicken, veggie, pasta.

Then when you are meal planning pick one from each category each week. I did this when I was doing slimming world and found it easy to plan - I stuck the list on the fridge.

I think you all need to eat the same - just make it flexible enough.

eg you could do baked potatoes and put 2 or 3 different fillings out so they can pick.

Your don't list would leave me struggling - is it just no beef mince eg is turkey mince ok or or is it the texture. Do you like quorn instead?

Hedwig06 Mon 06-Aug-12 13:25:39

I know Elephants, I've said that to him before, when we we younger and had less money he ate anything I cooked, he didn't even ask, that why I think its just a rut we are all stuck in and I've let it go on and on as I'm not a great cook and don't really enjoy it either.

Dixie - Its all mince, the kids don't like the texture or the taste, DH would eat it he loves cottage pie, but the rest of us hate it smile

We are just doing your suggestion we are writing down a list of meals everyone loves, likes and then is willing to try, so hopefully we will get a bit of variety as its so monotonous having cooked dinners and casseroles all the time.

MUM2BLESS Mon 06-Aug-12 16:42:10

Wow very impressive everyone. I am sure these great ideas will help.

Its never too late for you all to become great cooks. If you involve the kids then when they go off to uni etc they will survive.

Make up in your mind that your kids will learn to do what you were not taught to do. (not a put down but some encouragement)

All the best. What you doing tonight if I am allowed to ask smile

Hedwig06 Mon 06-Aug-12 16:52:06

Mum2Bless - Minted Lamb chops, chips in the actifry, mushrooms and salad.

It was lovely, the DD's didn't think so though smile

SquishyCinnamonSwirls Mon 06-Aug-12 18:54:46

Oooh minted chops, I quite fancy those now too. Don't worry about the dd's, they'll soon catch onto it all. I guess you just have to be focused and don't take any hassle about it.
I put courgette (glut from the garden) into the spag bol sauce today and there was nearly a mutiny when one of the children spotted a green bit. Then he ate it and liked it.

Focaccia is super easy to make, is the same as a pizza base so can be eaten as bread or turned into a meal where the kids can add their own topping?

MUM2BLESS Mon 06-Aug-12 19:12:37

Hedwig06 very impressive smile

Hedwig06 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:11:20

Squishy & mum2bless thanks so much for all your help and encouragement I'm really very grateful xx

MUM2BLESS Mon 06-Aug-12 22:04:58

Your welcome.

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