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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

Northernlurker Sat 11-Aug-12 10:39:58

I think if your family will not eat : mince, pasta, sauces (seriously? all sauces?), cheese, bacon, spicy food and sausages then your options are critically limited.
I think you need to instruct dc and dh to get a grip and eat what you put in front of them! Good luck!

Vickles Sat 11-Aug-12 09:27:59

You can buy these baking bags from supermarkets, that are in the food bag aisle. You bung a whole chicken in, and tie it, and the chicken comes out mega moist, and the major bonus is no hot chicken fat splatters all in the oven!

accessorizequeen Fri 10-Aug-12 20:56:16

Hello, just coming on because I have 4 dc and tips on feeding them always needed! I am 1 of 4 and remember my mum getting fed up because nothing suited everyone. My dc are only 8.7, 5.7 and 3.10 dts but have noticed that they're more receptive if they have a say or help or even get the spuds from the garden.

We have a lot of Spanish omlette with chorizo & potatoes as it's filling. Also recent discoveries are chicken jambalaya and sausage stew (chorizo, lentils & butter beans too). They all like cheesy beany tortillas which are easy and cheap - tins of butter/kidney/refried beans with tin of tomatoes, onion garlic. Whizz up if preferred. Spoon into wraps, fold, sprinkle cheese and bake. Yummy, healthy and no complaints!
Really must make an effort to do roast chickens, that sounds great!

blue2 Fri 10-Aug-12 18:56:00

Hedwig -
Some thoughts....

Hamburgers? (I know they're mince, but....) Just add grated onion, an egg and (trust me) a grated apple. Makes them really juicy. Make into patties and into the fridge.

Someone posted nice recipe for basically a cheesy bread and butter pudding. It's delishhh. (Check out Nigellas 'Three Cheese Strata')

What about soup when its colder? You can add pasta, meat, veg - recipes are endless.

Vickles Fri 10-Aug-12 18:47:17

Hi, you're welcome. I've got three kids under 7yrs, and would like one more!
I get a real buzz from keeping my weekly asda bill down! I just go through my favourites section, and kind of put similar things in every week, but just jig it about a bit. Sometimes it goes a bit pete tong, like today, kids had scrambled egg on toast and me and hubby had chicken Kiev, mash and green beans! Kids had eaten out for lunch. I'm kind of organised most the time, but other times, it's shambles! Typical Gemini. But also, don't forget my kids are younger, 7, 4 and 18 months, so they don't really have much input, yet. My older one is a bit, and is a tad fussier than the others. I'm very good at hiding things, and whizz ing sweet corn and onions in the mini chopper! I want taught to cook, just learnt. Lots of mistakes along the way, and I do tend to over cook things a lot!

MUM2BLESS Fri 10-Aug-12 18:12:31

wow Vickles love your input. How many kids do you have? if I may ask, you seem really organised.

Vickles Fri 10-Aug-12 09:22:35

Can you replace mince., which I think is a pretty major staple in our house... With meatballs? I do meatball bolognaise with spaghetti hubby and older kids, then me and little one have savoy cabbage instead of spaghetti... Lush!
If beef meatballs are still too similar to mince for you, how about Wall's Pork Meatballs? They're in the sausage aisle I think, and they're similar to normal meatballs, but just pork. Or mince chicken, turkey or pork and make your own?

Get one or two roast chickens... Really easy, bung in baking tray and cook it in oven at 170 to 180 degrees for an hour and a half or two hours if there is two roast chickens. Even if you over cook them, roast chicken is fairly forgiving as the meat stays moist ish from being on the bone. Just make sure it's cooked through.... Just get a sharp knife, and slice down to the bone on the thigh bone... Should be white down to the bone.. If not, or your not sure, bung it back in. I tend to take it out of the oven, check, then if it's slightly underdone, I cover it with tin foil, and it still slightly cooks a bit longer the tin foil. Roast chicken will feed you all with chips, mash pot, rice, veges on the Sunday, just slice the meat off the chicken. Then, when you've all had enough, pick all the meat off the carcass... It was gross when I first did it, but, as a family of five now, I can't afford to waste good food, so I pick all the meat off.. Pop it in bowl and let it cool. Then, bung in fridge for the next day for a curry, or sweet and sour chicken, or chicken stirfry or chicken and rice or fajitas This is soooooo good value for money, and we have roast chicken most Sundays and then Mondays.

We have sausages every week, but just change how we have it. Sausage, mash and veges and homemade onion gravy. I place the sausages in baking tray ontop of sliced onions and apples... Then bake them. Take sausages out when cooked, and add bistro best gravy granules in the baking tray to make gravy. Then, serve or if kids are feeling particularly fussy, I mash it, as the onions and apples go all soft, thus making it less lumpy.

Jacket potatoe nights arE the kids favourite. I bake them in the oven, then I put the fillings on the centre of the table and they choose. Baked beans and sprinkle cheese, tuna mayo with sweet corn, onion or cucumber.

We discovered wrappers, tortilla wraps, for fajitas. But, a lovely way to use them up is frying them in a big saucepan, with a bit of butter and oil, then sprinkling a filling like cheese and salsa,,, then, you fold it over, like a pancake... And it melts in the middle, but gets crispy on the outside. Lush. We've done also ham and cheese, cheese and pickle, or just jam!

One night a week well have freezer food, chicken Kiev or something similar for us and chicken nuggets or fish fingers and chips for kids, with peas.

Omelettes have been A big hit since I bought a new omelette pan! I do spanish omelette with ham, Tom, new pots, onion etc... Or just toms or just cheese and ham.

Macaroni cheese is popular too, especially with bacon in it. You can get bacon scraps from the butcher, they're lush. You can mAke a cheese sauce from scratch, or buy a packet cheese sauce, or buy Philadelphia or other cream cheese.

Pork chops are popular, despite me over cooking them every blooming time. As long as they have the apple/ onion gravy, they're still ok.

If your kids aren't keen on jacket pots, how about homemade pot wedges? Soooo easy. Cut large pot into wedges, by cutting in half, then half again then half again.. Then sprinkle them in oil, and bung in oven. We have them with chilli con carne, mild, or just with poached eggs and beans. Use omelette pan, and cover bottom with water, just like you would with a fried egg in oil,,, bring water to boil, then, 'fry' egg in water. Dip wedges in the egg!

Mumsnet mums are great for ideas, but so are netmums too, in their recipe section.

No one taught me to cook, I just stumbled into it. I get a real buzz by keeping my food bill down every week and meal planning, so I very rarely have any left over food. I can't bare wasteage. I hope that helps. Good luck... Just go for it, and you'll learn along the way. I made a rice dish last week with fresh tuna, never again, it was minging, so we had scrambled egg on toast! But the next night, I made one of their favourites!

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

Your welcome.

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 19:12:37

Hedwig06 very impressive 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?

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

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 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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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...

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.

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 ......

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

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

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

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