Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Big Family Menu Planning..

One of the most challenging things I find with having 5 kids is what to set out to eat & what to have for dinner! When there is only Mr 7 & Mr 1 at home to cater for, we are able to shop more freely at places such as Woolies & Coles. But enter Mr 12, Miss 11 & Mr 9 to the mix & I find myself drawn to Aldi, my top brands becoming home brands very quickly!!! We just seem to go through & need so much food! Particularly on the holidays!

So this week I decided I would return to my 'Meal Planning Mondays' which you will be able to catch on the blog each Monday (usually Tuesday ~ slack!) & I would document some of the larger meals that I cook for our family of 7.

On the whole I try to cater for each of the kids tastes & where possible I try to make the meals toddler friendly. I also have a stash of Rafferty's Garden Meals & a few Sui Min for those nights when all the kids palette's aren't catered for, but generally I can keep everyone happy with a few tweaks here & there - For example Mr 7 is our fussiest eater so if he doesn't like the fish we are eating, I will give him tuna, ham or fish fingers etc as a substitute yet he will still eat the veggies the rest of the family are eating.

Since all the kids came home 1 week ago, for the first few days I forgot how much I needed to feed our mini army, so found myself back at the shops every day. The other day I bit the bullet & actually went & shopped for what we needed & although I spent $200, at least I haven't been back! (aside from bread tonight at the servo) & I even managed to shop @ Coles (it's for the Fly Buys I swear, plus that whole RAOK thing they have going on @ Aldi makes me feel left out & under far too much pressure! ~ Thanks Aldi Mum) LOL.

If you know you need 5 loaves of bread to make it through the week, there is no sense in buying 1. It's the same with big family supplies, you can't buy one packet of 8 sausages (unless you only eat one sausage each of course) you have to think BULK! So I headed to the deli & got 300g of ham, 2kg of Chicken Drumsticks, 1kg of Mince, 22 sausages & some massive bulk buy of chicken breast & it was here I started my planning. I decided on Spaghetti Bolognaise, Chicken Soup, Apricot Chicken, Gourmet Sausage sizzle & salmon patties.

I then went to buy my veggies. Usually a fan of veggie markets, my timing of my big shop was all out of sync with the markets so I ended up getting my supplies at Coles too. I buy 2kg of potatoes, 1kg of carrots, zucchini's, shallots, mushrooms & corn on the cob. I then get my salad items such as rocket & spinach, tomatoes, cucumber & capsicum. I tend to buy items such as broccoli, cauliflower, peas, corn & beans frozen as they are items I tend to waste the items when fresh otherwise. I usually buy 2kg of frozen veg.

I tend to cook dinner either in the slow cooker so I can prepare it all in the morning or I'll start cooking at 5:00 in the afternoon so Mr 1 can eat with us too by 6:00. I still stick with this routine summer or winter & it only deviates if the kids have sport or an activity on that might push it back a little, in which case I'll use the slow cooker that night (or the fast cooker at Pizza Hut lol)

I'll put up the recipe's on a separate post as its midweek & I haven't made all the meals from my meal plan as yet. Tonight's meal didn't go to plan as we ended up with a very late lunch @ the beach, so had toasted sandwiches when we got home instead, but so far Iv got Spaghetti Bolognaise & Slow Cooker Chicken Soup to pop up.

If your catering for a large family how do you go about planning dinners & what types of meals do you favour?

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