Cooking for a family of 10 is surprisingly much easier than you would think. If you would have told me before I had babies that I would be feeding my own little soccer team at home every day, I would have no idea how this could be done. But now that I’m doing it, it’s not as difficult as you’d think.
It comes down to a matter of volume really doesn’t it. Instead of cooking two cups of rice you might cook six, or instead of boiling 12 eggs you might boil 100 – well not quite 100, but close enough.
Speaking of eggs, these little beauties are a MUST in my weekly prep. I usually get them from Costco in bulk. And I use them as snacks for home/work/school as well as a side for most meals. They are so versatile and go with absolutely anything from salads to curries to sandwiches!
Egg-cellent Egg Tips
I boil thirty-six at a time. I’ve found to get the best results, in terms of a perfect yolk which isn’t runny but isn’t overcooked I first bring the water to the boil before placing the eggs in. Then I set a timer for ten minutes and once done I drain them and replace the boiling water with icy cold water. I only use eggs which I’ve left out of the fridge for a day to make them super easy to peel.
Like a lot of people, I enjoy sourcing the best quality groceries at the most competitive prices. I’d do this regardless of how many people I needed to feed because I love savvy shopping. This does not mean however that I am critical of the price of produce- the way I see it is, if I wouldn’t question jumping in on a sale to purchase a luxury expensive end item, then I can’t grumble at the price of a head of broccoli.
It would be like saying “look at this exquisite outfit I got from Camilla during her exclusive sale- but oh my gosh have you seen how expensive bananas are at the moment!?!” in the same sentence. For the record I didn’t actually get the outfit, although I did add all the matching items to my cart and celebrate how much I saved by not actually checking out hehehe!
Fresh ISN’T Always Best
Now this is going to gain some mixed reactions, probably more negative than anything else- but I’m open to suggestions and advice… when it comes to fruits and vegetables, I LOVE FROZEN!
I have done a bit of research and can’t find any information that is too detrimental about using frozen produce. It’s just for the added peace of mind of knowing that I’m not going to run out completely even if all the fresh produce gets eaten before the next shop- I mean it’s better to have a back up plan than none at all.
Lots Of Cookie Dough
Something else I make in bulk is cookie dough. The only benefit in this exercise is impressing my children. I don’t believe it’s that much cheaper, but my goodness they are the most delectable cookies ever! I make roughly 7kgs of dough at a time, roll it into logs and freeze it.
Admittedly it is good being in control of how much ingredients I add to the mix. For myself I can limit the sugar, for some of my little ones I can exclude the chocolate chips and it just makes for an awesome sweet snack that’s readily available as well as creating memories.
Certain days have a specific theme, like Sunday is always pancake day. I make the yummiest pancakes in the blender and this year I gave up using a pan and opted for this fabulous pancake maker which cooks four at a time perfectly- honestly it is such a lifesaver!
Buy In Bulk…But You Need The Space!
Meat is always bought in bulk, divided up and frozen as flat as possible and then kept upright in the freezer like books to make it easy to access. I do this even for our pup. And it helps that I have a spare freezer to make this possible otherwise I just wouldn’t have the space!
I love making Mac and Cheese, adding things like vegetables, mince and freezing them in portions for easy to heat and eat after school snacks.
It’s nice to be able to meal prep on a Sunday in preparation for a fabulous new week, but honestly I meal prep on the go sometimes. So I assess how much space there is available in the fridge and freezer before I go trying to prep anything extra. I do this especially because I try to add to my freezer stash after dinner each day.
We usually cook dinner everyday and if leftovers aren’t frozen, I use them for lunch the following day.
Mince Many Ways
I love making mince dishes where I can use the base in multiple ways! Like pasta mince for Bolognese as well as lasagna. Or mince for San Choy Bow in sausage rolls the next day yummm!
Don’t Throw Away Fruit
Overripe fruit always gets thrown into smoothies if I don’t have enough time to make bread out of it. But my goodness homemade banana bread is absolutely addictive! And again is wonderful to make in bulk, portion out and freeze.
Don’t Run Out!
I must admit that I don’t really have a ‘meal plan’ as such. But my main plan is not to run out of anything, to have a well stocked pantry so that I can whip up most things quickly and easily without too much trouble. I mean as much as I love frozen, and having things in the freezer ‘just in case’- that ‘just in case’ moment is really mainly if illness strikes or for any reason me or my hubby can’t cook something fresh on the day.
Meanwhile writing this article has made me so hungry that I’ve already eaten two eggs and I am now sipping on my life giving cup of coffee! But on the upside at least it’s not an entire block of chocolate- which it could have been had I not had something nutritious, quick and easy to grab when hunger pangs struck!
Healthy Eating Is Important
Nutrition is actually a really big part of meals for me also. Two years ago I lost about 30kgs just by doing all these little steps to ensure there’s always something of substance on hand that is quick and easy to grab other than just in our confectionery container. Yeah sure I could simply avoid purchasing high sugar/calorie foods, but, I believe it’s all about balance too!
Where I Shop
I occasionally grocery shop online at Coles, only if what I want is on sale, because I like that I can get an additional percentage off as well as free delivery for orders over $49 via their eBay store. But otherwise I don’t really deviate too much from Costco and Aldi… unless there’s ooshies involved. As much as I love frozen, my main shop is done at whichever store has the freshest and best produce available on the day.
Keep An Ongoing Shopping List
Something which I’ve found really helps me not to forget to put things on my shopping list is that I keep a ‘Master Grocery List’ on my phone- with prices, for each store. This, combined with making a quick note throughout the day as I notice odd things running low- like chicken salt which I wouldn’t necessarily remember otherwise, ensures I don’t forget to add them to the shopping list. And it’s imperative that I don’t leave anything out because it’s actually my hubby that does our grocery shopping.
What About Takeaways?
We still get takeaway! I reserve it for special occasions like birthdays, and when you consider there’s ten in the family that’s almost equivalent to getting takeout once a month which seems pretty balanced to me.
It’s All About Storage
Did I mention I keep all my pantry goods in see-through stackable containers? It’s been a game changer! I can see at a glance what I’m running low on before I run out but even greater than this- it somehow manages to create so much extra space in my tiny pantry! I LOVE them! I even keep the master arts and craft supplies in them so that the kids can see what they need and locate them without destroying the entire house in search of a crayon or googly eye.
How To Overcome Meal Challenges
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly I know that there is more to meals than just the average family with no allergies or textural issues. I myself have two little one’s with food texture aversion and I know all too well that this can be beyond challenging.
From my experience, what I’ve learned is to simply go with the flow. I don’t try to do battle with them, instead I find new ways of introducing nutrient dense foods to them in a way that they will accept them.
It’s not uncommon for me to fry cashew nuts or place an orange in the oven to encourage my little ones to enjoy them.
Food Glorious Food
You know your family best, you know what they need and above all else, it’s a happy parent so don’t let meal times become overwhelming or stressful because food is a glorious thing and so is your family, find what works best around your schedule and enjoy yourself because life is so beautiful when you’re having fun!
On a side note, whilst writing this, in addition to my eggs and coffee, I also did some online shopping and bought a magnetic meal planner, shopping list and cleaning schedule. I can’t wait to see if I actually use them hehehe!
Happy cooking to all the wonderful Mouths of Mums community!
What are your tips that you use to ensure cooking for your family goes (relatively) smoothly? Tell us in the comments below.