Can we talk about feeding our large families?

Discussion in 'Large Families' started by JodiM, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. JodiM

    JodiM 35yo Catholic Mama to 5

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    I am sick of cooking the same things, I feel that to keep costs down, I'm really limited to what I can make.

    Our food budget is $150/wk, and that doesn't include the $15 I now have to send with my teen for lunch at school. (although ~ The way he eats, $15 is a STEAL!)

    I have a meal idea sheet, and I try to go off that.. I'm trying to get down a rotating type menu, hoping that will help, and allow me to buy staples that go on sale more often.

    I would also love to know how / if any of you cook with a crockpot, and do you need to use 2? I like making ribs (about the only thing I know how to make in the crockpot! - recipes appreciated ;) ) but they don't all fit into 1 crockpot.. so I only make them on a night that I'm missing either ds1 or dh.
  2. Champagyne1

    Champagyne1 New Member

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    Okanagan, BC, Canada
    I only have 2 kids but my DH eats like 2 extra so does that count?? LOL

    I love to do stew in the crock pot (so easy) and soups. I have done a cheap roast in the crock pot and let it go all day and THAT is so easy it should be criminal. :)

    The cook book I use the most is the company's coming crock pot book. it is SO easy and well worth the $ to buy it...

    What about shepards pie in the oven? swiss steak? pork chops in mushroom gravy (aka soup ) w/ rice and veggies?
  3. lovingmomma

    lovingmomma Living with Preggo brain!

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    In the land of the little people!
    I feel like I am in a rut here as well. I want to cook healthy, but end up defaulting to what is easy.

    I will post more when I have time, but here is a recipe we found recently. it is very easy, and tastes great!! But, we are huge green bean and potatoes people!!

    In the bottom of the crockpot, layer as many red potatoes (cut in half) as your family will eat. On top of that, put in as much green beans (with juice) as your family will eat. Top with Smoked sausage/Kilbosa/Polish sausage to the amount your family will eat. Throw a stick of butter (I use real butter) on top and put the lid on. Let the crockpot cook on low for about 10 hours. You could probably remove it sooner if you needed to since everything is safe to eat. You would just want to make sure the potatoes are cooked!

    When ready to serve, warm some corn or carrots and you are done!!

    You can start this when you first get up and it is ready for supper! Hope you enjoy it!

    ***I am giving this recipe from memory. I will check it in a bit and update if I have something wrong***
  4. Mamatoabunch

    Mamatoabunch New Member

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    Surrounded by the pinon in NM
    I started a menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now I am down to about $550 a month. I go in spurts w/ the crock pot. I only need one still.
  5. OKay can you gals please please share what you feed your families for under $500 a month.
    We are a family of 6, DH, myself, 16yr old exchange student, 10yr old growing girl that eats like an adult, 6yr old boy and 4yr old boy. I am finding it hard to keep it under $800 a month.:drop: I am not sure if prices are higher where we live in WA or they are pretty much the same across the US?

    We don't eat much prepackaged food or convience foods.
    Breakfasts consist of oatmeal, cream of wheat, homeade breakfast bars, homeade muffins or scones, pancakes, sometimes cereal.
    Lunch we eat
    PBJ, leftovers, quesadias (sp?), pasta salads, soups and toasted cheese sandwiches, Meat and cheese sandwiches, tunafish, baked potatoes
    Dinner well that is a mix of thing, but I try to buy what is on sale.
    Snacks, we have homeade muffins, cookies, granola bars, a ton of fresh fruit (which I know can get pricey, but I do figure it is better than junk food)
  6. Mamatoabunch

    Mamatoabunch New Member

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    Surrounded by the pinon in NM
    We live in NM. I think food is expensive here. We eat almost no prepackaged or convenience. Our breakfast is similar. We rarely have leftovers perse, but I often double certain things to have for lunch. We HS so my kids are always home. Similar stuff for lunch too. Dinner is more soups, chili's, stew lately to fill tummies cheaply. We do not have snacks, but my kids have fruit at least twice a day. I should add I started a menu a month ago for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has definitely reduced our bill.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2007
  7. ilfan96

    ilfan96 Active Member

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    Our budget is $500/month for groceries. There are 7 of us, although my youngest is only 1, so he does not eat much. The key for me for keeping my food budget in line is to plan out my meals in advance. I make a monthly menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Some things we have for supper...chili/soup in the crock pot, pasta with sauce, enchiladas, tacos, homemade pizza. Those are just off the top of my head. I can look at my menu for September in the morning and post some more things if you would like.

    Another thing that helps out is that we have reduced the amount of meat we eat significantly.
  8. Robin

    Robin Jesus Follower

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    Lone Star State
    I find that one way I can keep meal cost down is to keep it simple. Like a meat (baked or oven fried) and 2 veggies or a veggie and salad and then either a starchy veg or bread.

    So some of our meals are

    pork chops (3-4 oz for each adult and I spilt ones for the boys) so for us I will usually fix 6 pork chops (4 for the meal and 2 for leftovers), sweet potato fries, corn, green beans and jalopeno peas (actually fixed extra sides because not everyone likes sp fries and peas).

    chicken (dh and boys like legs so I will fix 6 legs and two breasts, we have at least one breast left over) then veggie sides

    sloppy joes with either sp fries/reg fries and fruit

    black beans and yellow rice with fruit for a side and sometimes green beans

    shrimp pasta with broccoli with garlic bread

    spaghetti with garlic bread and salad

    tacos with salad and salsa for sides

    enchiladas with salad and chips and salsa

    chili with either corn casserole and/or chips

    sour cream chicken with veggie sides

    beefy noodles (similar to hamburger helper) with veggies

    burgers with chips and rotel dip

    Also we try to keep it simple and plan the same foods for breakfast almost always ceral and milk and fruit. Then it is really special if I do waffles or eggs and bacon. Another simple breakfast that we will do is just biscuits with butter and jelly. I don't do it often but the boys love it when I do make it.

    For lunch same thing, we keep it simple, some type of protein, usually a veggie and fruit. We do tortillas with cheese and/or chicken for lunch, crackers and pepperoni or sliced chicken (leftovers), soup with crackers, sometimes just chips and rotel dip.

    I try to balance out what the kids eat during the day so if don't eat a veggie at lunch they will have one for a snack and the same with fruit but usually they will ask for fruit so I don't have to worry about that.

    We spend the extra money because I do buy granola bars and goldfish. Also I will usually buy one bag of chips to last all week. Those will do with some meals or for a snack but once they are gone then they are gone until the next week. If we are having Mexican a couple of times then I will buy one bag of regular chips and one bag of tortilla chips (they don't get eaten as quickly). Also I keep a few easy things on hand for dh for nights when I am gone or if I am out during the day. This way he can do a quick and easy meal.

    We have more meals than this but I can't come up with them right now off my head.
  9. jessica_momof7

    jessica_momof7 Super Breeder

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    we save a lot on our grocery bill by not eating a ton of meat. we do not have it every night.

    our grocery budget is between $400-$450 a month for our family of 8.

    it is easier now that the kids eat at school for lunch and breakfast...before that our budget was more like $450-$500
  10. CiaraLinn

    CiaraLinn ~Finding my way~

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    somewhere deep in the heart of a smalltown...
    Annabelle - I would LOVE to see your menu...we HS too so everyone is here for every meal...and I could really use some fresh ideas :D
  11. jessica_momof7

    jessica_momof7 Super Breeder

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    Ciara-not annabelle here, but thought I'd share some of my meal plans that kept under the $400-$500 range

    Breakfast Options:
    oatmeal and whole wheat toast
    Raisin bread toast
    Poached egg with grits and toast
    fresh fruit and cheese
    leftovers from dinner

    Pita bread pizzas with fruit
    bagels with cream cheese, fruit and veggies (and cheese)
    bean dip with homemade tortilla chips and fruit
    humungo loaded salad
    cheese and rice

    Pasta and beans
    baked potatoes w/vegetarian chili
    baked macaroni and cheese with watermelon
    baked whole chicken with rice and corn
    overnight black beans with cornbread
    meatless spaghetti

    cheese slices
    veggies and dip

    Dinner: Thai Vegetable Stir Fry with Jasmine Rice

    B: Whole Grain Muffins and Yogurt
    L: Pasta and Beans
    D: Lentil Tacos

    B: Oatmeal with Fruit
    L: PB&J whole grain muffins with apples and carrots
    D: Beans and Rice (with veggies inside)

    B: Toast and banana
    L: Tortilla Roll ups with mexi veggies
    D: Black Eyed Peas and Carrots
    Collard Greens

    B: Spelt Biscuits with Soy sausage
    L: Piroshki
    D: Baked Chicken

    B: Pancakes and eggs
    L: Tennessee Corn Pone Muffins (cornbread with beans inside)
    D: Aloo samosas
    Massur Dal and carrot soup

    all vegan except 1 breakfast
    meat only 1 time

    total cost for week :$62

    items already on hand:
  12. Mamatoabunch

    Mamatoabunch New Member

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    Surrounded by the pinon in NM
    I'd love to see others menus too! I'll get mine posted later.
  13. Mamatoabunch

    Mamatoabunch New Member

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    Surrounded by the pinon in NM
    Menu for 9/9-9/23

    9/9 B: Cinnamon toast, bacon, juice
    L: Sandwhiches and chips
    D: Spaghetti and garlic parm french bread

    9/10 B: Waffles and fruit
    L: Leftover spaghetti w/ butter and parmesan cheese
    D: Roasted chicken breast and peanut broccoli

    9/11 B: Pancakes and yogurt
    L: Hard rolls, salami and fruit
    D: Beefy noodles and spinach salad

    9/12 B: Toast and jam
    L: Pumpkin muffins, yogurt, fruit
    D: Fajitas w/ tomatos, avacado, grated cheese, corn on the cob

    9/13 B: Oatmeal w/ raisins
    L: Lentil, potato curry
    D: Fish and squash

    9/14 B: Cereal and fruit
    L: PB&J
    D: Beans, rice, eggplant and fruit

    9/15 B: Farina
    L: Tortillas and cheese
    D: Sloppy Joe's, green beans

    9/16 B: Pancakes and bacon
    L: Baked potatos
    D: Sherpard's pie

    9/17 B: Apple bread
    L: hot dogs
    D: Chicken ceasar salad

    9/18 B: Oatmeal
    L: Leftover chicken w/ tortillas and cheese
    D: Chili and johny cake

    9/19 B: Cereal and fruit
    L: ramen, egg soup
    D: Chicken soup w/ carrots and turnips

    9/20 B: Fried apples, eggs
    L: Smothered lentils
    D: Chicken pot pie

    9/21 B: Farina
    L: Cheese and crackers, nuts
    D: Day at the state fair, eat out

    9/22 B: Cereal
    L: Pasta Fazoli
    D: Hamburgers

    9/23 B: Challah french toast
    L: PB&J
    D: Meat loaf, mashed potatos, roasted carrots
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2007
  14. ¨bloominglikewinter¨

    ¨bloominglikewinter¨ New Member

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    even for me with 2 kids, groceries cost me a lot...this is very helpful!! TY!!
  15. Mamax4

    Mamax4 Amity's Focus Member

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    I tend to make sure a meal includes fillers like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, millet-- things that are healthy and satisifying, but not too costly. I also use whole grain tortillas instead of white flour ones as again, they are more filling. I use a coop for the bulk items and the prices are pretty good. If I make chicken soup, I would add a good amount of brown rice, lots of carrots & celery etc. The taste is in the broth, and a good long simmer makes a hearty soup. I use cut up whole chicken to make broth, and it's suprising how much meat you can pick off one thigh, say. lol

    Breakfast foods are- whole wheat toast, eggs, leftovers from dinner, oatmeal, pancakes, or Cheerioes. I buy a box each week. Sometimes it's not empty at the end of the week.

    Snacks- cheese, fruit (seasonal), popcorn, toast, peanut butter on toast cheerios, baked goods, carrots, corn chips & salsa, quesidillas, hummus & pita.

    Last week dinners:

    Sunday: Bean burritos, salsa, chips, brown rice with spices and corn.

    Monday : whole wheat linguine tossed w/chopped tomatoes (garden), & about a 1/2 lb of pastured beef (hamburger sautteed in onions, garlic etc) and simmered with the tomatoes etc. Served with green beans (also the last of fresh from the garden), and some chopped romaine salad.

    Tuesday- Kale soup (kideny beans, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, kale). bread.

    Wednesday- Roasted chicken, in the same roasting pan w/ sweet potatoes carrots, garlic, celery. Spinach on the side.

    Thursday- Chicken soup with brown rice, carrots, onion, celery etc. Bread

    Friday-- Take out pizza

    Sat--some sort of soup as I still have some broth from the chicken this week. I am craving something with butternut squash and chick peas. So maybe some sort of stew...
  16. marjen

    marjen Go!

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    We are a family of 6. I spend about $150 per week - and that includes all personal hygiene products and food for my big dog and little cat. I used to spend $200 per week but chopped it down by keeping the meals simple. The family has not noticed whatsoever.

    One of the big things that happened is that in my youngest two schools they have a ban on nuts. They sent home a list of all the things that kids cannot take - shockingly long as it includes snacks that have no nuts in it made in a non nut free factory. I am not one for premade school snacks, but I do work fulltime so I do use some and they are expensive, so that cut them out. The other thing that happened is that I was using Sparkspeople to track my nutritional intake. I realized through that experience that even my kids were eating WAY to many carbs and not enough vegetables and fruit. So in their lunches I now put a great sandwich, two pieces of fruit and a baggie of veggies, and a juice bottle full of water. Lunches here is one thing that had been driving my bill up, and by elminating the carb snacks and sending only water, it really decreased my grocery bill. The wonderful thing is that so far, knock on wood, my kids have been sick less than normal AND by dinner they are actually hungry, therefore, less picky, and eat much better. Before hand they seemed to snack a lot and not eat "meals". Snacking is expensive.
  17. annsni

    annsni Amity's Focus Member

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    Big savers for me is to not spend more than $0.99 on bone-in meat and $1.99 for boneless meat. I'll stretch what I can with lots of pasta, rice or potatoes, and try to serve lots of veggies (which I get mostly frozen on sale unless they're in season). I'm working through the circulars today and here's what I see right now:

    Roaster chicken is on sale for $0.99/ I'll use this to make 2 meals and a pot of soup. I'll make a roast sticky chicken and serve that with potatoes (I'm buried in potatoes so we'll eat a lot of these over the next weeks) and a frozen veggie or two. The next meal will be a chicken pot pie made with the leftover meat (only need 2 cups for this) and I'll serve that with a salad. Last thing I'll do is to make a nice chicken stock with the bones to put into the freezer for a quick homemade chicken soup. I'll leave some of the meat in the soup so all I'll need to add is veggies and pasta or rice.

    Pork tenderloin is on sale for $2.99. While it's more than what I usually like to spend on meat, this is an awesome price (they're usually $6.99/lb) so I'll pick up 3 of them - one for dinner this week and 2 more for later on. I'll cut up carrots, onions and potatoes along with some garlic cloves and put them in a pan with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme then pour some olive oil over it all and mix. I'll cook this at 425 for 30 minutes, stir then put the tenderloin in the middle and put the same seasonings on the meat - cooking then for another 25 minutes. This is a favorite around here and one tenderloin is plenty for dinner, a lunch for DH and some leftover meat that I'll use for quesadillas another night.

    So now I have 4 meals and a soup down.

    I have a rain check for chopped meat that was on sale a few weeks ago for $1.69 for 80% and they were out of it so I'll pick that up this week. I should be able to get about 10 lbs. (there was a limit on the number of packages you could get). I'll take 5 lbs. of that and brown it with onion and garlic then package in 1 lb. packages. The other 5 lbs. will be made into hamburgers and meatballs. I'll need to use some of my Italian sausages that were bought a few weeks ago to make the meatballs but I'll end up with 3 meals worth of meatballs, 5 meals of cooked meat and a meal of burgers. I'll probably make up tacos this week - stretching the meat with a can of refried beans I bought a while back.

    I bought a pack of the frozen chicken breasts at Costco a few weeks ago and I want to make up a nice Chinese stir-fry this week too - something with about 3/4 lb. of chicken breasts (about 2 of them) and a lot of veggies over rice. I'll have to find a good deal on veggies to do this otherwise I'll buy the frozen stir fry veggies that are always on sale.

    One night we'll have bacon, eggs, toast and fruit for dinner - another favorite and pretty cheap.

    So that's a week worth of meals in our home. Breakfasts are the same as everyone else and lunches would be either leftovers for some, sandwiches for the kids in school (I'll buy some cold cuts or I'll cook up a chunk of chicken to make chicken salad, a few eggs for egg salad and we always have PB&J). Snacks are whatever might be baked at home or else on sale at the grocery store. I can pick up a good sized pack of store brand vanilla sandwich cookies for a buck so I'll get those - and then a bag of pretzels and such. We'll make homemade hot air popcorn too.

    HTH! My grocery bill is SO not that small but it's getting better. One big issue for us is that DH needs meat every night as do I. Also, the family does not really like beans so I can't do those nice bean recipes that often help the grocery budget.

    A site to go look at is Hillbilly Housewife - She's got some great ideas!!
  18. Journey

    Journey New Member

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    We just realized last night that our grocery amount is going to have to be raised. I just don't find it possible to get what I need on $100 a week. We only have five in our family but our kids eat like baby hippos. I separate the paper, bathroom, and cleaning products from our grocery list because I found I was using most of our money on those items.

    I bought a book awhile back on how to make your own cleaning products. So I use white vinegar in a spray bottle for cleaning counters, tables, and windows. I use a diluted amount of food grade hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting. I still have to buy dish washing detergent, bar keepers friend for things that need a good scrubbin, and an environment friendly dish soap.

    Food wise I don't mind our same ol same ol selection for breakfast and lunch, it just gets a little old for supper. I do enjoy buying whole chickens two at a time and roasting them over veggies. There is always enough left over to make chicken salad sandwiches the next day for lunch. We have completely stopped buying goodies. No pops, juice drinks, cakes, ice cream, candies, chips. It helps a bit with money. And as far as juices go I would rather my kids eat the whole fruit instead of drinking the juice. With the exception of veggie juice, kids love it.

    Breakfast Choices:
    Plain whole milk yogurt with honey, peanut butter and bananas, or real maple syrup
    Kashi autumn wheat cereal
    Eggs with many variations
    Old fashioned oatmeal
    Newly added, pumpkin muffins, mmmmm!
    Cream of wheat with honey
    Rice with milk, cinnamon, and sugar in the raw

    peanut butter sandwiches
    english muffin pizzas
    left over frozen soups
    left overs in general
    tuna sandwiches
    different types of salads, macaroni, tuna, chicken, etc.

    Usual Suppers:
    spanish rice
    soups: veggie, chicken noodle, potato, turkey sausage kale, fiesta chicken....
    roasted chicken with veggies
    casseroles: tuna noodle, tater tot (blah my husbands favorite) chicken, etc.
    pastas with different sauces
    homemade pizzas

    Cheese sticks
    Veggie juice

    I'm sure there's more I just can't think of them right now. I would like some new ideas though. Also I am terrible at keeping a schedule of meals for the week. It never seems to work out for us or when I go to buy the ingredients inevitably the stores are out of them.
  19. my2girlz

    my2girlz Amity's Focus Member

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    What an awesome thread!
  20. clane

    clane Bookish Mama

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    I need to come to this thread before grocery shopping. I must plan meals better, for $ savings and chaos control.

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