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Monday, July 17, 2017

Weekly Meal Prep for the Large Family

Nine people.

Three meals a day.

Seven days a week.

189 individual meals a week.   Plus snacks.

Those numbers can be daunting to even the most experienced kitchen hand.  But they don't have to be.

Preparing meals for the large family begins with a plan.  It doesn't have to be on a fancy spreadsheet.  It doesn't have to be well balanced (kids don't care).  It just has to be written down.  Currently, I'm using this great little notebook (affiliate link) I won at a bridal shower.  I write LUNCH on the top of one page and SUPPER on the top of a second page.  I write the days of the week with a few lines in between and then just start filling it in.  Once all the days have meals, I tear out the sheets and clip them to the side of a magazine holder on my kitchen counter.

So let's go through this step by step.  Find a notebook or dry erase board or chalk board or blank calendar.....whatever it is you desire to write up your meal plan.

Label the pages.

Start adding meal ideas.  My best tips are to look at your calendar and pick meals that will work with your schedule for that day and have a mix of everyone's favorites.  I like to try new recipes, but I spread them out between family favorites, usually. 😉

Keep this part simple.  For lunch I might plan hot dogs and applesauce.  Then on the day of I'll throw in any other leftovers if I have them.  And if I don't have any extras to add, it's really no big deal because I have a basic plan and there's nothin' wrong with a basic lunch.  Same goes for supper.  If I'm planning Taco Tuesday, I'll write tacos and rice, then when I'm making supper I'll look around for some canned fruit or cottage cheese to add to it.  And again, if I don't have anything extra to add, no biggie, tacos and rice is plenty.
Sometimes I mix up the meals because a day turns out differently than expected.  In that case, I just cross off the meals I use so I always know what's still available.

Of course, now you make a shopping list and shop.

The fun part is having a cooking day.  I really like cooking everything for the entire week on one day.  I also prep veggies, cheese, muffins and desserts, and fruits.  It simply makes the rest of the week go so much smoother having all the meals prepped.  This summer it's been Monday.  The four teens all work and I'm left with just the three youngest and they can usually keep themselves busy playing/destroying the house for quite a while.  I shared a little of my last cooking day here.  I had another cooking day today.

I focused on ground venison recipes:  2 pounds taco meat, 2 pounds tater tot casserole, 4 pounds BBQ.  I also shredded cheese, chopped veggies for tacos and made 2 dozen cranberry blueberry muffins and cranberry cake.  I planned, but didn't get to, boiling and mashing 5 pounds potatoes and making Cole slaw.  Tomorrow's another day with one dental appointment and BMX practice with a lot of hours in between so hopefully I'll get to it then.

Make the most of your cooking day.

Thaw meat the day before.

Start with a clean kitchen.  Didn't happen today.  Yesterday the pump (we think) went out on our dishwasher.  I ran the same load with the same dishwasher pod three times.  I was in denial.  Then this morning I unloaded it all and washed it by hand; after an hour of kitchen cleanup I was ready to start cooking.

Put on comfy clothes and shoes.  Maybe I'm showing my age, but supportive shoes go a long way to a productive day.

Wear an apron.  I find that whenever I put on an apron I just feel more like getting it done.  Since I wipe my hands on my apron and even wipe up little spills with it, I don't have to waste time rinsing and wringing out washcloths.

Listen to a good podcast.  Homeschool Snapshots  The Homeschool Solutions Show

Think about all the fun you'll have with your family because your meals are ready to go.



Happy Summer!  I hope and pray you are all having a great summer and finding ways to renew and relax.  🌞