Large Family Meal Plans

birth photos, birth photography, bellingham birth photographer

Sunday morning, Father’s Day here in the U.S, I got to photograph this sweet girl’s entrance into the world and was even home in time to enjoy lunch with my family.

I went for a walk in the afternoon and began work on refurbishing our old lockers after dinner. I am so excited about this project. It involves Spray Paint! And Sharpies! And Vintage Colors!

Once the kids were safely tucked in bed, Chuck and I left the teens in charge and headed out for a date. To the grocery store. Let me tell you, my husband is much better grocery shopping partner than six kids. But don’t tell them that.

I have done a horrible job lately of meal planning…and with a family this size, that just isn’t pretty. And it really stresses me out.  So, here I present to you our: Large Family Meal Plan

Dinners:

spinach and meat lasagna, salad and focaccia bread

chicken enchiladas

crockpot orange chicken and stir fry veggies

tacos/beans/rice

Whole chicken in crockpot, rice, roasted cabbage wedges

Lunches

I have stocked the shelves with items for lunch:

white albacore tuna, english muffins, summer sausage, bread, peanut butter, nutella

Weekly shopping for my crew means trips to several stores, so this morning I will load up and fresh produce, cheese and milk.

The meal plans may not impress Martha Stewart, but I can tell you they will make my week a whole lot easier!

If you are interested in hearing updates and seeing pics and videos of Judah and Tilly at Teen Missions, be sure and follow me on Facebook. I will probably post an occassional update here, but it is easiest to “share” directly from the Teen Missions page.

Have a great Monday!

 

 

Large Family Meal Plans

Large Family Meal plans, meal plans, weekly meal plans, Monday

Breakfast: oatmeal and fruit salad

Lunch: manicotti (assembling this from leftovers in my fridge)

Dinner: loaded baked potato soup and homemade bread

Tuesday

Breakfast: peanut butter toast and Cream of Wheat

Lunch: nachos and refried beans

Dinner: sesame chicken over rice,  broccoli

Wednesday

Breakfast: eggs and tortillas

Lunch: sack lunches (Kalina has an appointment at Seattle Children’s and this is a treat for my homeschooled kids!) PBJ’s, apples, cheese sticks, pretzels, juice

Dinner: spicy red beans and rice

Thursday

Breakfast: yogurt and toast

Lunch: quesadillas and ramen noodles

Dinner: Crockpot chicken, potato wedges and veggies

Friday

Breakfast: oatmeal with berries (frozen)

Lunch: homemade mac and cheese with sausage

Dinner: Crockpot orange chicken, rice and veggies

{I should add here, that nearly every lunch and every dinner is accompanied by veggies, even if they aren’t listed. In the beginning of the week, especially, I make sure to use up whatever produce I have in my fridge to avoid waste. If a veggie is specifically mentioned, it is either because I purchased it for that meal, or it is a family favorite with that meal. Otherwise, I wing it and use up whatever I have. Our family is a big fan of raw veggie plates, so that frequently makes an appearance on our table.}

 

Freezer Cooking for Real Moms

Once a Month Cooking, Freezer Cooking, Batch Cooking, Bulk Cooking…the internet (and library bookshelves) are awash in different methods of cooking meals ahead. There’s a reason for it, I believe; busy moms (and busy humans) are looking for ways to make their lives easier. I have been doing one form or another of batch cooking (as I like to call it) for over ten years. My methods have changed depending on my circumstances and I’ve had long periods where I have done no cooking ahead. Today I want to share with you Freezer Cooking for Real Moms.

I am a real mom. I am a busy mom. In fact, I am so real and so busy that I haven’t put a meal away in my freezer for months. We have been short on both finances and time this past year and freezer cooking takes a bit of both.

batch cooking, freezer cooking, once a month cooking, bulk cooking, cooking for a large family, large family recipes. prego spaghetti sauce, fix feast freeze, love in the kitchen

Here is what we did:

Last night I soaked four cups of beans in the crockpot for White Chicken Chili. This morning, I drained the water and added chicken stock (made from a chicken we ate this weekend). When the beans are done cooking, I will add the other ingredients and this will be tonight’s dinner.

Next up was lasagna. Enoch (13) grated the mozzarella and Tucker (8) mixed the cheeses, spices and eggs. Both boys worked together to assemble the lasagna. I used to make my spaghetti sauce, but have found it more economical to just buy the big #10 cans. This time,  however, I bought Prego spaghetti sauce because  that what the store I was shopping at happened to have. We already had lasagna noodles (we buy a ten pound box at a time) and some cooked ground beef in the freezer.batch cooking, freezer cooking, once a month cooking, bulk cooking, cooking for a large family, large family recipes. prego spaghetti sauce, fix feast freeze, love in the kitchenbatch cooking, freezer cooking, once a month cooking, bulk cooking, cooking for a large family, large family recipes. prego spaghetti sauce, fix feast freeze, love in the kitchen

While we were working on that, Hezekiah had started his schoolwork (there wasn’t room for him in the kitchen) and Kalina washed and chopped celery and carrots for use in lunches and the beef stew we’ll be having later in the week. batch cooking, freezer cooking, once a month cooking, bulk cooking, cooking for a large family, large family recipes. prego spaghetti sauce, fix feast freeze, love in the kitchen

Tucker was so proud of his lasagna! This meal will be eaten tomorrow, so into the fridge it goes. We put a bag of olives and shredded mozzarella on top. We will add those when it is almost done baking.

batch cooking, freezer cooking, once a month cooking, bulk cooking, cooking for a large family, large family recipes. prego spaghetti sauce, fix feast freeze, love in the kitchen

Once the lasagna was done, Tucker mixed the cheeses and Jubilee sliced pepperoni for the calzone we’ll have for dinner on Wednesday. These are stashed in our fridge, ready for assembly. I will use the rest of the Prego spaghetti sauce and we will make the dough from scratch.batch cooking, freezer cooking, once a month cooking, bulk cooking, cooking for a large family, large family recipes. prego spaghetti sauce, fix feast freeze, love in the kitchen 

Apollo peeled three carrots before he lost interest!

Once those were done, Enoch and I mixed up Lemon  Chicken and Mariachi Chicken Rolls. Only, when we got to the “roll” part, I realized the chicken breasts I purchased were too thick…so I simply layered the ingredients in the pans. batch cooking, freezer cooking, once a month cooking, bulk cooking, cooking for a large family, large family recipes. prego spaghetti sauce, fix feast freeze, love in the kitchen batch cooking, freezer cooking, once a month cooking, bulk cooking, cooking for a large family, large family recipes. prego spaghetti sauce, fix feast freeze, love in the kitchen

And, I only had two freezer pans, so one of these will be eaten this week.

batch cooking, freezer cooking, once a month cooking, bulk cooking, cooking for a large family, large family recipes. prego spaghetti sauce, fix feast freeze, love in the kitchenbatch cooking, freezer cooking, once a month cooking, bulk cooking, cooking for a large family, large family recipes. prego spaghetti sauce, fix feast freeze, love in the kitchen

Once we were done with that, we put Hezekiah to work cooking the sauce for Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs.

We also cooked a pound of bacon “ends and pieces” in the oven. These are put in the freezer and added to things like scrambled eggs and mac and cheese.

So here are the REAL numbers. We began cooking at 9:30 and ended at 11:00. We washed the dishes as we went along, so when we finished up it was perfectly clean and lunch was ready!

Here is what I spent on the meals:

I call this Freezer Cooking for Real Moms, because of course I didn’t purchase every ingredient for every meal! I used what was in my pantry already and used the meat that I purchased on sale.

Lasagna and Calzone: the ingredients I purchased cost a total of $30.21. I have spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese and ricotta cheese left over (these will go in other meals including our English muffin pizzas for lunch). $30.21 means $15.10 per meal or $1.25 per serving. This is more than I usually spend, but watch how the meals average out in the end!

Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs (from Fix Freeze Feast): six pounds of thighs $6.50, honey $2.67 for a total of $9.17 or $0.76 per serving.

Lemon Chicken (from Love in the Kitchen): six pounds of chicken thighs $6.46, lemon juice $1.78 for a total of $8.24 or $0.69 per serving.

Mariachi Chicken Rolls (from Fix Feast Freeze): boneless skinless chicken breast $11.92, one can of olives $0.98, salsa $4.40 (we only used 1/4 of the bottle). We used red peppers and cream cheese  that were already in our refrigerator. For a total of $17.30 for  three meals. $5.77 per meal or $.048 per serving.

To crunch the numbers even more, I spent $64.92 on the ingredients for the main dish for seven meals. This comes to a total of $9.27 per meal or $0.77 per serving. Now, obviously these are main dishes, not complete meals. These will all be supplemented with: rice, potatoes, salad, bread, etc. But that is real cooking, by a real family. We spend 90 minutes prepping meals and cleaning up…which averages to 13 minutes per main dish!

Not bad for a morning’s work…

You may also want to check out my post from 2007: Freezer Cooking for the Large Family. I describe how I process a few freezer meals as we unload our weekly/monthly groceries.

{This post contains Amazon affiliate links}

I Love Mondays! {Large Family Meal Plans}

large family, large family blog, homeschool, homeschool blog, meal plans, large family meal plansI love Mondays.

I do. Really. I love a fresh start to the week. A clean slate. A new beginning (without all the pressure of resolutions). I look forward to the weekend as well, but really, Mondays are awesome.

In keeping with my goals, I managed to plan meals for the week (breakfast, lunch and dinner!) and school assignments are written out. My entryway is (still) clean and the living room too. Pantry and refrigerator are clean and organized. Today I will be cooking enough to put a few meals in the freezer (and hopefully taking photos so I can blog about it). And I better get to work soon, since today is early release and Mordecai and Avi will be home soon after lunch.

This week’s large family meal plans:

Monday 

Breakfast: Cream of Wheat and peanut butter toast

Lunch: Tuna on flatbread, apple slices, carrots

Dinner: White Chicken Chili with cornbread

Tuesday

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Sack lunches (we’ll be running errands) PBJ’s, cheese sticks, granola bars, oranges, juice

Dinner: Lasagna, foccacia bread, salad

Wednesday

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Homemade mac and cheese with bacon

Dinner: Homemade calzone, veggies, rice

Thursday

Breakfast: Eggs and toast

Lunch: English muffin pizzas and apples

Dinner: Bean burritos (homemade refried beans), rice, chips, salsa

Friday

Breakfast: Oatmeaal

Lunch: Leftover bean burritos

Dinner: Beef stew and homemade biscuits

2014 Goals

2014 goals, large family, large family blog, homeschool, homeschool blog, adoption, adoption blog

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Something about the words sound so negative and heavy to me. Or maybe it’s because try as I might, I can never manage to do anything the conventional  way. Whatever it is, I do like to set goals for myself in the new year. Looking over this blog, I can see whole lists of things I have accomplished (including: learning to shoot in RAW and nailing the focus in my photos while shooting in manual). Some of these are now so second nature to me, I hardly remember a time when those skills didn’t exist. So here, for the world to see, are my personal goals for 2014.

1511074_10153650781170613_1832987644_n

Get fit. Again.

2011 saw me go from being pretty much sedentary to being able to run a mile. I was juicing, eating clean and lost 25 pounds, bringing me down to my goal weight. All of that disappeared in one day. January 18, 2012 Apollo had an MRI and received a diagnoses of a double aortic arch. I have never been able to lay him down for a nap since. Not once. After the MRI I had to rock him to sleep every afternoon. I had gotten into a habit which never varied (even in the rain and snow) and that was to put him down for a nap and go on a run. All of that was lost January 2012. Things were further complicated in March 2012 after his first double aortic arch division. After that he had so much anxiety surrounding sleep he has never since been put in bed awake (without someone by his side) or slept on his own.

Two years later, I really have no excuse. I am in a situation where I can leave the kids in charge for half an hour…

1531834_10153665144745613_908023825_nBe consistent about school planning.

It goes without saying, homeschooling six kids requires some forethought planning.

too young to get married?, engagement photos, little earthling, little earthling photography, bellingham photographer, bellingham family photographer

Grow my business, Little Earthling Photography.

I am passionate about photography in general and birth photography in particular. It is an understatement to say that the market is oversaturated…but I just can’t give up my dream of doing photography professionally. I simply love it too much.

On that note, the rest of BEN! and Adalia’s engagement photos are up on my Little Earthling Photography site, so be sure to check those out! And please, leave a comment, it helps my business :)

Master food photography.

My food photos suck. They really do. Sponsored posts often depend on the quality of photos and my food photos are distinctly lacking. Mainly because it isn’t something I am passionate about. But 2014 is my year. I will get better.

Be consistent about meal planning.

Continue to write Apollo’s story. 

I hope to have Apollo’s story published in book form someday.

_____

I plan to print this list up and put it somewhere where I can see it everyday.

How about you? Have you made any goals or resolutions for 2014? I’d love to hear about them. You can either share in the comments, or if you’ve blogged about them, leave a link. I promise to check out each and every one!