I enjoy cooking. Really, I do. It’s just that with 8 kids, it can feel like I’m preparing food all. the. time.
Although I am not naturally organized, I have managed to keep everyone alive for the past 23 years and over that time, I have learned some practical ways to prepare reasonably healthy meals that can feed a crowd.
Last week I wrote about the amazing benefits of eating together as a family. If your family isn’t eating together or you lack the motivation to cook family dinners, you’ll definitely want to check out that post. Before I talk about what we cook and how we cook, I want to share with you some of the tools that we use to make feeding our little army just that much easier.
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1. Crockpot: We own an 8 qt crock pot and use it often for everything from soups and roasts to batch cooking meats. I can cook two whole chickens in that baby and often do. Fun fact: I actually was inspired to start blogging after googling how to cook chickens in a crock pot on one sweltering hot summer day and reading this awesome post by The Happy Housewife.
2. Large Roasting Pan: In my desperation to find a really large pan, I noticed that if I removed the roasting rack in my roasting pan that I had some serious space for preparing enough enchiladas, lasagna or other yummy casserole.
3. Large deep fryer pan One way that I make an easy but large meal is by preparing one of my one-pot wonders. One-pot wonders include all the meat, veggies and starches for the entire meal. These kinds of meals are great for busy evenings when there isn’t a lot of time for clean up.
4. Stock Pot: Tired of spilling soup all over your stove top while trying to make enough soup to feed your brood? This non-stick stock pot can easily hold enough soup for tonight and enough to freeze for another night.
5. Double griddle: This kitchen tool revolutionized our bacon and grilled cheese cooking. Six sandwhiches at once – yes please!
6. Rice cooker: One of the strategies that our large family uses to keep our food costs low is to serve meat as a side dish rather than a main dish. This is more easily accomplished by serving rice, quinoa with dinner and our large capacity rice cooker takes all of the guesswork out of it!
7. Heavy duty food processor: Oh, the chopping! Oh, the grating! Save your arms and let a good quality food processor do the work for you. We also make large batches of hummus and nut butters with our food processor which can be a big money saver in a large family.
8. Heavy duty blender: Before we bought our Vitamix blender, we went through about 2 blenders a year. Seriously, with the huge amounts of smoothies that we pump out around here we needed something strong.
9. Large (8 cup) measuring cup: Save time by adding some extra measuring capacity to your kitchen. When doubling and even tripling recipes, I love having the measuring capacity to fill once and go!
10: Stainless steel bowls: So done with broken and missing bowls! These heavy duty steel bowls can take a beating (and they have) and wash up and be used again and again.
Wait! One more thing…Plenty of 13 x 9 or 10 x 15 Pyrex pans for freezing extra meals. Another trick we use for streamlining our food production is to make two (or more) family-sized servings of a dish; one for now and one or two for later.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be adding posts on how we organize our kitchen and pantry, tips for cutting costs and planning meals as well as our favorite healthy and simple recipes to feed a crowd.
Are you often feeding a crowd? What kitchen tools do you love?