Efficient Cooking for a Small or Large Family

Marianne Stuart with ChildrenBy: Marianne Stuart, Memorial Mommy Blogger

I am busy. I have eight children and we homeschool. Some things have to give, but I am not willing to let it be cooking for my family.  I love to cook but I had to figure out ways to make it easier.  For this blog, I want to share some tips on making dinner preparation easier.

When I buy fruit and vegetables I often wash them all, even though I might only be using a portion of them for my current meal.  I put the cleaned produce in clear containers so they don’t get missed and go to waste.  I try to always have chopped onions ready because I use them for almost every dinner. Later in the week I am so grateful to pull out washed lettuce, fruit or veggies to quickly put together my side dishes.  

Burger & Sausage
I love to buy a bunch of hamburger or turkey burger and bring it home and brown it all at once.  I do this with 10 to 20 pounds. I might brown sausage at this time too. I pull out four pans and divide the meat between the pots.  I brown it and then drain the fat.  I then add some chopped onion, that was already chopped up and in my fridge, or I cheat and add minced dried onion and some garlic salt. Lastly, I divide it up into family size portions in freezer bags. On a busy night I can pull one out and thaw it in the microwave. This can be turned into a variety of main dishes. I might make spaghetti, lasagna, chili, sloppy joes, tacos, nachos or goulash. Adding a hot vegetable and a fruit completes my dinner.  

I also love to buy whole chickens.  I take two of them and rub them all over with salt. I rub some under the skin of the breast too. I throw them into an open roasting pan and bake in the oven for an hour or two. I then remove the chicken, add some water to the pan and then thicken it with flour or corn starch so that we now have gravy.  We only need about one chicken but the leftover chicken can be pulled off and used for the next night. One of your children can do this job too. We really enjoy mixing the gravy and the chicken together and serving it over hot noodles for our second meal. You can also put your chickens in a crockpot on low and come home after a busy day to some wonderful, tender chicken.

Speaking of crockpots, I love mine. I love to make bean and ham soup. There are a variety of beans available and I use whatever kind I have on hand. I often put the dried beans covered with water in the crockpot on low before bed. When I get up I pour the beans into a strainer and rinse them (this helps prevent your family from getting gas). I then add them back into the crockpot with fresh water, chopped onion, carrots, celery, a pinch or oregano, some salt or chicken bouillon and a ham bone if I have one. I also add some cubed ham that I already have ready and cut up from my freezer.  Bean soup is really quite cheap and healthy for you.

I try to use my time wisely when I am in the kitchen. If I am having a conversation with someone I can easily be doing some of the preparation for our next meal. I might be rubbing that chicken and putting it into the pan for the next day or cutting veggies for later in the week.  I might be also checking out what I have in my cupboards to pull a meal together. Planning ahead takes some stress away from my already busy days. I hope it does for you too.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Love this pic. this is a keeper!


  2. WOW! thats some good ideas! thanks for taking the time to share them. i appreciate all the help i can get.


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