1. Meal Planning
I have found that meal planning is my best friend when it come to being prepared. Whether you plan meals on a weekly basis or monthly, having a written plan saves time and money. I plan meals for a month and write them on a calender. This allows me to look ahead and know at a glance what preparation work needs to be done ahead of time, such as, soaking beans, thawing food ….
Whether you are on a tight budget or have a bit more wiggle room, menu planning can save you money. By planning my menu for a month at a time, I am able to shop less frequently and avoid unnecessary purchases. Although fresh produce must be purchased more frequently, most items can be stored.
2. Buy quantity
Many items needed when cooking for a large family or group can be purchased in bulk. Kimi shops at her local Costco. We do not have Costco but we do have a local Sam’s Club. While these buying clubs have a lot of processed foods that are not nutrient dense, they also have staples that are nutritious. I also utilize a food co-op, Azure Standard which delivers to our area. They have more organic products at better prices than the local stores.
I prefer having my staple items in large containers rather than many small ones that clutter my pantry.I would rather purchase one 525 lb bag of white beans than numerous 1 lb bags. I then store my bulk items in labelled, 5 gallon buckets.
3. Proper Equipment
mroper equipment is important for any task but especially in the kitchen! A couple of My favorite kitchen items are my 3 and 5 gallon stainless steel stock-pots. Food preparation is made much easier when you can fit all your ingredients into one large pot rather than several smaller pots. And, if you are cooking for a large group only occasionally, the stock-pots are still very versatile for making soups and broths (whose excess can be frozen) and for cooking noodles.
I started out with thin walled stock-pots which tend to have hot spots and cause food to burn quickly. So, I have invested in good quality heavy stainless steel ones and they have been worth it!
4. Prepare Ahead
If you have planned your menu ahead, often there are parts of the preparation process that can be done the night before. For example, you need to soak grains or beans, this can be done overnight. Preparing as much as possible ahead of time alleviates stress the day of.
5. Stretcher Recipes
If budget is an issue, look for recipes which stretch meats. Recipes which use rice, beans or noodles allow less meat to be used but still provides a nutrient dense meal.
Whether you have a large family or just like to practice hospitality, providing nutrient dense food for groups is very rewarding. Hopefully, I have given you steps that can ease any anxiety over the task and you will be able to enjoy the time.
Hi, I am Dina-Marie, the mother of 10 children, 7 of whom are still at home. I live in West Texas with my husband who also happens to be my best friend. We decided to make a lifestyle change in 2008 and left the corporate world of southern Alabama and moved to West Texas. We now have 27 acres of grapes, 2 family milk cows, chickens and raise our own beef. Working the vineyard together as a family is hard work but very rewarding.
Moving to West Texas to begin a vineyard has brought many changes including a return to health through the GAPS diet, learning about “real” food and becoming a chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Cooking REAL food for a large family has been challenging and fun. I love trying new recipes and sharing them with others. I have a passion to spread the healing potential of real traditional food, as well as, to encourage others with a nutrient dense diet and simple family living.
I would love to have you follow our adventure in real food and vineyard life at my blog, Cultured Palate.