I Have 10 Kids — My Go-To Cheap, Easy Dinners for a Big Family

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  • Planning meals for my household of 12 is a feat, however I’ve discovered a number of go-to dinner recipes.
  • My 10 children vary from new child to 19. I’ve created a rotation of straightforward meals for every month.
  • A few of my go-to recipes are fish sandwiches, tacos, and kielbasa noodles.
  • Go to Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

Feeding a household of 12 is not a straightforward feat.

Every summer season — after we’re not homeschooling — the children assist me plan the meals for the subsequent college 12 months. To maintain my household from becoming bored, we rotate dinners on a month-to-month schedule.

My children, who vary in age from new child to 19, assist me determine on a theme for every evening of the week, and we brainstorm 4 or 5 meals for every one to rotate all through the month.

This fashion, we eat our dinner choices solely 12 occasions a 12 months as a substitute of as soon as every week.

We have loved quite a lot of themes, however this 12 months they’re roast meat and potatoes; Asian-inspired; taco Tuesday; American; noodle evening; pizza evening; and seafood. Different themes we have used embody soup and sandwiches; Italian; world wide; casseroles; consolation meals; fry day; and breakfast for dinner.

In the course of the brainstorming session, I encourage the children to consider meals which can be pretty cheap, fast to make, and loved by a lot of the household.

Learn on for a dozen of my tried-and-true meals that assist me get dinner on the desk.

My children are large followers of rooster nuggets and mashed potatoes

Chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes

This meal is simple to throw collectively.

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My children love the mix of rooster nuggets and mashed potatoes. The Instantaneous Pot makes the facet dish so easy, even on weeknights.

Whereas the oven preheats for the nuggets, I’ve one in every of my children assist me peel the potatoes. Then I reduce them in half and put them within the Instantaneous Pot with a cup of water for 10 minutes on excessive strain.

Because the Instantaneous Pot involves the fitting strain, I get the rooster nuggets within the oven. Then I open a bag of frozen greens (often corn or peas for this meal) and begin cooking these. I additionally whip up a fast cream gravy with butter, flour, rooster broth, milk, salt, and pepper.

Once I plan it out like this, every little thing is prepared at about the identical time, which works out completely.

Breakfast for dinner is a favourite in my home

breakfast for dinner

I get my children to assist me within the kitchen.

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Breakfast for dinner is a enjoyable change of tempo and a easy meal that the children might help put together.

The menu varies relying on what we’ve readily available, however it usually contains waffles or pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs.

I often make waffles from scratch, however I preserve a bag of pancake combine readily available in case I run out of an ingredient proper earlier than dinner.

One among my daughters shortly scrambles eggs whereas bacon cooks within the oven. On the identical time, one in every of my younger sons helps make the waffles, as a result of he loves rotating the deal with on the waffle maker.

Generally I whip up a fast syrup by boiling two cups of sugar with a cup of water and a couple of teaspoon of maple extract. Different occasions the children put blueberries and whipped cream on their waffles.

Spaghetti and meatballs are a basic combo for a cause

Spaghetti and Meatballs

The straightforward meal is a winner at my home.

Lisa Tanner for Insider


Because it’s really easy to organize, spaghetti and meatballs is among the first meals I train my children how you can make on the range.

They put the frozen meatballs within the oven at 400 levels Fahrenheit for about 15 to twenty minutes. Whereas these cook dinner, they boil water and cook dinner the noodles.

I assist them pressure the noodles as soon as they’re tender, then they dump a jar of sauce within the pot and warmth all of it for a minute or two. Marinara sauce is our go-to, however sometimes we strive new ones.

When the noodles are accomplished, we get the meatballs out of the oven and serve dinner with a facet salad and a chunk of garlic bread, which we make by shortly broiling hot-dog buns slathered with butter and sprinkled with garlic.

I prefer to whip up pork tenderloin and potatoes in my Crock-Pot

pork tenderloin and potatoes

I get my pork tenderloin at Costco to avoid wasting cash.

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Dinner would not get a lot simpler than this pork tenderloin from Costco.

I shortly brown the meat in a pan with a little bit of oil. I wash the potatoes and put them within the Crock-Pot, inserting the browned pork on high.

I add beneficiant quantities of salt, pepper, and garlic, and a bit water to maintain it from sticking. Then I put the lid on, flip it on low, and let the gradual cooker put together dinner whereas we get on with our days.

About six hours later, I put collectively a facet salad and slice the meat. It is a easy dinner that everybody eats with out criticism.

Fish sandwiches are well-liked for seafood evening at my home

fish sandwich

I serve the sandwiches with just a few sides.

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Fast fish sandwiches made with frozen fish fillets, hamburger buns, and lettuce are often on rotation for seafood nights.

Whereas the fish heats within the oven, I wash the lettuce and tear it into sandwich-sized items. When the fish is completed, I put a bit mayonnaise on the bun, add the fish, and high it with the lettuce.

I usually serve this meal with steamed greens and french fries.

I get my children to assist arrange our taco bars stuffed with toppings and sides

taco bar night ingredients

My children can customise their tacos.

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My children might help me put together a taco bar very quickly — and by setting out all of the components individually, everybody can determine precisely what they need.

Whereas my children put together the toppings and prepare them on the counter, I brown the meat with a bit little bit of chopped onion and taste it with taco seasoning.

Since most of my children want meatless tacos, one pound of hamburger meat is sufficient for my entire household.

Chips and salsa, Mexican rice, and corn are a few of our favorites issues so as to add to the straightforward taco bar.

Meatball subs are a straightforward choice for sandwich evening

meatball sandwich

Meatballs are an important hot-sandwich choice.

Lisa Tanner for Insider


After we want a fast choice for sandwich evening however are uninterested in chilly sandwiches, meatballs come to the rescue.

I cook dinner them within the oven, pour marinara sauce on high, and pop them again in for a couple of minutes till the sauce is sweet and heat.

Then I spoon the meatballs over sliced French bread, making certain that everybody will get a number of meatballs on their sandwich. Hoagie rolls are one other nice bread choice.

I serve these sandwiches with chips and a facet salad.

My rooster gravy over potatoes comes collectively shortly

chicken gravy over potatoes

I exploit my Instantaneous Pot for this meal to hurry up the method.

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For this meal, I plop a number of boneless, skinless rooster thighs in a pot of water and convey it to a boil. The children assist me peel potatoes, and we begin them within the Instantaneous Pot for 10 minutes on excessive strain.

When the rooster is near accomplished, I begin the gravy in one other pan by melting butter and sprinkling flour on high.

I whisk it whereas it cooks for a couple of minutes to get the flour style out and add a couple of tablespoon of Higher Than Bouillon, a couple of cup of water, a number of cups of milk, and salt and pepper. I combine this all effectively to get out any clumps and let it thicken over medium-low warmth.

Whereas that simmers, I drain and cube the rooster so as to add it to the gravy so all of it mixes collectively. Round this time, the potatoes are prepared to empty and mash.

I serve this meal with a cooked vegetable and a roll or piece of bread and butter.

I prefer to spice issues up with my easy kielbasa noodles

12. Kielbasa noodles

I sneak some greens into this meal.

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This meal provides a little bit of selection to our noodle nights.

I slice Polska kielbasa and cook dinner it in a pan with a little bit of oil. Then I comply with the instructions on the package deal to boil some egg noodles till they’re tender.

Over the last minute the noodles are cooking, I dump in some frozen peas. That is the right period of time to get them sizzling however not mushy.

As soon as the noodles and peas are accomplished, I drain them and dump them within the pan with the sausage. I usually add a little bit of butter and garlic or a can of Alfredo sauce to maintain the noodles from changing into too dry.

I serve the noodles with a chunk of bread and typically a facet salad to spherical out the meal.

Corned beef and cabbage is one in every of my household’s favourite consolation meals

corned beef

We do not simply eat this round St. Patrick’s Day.

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I do know I am not the one one who shares up on this scrumptious piece of meat every March round St. Patrick’s Day. It is a household favourite and too good to eat solely yearly.

I begin by placing the meat fat-side up within the Crock-Pot. Then I add small potatoes, a sliced onion, and child carrots.

This takes practically all day to cook dinner on excessive, so it is nice for when I’ve time to plan forward.

When it is getting near dinnertime, I slice a head of cabbage and sauté it in a pan. My household prefers this technique to cooking the cabbage with the meat and greens.

When every little thing’s prepared, I serve it with seeded rye bread.

I like to change up the sauce after I make roasted rooster drumsticks and potatoes

roasted chicken drumsticks

I can simply remodel this recipe with totally different sauces.

Lisa Tanner for Insider


For this meal, I place rooster drumsticks in a baking dish, season them with a bit salt and pepper, and allow them to cook dinner within the oven.

I additionally put together a pan of diced potatoes, diced onions, a bit little bit of olive oil, and salt and pepper to cook dinner alongside it.

These each take about 45 minutes to cook dinner.

As soon as the meat is completed, I add some form of sauce, often both Panda Categorical’ candy and tangy Beijing sauce, barbecue sauce, orange sauce, or sweet-and-sour sauce.

As soon as the sauce is on, I cook dinner it for about one other 5 minutes to let every little thing get sizzling.

Among the children get pleasure from bread and butter with their rooster and potatoes, however I additionally set out a facet salad.

Cheese quesadillas are one of many best, crowd-pleasing meals

cheese quesadillas

Even my youthful children might help with this meal.

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My 4-year-old son loves serving to make this fast dinner for the household.

It is the right choice when we’ve someplace to be and must eat as quick as attainable whereas avoiding the expense of takeout.

My son is in control of sprinkling shredded cheese on a tortilla. Then he places it within the microwave and pushes the “add 30 seconds” button. When it beeps, he can take it out with a little bit of assist and fold the tortilla in half.

I assist him reduce it, and he places one on a plate for every member of the family.

We often serve the quesadillas with fast sides like contemporary fruit or carrot sticks and ranch dressing so cleanup will be so simple as the meal itself.

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