Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Feeding a Growing Flock

Just as the cost of food has been rising over the past several years so has the appetites of our children. I seems that just a short time ago we had about 6 1/2 mouths to feed. Now I can count on 9 full servings to satisfy our family and more if I want to count on some leftovers.

At the same time, our schedule has transformed from mildly busy to CRAZY, yet I am committed to get us around the table as much as possible each week. Our evening meals are often needed early or pushed back until after dark due to evening commitments. Convenience meals are what are needed but without the high cost and chemicals, please.

Therefore, I'm finding myself relying on freezer cooking more than ever. My goal for 2012 is to feed our family of nine for an average of $20 a day. Yep. I know it's crazy, but I'm convinced it can be done. I'm budgeting $10 for breakfast/lunch and $10 for dinner. I see some serious couponing, bargain shopping and ingenuity in my future.

Today we joined together and cooked a total of 56 main dishes. That's 14 meals that we will rotate through 4 times. The total cost of all the food and supplies was $371, which averages to be $6.70/meal. The remaining $3.30 will be spent on side dishes and desserts.

We started shopping at 8:30 this morning and washed the last pan at 7:30 tonight. It was a hard day's work, but I am thankful for eager hands and and hearts. I love spending time with my family in the kitchen and letting them make big messes with me. Tonight I heard one of them proclaim proudly, "Today I learned how to spell sausage!" "Well, I learned how to spell lasagna!!" the other replied. Yes, there is much to be learned in the kitchen. My sister even came by to lend a hand and bring us lunch. I know that I'm going to be grateful for of lots of hot meals and stress free evenings ahead.

Here are the recipes we made. What I plan to later serve as side dishes or desserts are is listed in parenthesis:

Taco Soup (Jello)
Chicken Broccoli Fettuccine (Garlic Bread, Salad)
Barbecue Chicken Pizza (Fruit Salad)
Bourbon Mustard Pork Tenderloin (Potatoes, Green Beans)
Lasagna (Italian Salad)
Broccoli Cheese Soup (Baked white or sweet Potato and Fruit Plate)
Shrimp Jambalaya (Cheesy Bread)
Homestyle Mac and Cheese (Baked Beans, Cole Slaw)
Egg Sausage Casserole (Yogurt Smoothies, Muffins/Coffee Cake)
Sweet and Sour Meatballs (Rice, Peas, Applesauce)
Wet Tacos (Shredded lettuce with salad, Fruit Salad)
Lentils and Rice (Salad, Garlic Toast)
Barbecue Joes (Cole Slaw, Veggie Plate)

My main source for freezer cooking remains the 30 Day Gourmet. The recipes are excellent and the system seamless. I plan to post one recipe each week here at the Full Table as we eat our way through our freezer in the coming weeks. Hope you plan to join us!

What do all the kids eat on cooking day? Taco Bell, of course.

Ready. Set. Go.

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