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hollyhock2

I need new meal ideas

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I need some new meal ideas. We have no food restrictions, so anything goes, but it has to be "normal" food (nothing too fancy or weird) and it has to feed a large family. I've got 5 kids and 4 are boys (and almost 3 teens). I'm having to drop some of my usual meals because I can't make them any bigger.

Or, just tell me what you're having for dinner tonight. 🙂

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36 minutes ago, hollyhock2 said:

Or, just tell me what you're having for dinner tonight. 🙂

Vegetable soup. Fruit for dessert.

That probably wouldn't do a lot to fill up hungry teen boy tummies though. :laugh:

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I like buying the bagged soup by BearCreek. I add a few things to it. It makes a huge pot. For example, for the tortilla soup one I add rotisserie chicken and black beans. Then we eat with tortilla chips. For the chicken noodle I boil my own carrots separately and add them along with the meat. I'm personally a fan of chicken pot pie, but my family does not care for that dish except when I put it in crescent rolls (which I don't particularly recommend. Might get doughy). I use the Pillsbury recipe. It makes more than one pie's worth, but not sure if it's enough for two full pies. Maybe, depending on how much more you add to it. I do the typical carrots and peas (sometimes green beans) and also canned potato slices. To fill it up more I like some bigger chunks of carrots vs just the tiny pre cut ones from the freezer. 

I buy the big teriyaki chicken bag from Sam's Club and make stir fry with it. I don't usually see it in other stores, though. 

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Well I don't know if this helps or not but my solution was to buy bigger dishes.  Instead of a standard casserole pan I bought one of these (which I absolutely love both for the amount of food it holds as well as durability)

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IFWKEJM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1

I'll make shepherds pie with 2-3 pounds of hamburger 4-5 pounds of veggies plus potatoes in the above pan.  Or I'll bake 6 cups of dry brown rice (we use alton brown's baked brown rice recipe).  If I make lasagne in the above pan I actually have leftovers.

This pan for roasting meals (easily holds a 25 pound turkey or enough pot roast, potatoes and carrots to fill everyone)

https://www.amazon.com/Granite-Covered-Rectangular-Roaster-Inches/dp/B000050AVD?tag=chrmwp-20

I seldom use my crockpot because 8 quarts is simply too small.  I make soup in a 4 gallon pot (on good days we can get 3 meals from that amount).  I use an electric frying pan than measures about 8x15.    

I make mashed potatoes in a 2 or 3 gallon pot (usually 5-6 pounds at a time).

So as far as your actual request.  We make a lot of casseroles (in the big pan mentioned above).  Shepherds pie, Chicken almondine (https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chicken-almondine/) Chicken Divan (https://www.campbells.com/kitchen/recipes/chicken-broccoli-divan/). These aren't the actual recipes I use since I cook most things from scratch without any recipe but it should give you some ideas of what I mean.

Baked potatoes with your favorite toppings

Stir fries (with rice baked in above pan and stir fry in the humongous frying pan).  We also do a variation with sausage, leftover chunks of baked potato, onions, peppers, mushrooms (if you like them), covered in BBQ sauce and sprinkled with cheese.

Tacos

Chicken soup, ham soup, beef barley soup, chili, sausage and tortillini soup.

With bigger dishes, I found it easier to scale up.

 

Edited by cjzimmer1

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I almost always have a Big Box store Stouffer's Cheese Lasagna in the freezer for emergencies.  That plus salad is always an easy, relatively inexpensive meal.

I use my Instant Pot a lot.... I make spaghetti in it, mashed potatoes, Chinese dishes, soup.

I made a hamburger hash a week ago and it was a big hit.  So easy/simple. I cooked a bunch of those tiny potatoes first in the IP.  Meanwhile, I sauteed three large onions in olive oil with salt and pepper until they started to caramelize.... then added in two pounds of ground beef (with salt, pepper, and onion powder.)  Once cooked, I added back in the potatoes and cooked until they were kind of golden. It was very filling and there wasn't a drop left over.

We do a deconstructed stuffed peppers.... sauteed mini peppers, onions, ground beef, leftover rice, tomato sauce.  

Sliders or Mom-Donalds is always a big hit here.

Chili (Turkey or Beef) with Fritos or Corn Bread

Quick and easy fajitas.  I'll pick up one or two rotisserie chickens from Costco or Sam's, and take the meat off while warm.  Then sautee peppers and onions with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fajita spices (cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, perhaps a dash of red pepper flakes, etc.)   Add in the chicken, more spices on top and sautee.  Serve with tortillas, salsa, guacamole, shredded cheese, etc.  

 

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1 hour ago, hollyhock2 said:

I need some new meal ideas. We have no food restrictions, so anything goes, but it has to be "normal" food (nothing too fancy or weird) and it has to feed a large family. I've got 5 kids and 4 are boys (and almost 3 teens). I'm having to drop some of my usual meals because I can't make them any bigger.

Or, just tell me what you're having for dinner tonight. 🙂

When the boys needed feeding, it seemed like meat and potatoes was the go-to to satisfy.  To extend the meat, I made what my mom called 'Poor Man's Supper'.  A five-pound bag of potatoes diced, an onion minced, and a pound or two of sausage or combo of sausage/ground beef browned.  Mix into a very large casserole dish with melted butter, onion powder, salt and pepper ... 'toss' together, bake at 350 for at least an hour.   If I didn't want to brown the meat, I just added keilbasa cut into cubes. 

Smaller meatloaves (we made 4 for a hungry man-crowd) and a large pot of mashed potatoes.  

Also, a few bags of frozen beef ravioli with a very large jar of pasta sauce (doctored up with cooking wine and pinch of sugar).  I would heat that in crock-pot all day.  Often needed water added.  As long as you begin with it a little soupy, it will cook up.  Served that along with two loaves of garlic bread.      

Chicken breasts from the freezer in crockpot with cans of cream soup or gravy.  Served with a large bag of noodles, smothered in garlic butter.  These were frequent go-to meals.

Edited by Familia

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I don't know what sort of food you consider normal or weird.

Around here, everybody loves chana masala - I serve it with a side of spinach and potatoes, and oven roasted okra, and of course lots of rice.

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Tonight I am making tacos.  We had pot roast last week made with a chuck roast, and tonight's tacos will be using the leftover shredded meat.  I am going to saute them up with some taco seasoning, and use regular corn tortillas, and just regular taco toppings.  I am also going to heat up some corn and make some rice with some taco seasonings, but the younger two kids won't eat those.

Last night was ham, green beans and a tube of cresent rolls.  

Tomorrow, I am making bacon cheeseburger pasta. I use a whole box of pasta with it though.  I am also going to put some garlic bread together in the bread machine.

Thursday is turkey manhattans using leftover turkey from last week, with mashed potatoes and some steamed garlic carrots.  

Friday we always do pizza.  This Friday I am doing individual pizzas.  

 

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Tonight - stuffed peppers, rolls, spinach salad, and probably ice cream for dessert. My two teens will probably each eat two peppers, dh and I will each have one, but I can fit 6-8 in a single baking dish. I hear you on the struggle with lots of teens to feed! We just had 8 teens/adults here last week from Tues-Sun - so much food! We had Thanksgiving food (obviously) one day, but the other days we had chili, turkey/vegetable soup (https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/curried_turkey_soup/), a sausage/cheese/hashbrown casserole, lasagne (huge fan of Stouffer's for "emergency" meals), and baked tacos (https://www.thecookierookie.com/baked-spicy-chicken-tacos/). Along with piles of hummus, crackers, popcorn, pretzels, fruit....

Hope that helps!

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Well, tonight we are having chilli and cornbread.

Last night we had vegetable cobbler as the main dish.  So, I cooked zucchini, onions, and broccoli and little tomatoes and thinkened the liquid, and I made herb bisquits and put them on top and cooked it in the oven.  Then I had two salads - one was slivered squash, carrots, purple cabbage and apple with mustard maple dressing and slivered almonds.  The other was shredded kale, red onion and Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries and sunflower seeds, with a sort of creamy poppyseed dressing.

Another one I like that is easy to make a lot of is just get some big pans and cut up red onion, peppers, and add cherry tomatoes.  Then chicken thighs, one in or out,  or you can use breasts if you want but they are drier.  Toss in some olive oil and balsamic, salt and pepper, and whatever herbs you like.  You can also chop up some sweet potato which will make it more filling.  Cook it in the over about an hour, serve with crusty bread and a green salas or some broccoli.

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https://largefamilytable.com/  I don't have a large family, but she has some great idea.

Lately, I've been doing the one pan meals- cut up veggies, mix in olive oil and seasonings and put in the oven for an hour.  Then, I'll cook up some sausage and rice to go with it- or something with chicken, etc.  Makes it easier, and it's been a nice change from crock pot meals!

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On 11/26/2018 at 9:41 AM, Night Elf said:

 

Sorry. I had you multi-quoted from another thread and failed to notice it brought your quote over here. 

3 hours ago, hollyhock2 said:

 

Or, just tell me what you're having for dinner tonight. 🙂

Taco soup with stew beef instead of ground beef because it's what I had in the freezer. I'm trying to do some pantry/freezer cooking before Christmas gets here.

Edited by Lady Florida.

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In an effort to eat more veggies, we've been cooking more sheet pan meals. This one is on for tonight: https://dinnerthendessert.com/sheet-pan-korean-chicken-and-vegetables/. I'll probably serve it with rice and a bag of steamed edamame (my oldest crazy-loves edamame.) 

If I had hungry teenage boys, I'd go hearty: pot of spaghetti with garlic bread, chili with beans and cornbread, etc. We (inexpensively) bulk up meals with rice or beans: smoked sausage/onions/peppers/kidney beans served over rice is a favorite here. 

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Meatloaf and roasted veggies ( carrots, turnips, onions, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts) tonight. 

Chili and green salad last night.

Turkey enchiladas tomorrow. 

Soup or fish Thursday. 

Edited by ScoutTN

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One of our new favorites is cilantro-lime chicken tacos.  I use thighs because they're really cheap, and put them in the crockpot with a diced onion, half a jalapeño (diced), a clove or two of garlic, and about a cup of broth.  That simmers until the chicken falls apart, and then I add cilantro, a lime juiced, and salt.  It's winter so I've been cheating and using the tube of cilantro.
This gets served with corn tortillas warmed in a bit of oil, flour tortillas, queso fresco, homemade pico, and black beans.

 

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7 hours ago, hollyhock2 said:

I need some new meal ideas. We have no food restrictions, so anything goes, but it has to be "normal" food (nothing too fancy or weird) and it has to feed a large family. I've got 5 kids and 4 are boys (and almost 3 teens). I'm having to drop some of my usual meals because I can't make them any bigger.

Or, just tell me what you're having for dinner tonight. 🙂

I’m having shepherd’s pie. I’ve also been doing The Dinner Daily lately. It gives you menus based upon sales at whatever grocery store you choose.  You can change up the store and see all the menus at any given time. There IS a setting for “not weird food.”  🤣 They call it “stick to the basics.” $4 a month is worth it to shake up my menu a bit. I was in a rut. It also pays for itself by building menus around sales. You also plug in how many times a week you can stand to eat chicken, beef, etc. 

I’ve been using it at the store where you can order online and pick up food at the curb. 

Edited by KungFuPanda
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I've been doing more modular meals recently.  So, a pot of noodles, a pan of steamed vegetables, a pan of steamed cod (just take the frozen filets and steam them, very simple), a jar of tomato sauce, and an olive oil/garlic mixture.  To scale up, you just do two boxes of noodles, 2 bags of whatever veg, 2 lbs of cod, and plan to use up the whole jar of tomato sauce.

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Chili

Chicken and dumplings

Chicken pot pie filling with biscuits

Spaghetti

Mac & cheese & ham

Fried rice with beef & broccoli

Enchiladas

Chicken rotel spaghetti

Any favorite casserole doubled or tripled

Basically anything I cook is doubled or tripled

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9 hours ago, AprilTN said:

I make these recipes together.  Everyone loves it.  And it's super easy.

https://www.browneyedbaker.com/chipotle-chicken-recipe/

https://www.browneyedbaker.com/chipotle-cilantro-lime-rice/

My family likes those also!  

Crockpot chicken with black beans and cream cheese is super easy, and it makes a lot. I don't use frozen chicken and often I'll just do it in the oven.

https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/crock-pot-chicken-with-black-beans-cream-cheese-89204

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Almost everything I make comes from Mels Kitchen Cafe. I especially like her 30 minute meals and the slow cooker meals. On the menu this week is her creamy white chicken chili. Throw it the slow cooker and at the end add sour cream and heavy cream. Delicious and easy!

https://www.melskitchencafe.com/creamy-white-chili/

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Instead of thinking of adding some new individual recipes to your rotation, perhaps think in terms of trying a new technique or a new type of food.

For example, sheet pan dinners have become popular in recent years, and there are many recipes to try. So you could have a sheet pan dinner one night a week and try a bunch of different things that way. Save the recipes for your favorites and add them to your regular dinner plans, but in the meantime, you would be having something new once a week.

Or take one menu idea and try multiple variations of it. I make five kinds of meatballs, for example (1.Italian, which we use in sub sandwiches, pasta dishes, or even just on their own, covered with sauce and cheese; 2. Pioneer Woman's BBQ meatballs 3. giant single-serving size meatballs with cheese in the middle; 4. Swedish meatballs; 5. tiny meatballs that I put in minestrone or Italian wedding soup). When I make a batch of meatballs, I often triple it, so that we can eat it once and freeze two more meal's worth. You could have meatball night once a week and yet not repeat recipes for a long time. You could do the same thing and experiment with different kinds of tacos. Or pasta.

Or find one new versatile recipe that you like and serve it multiple ways. Make a large pork butt into pulled pork. Serve it as is for one meal and put the rest in the freezer. The next week, pull out one meal's worth and add BBQ sauce for BBQ pork sandwiches. The next week, pull out one meal's worth and make Cubano sandwiches. The next week, pull out one meal's worth and serve as carnitas with tortillas. And so on.

I also have a taco chicken recipe that we like that I make in the crock pot. I serve it as tacos the first night. On other nights, I serve it as enchiladas or quesadillas. I also roll it up into tortillas like a tube and bake them, then freeze them, then pull them out as needed to eat as taquitos.  I haven't done this yet, but you could add it to salads and have taco salad, or add it to nachos for a quick, lighter meal. But I can cook it once, divide and freeze it, and then serve it in multiple ways.

When I think in categories like this, I can expand the variety of my menu exponentially, versus just thinking about individual recipes. I do try individual recipes, as well, and when we like them, I add them to my recipe box. Online, I've especially liked recipes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, recommended by a previous poster, and Pioneer Woman, because they use basic techniques and regular ingredients for food that seems familiar to my family, even when the recipes are new to us.  Sometimes I will get ideas from allrecipes.com.

Edited by Storygirl

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On 11/27/2018 at 3:24 PM, alisoncooks said:

In an effort to eat more veggies, we've been cooking more sheet pan meals. This one is on for tonight: https://dinnerthendessert.com/sheet-pan-korean-chicken-and-vegetables/. I'll probably serve it with rice and a bag of steamed edamame (my oldest crazy-loves edamame.) 

 

I pinned this earlier in the week when I saw your post and made it for dinner tonight. It was delicious! I've been meaning to try a sheet pan recipe and this ended up being the first. Boneless, skinless chicken breast can be tricky in the oven but it was cooked to perfection - not the least bit dry. I saw in the comments that she suggested you could replace the sriracha with chili garlic sauce and since I wanted a bit sweeter flavor I did, but made no other changes. While the vegetables certainly should be crisp tender, I would have liked the carrots to be roasted just a bit more, so next time I'll cut them thinner. I served it with white rice because I waited too long to make brown rice and wanted it done sooner. 

Both of my guys said it's a keeper and I agree. Thanks for posting it!

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