Feeding a big crew can feel like a tough — and expensive — proposition. But dishes for big families can incorporate many cost-saving secrets that even small families can make use of. Try these dishes for big families and cut your food costs.
Dishes for big families – the basics
The basics of cooking for a big family or to reduce your food costs start with understanding storage. Using ingredients in as many different ways as possible helps reduce the amount of food waste by making sure ingredients don’t go bad. Increasing the amount of non-meat protein also helps cut down cost; mixed correctly, this can actually help the food be more filling. Making dishes for big families that can be frozen and easily re-heated cuts down preparation time and allows you to take advantage of sales.
What to include in dishes for big families
When you’re cooking dishes for big families or for freezing, there are a few basic elements that make any dish great. Vegetables such as onions, garlic and celery provide a flavorful base. Grains, such as rice, barley, wheat kernels, pasta and quinoa are inexpensive and provide “filler” for the meal. Legumes, such as beans or lentils, pair up with grains to create a complete protein; meat is also an option. Add a sauce to these basics in just about any combination, and you’ve got a meal.
Ways to blend dishes for big families
So you know the basics of what to include in dishes for big families. How to combine them? For a soup, try starting by sauteing onions, carrots, celery and garlic in butter or olive oil. Combine with legumes or meat and broth and simmer for a few hours. For a stroganoff, blend one onion, a tablespoon of garlic and a few ounces of mushrooms with a few ounces of meat strips. Sprinkle with flour and add broth, sour cream and spices. Mix with cooked pasta or rice and serve. Combining these ingredients could even be as simple as steaming vegetables, cooking meat and adding grains or legumes. No matter how you combine these four elements — vegetables, grains, protein and sauce — you can create one great meal that saves you money and time.