Category Archives: In my kitchen

recipes, tips,and knowledge gleaned over years of preparing thousands of meals

large family food idea dinner calico beans and sauerkraut and kielbasa

This is a large family food idea that we enjoy eating it is very simple and cheap to make for a big crowd.  I like to make this meal for the days that we are away running errands.  I can put my oven on a low temperature and let it simmer all day long and when I return home, exhausted, dinner is all warmed and ready to eat.

Calico beans for a large family



  • 2 cans lima beans, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 4 cans pork and beans (15oz)
  • 1/2 bag of bacon bits
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t mustard
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1/2 c vinegar
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1 small onion chopped

Mix all together and place in oven or crock pot and let simmer.  If you have a larger crowd, just add a few more cans of beans.

Sauerkraut and kielbasa


Take however much kielbasa your family will eat and sliced it small chunks. Place in your pan or pot, depending upon how you are cooking it.  Take your bag of sauerkraut and rinse it a few times.  Let drain and then add that to your kielbasa.  I add about 1 -2 Tablespoons of chicken bouillon to help take some of that “tart” flavor away.  Try it, you will enjoy it.

Bake these alongside one another in your oven while you are out doing errands and when you come home you will have a delicious tasting dinner all ready to eat.  Serve with a side of cornbread.



large family food idea snacks granola bars

Around our household, Wednesday is Kitchen Day.  On kitchen day, we usually spend the day baking and preparing foods for the week.  I try and choose at least 2 snacks to make for the week for us to enjoy.  This was one that was on my list to try and so we did.  It is now part of our rotation in our Master snacks list.

This past year, I have been trying to build my large family food idea lists.  I want foods that are easy to make and that my family enjoys.  We have tried numerous granola bar recipes over the years and many have failed.  This is one given to me by a dear friend and it is delicious.

  • 2-20 oz pkg mini marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c oil
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 10 c oatmeal
  • 9 c Rice Krispies
  • 2 pkg graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 pkg chocolate chips


Melt the first 5 ingredients until just melted over med low heat006

In a large mixing bowl, mix the oatmeal, Rice Krispies, graham crackers , and chocolate chips.008Pour the melted mixture over top of the dry mixture009Stir until combined010Press into a greased, jelly style roll pan011

Let cool and then cut into bars.  Keep extra bars covered in a container.  You will get 2 large jelly style pans from this recipe.026Recipe for the “smaller” families

  • 20 oz mini marshmallows
  • 3/4 c butter
  • 1/4 c oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c peanut butter
  • 5 c oatmeal
  • 4 1/2 c Rice Krispies
  • 1 pkg graham crackers crushed
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


Easiest way to preserve tomatoes–freezing them

Having a large family, has meant that we try and do as much preserving as we can.

When it comes to putting up food for the winter months, my first choice is to freeze it.  This year we did strawberry jam and froze it.  We picked blueberries and froze them.  We made applesauce, around 200 quarts and froze it!  We also did tomatoes.

We love to eat spaghetti, at least once per week.  I have found that we can easily make a sauce with a few cans of diced tomatoes and one can of tomato sauce.  We then add basil, oregano, onion, green pepper, and garlic.  Let it simmer on the stove and add your meat.  Delicious, homemade flavor.  Once I realized that I would be able to get away with that kind of sauce for my family instead of the “store bought” version, I wanted to put up some tomatoes for the winter months.


I have realized that the easiest way to preserve tomatoes is by freezing them.

I used to can it into jars and it would be a long process of skinning the tomatoes and smashing it—no more of that, I do not have time.  I have found this method to be super easy and the best, quickest version for our large family.

I actually had a fussing one year old, while I was trying to do this so our 8 year old took charged and did it all for me!

The tomatoes that we had purchased were a thick meaty type, so we chopped the tomatoes in quarters..


Then placed them into the food processor, skins and all

let it whirl, until pureed

We then poured them into quart sized containers.  Put them in our freezer until ready to use.  Simple and easy.  Makes a delicious, fresh from the garden flavor spaghetti sauce.061


large family food idea –breakfast overnight egg casserole

Making food for a large family, I have found is really no different than making it for a smaller family.  We just go through more of the food.  When it comes to eggs, I am thankful that we have a flock of chickens.  When we make our weekly dinner breakfast meal, we will generally go through around 50 eggs!!!

Along with baked overnight french toast casserole, we love to make this egg breakfast casserole.

Making casseroles, simplifies the time that I have to spend standing in front of the stove, flipping eggs.  I just mix it all together and pour into the pan.  Let the oven do the work, while I go change some diapers:)

Our large family food idea for breakfast overnight egg casserole:

  • 2 dozen eggs
  • 2 c milk
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cans potatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
  • 2 bunches of green onion
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 16 oz container of sour cream–sour cream will make your eggs fluffy and easy to cut and serve

In a large mixing bowl, crack your eggs.

013 Add your milk and whisk014 Add your sour cream015 Add your cream of mushroom soup, salt, pepper,and garlic and whisk well.016 chop up some green onion, and add017 Chop up your cans of potatoes and add018 Mix in your cheese, I used a mexican cheese blend.019 Pour into a greased 9 x13 baking dish.  You can bake immediately or cover it and refrigerate overnight.


Bake in 350 for 45-60 minutes. This will puff up when finished029

A yummy twist from plain ol eggs.033

large family food idea– breakfast–baked overnight french toast


 large family food idea–breakfast–baked overnight french toast


I have found that making meals for a large family, really isn’t that much different than making it for a smaller sized family.  Around our household, we make a breakfast meal once a week.  One thing our family enjoys is french toast.  We usually use our skillet and fry the toast on top of that.  It can sometimes be a task that takes up much of my meal prep time, especially when you have to go through 2 loaves of bread.

I wanted a simplier way. When trying to plan large family food ideas I wanted to incorporate french toast into the mix, but I wanted it to be easier to make, otherwise I probably wouldn’t want to make it.   I have found this baked overnight french toast recipe and we love it.  I make it the day before and then refrigerate it.  When it is time to cook dinner, we pop it in the oven.  No prep for Mom!  Very simple to make.

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 12 slices of bread
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 10 eggs

What I do first, since we don’t own a microwave, is I melt my stick of butters in a 9×13 pan.

While that is melting I mix up my eggs and milk.


After the butter is melted, I stir into it 1 cup of brown sugar.  Spread it across the bottom of your pan to cover.  I then sprinkle it with cinnamon.  Place 12 slices of bread on top of the sugar mixture.  Put bread 2 slices high in pan.  

Pour your egg/milk mixture over top of your bread.

Wrap in foil and then refrigerate overnight.  In the morning or evening, depending upon when you are going to serve your meal, place in 350 and cook for 45 minutes.  This will puff right up out of the pan.  028


To serve cut sandwiches and then invert them onto a plate. No need for syrup, it makes its own.  Our size family goes through 2 pans of this meal.  Very delicious!034