Welcome to my Large Family Helps series where I share with my readers some of my favorite tips for managing a household with lots of children. I don’t consider my own family “large,” but we have enough children (five) in our home that I have benefited greatly from utilizing these practices in our home.
By the time my children were big enough to eat as much as my hubby or I would eat at a meal, there were already six of us in the family, one of which was a toddler. With a toddler in the house, standing in the kitchen is not always the prudent place to be. While you’re slaving away, the toddler is likely filling the toilet with toilet paper. Am I right?
Being able to throw most of a meal into a slow cooking apparatus and leave it for hours often becomes the only way that anyone would have food to eat come suppertime. Crockpots are a lifesaver. You can make some pretty yummy food very simply using a crockpot. However, my favorite slow cooking apparatus is a roaster. For years my Nesco 6 Quart Roaster was my very best friend. I could throw a whole chicken in the pan, throw some red potatoes around it, press a few cloves of garlic on top or pour on some Italian dressing, put the lid on, and then walk away until 6 p.m. rolled around. Heavenly.
When the children began to eat like grown-ups, my little roaster no longer filled the bill. We just could not fit enough food in the pan to feed us all. Enter Rival 16 Quart Roaster. Momma is one happy woman again. I can cook enough soup in the pan to feed us for at least three meals. A turkey? No problem. Deep dish pizza? The roaster can cook it. Bake spaghetti? My roaster has made it. You can cook almost anything in a roaster oven.
The temperature controls (200-450 degrees) also make the roaster more versatile than a crockpot. You can cook slow in the roaster, or you can cook fast.
Today my best friend, the Roaster, cooked about four pounds of pinto beans, which I then turned into refried beans. Yum! This is about 40 cups of refried beans. Most of it will go into the freezer to be pulled out for quick lunches. The rest will get eaten really quickly!
Whether you use a roaster or a crockpot, cooking large quantities of food at one time is a lifesaver for large families. Whether you freeze some for another time or not, you have managed to cook one time rather than two or three times. Cooking a larger quantity really does not take much more time than cooking a smaller amount. Any mom could benefit from a little less time in the kitchen. After all, that’s more time to play with the little ones. Or rescue the toilet from all that toilet paper your toddler stuffed in it…
I could always benefit from others’ experience in the kitchen. What’s your favorite way to minimize time in the kitchen? Or maximize efficiency while you’re in the kitchen?