As I am writing, a Lemon poppyseed macaron my daughter made is melting in my mouth! This is not what we’ve been eating for dinner, but it definitely has the flavors of spring delight in it! These were her first macarons and I’m only a little jealous they turned out so well. 😉 However, you are likely not here to see what treats we’ve been enjoying. If you are reading this you likely, like me, are looking for some fresh dinner inspiration and are curious what our large family eats on the reg. I’m happy to share 10 of our large family spring dinner ideas with you today that we have been making recently!
We spend so much time in the kitchen that a fresh recipe can give us that inspiration needed to make yet one more meal. It can be difficult to find the ideal meal- healthy, easy to prepare, budget-friendly, and generally accepted by all age groups, that easily feeds crowd. Othewise known as the impossible meal? I kid.. sorta.
What to make for dinner when feeding a large family?
- Generally accepted by all
- Easy to upsize
Most of the meals listed below fit most of these and have customizemable options to accomodate pickeir eaters. I hope this list gives you a little inspiration to keep feeding souls and filling bellies.
I follow a meal planning formula for the most part. You can also watch the video here. But I am not super strict with it. It is there to help me make a quick decision when my brain feels bleh. If I have new inspiration and a new recipe I want to try, I go ahead and make it. On even my busiest weeks the formula is simple enough to maintain. When there is little to no inspiration I just stick to the old family favorites.
We keep a stock of half a cow, some lamb, chicken and fish that we purchase direct or wholesale in our freezer. I love to keep a variety of whole grains and beans stocked in our storage room, as well. This limits me to mostly needing to purchase fresh items weekly and restock what we run out of from the pantry. This still ends up being quite a bit of food to buy each week, but not as much as you’d expect. You can see a grocery haul of ours here if you’re curious.
- What to make for dinner when feeding a large family?
- Large family spring dinner ideas
- 1. Vietnamese inspired noodle soup ”pho”
- 2. Mexican lasagna, Spanish rice, pinto beans
- 3. Tom Kha Gai thai soup
- 4. Spaghetti, focaccia bread, Caesar salad
- 5. Hamburgers, potato salad
- 6. Roasted chicken, roasted green beans, rice
- 7. Tacos, black beans
- 8. Beef minestrone soup and sourdough biscuits
- 9. Thai chicken peanut noodles and lettuce cups
- 10. Homemade pizza
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Large family spring dinner ideas
1. Vietnamese inspired noodle soup ”pho”
This recipe is my inspiration, but I just use what ingredients I have on hand. Sometimes its lots of spring veggies with hard boiled eggs. Some nights I can make it more fancy depending on time. This whips up quick if you just include lots of veggies, spiced broth, some leftover meat and your choice of noodles. I use udon, rice or soba noodles.
2. Mexican lasagna, Spanish rice, pinto beans
This is a meal we make regularly now after enjoying it at a friend’s house. It is a great crowd pleaser, and easier to put together than rolling up the tortillas for traditional enchiladas. I make my pinto beans from scratch with lots of garlic and canned chopped green chilies.
Easy Spanish rice
4 cups white or brown rice made as usual ( I prefer a 1: 1.5 rice to water ratio for long grain varieities, which are my preference)
Add in 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
4 gloves of garlic
Salt to taste
3. Tom Kha Gai thai soup
We all love this soup! I serve it over rice as an option. My little guys love the creamy coconut milk broth over a larger bowl of rice, while we that have more sophisticated pallets enjoy some spicier additions!
- green onions
- toasted pine nuts or penuts
- toasted coconut flakes
- red chilli pepper flakes
- fresh lim wedges
4. Spaghetti, focaccia bread, Caesar salad
Just a simple easy dinner with our grass fed beef. We don’t need a pic or recipe for that do we? But, you do need this easy focaccia bread recipe! It’s fool proof enough even my kids whip this up for me. It comes together quick, too, if you’re in a pinch for time. I have yet to try a sourdough version but I’m eager to try this one! I just make homemade sauce with canned tomato sauce a little wine and lots of spices.
5. Hamburgers, potato salad
This is a go to when I need a break or have a busy evening. It’s a meal that pleases everyone and a different way to use up our large quantity of ground beef besides another casserole. I thaw the meat, shape the patties and freeze them between wax paper until my hubby is ready to grill them up. Making time to bake homemade sourdough buns is my family’s favorite. Warning: once you’ve made them from scratch it’s hard to enjoy the store bought ones! The potato salad can be made in advance, as well. If you have leftover peanut sauce- make these chicken satay burgers! So yummy!
Hamburger patties from scratch:
2-3 lbs ground beef
2 Tb. steak seasoning
Tip: Shape the patties 50% larger than you want the finished size, as they shrink when cooked!
6. Roasted chicken, roasted green beans, rice
Another easy dinner to have prepped ahead. Just rub a whole rinsed chicken (we eat 2) down with oil, garlic and herbs and roast. I toss the beans with olive oil and garlic and salt and put those on a sheet pan on the bottom rack for the last 20 min of bake time. Make some rice or quinoa and you’re set!
7. Tacos, black beans
Another quick Taco Tuesday dinner I can always whip up with what I have on hand. I always have grass-fed ground beef and dry beans. Or I throw a roast in my crockpot all day with 3 ingredients and it’s ready for a delicious dinner later. My sister makes amazing authentic cuban black beans, and when I have extra time, I use the recipe above, which is closest to the one her Cuban mother-in-law passed on to her (except the sherry and olives).
We pile high with whatever veggies and sauces we have on hand. To make prep for a large group easier, I mix the meat with cheese and beans and place in a tortilla. Place on a sheet pan, spray with a little oil and bake for 20 min. Then everyone can put their own toppings on afterwards.
8. Beef minestrone soup and sourdough biscuits
This is a quick meal I can whip up on a pinch with ground beef and macaroni noodles. Soups are always an easy meal to upsize. A big pot guarantees an easy lunch the next day. I include any veggies on hand- carrots, peas, potatoes etc. I love to top with fresh parsley and a pinch of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Of course this soup is best paired with our favorite sourdough biscuits.
Most of our kids like this soup but it makes me laugh that the littles love macaroni noodles, ground beef, and brothy soups, but add veggies and they pick through it sullenly. Just us? heheh
9. Thai chicken peanut noodles and lettuce cups
This recipe is the bomb combo! I love how versatile this is for different age groups. My littles love the noodles and chicken with some of their fave veggies on the side, like the carrots and cucumbers. But the rest of us get creative piling the toppings high or all rolled up into one rainbow in the mouth experience via the lettuce cups! Don’t forget to add some peanut sauce over your lettuce wrap. We also prefer to use butter lettuce.
I just cook up some rice, soba or udon noodles, along with terryaki chicken thighs. Then I make the peanut sauce and chop up a ton of fun veggie toppings. A delicious customizable dinner that everyone enjoys. It really is a rainbow on your plate and in your mouth!
Our favorite toppings:
- Diced cucumbers
- matchstick carrots
- diced green onions
- sesame seeds
- Chopped red, orange and yellow bell peppers
- thinly minced red cabbage
- Mau Poi sauce
- Sambel Olek suace
- Sriracha Mayo
- Endless options! Have fun with it!
10. Homemade pizza
Who doesn’t love pizza? My favorite way to mix it up is some fun fresh seasonal ingredients. This is my go to dough recipe in a pinch or this sourdough one. When it warms up enough we even bake these up on the grill for a more authentic fired flavor.
Our favorite spring toppings we are enjoying right now:
- Baby arugula, goat cheese, dates, honey, prosciutto, with garlic sauce
- Fresh mozzarella, basil, sun dried tomatoes, with red sauce
- Pineapple, ham, red oinion, peppers, pickled jalapeños, with bbq sauce