Big family, Big meals


I had a few requests for me to post a peek of all of my menu cards from my prior post about how I tackle menu planning effectively. You can find that post here (Menu Planning).

I will absolutely share what meals made the cut for us. Some of these will be very recognizable to you and some may leave you wondering what it is! I am sure in time some of these cards will go away and new ones will be made.  A lot of these will end up in recipe posts to come (but it wouldn’t hurt to have some people try the recipes before I post them so they can give their opinion. Reach out to me if you want to be one of those opinions!)

Ok, let’s start with chicken. We have chicken a lot, for many reasons. Chicken is an affordable meat. Chicken is a people pleaser….more importantly a kid pleaser! My first recipe post (which can be found HERE) was Cilantro Lime Chicken. Other meals you may see show up in recipe posts are Mozzarella Chicken, Sesame Chicken and Buttery Lemon Chicken.


On to the beef category. Beef is the other category that we eat a lot of-mainly of the Mexican persuasion. A week does not pass that we don’t either have tacos or Mexican dip (which is basically a deconstructed taco). As I have said before, I sometimes need more variety in my life so I like to roast a sweet potato and put all the taco fillings on it and it is so good. I am the only one that eats that though so it didn’t make it to the menu cards. Dishes to expect to come up in recipe posts: Chili (another common staple!), Taco Salad, Shredded Beef Tacos, Meatloaf, and Meatball Subs).


Next is the Pork and Seafood categories. I put them together because they are both a little weak. Most of the pink cards are my effort to get the family eating more seafood but fish night is always a struggle. That is said with the exception of Lemon Shrimp Linguine and you can count on seeing that show up in a recipe post. I read somewhere today that Tilapia isn’t a real fish and can actually be more harmful than helpful-I gotta do my research but if that turns out to be true, I may just give up! Say it ain’t so!


This one is what I call the Etc category. These are still main dishes, but they either don’t involve meat or are a little vague. Leftover nights are a must around here. If there are a lot we have a leftover dinner night and if leftovers are a little light we have them for Sunday afternoon lunch. Either way-they fill a meal, nothing wastes, and money is saved.


On to side dishes. Some of these are straight up just sides and some of these are a way to change the meal. For example: I can put tortilla chips with Cilantro Lime Chicken wraps and know that we are having it nachos style rather than on wraps. Sometimes there is one side per meal and sometimes there are two, depending on what is needed to make a full meal. This is why I love using free cards to piece meals together rather than a card that represents a whole meal.


Finally, the vegetables. You may notice something different with these cards. There are repeats. Most of the family only eats the far right column so I will need to make them more than once a week to be able to have a vegetable with most meals. A lot of the others, I will make for me and share with the ones at the table who want in on “the good stuff”. No matter what though, everyone eats veggies! You may also notice that some cards from “Sides” show up again in “Vegetables”. This is called versatility my friends! Sometimes I need those things to fill the role of a side and sometimes I need the to fill the role of veggie. As a wife/mom/meal creator of the family, you do what you gotta do!


Again, this was just a peek into some of the favorite meals in our family. The prior posts I linked above have more information about this system. There was also a post that can be found here (A Blended Table) where I told all about our mealtime routine and rules to keep dinnertime running smoothly.

Ashley Karaffa

Ashley is mother to a blended family of 10 and appreciating the beautiful chaos of it all. She enjoys creating systems - because how can you survive a family with 8 kids without systems - and spending time celebrating her family.


  1. Blended Hope on March 16, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    This is great!

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