I recently stopped at my niece and nephews house on a late afternoon. When I walked inside, the house smelled wonderful. I made a comment about how yummy it smelled, and my nephew said that my niece had a lasagna in the oven. As I left their house, I started thinking that we needed to have lasagna soon for supper.
But I was also thinking to myself about how things have changed as our family has gotten larger. My niece and nephew are just starting their family and have only one child who is 3 months old. She made lasagna for supper, but there was going to be lasagna for lunches for a few days also. We rarely (if ever) have enough leftovers of one meal to last several lunches.
I started cooking for my family when I was around 10 or so. I had 3 hungry brothers at home, not to mention my truck driver dad, so when my mom started teaching me to cook, it was always large meals. When I learned to cook a pot of chili or soup, it was a large pot. When I made casseroles, it was made in an 11x15 dish. After we were first married, I know we had many meals that would last us all week until we were completely sick of it and didn't want to see it again for a very long time!
I don't think that I cook much differently now than I did when we were first married or when we just had 1 or 2 babies. What has changed is how I present these meals to our family. I have found that my food budget has not increased as much as our household has. So I needed to get creative with meals. I still basically make the same sizes of meals, but I have found things to go with the meals. When we had a smaller family, I would just make a pan of lasagna for dinner. Now I will make that pan of lasagna along with a salad or a loaf of homemade garlic bread. I still make the same casserole, but now we have some applesauce, vegetables, or fresh fruit along with it. We have certain staples in our house that make great sides for meals. Fresh fruits, veggies, salads, breads, or applesauce (I make a ton in the fall). I also add "fillers" to some of our meals(usually casseroles). Lentils or beans go VERY far. So does brown rice.
Get creative and you can make your food budget stretch! Have a great day!