Jump to content

Lunch for a Crowd


Recommended Posts

I'm cooking for 11 people every day. Lunches are killing me because two hours for dinner prep is normal, but I can't afford that much time for lunch prep in the middle of the school day.

I've searched the forums and found some tips for Whole 30 for large families, but right now I'm just wanting lunch ideas that are fast-ish.  I have four teenagers who are happy to cook, so we're currently rotating days, but it's taking forEVer to fix. At least a ton more time than sandwiches did!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Oh my goodness, 11 people, three meals a day -- I'm kind of exhausted just thinking about it! Glad you have some kiddos old enough to help out, and that they're willing to.

I definitely don't cook for that many, so take from these ideas anything that looks promising, and ignore the rest.

Are you home all day and fixing lunch, or you need lunch ideas for everyone to take with them? 

Tuna, chicken, or egg salad can be made the night before. Tuna is easiest, because you can almost always find compliant cans of tuna, but you could throw a chicken (or two -- I don't know how much meat you need to feed 11 people) in the oven or the crockpot to cook while you do something else, or boil eggs by the dozen (you can even do hard boiled eggs in the oven, if that's easier), you can even cook them a day or two before you need them. Once you've made a protein salad out of whichever of these you choose, you can serve them as lettuce wraps, or just plop a scoop of it on a plate and serve it with sliced cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, or bell peppers for dipping, or get fancy and stuff it into hollowed out bell peppers or tomatoes.

Egg casseroles are popular fast breakfast options, but there's no reason you couldn't sometimes do them for lunch. You could put it together whenever -- the night before, that morning while you're getting breakfast ready -- and then put it in to cook 20-30 minutes before lunch time.

Soups are pretty easy -- they're going to take some time to get started, but then you just let them cook, especially if you do them in a crockpot. You can either do things like chicken soup with vegetables, so they're a meal in a bowl (probably add some extra fat, maybe serve with a salad for extra veggies), or you could do vegetable soups and serve them as a side to whatever protein you have.

If you're okay with things like compliant sausages and hot dogs, they can be expensive, but they'd get you meals you don't have to cook as much for -- serve them with soup or salad or baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Burger patties can be pre-formed the night before and cooked in the oven, or even cooked the night before and then reheated. 

Roasts or stews or chilis can be thrown into a crockpot to cook while you do other things and then just served at lunch time. 

I'd imagine a huge chunk of your cooking time is going to be spent chopping vegetables, so it might be worth having the teens who are able to help spend a certain amount of time each day chopping vegetables for you, just so you can stay ahead -- if you had each one spend 10-15 minutes here and there throughout the day, they could get a bunch of veggies done so all you'd have to do at meal time is pull the veggies out of the fridge and cook them. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try collard wraps? Leave the leaf flat on each person's plate and load up with the usual or compliant sandwich stuff. I don't wrap mine all fancy so that they stay together, because I can't. But I still really love eating them, even if they're a little messy.

I'm also going to share these weird lettuces wrap I love eating: butter lettuce, a smear of sunflower seed butter, saurkraut, cold pulled pork, and red onion with a tiny little bit of cider vinegar. So there may be some lettuce/collard wrap directions you could go to sub for the flow of sandwich lunch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh wraps are a good idea! Chicken/tuna salad work, too. I don't mind baking bread for them to have things on but that leaves the five of us who are doing the program out in the cold. Wrapping our salads in lettuce, collards, etc, is a good idea!

We are all home during the day. Well, I have two college girls on plan who are gone for lunch but here for breakfast and dinner. My husband works at home and I homeschool the younger seven kids, so we do all eat together a lot.

Doing a lot of vegetable chopping ahead is a good idea. I've been spending a ton of time making mayo, but hadn't thought of chopping/prepping veggies ahead.

Halfway through, though, we can do this!

Thank you for the ideas! I will totally do some of those!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...