Lucky and I share a brood of kids. I have two to his four and let me tell you, when 6 kids gather under one roof it makes The Brady Bunch look tame. Plus, we don't have the astro turf lawn. Or Alice.
I'm just going to get it out there, OK? I'm a pretty crappy step mom. It's hard because Lucky's kids are a little older, meaning they see what I'm really like, moody and weird.
I try to be really supportive to my step kids. I want them to know they can count on me and trust me. But, they already have a mother and they don't really need another one. In other words, I don't want to try replace or take over her role. That's just messed up.
Despite all that, I want to have a home where kids feel nurtured.
In other words, I do whatever it takes to make them like me.
And so one of my tactics is food. Goodness knows I'm not an expert in the field of cuisine. I'm kind of a Pinterest style cook backed with baking cookbooks.
That being said, there is a certain sense of comfort in coming home to a family meal and I've always been a strong believer in it.
I try to avoid the crap at the dinner table and instead focus on meals cooked from scratch. For one, it's cheaper and two, it's healthier.
At any rate, when you get 6 kids together there is bound to be some varying palates. Then when the older kid's boyfriends and girlfriends show up the ratio increases.
So I have a go to arsenal of easy stuff I rely on in my moments of indecisiviness and am finding it to be fairly successful.
For example, in the morning I will start marinating chicken. I put together olive oil, fresh lemon juice (and slices) , balsamic vinegar, garlic, lots of salt and pepper and a good handful of chopped fresh herbs, basically whatever I have on hand that hasn't gone bad yet. I let the flavors marry all flippin day and then I roast (or grill) it later on.
I always offer really good bread and a really good dessert. This way if all my food is crap, at least there is some sort of redeeming quality.
Another fave of mine that the kids often request so it's a win win; I take a huge batch of Yukon Gold potatoes, cube them up and add my favorite go to of olive oil, garlic, S and P and parmesan cheese. I combine it all, throw in a big baking dish and roast the crud out of it at 400 degrees until they're all goldeny, crunchy outside, creamy inside type thing.
Remember these tips when it comes to feeding groups of kids:
ALWAYS have ranch dressing on hand. It hides a multitude of cooking sins.
Serve food buffet style.
When in doubt, cook bacon. Lots of bacon.
Carbs are kid's soul mates.
Divide leftovers into individual containers. Lunch is ready for everyone to take the next day.
Make them clean up while you go and catch up on Parenthood episodes.