Freezer Cooking for 2

gen76evaApril 6, 2012

My parents are caring for my terminally ill uncle. They go back and forth from their home to his each day. He does not want 24 hour care at this point. My father works full-time, and my mother stays home. Most foods make my uncle very nauseated, and he mostly consumes Ensure or some similar beverage. Because of this my mother does not cook at his house, and she is so worn out by the time they get home in the evenings that they just have a snack and go to bed.

I would like to prepare some foods for the freezer to deliver to them, so that they have some healthy foods that they can just warm up when they return home. Does anyone have some suggestions of foods that would work well for this purpose?

Thank you in advance for your help!

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claire_de_luna

Yes, I do a lot of this. You'll have to think about freezing individual portions, which will make it easier. Meatloaf, cooked, cooled, sliced and frozen is one great freezer meal. You can scoop mashed potatoes onto a sheet of parchment, and freeze. If you want to add gravy, freeze that in an ice cube tray. I make a 5 pound bag of twice baked potatoes at one time and add broccoli and bacon to the mix for a complete meal. You can freeze Muffin size Casseroles which cook quickly, or things like meatballs which are freezer/ oven friendly. Pasta dishes work well if cooked first, then frozen. Don't forget dessert! It's a nice thing you want to do!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 12:20AM
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claire_de_luna

Yes, I do a lot of this. You'll have to think about freezing individual portions, which will make it easier. Meatloaf, cooked, cooled, sliced and frozen is one great freezer meal. You can scoop mashed potatoes onto a sheet of parchment, and freeze. If you want to add gravy, freeze that in an ice cube tray. I make a 5 pound bag of twice baked potatoes at one time and add broccoli and bacon to the mix for a complete meal. You can freeze Muffin size Casseroles which cook quickly, or things like meatballs which are freezer/ oven friendly. Pasta dishes work well if cooked first, then frozen. Don't forget dessert! It's a nice thing you want to do!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:23AM
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Madeline616

How kind and thoughtful of you, Claire.

I have two and a half freezers full of (mostly healthy) frozen single portions for DH :) I typically freeze a hearty vegetarian, low-carb small dish or a soup, then give him rotisserie chicken breast or a piece of fish with the side, but I also have more hearty ideas for you.

Please feel free to email me for any of the recipes for the meals mentioned in this post. They've all been time-tested and are really delicious (and most are healthy). I'm not sure how your parents like to eat, so I'm not sure if these will appeal to you...

More hearty (but not necessarily healthy) meals include chili (I usually freeze some cornbread or rosemary and olive oil cake along with it), lasagna in smaller dishes, and shepherd's pie in smaller portions.

Stews like chicken stew, osso bucco and beef bourguignon or beef stew freeze really well.

My mom's Stromboli is a great one. It's made with store-bought pizza dough, and has pepperoni, provolone and mozzarella cheese, and black forest ham and freezes really well.

I live near New Orleans, and down here we have a jarred sauce called Cajun Power. The chicken stew one is delicious, easy to make (follow the instructions on the jar), and freezes really well.

Now for the healthy/lighter ideas:

Pretty much every soup I've ever made freezes beautifully. Some of my favorites are cream of tomato, cream of mushroom, split pea and ham, white bean and rosemary, vegetable, mushroom barley, french onion soup (with cheesy croutons frozen separately in a plastic bag) and spinach with garlic and white beans.

Vegetarian side dishes that they could pair with something like a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store include sauteed slow-roasted cabbage, roasted red peppers, roasted red pepper salsa, stewed lentils, and mushrooms sauteed with zucchini, onions, and celery.

I have an eggplant caponata recipe that freezes really well, and can be served over pasta. Although I don't have an eggplant parmesan recipe, but I think that would freeze really well and you could easily get a good one online.

Again, I'm happy to share any of these recipes, I have excellent recipes for all of these--feel free to email, and you're a blessing to your parents at this difficult time :)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Madeline616

Gen76,

Forgot to mention that I also freeze vinaigrette-type salad dressings. Anything with an olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice base freezes well for me. You mom could cut up a cucumber, a red pepper, and a tomato, and pour the thawed vinaigrette over that, with a side of thawed white bean soup. Healthy, delicious, quick and easy.

Also, pesto sauce and pasta sauce freeze well, but your parents would have to cook the pasta.

Most stewed or braised veggies also freeze well.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 1:18PM
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Madeline616

Okay, last suggestion, I promise!

Forgot to mention mac and cheese. An all-time freezer favorite. If your parents like meat, you can add a little diced ham or bacon in with the mac and cheese.

My favorite (freezable) sides with mac and cheese are stewed tomatoes or cream of tomato soup.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 1:22PM
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