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General Cooking (rec.food.cooking) For general food and cooking discussion. Foods of all kinds, food procurement, cooking methods and techniques, eating, etc.

Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals



 
 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 07:14 PM
MaryAnderson60
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Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

Hi. I'm Mary and have a cooking question.

My parents are elderly and unwell. I live a few hundred miles away. They eat
well when I am right there and cooking meals fresh for them, but otherwise they
tend not to eat much of the time and both have become quite thin.

I am thinking of preparing a bunch of meals in advance and freezing them for my
parents. I plan to use all disposable containers/pans and keep
preparation/cleanup for my parents to a minimum. I don't know that they will
eat homemade frozen any better than they eat commerically prepared frozen
dinners but figure it's worth a shot. I also don't have much time to
experiment and am hoping someone here has some experience freezing meals.

They like lasagne, casseroles, stews, etc. In the case of casseroles, would
they be tastier prepared and frozen but not cooked until ready to eat as
opposed to cooking them through so portions just need to be reheated? My
mother loves New England boiled dinners and I'm thinking it should work frozen
if I cut the meat thick, undercook the veggies and include lots of broth in the
portions (?). Can anyone tell me if homemade mashed potatos are still good
after freezing? How about good frozen sweets/dessert recipes?

I would appreciate anyone sharing recipes that freeze well. Any hints about
preparing complete frozen meals, as opposed to just entrees, would also be most
welcome.

Meals on Wheels would be ideal for my parents but they won't consider it. I
even looked at "personal chefs" to cook for them every week but price is
prohibitive.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Mary


Ads
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 07:43 PM
Nancy Young
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Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

MaryAnderson60 wrote:

Hi. I'm Mary and have a cooking question.

My parents are elderly and unwell. I live a few hundred miles away. They eat
well when I am right there and cooking meals fresh for them, but otherwise they
tend not to eat much of the time and both have become quite thin.


I really feel for what you're going through. It's not easy.

They like lasagne, casseroles, stews, etc.


I think they all freeze beautifully, except for the potatoes in
stew. I would label each and every container as to how to reheat it.

In the case of casseroles, would
they be tastier prepared and frozen but not cooked until ready to eat as
opposed to cooking them through so portions just need to be reheated?


Personally, I would cook them through. My experience has been that
even reheating a dinner becomes a major challenge as people get older.
I would also cut the ingredients small, and don't send them in huge
portions. Elderly people just do not eat much.

Can anyone tell me if homemade mashed potatos are still good
after freezing?


I freeze leftover mashed potatoes. They're okay for me.

I would appreciate anyone sharing recipes that freeze well. Any hints about
preparing complete frozen meals, as opposed to just entrees, would also be most
welcome.


All I can picture is that Tilia infomercial where they put complete
dinners on divided microwavable plates and seal them. You should
really also think about getting them cases of Boost or Ensure, those
supplemental nutrition drinks. Something like that.

Also, do you think they would eat fruit? The *occasional* fruit gift
box be a good idea if you think they will eat it. I mean, some fresh
food, you know?

Meals on Wheels would be ideal for my parents but they won't consider it. I
even looked at "personal chefs" to cook for them every week but price is
prohibitive.


You really might want to check to find someone who will (for a fee,
obviously) stop in a couple of times a week to check up on them and
maybe take them food shopping/whatever. Like a caregiver. They
could ease your mind (or alert you) by letting you know how your
parents doing. My experience is that parents are very good at
pretending everything is just hunky dory.

Good luck.

nancy
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 07:47 PM
Gar
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Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

On Thu, 18 Dec 2003 13:43:20 -0500, Nancy Young
wrote:

My experience is that parents are very good at
pretending everything is just hunky dory.


I thinks that's a behavior we learn the minute the child is born. Old
habits are hard to break. sigh

Gar
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 07:52 PM
Nancy Young
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Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

Gar wrote:

On Thu, 18 Dec 2003 13:43:20 -0500, Nancy Young
wrote:

My experience is that parents are very good at
pretending everything is just hunky dory.


I thinks that's a behavior we learn the minute the child is born. Old
habits are hard to break. sigh


True! I have, on more than one occasion, had the opportunity to say,
What?, you were in the hospital for 3 days last week?

Can't say I'm much different, though.

nancy
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 08:15 PM
Ariane Jenkins
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Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

On 18 Dec 2003 18:14:41 GMT, MaryAnderson60 wrote:
[snip]
I would appreciate anyone sharing recipes that freeze well. Any hints about
preparing complete frozen meals, as opposed to just entrees, would also be most
welcome.

[snip]

Hi, I'm afraid I don't have much experience doing this myself,
aside from noting that lasagna, spaghetti sauce, chili, curry,
etc. freezes well. You might, however, want to Google or see if you
can find any books on "Once a Month Cooking", or "OAMC". The idea
behind that concept is cooking a variety of foods once a month,
freezing it in batches, and eating it for the rest of the month. They
may have more recipes and tips on how to do what you're proposing.

Best of luck to you, your parents are lucky to have you!

Ariane
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 08:47 PM
Katra
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Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals



Nancy Young wrote:

MaryAnderson60 wrote:


snipped

Met-Rx.

One of the few really good, complete liquid meal replacements!
Better than Ensure or Boost any day of the week. :-)

Also, anything by EAS. Both are fortified so are actually food
replacement shakes.

There are a lot of good total meal replacement shakes and bars now
available at GNC. They are for bodybuilding so FAR superior
nutritionally to most of the high sugar crap sold at Pharmacies for the elderly.

I cook for an elderly dad, and am so VERY glad that he lives here with
me! It makes it easier. :-)

Healthy choice frozen meals are ok, but tend to be a bit high in sodium.

You can, however, get some ideas by looking thru the frozen dinner area
of the grocery store.

Rubbermade sells divided plastic freezer storage containers.

Spagetti and other pasta dishes usually freeze well, and/or you could
use some pre-frozen veggies to add to the dishes. Pasta is also a high
energy food since you say they are getting thin, and it's easy to make
it tasty with a variety of different sauces.


Good luck.


Ditto.


nancy


K. (who knows that we all have to bury our parents some day, and it
REALLY sux!!! :-( )

--
^,,^ Cats-haven Hobby Farm ^,,^ ^,,^


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all owned by cats" -- Asimov

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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 09:07 PM
Cate
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Posts: n/a
Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

"MaryAnderson60" wrote in message
...

Meals on Wheels would be ideal for my parents but they won't consider it.

I
even looked at "personal chefs" to cook for them every week but price is
prohibitive.


Mary, your message struck me because I just recently read an article on
personal chefs here in Baltimore. Although they're not cost-effective for
everyone (translation: most people) I found that a couple of them offer
services where they'll come and cook for a whole day for x dollars. As much
food as you want--which could presumably be frozen. This kind of thing might
work in a pinch, since you're so far away.

Good luck.

Cate


  #8 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 09:13 PM
Steve Calvin
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Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

Cate wrote:
"MaryAnderson60" wrote in message
...


Meals on Wheels would be ideal for my parents but they won't consider it.


I

even looked at "personal chefs" to cook for them every week but price is
prohibitive.



Mary, your message struck me because I just recently read an article on
personal chefs here in Baltimore. Although they're not cost-effective for
everyone (translation: most people) I found that a couple of them offer
services where they'll come and cook for a whole day for x dollars. As much
food as you want--which could presumably be frozen. This kind of thing might
work in a pinch, since you're so far away.

Good luck.

Cate


My Mother used to keep the old aluminum TV Dinner trays (yeah, we had
'em when we were kids) and use them to freeze dinners of leftovers.
The compartments worked well for keeping the veggies separate from the
main, etc...

I use my Tilia vacuum sealer personally. You can make up "packets" of
different things. They reheat in the microwave or a pan of boiling
water. Some stuff, like stews, lasagna, etc you need to pre-freeze
before sealing but it works very well and keeps things just fine and
dandy.

I'm not a "sweet" kind of person but I don't see why deserts wouldn't
freeze well.

The only thing that you mentioned that I don't think freezes well
would be the potatoes in a stew. Mashed potatoes freeze ok. They're
not like fresh but not much that's frozen is.

Good luck to you. Been there and understand what you're going through.

--
Steve

Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it.

  #9 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 09:25 PM
Nancy Young
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

Steve Calvin wrote:

I use my Tilia vacuum sealer personally. You can make up "packets" of
different things. They reheat in the microwave or a pan of boiling
water. Some stuff, like stews, lasagna, etc you need to pre-freeze
before sealing but it works very well and keeps things just fine and
dandy.

I'm not a "sweet" kind of person but I don't see why deserts wouldn't
freeze well.

The only thing that you mentioned that I don't think freezes well
would be the potatoes in a stew. Mashed potatoes freeze ok. They're
not like fresh but not much that's frozen is.


Hey! I was about to say you are! sweet, then you go copy my whole
post.

nancy (stomping away)
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 09:36 PM
Steve Calvin
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

Nancy Young wrote:

Steve Calvin wrote:


I use my Tilia vacuum sealer personally. You can make up "packets" of
different things. They reheat in the microwave or a pan of boiling
water. Some stuff, like stews, lasagna, etc you need to pre-freeze
before sealing but it works very well and keeps things just fine and
dandy.

I'm not a "sweet" kind of person but I don't see why deserts wouldn't
freeze well.

The only thing that you mentioned that I don't think freezes well
would be the potatoes in a stew. Mashed potatoes freeze ok. They're
not like fresh but not much that's frozen is.



Hey! I was about to say you are! sweet, then you go copy my whole
post.

nancy (stomping away)

I did???? I didn't even see your post!???!

Honest!

I just answered what what I thought. Now the fact that we may happen
to think alike may or may not be scary but I really didn't copy off of ya.

--
Steve

Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it.

  #11 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 09:45 PM
LIMEYNO1
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

I had a similar problem with my parents and really could do not much about
it cause this was my mom's way of control. But after she passed I did my
dad's shopping and we tried meals on wheels which were awful, so tv dinners
worked well for him.

"MaryAnderson60" wrote in message
...
Hi. I'm Mary and have a cooking question.

My parents are elderly and unwell. I live a few hundred miles away. They

eat
well when I am right there and cooking meals fresh for them, but otherwise

they
tend not to eat much of the time and both have become quite thin.

I am thinking of preparing a bunch of meals in advance and freezing them

for my
parents. I plan to use all disposable containers/pans and keep
preparation/cleanup for my parents to a minimum. I don't know that they

will
eat homemade frozen any better than they eat commerically prepared frozen
dinners but figure it's worth a shot. I also don't have much time to
experiment and am hoping someone here has some experience freezing meals.

They like lasagne, casseroles, stews, etc. In the case of casseroles,

would
they be tastier prepared and frozen but not cooked until ready to eat as
opposed to cooking them through so portions just need to be reheated? My
mother loves New England boiled dinners and I'm thinking it should work

frozen
if I cut the meat thick, undercook the veggies and include lots of broth

in the
portions (?). Can anyone tell me if homemade mashed potatos are still

good
after freezing? How about good frozen sweets/dessert recipes?

I would appreciate anyone sharing recipes that freeze well. Any hints

about
preparing complete frozen meals, as opposed to just entrees, would also be

most
welcome.

Meals on Wheels would be ideal for my parents but they won't consider it.

I
even looked at "personal chefs" to cook for them every week but price is
prohibitive.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Mary




  #12 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 09:53 PM
PENMART01
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

"MaryAnderson60" wrote:

Meals on Wheels would be ideal for my parents but they won't consider it.


Um, why the heck not... probably be the best chow they've ever eaten.


---= BOYCOTT FRENCH--GERMAN (belgium) =---
---= Move UNITED NATIONS To Paris =---
Sheldon
````````````
"Life would be devoid of all meaning were it without tribulation."

  #13 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 09:53 PM
Nancy Young
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Posts: n/a
Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

Steve Calvin wrote:

Nancy Young wrote:

Steve Calvin wrote:


I use my Tilia vacuum sealer personally. You can make up "packets" of
different things. They reheat in the microwave or a pan of boiling
water. Some stuff, like stews, lasagna, etc you need to pre-freeze
before sealing but it works very well and keeps things just fine and
dandy.


The only thing that you mentioned that I don't think freezes well
would be the potatoes in a stew. Mashed potatoes freeze ok. They're
not like fresh but not much that's frozen is.


Hey! I was about to say you are! sweet, then you go copy my whole
post.

nancy (stomping away)

I did???? I didn't even see your post!???!

Honest!

I just answered what what I thought. Now the fact that we may happen
to think alike may or may not be scary but I really didn't copy off of ya.


(laugh) You know I'm just kidding. Here's what I said:

They like lasagne, casseroles, stews, etc.


I think they all freeze beautifully, except for the potatoes in
stew.


I freeze leftover mashed potatoes. They're okay for me.


All I can picture is that Tilia infomercial where they put complete
dinners on divided microwavable plates and seal them.


Funny to me we hit on all those points independently. I was just
teasing you.

nancy
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 10:00 PM
Nancy Young
Usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

Katra wrote:

Met-Rx.

One of the few really good, complete liquid meal replacements!
Better than Ensure or Boost any day of the week. :-)

Also, anything by EAS. Both are fortified so are actually food
replacement shakes.


What do you mean by shakes? I realize that might sound like a
simplistic question, but are they liquid or do you have to mix a
powder with milk/whatever.

K. (who knows that we all have to bury our parents some day, and it
REALLY sux!!! :-( )


Yeah, though sometimes it's too late, sorry to say.

nancy
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 18-12-2003, 10:28 PM
Steve Calvin
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Posts: n/a
Default Homemade Prepared/Frozen Meals

Nancy Young wrote:


Funny to me we hit on all those points independently. I was just
teasing you.

nancy


Yeah... I've "known" you long enough to know that... ;-)

Seems like we just have had the same experiences. (Well, some at least
wag )

--
Steve

Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it.

 




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