Their Meals, My Wheels
April 12, 2011 7:17 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to make a meal once a week for our elderly neighbors who are having medical issues, but I'm already really busy. What can I make that they can freeze and is easy for me?

They are looking into Meals on Wheels, but apparently are planning on filling the void by having one of them go out and buy restaurant meals. There's no reason for them to do this when I can easily make something nutritious and easily servable, right? So what can I make that? I have a crock pot and work from home, so I can babysit something if necessary.
posted by Leezie to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Soups and stews that you can ladle into individual containers


Shepherd's pie


You can also google "freezer meals" - there's a ton of sites out there with recipes!
posted by DrGirlfriend at 7:23 PM on April 12, 2011

Do they have any medical conditions where they aren't supposed to eat certain things (like high cholesterol or whatever)?
posted by la petite marie at 7:23 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

la petite marie- good question! It sounds like she has a heart condition. But, I plan on contacting them ahead of time to see what she can and cannot have.
posted by Leezie at 7:28 PM on April 12, 2011

I agree with DrGirlfriend's suggestions.

Roast chicken with potatoes and vegetable would probably really be good (and easy). I don't think you can go wrong with Ina Garten's (Barefoot Contessa's) roast chicken recipealthough you may want to cut down on the garlic if they're not used to eating that much of it (and I'm personally not a fennel fan). All of her stuff is so good -- if you google Barefoot Contessa recipes (or go to the Food Network site -- you'll find really good recipes for basic things well made.

Also depending on how old they are, they may like casserole type things. I grew up with them and to me they're comfort food. That's something that can be made quickly, baked and you're good to go. Put it with a salad or vegetable and some kind of dessert and I'd be happy (and I'm not even 60!).
posted by la petite marie at 7:44 PM on April 12, 2011

I'd suggest the crock pot for super easy. See The Crockpot Lady for lots of ideas. Pretty much anything made in a crockpot can be portioned and frozen.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:04 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

What a nice idea! I second the recommendation for casseroles. Cooking Light has a lot of nice low-fat casserole recipes that freeze well. Watch out for high sodium - many seniors have to watch their sodium intake - and try to include a veggie.
posted by hms71 at 8:07 PM on April 12, 2011 has over 7,000 recipes in their "make ahead" section. You can narrow your results to a ridiculous degree, even excluding specific ingredients (if someone is allergic or doesn't like a certain food).

Also, if you google "OAMC" or "Once a Month Cooking" your head will 'asplode (with happy abundance).

A Year of Slow Cooking has a ton of crock pot recipes. I have tried some of them and they turned out pretty good. I believe it's all gluten-free, but I am sure substitutions can be made,

When my grandparents were starting to have some serious problems with independent living, my mother did this for them. It really made life easier for them. You are an awesome person for wanting to help your neighbors like this.
posted by evilcupcakes at 8:28 PM on April 12, 2011

This is really considerate of you!

If the low-fat is not a requirement, this Crock Pot Pork Shoulder cannot be easier. The results are scrumptious; serve over some rice, maybe some sauteed/braised cabbage.... so good.

Otherwise, there's nothing I like more than home-made chicken soup when I'm recovering (granted I am not elderly). I can just have it as is, or add cooked orzo/rice/egg noodles to it in a jiff. Really comforting. Takes a few hours to get the stock going (I use chicken backs) but it's not a lot of active work.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 8:32 PM on April 12, 2011

If you would like to include a not-too-unhealthy dessert, quickbreads like banana bread, zucchini bread, and butternut squash bread freeze really well and can be made with applesauce or yogurt substituted for most of the oil.
posted by asphericalcow at 8:53 PM on April 12, 2011

Hot beef and gravy on bread. Make it from leftovers. Maybe with a side of mashed potatoes and some frozen veggies.
posted by Taurid at 10:29 PM on April 12, 2011

Some stuff I have made and then frozen: soup, stew, curry, mashed sweet potatoes, chicken in a teriyaki marinade ready to be baked, sauce bases that needed to be stirred together with something that doesn't freeze well, creamed chicken, chicken paprikash, chicken country captain, beef stroganoff.... really, anything that is in a wet base. If the sauce has a dairy that isn't bound by a starch, freeze without the dairy in it. For example, I would freeze creamed chicken, which is bound by flour, but would freeze cream of tomato soup without the cream.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:00 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

People who can't get out to the store often might really miss fresh fruit and vegetables. Fruit salads and vegetable salads might be very much appreciated and you don't have to cook them.
posted by mareli at 6:44 AM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

For Christmas, I didn't want to buy my grandparents more 'stuff' (they have a four bedroom house that is full to the gills after decades of living together), so I made them frozen meals as a gift. They're 86 and 94, and don't really cook any more. They really seemed to enjoy it. They're not big into pasta, so I went the stew/soup route. I made a beef stew, and broccoli and cauliflower soups, and packaged it up with the good pumpernickle bread my Oma loves, and some nice hard cheese.

I am favouriting this thread for more ideas for the future. I like the idea of cut up roast chicken & veg; you could probably do something similar with a pork or beef roast. It would definatey appeal to my grandfather, who loves roasts of all kinds. If they like liver (some do, I've been told), maybe some liver with a layer of mashed potatoes and onions on top? Or meatloaf and the same (mmm meatloaf).

Any way, have fun. You are an awesome neighbour. Nothing is better than a good homecooked meal you didn't have to cook yourself!
posted by sandraregina at 10:24 AM on April 13, 2011

I don't really have any meal suggestions, but just wanted to say thanks for doing this. There seems to be very little sense of community these days, of neighbors helping neighbors (or even just being friendly with each other!) So, thanks. Your question just made my day!
posted by xedrik at 1:17 PM on April 13, 2011

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