ladyotterfae: (ottericon)
[personal profile] ladyotterfae
I'm about to launch into my cookbook collection, specifically the one-dish meal and crockpot cookbooks that mom has a fascination with, to try and solve this problem to some extent, but I love playing "ask the internets", so here goes:

I cook for dad. No, I mean, I make almost all of his food, aside from the oatmeal he eats once a day, and the occasional can of sardines. It all has to be packaged in 2-cup pyrex bowls, frozen, and then reheated in the microwave. This means nothing that is ornate, doesn't work in a bowl, or can't be mistreated by going from frozen to hot in 6 minutes of intense microwaving. (We tried defrosting in the fridge, but he'd forget something was there, let it go bad, then eat it anyway and get sick. This happened more than once.)

This means I have to provide 14-21 frozen meals a week, that have to meet not only those requirements, but all his dietary requirements, some of which are genuine, some of which are his being blasted picky and/or making connections in his head that have limited contact with reality.

So, here's what I need. One-dish, or easy-to-assemble, recipes, that can be frozen without destroying them, and don't involve anything that can't tolerate rapid reheating.
Dad won't eat the following:
-red meat
-anything spicy
-green peppers (or any peppers, really)
-anything he reads as "too healthy" or "too fussy"

He also has historically been difficult about too much potato and rice, but he seems to be relaxing on that one. (He has had blood sugar problems in the past, but things have improved somewhat.) He has requested lots of vegetables, but again, gets grumpy if it reads as too healthy. Cheese works wonders on this problem, so almost everything gets topped with cheese.

I did have an eggplant parm recipe in play that worked very well, but I'd put it on hiatus due to terribly expensive eggplant, and now he's decided it irritates his bladder (???), so I've been asked to not make it. Or the chili casserole (he outlawed beans entirely about a week ago, after months of telling me to just 'go easy' on them). I don't know if I'll be allowed to make the corn-veggie casserole again, since it's one of the things he poisoned himself with.
That currently leaves me with only a chicken/veggie 'crockpot' soup in a tomato base, and the seafood-rice casserole (also tomato base).

Anyone have anything brilliant to suggest? I've gotten some great recipe suggestions elsewhere, but most of them don't take the "in a 2-cup pyrex" into account, and/or would be terribly impractical to make on the kind of scale I'm talking about. I won't do anything that can't be easily scaled up to make at least 8-10 dishes for freezing, and 12-20 is better. The ingredients need to be not outrageously expensive, if they're used in quantity, and if it takes hours to assemble, unless it makes 24+ dishes, it's not really worth the time. (Yes, I get paid for doing this. I don't get paid very much, and it can be somewhat exhausting, as well as taking away from time that I could be doing other work, and it tends to leave me with no desire or energy to cook decent food for us.)

Dani's Creamy Zesty Chicken

Date: 2011-05-04 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
[ profile] renniemom has a recipe that I make in the crockpot frequently. I wonder if you could adapt it to your needs.

3-5 Chicken breasts (thawed)
1 can "cream of" soup (your choice, undiluted)
1 8oz cream cheese
1 pkg dry italian dressing mix

Throw it all in the crockpot on low and cook for eight hours. Serve over rice or egg noodles. It will seem too thick, but it will thin as it cooks down.

It's a favorite in our household.

Re: Dani's Creamy Zesty Chicken

Date: 2011-05-04 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was going to comment with that exact recipe. :D

You can also start with frozen chicken breasts - that's what I do, because it sits in the crockpot for about 10 hours between when I leave for work and when I get home.

Substitutions I've tried: low fat/low sodium soup, and reduced-fat cream cheese...if you use fat-free cream cheese, it will taste HORRID. SRSLY.

Date: 2011-05-04 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
egg scrambles? mixing veggies and cheese into scrambled eggs. My mother does something similar for herself and her brother. She doesn't get paid to take care of her brother, even though she does his cooking and laundry.

Date: 2011-05-04 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Mom has suggested something along those lines, maybe with veggie sausage. Does it freeze okay?

Date: 2011-05-04 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think so, as long as the egg chunks are about the size of a cat's eye --too fine a crumble and it won't survive the reheat, too big and you get cold spots. Make a test batch, say one or two servings initially to see how he does with it.

Date: 2011-05-05 02:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Mixed Grain Casserole (from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)

2 carrots, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
1 cup black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup broth
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/3 cup parsley
1/4 cup bulgur
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 t garlic salt
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Put everything EXCEPT the cheese in a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until grains are tender. Stir once during the hour. Sprinkle with cheese and let stand until cheese melts.

Obviously, this needs modification - you'd have to sub something for the beans (chicken or tofu?) If you buy presliced mushrooms and substitute frozen mixed vegetables for the carrots/corn, it doesn't take too long to throw everything together. I have never tried to freeze it, though.

Date: 2011-05-05 12:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
chicken/fish/veggies mixed with chopped onions and seasoning, topped with mashed potato and cheese and baked.

Date: 2011-05-05 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't have any experience with quinoa, but I've been hearing very, very good things about it. Gluten-free, a complete protein, supposedly it's good for blood-sugar as well, but double-check. It acts like rice or grain but supposedly doesn't have the downsides of pasta or rice. They say that it needs to be rinsed and soaked for a time, but that's "inactive prep" phase, not something that should greatly impinge upon your too-busy days.

Date: 2011-05-05 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think you have access to this recipe:

It's a good soup, didn't take too much time, and the rice is "invisible" or can be substituted with something else to help thicken the soup.

One of the possibilities of a "base" into which you can toss a few "chunky bits" to make it more hearty.

This stuff is YUMMY, btw...


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