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Freezer Friendly Meals For My Grandpa


Shelby
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This may be one of those questions that there just simply aren't any more answers to be had.  And, yes, I've googled around for ideas and I've looked at several freezer-meal type threads on EG.

 

My Grandpa lives waaaaay up in the Colorado mountains where there are no restaurants that deliver and no take out of any kind. He is 90 years old.  He's in decent health.  He cooks a tiny bit.  He can boil an egg or make instant mashed 'taters or re-heat a frozen meal or make a sandwich.  Stuff like that.  He gets (understandably) tired of store-bought frozen meals so I try to take a lot of things up that I've made and frozen.

 

I'm looking for some new ideas.  I'm fine with making a bigger portion of something as long as it can be broken down into smaller containers.  He doesn't eat a lot at one sitting. There are no dietary restrictions except he can't eat anything that has seeds in it.  He's not a big pasta fan (unfortunately).  I'd love to make him different sauces, but he won't enjoy that.

 

Here is a list of things that I can think of that I've made:

 

Chili

Lasagna

Meatloaf

Stew

Hamburger soup

 

I know I've made more different kinds of soups...but I'm trying to not do so much of that because he gets tired of soup, too. But, throw me soup ideas too if you have any.

 

New ideas that I've come up with:

 

Bierocks

 

Twice baked potatoes (I think these would freeze ok?  I'd look for really small russets)

 

Chicken or venison pot pies (I cannot seem to locate any small disposable pie tins.  You know, like the individual pot pies in the frozen section at the grocery store?  I looked on Amazon and they are either too big or too small)

 

Any and all ideas appreciated.

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If he's not a pasta fan, how about Polenta Lasagna??  I have made and frozen with good results. 

 

Polenta Lasagna (8 servings)
 
3 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 tsp salt
 
3 tbl olive oil
2 med. head escarole, chopped
2 c chopped onion
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 c fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 can tomato paste
16 oz neufchatel cheese (or low fat cream cheese)
1 large egg
2 c grated parmesan
2 c shredded jack cheese
OPT: 4 links hot Italian sausage to put in sauce
 
Butter a 9x5 loaf pan.  Bring water to boil, add meal and salt and whisk to make polenta.  Transfer to pan, cover chill 3 hours or overnight. 
Heat oil in large pot over med heat.  Add sausage (if using) and onion and saute till done...8 to10 min.  Add escarole and saute 3 more min.  Add tomatoes, basil, tomato paste and garlic.  Stir.  Add wine and simmer 20 min.  Season s&p. 
 
Beat neufchatel cheese in large bowl till fluffy, add egg and other cheeses and combine.  
Oven 400.  Oil 9x12 pan.  Cut polenta into 20 slices.
Spoon 1/3 sauce on bottom of dish.  Arrange 10 slices polenta on top of sauce.  Spoon `1/3 sauce over polenta.  Drop cheese mixture over.  Arrange 10 more polenta slices, then top with remaining sauce.    Bake on baking sheet 40 to 50 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes, then cut and serve. 
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Make the pies like an empanada and you don't need the tin.

Pulled pork (or beef) freezes and reheats well. Ditto pastrami and corned beef.

Split pea soup with big chunks of ham and carrots is more stew like than soup like and freezes/reheats well.

Hope you have a vacuum sealer and I assume that if you do, you know some tricks for sealing liquids.

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Mark

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I used to make and freeze meatballs in spaghetti sauce for my father-in-law, and he seemed to like that. He liked spaghetti, but you could substitute cooked rice or just go with the meatballs. There's a version of meatball that includes rice mixed with the meat.

Would he like scalloped potatoes? I've never tried freezing and thawing that but it might work.

Chowder with corn, bacon, ham or bacon, potatoes, etc.

Would he like something like chicken or venison parmesan? I don't think the eggplant version of that would stand up to freezing.

Small portions of Chicken Kiev or Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Would he like beef or venison stroganoff? Beef or venison with burgundy sauce?

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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Smithy-He would like the chicken ideas.....and most definitely the venison stroganoff.  He could eat that over mashed 'taters, I think.  

 

Mgaretz-Great idea about the empanadas.  I think if I thicken my regular recipe up a bit that would work.

 

Gulfporter-thank you for the recipe!  

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From the same site, I really like the idea of the single-serving Shepherd's Pie Muffins. I probably wouldn't use exactly the same ingredients, though. 

 

I also like the muffin pan for making mini-quiches. 

 

Speaking of muffins, they freeze well and fruit and whole grains can make them a healthy breakfast or lunch or snack. 

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This would be along the lines of the shepherd's pie muffins that FauxPas mentioned.  Year before last, I saw a recipe for leftover stuffing muffins that incorporated any and all Thanksgiving dinner leftovers:  stuffing, turkey, vegetables, even a bit of whole berry cranberry sauce, lightly bound with some beaten egg and cheese.  Sounds sort of weird but I made some and they ended up being a tasty breakfast or served alongside some soup for a lunch or supper.

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stuffed cabbage (or other veg if he's adverse to cabbage)...cabbage rolls in sauce freeze great, built in portioning, and easy to reheat.

You mentioned freezing twice baked potatoes and they actually do reheat OK, I've done it.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Rice freezes very well.  You could make a batch of rice and freeze it in serving-size bags, and then he could reheat the rice with whatever other items have been frozen, to be either served over the rice or alongside it.

 

Fruit also freezes well, and you could put together some bags of fruit (berries, mango work well) that he can defrost for dessert or, perhaps, be put on cereal for breakfast or mixed with yogurt, or ....

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 ... Shel


 

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stuffed cabbage (or other veg if he's adverse to cabbage)...cabbage rolls in sauce freeze great, built in portioning, and easy to reheat.

You mentioned freezing twice baked potatoes and they actually do reheat OK, I've done it.

If I flash freeze the twice bakers and then vacuum pack them, would I reheat them in the oven from the frozen state covered in foil and then remove it for a while towards the end?

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Actually, they do great in the microwave.  Since they're already cooked, you just have to nuke them until they're warmed through.  Add some protein (ham, bacon, etc.) in the mash and it's basically a meal for a senior and easy enough for him to reheat himself! 

 

I'm an Elder Care Advocate and am always looking for ways to make their lives easier/better...

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Actually, they do great in the microwave.  Since they're already cooked, you just have to nuke them until they're warmed through.  Add some protein (ham, bacon, etc.) in the mash and it's basically a meal for a senior and easy enough for him to reheat himself! 

 

I'm an Elder Care Advocate and am always looking for ways to make their lives easier/better...

Thank you, Patty.

 

He's very good at the microwave, so this should be an easy meal.  I think maybe I'll add some diced ham to them.  

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IMO, potatoes do not freeze well, they wind up with a weird texture. You'd be better off washing some potatoes for him and pre-packaging some toppings.

 

Coq Au Vin freezes well. So do lots of Indian dishes, if he'll eat them. In general, I think stews work well, just leave the potatoes out and let him add them later.

 

I make tomato soup from #10 cans of tomatoes and freeze it in cup size portions.

 

I'd also have some veggies around that can be made into a salad, and make a few dressings that he likes.

 

Bread freezes well, and if he can be trained to use the broiler, a whole world of broiled, open faced sandwiches opens up. HERE's an article on tartines.

 

You could freeze some tart-sized savory crusts and show him how to beat a couple of eggs and make a quiche with a handfull of odds and end from the fridge.

 

Good luck!

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I've fed two old buggers over the past number of years - my friend Hughie and my dad.  Made meals for the freezer that they then reheated in the microwave or toaster oven.  Let me see if I can remember a few of the things that went over well.

 

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and some sort of veg

BBQ ribs and baked beans

shepherds pie - add lots of dairy to the potatoes on top

mac and cheese - the baked kind

twice baked potatoes (they freeze beautifully likely due to all the dairy in them)

beef stew

meat pies (better in the toaster oven)

corned beef in slices and frozen so that they could assemble corned beef on rye

Ikea salmon fillets - not quite sure how dad cooked them but he loved them

irish stew

little quiches - made them in non disposable pie pans - reheated in toaster oven - I got the pie pans back after use

cabbage soup (all the stuff that goes into cabbage rolls made into soup)

chicken al la king - have some patty shells that can be reheated from frozen to go with it

corn chowder

lentil soup with lots of sausage

scotch broth

scalloped potatoes (or any other sort of vegetable gratin) - perhaps frozen with a slice or two of ham

tourtierre

meat filled buns

red beans and rice

vietnamese chicken thighs with rice

little pizzas - also toaster oven

cornbread pieces - can go with soups or chili or beans

meatballs in some sort of sauce - with rice or mash

 

I also put banana bread, cut into slices, each slice wrapped in deli wrap and frozen in a ziplock so they could take out a piece when they wanted.

 

If you want recipes for anything that appeals from the list - let me know.

 

I bought a bunch of the lunch sized corelle plates from various thrift stores - put the meals on them - froze - then vacuum sealed the whole thing once frozen.  Shepherd's pie and mac and cheese got cut into squares, frozen, wrapped with a bit of deli wrap, then vacuum sealed.  

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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tourtierre

cornbread pieces - can go with soups or chili or beans

 

Mmmm!  Tourtière!  I love that suggestion. 

 

And the cornbread. I used to cook cornbread with beans and peppers and onions - throw the veggies on the bottom of a pan and put the cornbread on top. Bake and freeze in portions. It can be served with a bit of salsa and sour cream or just eaten on its own or with other veggies. 

 

Kerry, I was afraid you might start off with .... "First, get a freeze-dryer..... "   :raz:  :laugh:  

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I used to do the "Meals on Wheels" freezer stuff for both my in-laws and my folks. Kerry Beal has some great ideas.  I also made 'Salisbury Steak' (hamburger steaks in beef gravy).  Can be eaten over potatoes, noodles, or potatoes. I also did a version with a tomato gravy with onions and green peppers. Chunky apple sauce with vanilla and cinnamon (big hit). Beef Stroganoff. Stuffed bell pepper. 

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Mmmm!  Tourtière!  I love that suggestion. 

 

And the cornbread. I used to cook cornbread with beans and peppers and onions - throw the veggies on the bottom of a pan and put the cornbread on top. Bake and freeze in portions. It can be served with a bit of salsa and sour cream or just eaten on its own or with other veggies. 

 

Kerry, I was afraid you might start off with .... "First, get a freeze-dryer..... "   :raz:  :laugh:  

Well - gotta say - the freeze dried mashed potatoes are one the most exciting thing I've produced so far.  Left them at home in little packets of 70 grams for the hubby and rug rat - instructions to add 1 cup of water and nuke.  Taste just like fresh.  

 

If dad was still around - they'd be replacing the frozen ones in a heartbeat.  

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Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone!  I knew you guys wouldn't let me down.

 

Kerry, I laughed out loud at the "old buggers"  :laugh:  I might bug you for some recipes, but I'll wait a bit as I know you're busy as heck up there on the island.

 

I'll post pictures and keep everyone updated (and you guys can keep the ideas coming :) )

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Swedish meatballs are my go to meal.  It is easy to  freeze and re heat and you can have  mash, potatoes,  macaronis or  vegetable stew with them.

I also do pancake roll ups  with meat sauce and  cheese sauce on top  and  curries.

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Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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I make meatballs from a Mexican recipe, half beef, half pork.  Cook them in the oven.  (Am very fidgety if I have to stand around and fry little things and turn them too.)  Then they go into anything or over anything.

 

A really good dish is the African stew Mafe which I make a lot and freeze.  Chicken, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peanuts.  Not too exotic, but easy to make.  http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/african_chicken_peanut_stew/  

 

This is a good thread.  I have a couple of friends who visit the farm a few times a year and they have troubles getting home from work and not knowing what to do for supper.  It occurred to me that we could cook stuff while they are here and then they could take it home, freeze it, and have ready made suppers.  We were discussing this idea just the other day. 

 

Oh, packets of shredded beef, pork, chicken, with or without extra saucy stuff...whatever he will eat.

Edited by Darienne (log)
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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

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I wish I could freeze deviled eggs.  He likes those suckers.......

 

 

Hmmmm.........

 

 

Freeze dried deviled eggs?  Kerry??  Possible?  (please don't say yes, please don't say yes, I don't need that toy, I don't need that toy...... :laugh: )

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Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone!  I knew you guys wouldn't let me down.

 

Kerry, I laughed out loud at the "old buggers"  :laugh:  I might bug you for some recipes, but I'll wait a bit as I know you're busy as heck up there on the island.

 

I'll post pictures and keep everyone updated (and you guys can keep the ideas coming :) )

Never too busy to share recipes.  I tend to have more time up here than at home - hubby's got the rug rat to deal with.

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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I wish I could freeze deviled eggs.  He likes those suckers.......

 

 

Hmmmm.........

 

 

Freeze dried deviled eggs?  Kerry??  Possible?  (please don't say yes, please don't say yes, I don't need that toy, I don't need that toy...... :laugh: )

I believe Mr Mike says that eggs are one of the best things to freeze dry - sorry!

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