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Freezer Friendly Meals For My Grandpa


Shelby
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So it begins.

 

I made a double batch of venison meatballs (bonus, I used up a zucchini) and used them to make Swedish meatballs

 

photo 1.JPG

 

I covered them with a lot more sauce and they will soon be happily resting in the freezer.

 

photo 2.jpg

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Two more suggestions Anna and I came up with while out and about today.  Sausage rolls (toaster oven) and baked potato soup (known to freeze well).

 

 

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Kerry, you're supposed to be urging her to buy a freeze-drier.  :wink:

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Shelby, they look yummy.

 

The same recipe for Swedish meatballs, I think I posted here can be used for  meatloaf,  patties  and  pudding  ( yes we have something called cabbage pudding).  I give you the recipe for it later.

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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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Kerry, you're supposed to be urging her to buy a freeze-drier.  :wink:

Nah - that's not how I work.  Just show people what something can do - they gotta want it themselves!

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Shelby, would some variation on rice and beans work for your dad? There are so many possible variations, and all the ones I've tried freeze very well.

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MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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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 did this for my dad after my mother died and he was living alone.  He was up in Springfield MO, and I was down in Texas, but I'd drive up to visit him a couple times a year and, while I was there, fill his freezer with stuff I knew he'd like, and eat.

 

I made a lot of his favorite soups - split pea, chili, tomato, etc.  I'd pour them into quart-size freezer baggies, lay them flat in the freezer until they were frozen solid, then put them like "files" in a plastic box. 

 

Regarding the potatoes - solid pieces of cooked potatoes don't freeze well, to say the least.  And beef stew chock full of potatoes is one of my dad's favorite things.  So I'd make the stew without the potatoes, freeze them in the plastic bags, "file" them in the freezer.  Then, I showed him how to put a bag of stew into a saucepan, or even bowl, dip out a little of the broth, put it into a microwave-safe mug, cut up a potato, and cook it separately in the microwave.  Then he could add the freshly-cooked potatoes to the stew.  I was afraid he wouldn't go to that trouble but I was dead wrong - he did it all the time.

 

Other things he loved that freeze well that I would fix - fresh green beans cooked with bacon, onions, etc., assorted greens - collard, turnip, etc. (and I would freeze wedges of cornbread to go with them), meatballs & meatloaves (mentioned by others), big juicy hamburger patties that I had cooked outside on the grill, ribs and sauerkraut, enchiladas, lasagna - all frozen in individual portions, in plastic freezer bags.   

 

I also made sure he had lots of stuff in the freezer that he could fix easily - like Italian sausage, for example.  And frozen French fries.  He doesn't like French fries per se, but frozen French fries have been partially cooked, and they're perfect to chop and put in your scrambled eggs, a trick I've been doing for decades.

 

I did initially try using Tupperware, assorted other kinds of containers and plates, but then he'd have to wash them, which he did as best he could, but his back, knees, legs, hurt, and standing over the sink washing dishes was not something he enjoyed.

 

The plastic freezer bags can just be tossed, and that worked out much better for us.  Plus, when frozen flat, they stacked and stored much more easily.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Another tip is to get flatter   boxes for storing the food, it thaws up  easier  and more evenly.

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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You can  freeze soups too.

 

I do this for grandma.. chicken noodle..bean soup..I do a vegetable/tomato broth and buy a bag of pre-cooked frozen vegetables that she can add..to make a veggie soup

 

I buy 1C containers to freeze in.. because she eats like a mouse

 

cheers

Edited by Paul Bacino (log)
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Its good to have Morels

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I appreciate all the ideas here, especially freezing the meals in baggies.  My 90 y/o FIL has a caregiver who makes his meals, but we visit for a week every 6-8 weeks to give her a break and we always leave some meals behind in the freezer.  Those bulky storage containers really take up a lot of room in his freezer compartment. 

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Or boxes are 1½ cm high and contains 2 - 3 cups of  food.  which is perfect, we can stack a whole month worth of food in the freezer if we needed  but we only do lunch boxes for my husband.

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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Someplace, probably in these forums years ago, I saw a space-saving trick: use an empty cereal box as a mold. Put the meal to be frozen in a microwave- or boil-proof bag, and put the bag in the box until frozen. Removed the bag and stack with more frozen bags. The frozen meal-in-a-bag is a nice shape for freezing, like the boxes CatPoet advocates (I've never seen them over here, but maybe I haven't looked in the right place) but even more compact. The cereal box may be too big, but something smaller like a Zatarain's rice mix box sounds about right.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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In order to save space when I freeze rice, I put the rice into 1-gallon freezer bags, flatten the bags so they are not very thick - no more than 1/2-inch (usually thinner, but I've never measured), and lay them out flat on the floor of the freezer.  When I want rice, I just open a bag and break off a chunk or two, and replace the still flat bag.  These bags can, of course, be stacked.

 

I imagine the concept will work with other foods - berries come to mind, as do greens and nuts.

Edited by Shel_B (log)
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 ... Shel


 

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I appreciate all the ideas here, especially freezing the meals in baggies.  My 90 y/o FIL has a caregiver who makes his meals, but we visit for a week every 6-8 weeks to give her a break and we always leave some meals behind in the freezer.  Those bulky storage containers really take up a lot of room in his freezer compartment.

Be sure to double-check the box and be certain the bags are "freezer" sturdy and not just storage bags.

I've never seen the flat boxes like CatPoet describes and they do sound like a great idea - perfect for some folks.

However, when I first started doing this for my dad, I spent an appreciable amount of money on assorted storage boxes. They took up a lot of space in the freezer, were a pain in the arse for my dad to deal with primarily because of the washing and storing away until I arrived again. I'd get there to cook up the next big batch, but first I had to dig around all over the kitchen to find the boxes, only half of which still had lids. So, off to the store again to buy more.

Dad felt bad that I was spending all this money and going to all this trouble and he couldn't even keep track of the boxes.

Obviously I know nothing about y'all's dads and granddads and maybe their temperaments and abilities are better suited to dealing with all those boxes but, I gave up on that pretty early.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I've done the flat bag trick for cooked rice, quinoa and the like and this means I can break off a chunk for our meals. 

 

But the bag in the box trick is brilliant!!! :wub:  :wub:   Have to do that one although I am not sure that there are any plastic bags available in our small nearby city which are truly safe in the microwave.  But then Anna or Kerry usually can tell me where I can get everything...lol.  Or I just decant the stuff and heat it in the toaster oven.

 

I freeze meatballs and shredded meat on a half sheet in our dog freezer which is the coldest of our freezers and then when the pieces are frozen, I can dump them into a bag for the people freezer and still get just a few pieces out at a time.

 

Friends from the USA bring me those jumbo slider 2.5 gallon hefty tough bags which are great for shredded stuff...wish we could get them in Canada. 

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I don't microwave in the freezer bags.  I get the contents out then microwave in whatever I'll be serving on.  I'm not a big fan of microwaving plastics - the hot food seems to wreck the containers.  

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I don't microwave in the freezer bags.  I get the contents out then microwave in whatever I'll be serving on.  I'm not a big fan of microwaving plastics - the hot food seems to wreck the containers.

My dad, too. Cuts the bag open. Then into whatever. Sometimes he puts the whole frozen bag into a pot of simmering water. Frozen soups usually get broken into pieces and then into a big mug.

Want to add that, if you have a caregiver that can (and will) wash and store the various freezer containers, that might still be a better option for you.

But it wasn't for us.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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you can buy (or make) all kinds of simmer sauces, be it Italian, Thai, Indian, Mexican, etc. Those could be frozen (or canned) and then you could cook up a bunch of chicken breasts for example, freeze those in portions and he could just take out a portion of chicken, any sauce he feels like today, heat it up in a pot or nuke it. Add some frozen rice and done. Not sure you can make your own frozen rice w/o turning it into a glob, but places like Trader Joe's have several different kinds that come in nuke in bag pouches. He could have dinner in 10 min and with different sauces he might like, he could decide on a whim what to eat that day. Or just make a sandwich with some of the precooked chicken etc.

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"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Not sure you can make your own frozen rice w/o turning it into a glob, but places like Trader Joe's have several different kinds that come in nuke in bag pouches. He could have dinner in 10 min and with different sauces he might like, he could decide on a whim what to eat that day. Or just make a sandwich with some of the precooked chicken etc.

 

Rice freezes beautifully.  Been doing it for years.  The TJ's rice is always a good option for prepared, but it can get a little spendy compared to making it at home.  Still, even though I make my own and freeze, both Toots and I usually have a few packages of TJ's around.  We like the brown rice and the rice medley ... just wish the medley was organic like the brown and the jasmine.

 ... Shel


 

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Here's another big fan of frozen rice.

I get some sort of Asian (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, etc.) take-out from time to time. I know there's something about eating cold leftover rice from the fridge that can make you very sick, so I don't want to do that.

However, I also don't want to throw away perfectly good rice. So I always freeze it. Don't know if freezing it gets rid of whatever it is that makes you sick but I've been doing this for years with no ill effects.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Okay, Shelby appears to have received some good advice and ideas for meals to freeze. I spent quite a few months developing recipes for frozen meals and found that mostly, potatoe, in its cooked form, does not freeze and then defrost well, which has been mentioned in a number of the posts. One thing I have found is some sauces weap or split, leaving water residue. I found using some Guar Gum solves this problem but does have a slightly different mouthfeel than a dish without it.

One question I wish to pose is: What is the weight of your portioned meals? This interests me as I did quite a bit of research with a few doctors and nutritionists when developing my meals and it would be interesting to see what is the recommended weight across the big pond that divides Africa and the Americas.

John.

Cape Town - At the foot of a flat topped mountain with a tablecloth covering it.

Some time ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please don't let Kevin Bacon die.

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Okay, Shelby appears to have received some good advice and ideas for meals to freeze. I spent quite a few months developing recipes for frozen meals and found that mostly, potatoe, in its cooked form, does not freeze and then defrost well, which has been mentioned in a number of the posts. One thing I have found is some sauces weap or split, leaving water residue. I found using some Guar Gum solves this problem but does have a slightly different mouthfeel than a dish without it.

One question I wish to pose is: What is the weight of your portioned meals? This interests me as I did quite a bit of research with a few doctors and nutritionists when developing my meals and it would be interesting to see what is the recommended weight across the big pond that divides Africa and the Americas.

John.

 

I'll start with a really worthless answer:  I have no idea.

 

In my case, I just know about how much my dad eats at one sitting, so I froze portions that I figured were about what he'd eat in two sittings, so he could eat it the first night, and then have leftovers handy for the second night.  Never even thought about weighing or measuring it.

 

I do know that in the case of soups, stews, chili, I'd freeze enough for two generous coffee mugs-full.  I think his coffee mugs hold about 12 oz each.

 

Whatever that's worth.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I'm going to be worthless on that question too.

 

My Grammy passed about a year and a half ago and after that Grandpa didn't eat very much at all.  I think he's eating a bit bigger portions (or at least it sounds like it when he describes his meals to me) so I'm doing a bit bigger but still not the normal portion that most people would eat.

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