Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Cooking for 50 Senior Citizens


CaliPoutine
 Share

Recommended Posts

With the holidays fast approaching, turkeys are often available as a "loss leader," sometimes as cheap as 30 cents a pound, or even free if you buy a certain amount of other items. I'd get four or five of those and stick them in a freezer. You can have the butcher saw them in half, so when you need an inexpensive meat, thaw out one of the halves. Just in case you're considering that - here are a few tips. The butchers have saws that can cut through frozen turkeys, so do that. They can't get through the metal fastener, though, so take your conjoined turkey halves home and cut through that with a metal cutter. They will expose the giblets, so dig them out and do whatever you want with them, or put them in a separate bag to make gravy or whatever when you cook your turkey half.

Not in Ontario thats for sure. The cheapest I've seen turkey is 1.79lb and thats for Utility. When I'm shopping in Port Huron, I see many Canadians buying the cheap turkeys. I usually buy one or two and bring it back as well, but I won't do that for the Seniors. We're doing the turkey roasts (boneless) this year for their xmas meal again. 3.70lb frozen.

Obviously, I don't know about Ontario, but in the States, frozen turkeys are almost always offered as some sort of draw to bring in customers during the holidays. Many stores say that if you buy $25-50 worth of groceries, for example, you get a turkey free.

And my advice wasn't for the Thanksgiving dinner itself; but rather, to stick in the freezer to have cheap meat available for the next six months or so.

I always buy at least two additional frozen turkeys while they're on sale. I do have the butchers cut them in half. I wrap the halves separately and put them in the freezer. I drag them out throughout the year, and cook them in various ways. Sometimes I just roast a half in the oven for a family dinner, and use the bones and leftovers to make meals such as Turkey al la King, turkey spaghetti, curries, turkey soup, etc. I can get a week's worth of meals from one of those halves. And then in the springtime when the weather turns warm I'll cook one out on our bbq grill, and serve it with a congealed cranberry-apple salad.

But of course, if turkeys never go on sale in Ontario, that advice wouldn't be quite so helpful.

It's a great idea if only they were cheap here. Right after Canadian Thanksgiving, they were .99lb. I called my boss to ask her if we should get them and freeze them for Xmas, and by the time I heard back from her, they were sold out. I'm very familar with the great sales on turkeys in the US because I'm orginally from California!! I was in Ann Arbor, MI for a few days this week and I could have brought 1 back with me, but I didnt have the room for myself and 1 wouldnt do it for the seniors. Per Canada Customs, only 1 turkey per person is allowed.

Btw, poultry in general is very expensive in Canada. Whenever its on sale, I try to plan a menu around it. I'm using the boneless, skinless thighs I got for .99lb at the next meal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Poultry in Canada is controlled by the poultry marketing boards. They control the supply and essentially set the prices for domestic consumption. (Just be thankful you don't have to buy kosher poultry.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Poultry in Canada is controlled by the poultry marketing boards.  They control the supply and essentially set the prices for domestic consumption.  (Just be thankful you don't have to buy kosher poultry.)

I just made some stock ( will become matza ball soup) with some Kosher chicken I picked up at Loblaw's in London. I almost always get it on the last day of sale when they mark it 50% off. I know London has a Jewish population, but I never see anyone buying the Kosher chicken and almost everytime I go its marked down. Yay for me because I think Kosher chicken makes exceptional stock/soup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last night's meal.....

Get ready for it.........

They FREAKING LOVED IT!! I was in absolute shock. One man told me " you redeemed yourself" from the roast last time. Hmmmm, I didnt like that comment, but I'm really glad they liked the meal. This just proves my point, the more convenience foods I use, the more they like it.

gallery_25969_665_348326.jpg

This is the pasta/sauce I used. The pasta was 1.00 a box, the sauce was 2.00. I didnt use it all since I had a lot of cancellations. We ended up serving 32 ppl with 9 takeouts.

I bought this Parm in the States because it was 1.00 a bag( 1.99 minus a .50 doubled coupon)

gallery_25969_665_106718.jpg

gallery_25969_665_853261.jpg

The salad was 6 hearts of organic romaine( 1.99 for a package of 3), 2 lbs of maple leaf bacon (1.99lb) a bag of croutons( 1.79), the parm and the Renee's light ceasar dressing( 3.25)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didnt have any salad leftover.

The chicken was a great deal. I bought it back in August and froze it. These thighs were .99lb. I had too many packages so I sold a package each to two different volunteers.

gallery_25969_665_363369.jpg

gallery_25969_665_853320.jpg

I've made chicken this way, more times than I can count( although I usually use boneless skinless breasts). I did the flour, egg, seasoned bread crumb thing and shallow fried it in olive oil. They finished in the oven. They really loved these.

gallery_25969_665_108118.jpg

This was basic. Pasta, sauce, ricotta, cottage cheese and mozzarella. I spent 11.49 for 1k of cheese. The ricotta was 3.49 for 425 grams and the cottage cheese was 2.99 for 1kg. I wish I would have bought more ricotta instead of the cheese. I didnt like seeing the large curds in the dish, but the seniors didnt mind.

Desert was a doctored up cake mix( milk chocolate cherry from The Cake Mix Doctor) with vanilla ice cream. Bryer's on sale for 2.99 a half gallon. I also served Dempster's store bought garlic bread( cooked from frozen).

gallery_25969_665_243992.jpg

Thanks Pam for the idea!! I'm still in shock that they liked it.

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've made chicken this way, more times than I can count( although I usually use boneless skinless breasts).  I did the flour, egg, seasoned bread crumb thing and shallow fried it in olive oil.  They finished in the oven.  They really loved these.

The chicken has a really familiar, old-home look to it. Was probably something your guests would have made "for company" in another era, and so they would have appreciated your effort.

I didnt like seeing the large curds in the dish, but the seniors didnt mind.

One of the most used items I've purchased for our Community Meal kitchen is a food processor. Quite a few of the volunteers love using it (they quibble over who got to grate the cheese the last time). Perhaps a whirl or two for the ricotta would have made the curds smaller.

Good for you, Randi! that they like it. As has been mentioned up-thread... keep making food that they are familiar with, but add your own twist. Gradually... in small steps.

Karen Dar Woon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Pam for the idea!!  I'm still in shock that they liked it.

I'm so glad! Now, what other things did you want to cook for them that you didn't think they'd like? Maybe we can sneak something else in there. :wink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anna gave me a recipe for Irish stew that's fabulous. It calls for shoulder chops, but I mistakenly bought stew cut and it was amazing. Essentially layers of sliced potatoes and onion and some chicken stock. Perfect with a touch of mint sauce. I'll check with her and see if I can PM you the recipe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anna gave me a recipe for Irish stew that's fabulous.  It calls for shoulder chops, but I mistakenly bought stew cut and it was amazing.  Essentially layers of sliced potatoes and onion and some chicken stock.  Perfect with a touch of mint sauce.  I'll check with her and see if I can PM you the recipe.

Ok, thanks.

Hopefully, the store still has them when I go tomorrow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, thanks.

Hopefully, the store still has them when I go tomorrow.

Anna was just reminding me that not everyone will like lamb - I know my hubby won't eat it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine won't either, and I know several people who won't eat it. I'd be concerned that given how picky the Seniors seem to be, they won't either.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I imagine eggplant is outrageously priced in your local right now but recommend using it when it is more reasonable. Been cooking for my overweight dad for a while and eggplant is one of the few things that leave him feeling full.

Even recommend growing your own. Used to grow it as a kid. One of the few things wild hare and squirrels would not harvest before we did. Amazingly easy to grow too.

My casseroles tend to be somewhat "squishy" but cooked the night before they firm up a little. I buy mozzarella cheese at $3.50 a pound American. A little goes a long way and tends to win over the non believers.

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

Link to comment
Share on other sites

on the other hand, if they (the Seniors) are from the same philosophy as my mom, Lamb is (was) an extravegance in the 1960s and 70s, and so they may appreciate it. Irish stew style would have a familiar flavor profile.

One of the issues in our program is the use of pork. Any time I serve pork as the entree, I am mandated to serve an alternative for people with dietary restrictions, such as Kosher or Halal diet followers. In planning to serve lamb, consider having a substantial side dish or two, so that if people don't want lamb they will have ample other stuff. Do scalloped potatoes go with lamb stew?

The standout fave lamb dish in my repertoire (although never served large scale) uses olives, red wine (cooking wine would do just fine), and mirpoix of carrots/onions/celery/garlic.

Karen Dar Woon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine won't either, and I know several people who won't eat it.  I'd be concerned that given how picky the Seniors seem to be, they won't either.

If I ate meat, I wouldnt touch it either. In fact, I don't even want to cook it( I refuse to cook veal, but there is no chance of that given the cost). I was willing to relent because it is so cheap. I'll call the coordinator and see what she says.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I imagine eggplant is outrageously priced in your local right now but recommend using it when it is more reasonable. Been cooking for my overweight dad for a while and eggplant is one of the few things that leave him feeling full.

Even recommend growing your own. Used to grow it as a kid. One of the few things wild hare and squirrels would not harvest before we did. Amazingly easy to grow too.

My casseroles tend to be somewhat "squishy" but cooked the night before they firm up a little. I buy mozzarella cheese at $3.50 a pound American. A little goes a long way and tends to win over the non believers.

I tend to cook things that I want to eat( except meat of course) and I can't stand eggplant. Its probably .99-1.49lb right now. That could be a side dish, but it would never fly as a main dish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I imagine eggplant is outrageously priced in your local right now but recommend using it when it is more reasonable. Been cooking for my overweight dad for a while and eggplant is one of the few things that leave him feeling full.

Even recommend growing your own. Used to grow it as a kid. One of the few things wild hare and squirrels would not harvest before we did. Amazingly easy to grow too.

My casseroles tend to be somewhat "squishy" but cooked the night before they firm up a little. I buy mozzarella cheese at $3.50 a pound American. A little goes a long way and tends to win over the non believers.

I tend to cook things that I want to eat( except meat of course) and I can't stand eggplant. Its probably .99-1.49lb right now. That could be a side dish, but it would never fly as a main dish.

I've got an eggplant recipe that would change your mind. Everyone thinks it's meat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I imagine eggplant is outrageously priced in your local right now but recommend using it when it is more reasonable. Been cooking for my overweight dad for a while and eggplant is one of the few things that leave him feeling full.

Even recommend growing your own. Used to grow it as a kid. One of the few things wild hare and squirrels would not harvest before we did. Amazingly easy to grow too.

My casseroles tend to be somewhat "squishy" but cooked the night before they firm up a little. I buy mozzarella cheese at $3.50 a pound American. A little goes a long way and tends to win over the non believers.

I tend to cook things that I want to eat( except meat of course) and I can't stand eggplant. Its probably .99-1.49lb right now. That could be a side dish, but it would never fly as a main dish.

I've got an eggplant recipe that would change your mind. Everyone thinks it's meat.

I;ve tried eggplant every which way and I can't stand it. Maybe its a texture thing. My mom and sister love it, but I dont feel the love.

I went to the store and there is plenty of lamb. The whole freezer case is full. I didnt buy it though, I just couldnt do it.

I still might though, I need to think about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you ask them at the next dinner and see what they say about lamb? Just to get an idea.

A simple 'Irish' stew might go over well. Chunky carrots, potatoes, parsnips (or not), celery, pearl onions, simple seasoning.

This may be hard to imagine, but I wonder if lamb used to be more popular or standard in Canada than it is now. We've been bringing in fresh lamb for the last few months and sell a lot of it to seniors. But my seniors may not be your seniors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you ask them at the next dinner and see what they say about lamb? Just to get an idea.

My next dinner is Dec 13th. I'm filling in for another cook on Dec 11th and 12th( my town and Zurich). I bought st. Louis style ribs( already seasoned and vacuum sealed) for .99lb for that dinner. I was planning on the lamb for the 12th, that meal only serves 25ppl.

My meal is going to be the Xmas meal( turkey, mashed spuds, etc).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My meal is going to be the Xmas meal( turkey, mashed spuds, etc).

Don't shoot me, or anything... but I found the most amazing instant mashed potatoes at Costco. Maybe yours has it too? Really, all that's in the box are dehydrated potatoes and salt. We used 2 x 2kg boxes for the 100 ppl. But my room has more homeless and Working Poor guests than seniors. The price point was amazing, and prep was easy. If I had to peel, boil and mash 35 lbs of potatoes... I wouldn't do it. It would be rice every week. LOL. Anyways, we added real butter (1 lb for the lot), and used skim milk. Everyone loved them. And it really did taste like potatoes, unlike some of that other stuff we've tried for reasons of economy or physicality.

Karen Dar Woon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bought st. Louis style ribs( already seasoned and vacuum sealed) for .99lb for that dinner.  I was planning on the lamb for the 12th, that meal only serves 25ppl. 

We did a similar meal last week; ribs, mashed spuds, coleslaw, corn salad. Ergo my earlier post about Pork. Corn salad seemed to please the non-pork-eaters, and we had a veggie friendly, gluten free gravy for the potatoes.

Karen Dar Woon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...