Preparing frozen dinners for a client.
- operagirl Jun 10, 2008 11:47 AM
Hi everyone! I really hope there're some creative chowhounders out there that can help me out with this inquiry.
I recently took on a housekeeping and cooking job for a disabled man in my community. The housekeeping is minimal, and I'm a very capable cook and baker, so it's right up my alley. I'm excited to be providing such a valuable service for a nice man who's finally grown tired of a constant parade of Mexican and Chinese takeout and frozen TV dinners.
However . . . there are some caveats.
- dinners must be freezable, in single portions
- his tastes run 1950s American - think Thanksgiving dinners and the like
- he has false teeth, so any vegetables must be diced fine and cooked thoroughly
- he also wants frozen savory breakfast items, along the lines of egg mcmuffins, hot pockets . . . does anyone know about the logistics of freezing and reheating something with cooked, scrambled eggs?
- he can only reheat things using the microwave
Any suggestions along the lines of what foods will work well, how to package freezable meals, general helpful guidelines . . . I'd really appreciate it!
Although not a "mcmuffin" or "hot pocket" type dish, what about quiche? I often make quiche and then freeze, later to be thawed and reheated in the microwave by slice. If they make any "pot pie" type disposable dishes (that aren't tin foil) that would be perfect.
I make lasagna and freeze it in serving sizes (chill overnight and then wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze in heavy duty freezer bags). These thaw and reheat well in the microwave.
Is it possible for you to make a main course that you freeze in individual portions ( like meatloaf or roast beef in gravy) and then he can use commercial prepared food like the Bob Evans mac and cheese or mashed potatoes?
When my mother was living by herself, I would cook, portion and fill up her freezer frequently. Things that worked well ware soups or stews that I would freeze in meal servings in zip-lock bags. She could pop them into the microwave easily. I purchased microwave-safe dishes from a company called Littonware - I don't know if they still exist. They had separations for portions and a lid that could be snapped on.
Have you checked out Dream Dinners menus? Their whole concept is make ahead/freeze/thaw, and their menu may give you some ideas.
There are savory bread puddings and breakfast casseroles that use an eggy custard base. I've never frozen them though, so don't know if that would work. Maybe someone else with experience can pipe up. I have a recipe for a Reuben bread pudding, if you're interested.
Crepes freeze really well with a piece of wax paper or parchment between them -- open zip bag, grab a couple, make a breakfast wrap with a slice of Canadian bacon and a piece of cheese. You could also use tortillas, but the crepes have eggs so a little more breakfast friendly for your guy.
The heat sealers and vacuum sealers use bags that have the option of going in a microwave or in a pot of boiling water on the stove. Sometimes microwaving dries out foods, but if the pot of water seems like a safety issue, never mind!
Individual servings of roasted shredded chicken in gravy microwave well and can be served over bread for an open-faced sandwich, over noodles, or like a previous poster suggested the refrigerator section mashed potatoes.
Speaking of potatoes, they're the only thing I know DO NOT freeze well when in soups and stews. They turn into nasty little sponges.
Also, you could hard cook a few eggs for him and he could slice them up and put them on a faux McMuffin.