Cooking for my brother
So in two weeks, I'm going to be dropping by my brother's. He doesn't live too far away, but we're both so busy we hardly see each other. My brother, due to his circumstances, eats tons and tons of convenience food, microwave burritos, pizza rolls, etc. He is a full time grad student at Emory University, he has an internship, and he has severe cerebral palsy, to the point where he is almost, but not quite a quadriplegic (he has limited upper body mobility, and pretty much no lower body) So while he has an aide to help him with cleaning up and hygiene every morning, he's on his own for food. He loves living by himself though, and it took quite a bit of arguing with my mother to get her to let him move out. But my family is not the subject of this post.
I'd like to do him a favor and provide him some fresh, homecooked foods that he can handle heating up on his own. Anything that is microwavable or can go in a toaster works really well for him. He's fine with gladware containers and ziploc bags, so that's not a problem. He doesn't like soup, unless he can drink it out of a mug, and he's not into salads. He's not terribly enamored of veggies in general.
This is what I'm thinking of right now:
Home made blueberry waffles, wrapped individually and frozen in a zip top bag. Those can go right in the toaster for him.
Banana chocolate chip bread, pre-sliced to fit in the toaster
Roasted tomato soup, frozen into ice cube trays, then transfered to a zip bag so he can just pull out what he wants and heat it up in a coffee mug
Peach cobbler (He mentioned today that he hasn't had any fresh peaches yet this summer because he needs them cut into slices before he can eat them)
Fresh salsa to go on those damn microwave burritos.
Any other thoughts on what he might like? He's looking forward to this "care package". When we both lived at home, I did all the cooking and he's missed it.
i did my undergrad at emory. great campus :)
things that freeze well:
homemade pasta sauce, pesto, etc.
any casserole or stew-type dish that he likes.
best for short-term storage in the fridge:
frittatas - slice into wedges and store in ziplocs or containers.
protein salads - egg, chicken, tuna, salmon, etc.
homemade hummus & bean dips.
guac to go with the salsa!
one other thought...try to encourage him to use one of those delivery services [e.g. takeout taxi] occasionally to treat himself - it would be at least a little better than microwave burritos.
Oh, he's got friends who take him out at least once a week for meals. He also is very involved in his church, and there are people who come over once a week and cook and study with him. He just really, really likes microwave burritos. Seriously, when we were in high school that's what he would eat every day after school. I think he's been waiting his entire life to get out on his own so he could eat them for every meal without someone nagging him.
These are great ideas though. I think I might add a frittata to his list.
Chili freezes well, as do bean dishes in general.
Meatballs, either in sauce or with the sauce separate.
Otherwise, I'm drawing a blank. What you have already sounds great, though!
Could you make him homemade burritos?
Along the lines of the waffles, french toast and pancakes freeze very well.
Since he like burritos I'm guessing he likes spicy food, so what about beans? You can freeze that up and he can eat it with microwaved tortillas.
Freezing fruit is a bit tricky, but I make jams all the time. These are easy.Just stew the fruit,with sugar and lemon and freeze it or jar it for a hot water bath. Make him pound cake and he can heat the fruit,and the pound cake and pour it over...
I freeze mahed potatoes, gravy and meat. My parents would make their own tv dinners years ago, portion control more than anything. It works fine, buy some divided dishes...make him some meals and freeze.
baked ziti or any type of baked pasta thing would go good frozen and then reheated. You could even sneak some veggies into the marinara sauce ;)
I found this recipe to make french bread pizzas for the freezer: http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/...
I say make an enchilada casserole...that would freeze well to :)
What a caring sibling you are.
If he likes burritos, maybe he'd like home made tamales? They can be reheated in the microwave. I don't know if the unwrapping would be to challenging for him--I think it requires a little patience, but would mostly just unroll itself. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/51774...
Pancakes freeze well, too, similar to the waffles. We really like these (thanks to AnneInMpls): http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37015...
Or, similar to the frittata, but mini-quiche type things.
Or baked pasta, either in red sauce or a mac and cheese kinda dish. I like this baked ziti recipe http://www.chowhound.com/topics/40955...
Someone else mentioned chili--that reheats well.
hot dogs in the corn muffins? or make corn dogs??? I've always wanted to make my own after seeing Alton Brown make them. They freeze well, ala Costco.
or that reminded me.. you can make up hot dogs with chili, bet he love those. We've done those before easy.. add cheese and onion for nice litttle snack.
I know the breakfast burritos freeze well, and homemade egg mcmuffins with sausage. 1 minute in the microwave.
I'm thinking that if you made some of the foods he loved to eat when he lived at home and made them into TV dinners that would be fun for him. I've done that for my Dad and it's kind of nice for him to have a variety of things that are comfortable, familiar foods all ready to go.
Does he like things like Italian sausage with onion and peppers? Freezes just fine.
Not for the freezer, but how about peach salsa during your visit. I suppose you could can that if you wanted to.
I really admire your brother for all that he is doing. He certainly hasn't let challenges stand in his way.
In two weeks, you say? Well, here's something I do for myself that could work for you for your brother, if you cook much. (You tell us a lot about your brother, but not much about you.) Hefty makes some great "Serve and Store" intelocking plates and bowls. The plates, at least, come in varying sizes. I often cook fairly large amounts of food, then make my oiwn TV dinners using the plates. One of the things I've found is helpful with dishes that will build up ice crystals is to cover the food with a small layer of plastic wrap, then make sure I open the interlocking plates and remove it before nuking. As I write I have single meals of roast beef with trimmings, Middle Eastern food, Chinese food, beef Stroganoff with noodles. It's nice to have a complete meal with sides ready in three to five minutes any time I feel lazy. If you did a couple of plates for your brother every time you cook a full meal between now and your visit, he should be one happy camper. ummm... Especially if you make burritos! '-)
Due to a crazy schedule I basically cook for myself once a week on Sundays and make two items that I freeze in individual containers for the week. Two because I cannot eat the same thing every night! I have found that the trick is not freezing for too long. If it's less than 2 weeks you can freeze most sauce based food (pasta, soup, stew, etc), meats other than fish etc, shepherds pie, lasagna etc. without losing a lot of texture or flavor as long as it's wrapped properly.
Moussaka, spinach/feta phyllo triangles, ratatouille, and cassoulet all freeze and reheat well. Also a good way to sneak in vegetables.
Your brother makes me feel lazy! :-)
Here's something that my little (I say little, but he just turned 21!) brother loves: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/r... It's basically just a method for stromboli, which is basically a pizza roll, so not that far from his usual routine. You could do your own dough if you wanted to, but the ready-made pizza dough makes is super easy. I've done all different kinds of fillings, so you could cater it to his tastes.