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Cooking for my brother

n
northside food Jul 27, 2008 02:55 PM

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.

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  1. goodhealthgourmet RE: northside food Jul 27, 2008 03:11 PM

    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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
      n
      northside food RE: goodhealthgourmet Jul 27, 2008 03:50 PM

      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.

    2. j
      jlafler RE: northside food Jul 27, 2008 03:44 PM

      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!

      1. chef chicklet RE: northside food Jul 27, 2008 03:59 PM

        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.

        1. jenwee RE: northside food Jul 27, 2008 05:02 PM

          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 :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: jenwee
            n
            northside food RE: jenwee Jul 27, 2008 05:57 PM

            Those all sound like really good ideas. I think the pizzas would be the biggest hit, and I can use some of the herbs in my garden up.

          2. The Dairy Queen RE: northside food Jul 27, 2008 05:12 PM

            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.

            ~TDQ

            6 Replies
            1. re: The Dairy Queen
              n
              northside food RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 27, 2008 06:03 PM

              Yeah, I was thinking that I would make the fritata in a muffin pan so it was single serve. Anything single serve works really well for him, because then there's no leftovers to deal with.

              1. re: northside food
                j
                jlafler RE: northside food Jul 27, 2008 06:36 PM

                Speaking of muffin pans, how about some corn muffins? They freeze well and can be eaten at any meal.

                1. re: jlafler
                  chef chicklet RE: jlafler Jul 28, 2008 07:20 PM

                  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.

                2. re: northside food
                  maplesugar RE: northside food Jul 27, 2008 07:36 PM

                  Meatloaf (if he likes it) can be made in muffin tins too - I use the recipe from Cooking Light, but you could use your fave recipe and just follow the cooking guidelines. http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec... :)

                  1. re: maplesugar
                    The Dairy Queen RE: maplesugar Jul 28, 2008 04:22 AM

                    Little meatloafs is an awesome idea!

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                      Caroline1 RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 28, 2008 05:21 AM

                      Poultry dressing also works well in muffin tins. I make at least a dozen of them every Thanksgiving for my dil to take home. My son hates dressing! <sigh> As well as most vegetables known to man.

              2. f
                fern RE: northside food Jul 27, 2008 05:52 PM

                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.

                1. Caroline1 RE: northside food Jul 27, 2008 06:33 PM

                  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! '-)

                  1. lanersg RE: northside food Jul 27, 2008 08:49 PM

                    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.

                    1. c
                      cimui RE: northside food Jul 28, 2008 12:10 AM

                      Moussaka, spinach/feta phyllo triangles, ratatouille, and cassoulet all freeze and reheat well. Also a good way to sneak in vegetables.

                      1. Katie Nell RE: northside food Jul 30, 2008 03:13 PM

                        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.

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