Ideas for Get-Well Meals?
I know a married couple, no kids, and the wife is recuperating from some surgery--not so much in pain but tired. Can any of you share ideas for simple, preferably not-too-fatty foods that I might take to them? The husband's apparently a bit of a picky eater, but all I know is that he doesn't like mushrooms and cream sauces.
And perhaps someone can sound off on one idea: I thought I might try a wilted spinach salad that I noticed in a Cooks Illustrated: essentially a olive-oil and balsamic dressing with some onion and bacon. Would a dressing like that reheat well, so that I could give them a package of prewashed baby spinach and instructions on microwaving the dressing when they ready for a salad?
My closest friend of 30 years was recovering at home from recent surgery. Little pain, but very fatigued and cooking was out of the question for the first couple of weeks. Here's what I made for him: chicken soup from homemade stock, fresh corn, lots of dill and parsley etc.; spaghetti sauce w/chicken sausage (included a box of pasta and a loaf of homemade garlic bread w/olive oil not butter,) turkey, black and kidney bean chili, lightly pickled cukes w/red onion, rice wine vinegar and dill, corn muffins; white beans w/smoked turkey; a jar of homemade salad dressing w/a few bags of greens and lots of fresh fruit salad with end of summer bounty and a dressing of oj, a bit of honey and pinch of nutmeg.
I made enough so I could pack half of the freezable stuff into smaller containers for his freezer and the rest could keep in the fridge for at least three days. I staggered the food visits to about once a week. He loved it all.
When I cook for others, I try to think of ways to make it a bit more of a meal. So, I'll fill a Tupperware with chili, and give it along with some corn muffins and a container of sour cream. Or, a big helping of a Moroccan braised chicken with a box of couscous, which is so easy to make. That way, they get a little bit of variety.
Definitely send over a several containers of soup- chicken soup, veggie lentil soup, butternut squash soup. You can also send over homemade croutons or crostinis- no worrying about running out for bread to go with the soup.
I'm not sure how the dressing would reheat, but I like the idea of washed, bagged greens. Maybe send over a few bags of separate greens, dressings, and add ins all color coded. Say a bag of arugula, a small container of crumbled feta, a container of roasted tomatoes and zucchini, and a container of a red wine vinaigrette-- all with green ribbons attached. You can do several variations on this theme... that way there will always be a salad a moment away and nothing will get soggy. Also, the picky eater doesn't have to toss everything in his salad!
I hesitate to say that I feel the wilted spinach salad won't travel well. It needs to be made a la minute and served right away.
But, your heart is in the right place!
Chicken soup is great this time of year (made my first batch already).
Of course, anything casserole is great too. To me, a lasagna says "love".
The salad sounds like a good start to a nice herb roast chicken with some roasted vegetables, carrots, a mix of potatoes, parsnips, whatever looks good and seasonal at the market, on the side.
The salad dressing would reheat well, but I wasn't clear whether you were thinking of adding the bacon to the dressing, or keeping it separate? I would keep it separate to top the salad with, or not, and the onion also (although you could add a little grated onion or shallot to the dressing) as a less caloric alternative, if desired.
Thought about dessert? A nice fruit-based baked something, maybe baked apples or pears stuffed with dried fruit and baked in orange juice with a drizzle of honey would be good.
If there's chicken left over, consider making soup for them the next day.
When I have surgery (knee replacement next year,) I want a friend like you in my neighborhood.
Great ideas (and good luck next year with the knee surgery--I wish I could help out, as I've always appreciated your help here).
Regarding the dressing, you're right: the recipe calls for cooking the bacon, removing it from the pan, and then cooking the rest of the dressing in the fat, only adding bacon at the last minute.