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May 12, 2011 07:59 AM

Calorie-Dense Food: Ideas needed. Help!!

Some of you know that I've been charged with giving good care to a sick family member and have helped me hugely in food and dietary arenas, so I'm counting on y'all to help me out with this one. His doctors have recommended a calorie-dense diet. Now, this doesn't mean I can offer him nothing but fatty/sugary/nutritionally empty foods, but it does mean that I have to up the caloric value of the reasonably healthy diet he already works around. Some things that have worked are: puddings made with heavy cream; scalloped/mashed potatoes likewise, and I'll certainly try it with mac and cheese too. Does anyone have any other ideas for things to add, things to make, things to do with this situation? Thanking you all in advance in a really heartfelt way.
Oh - and I should mention this so that nobody takes time out to do it - we've already received a huge amt. of advice re: portion control and making things he loves, so my specific intent is just to ask for ideas about making foods with a higher caloric content. Thanks again.

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  1. I have a few suggestions, generally very high in carbs and/or protein...

    Firstly, on some special occasions, my dad will make jerk chicken (sometimes over an open fire... AH!) and then he'll make some rice with some spices, refried beans (yeah, not that authentic, but so good) and he'll buy some naan bread. It's an amazing meal, and very, very dense.

    You could make a big batch of butter chicken or beef vindaloo, then have loads of rice and naan to go with it. Another extremely dense meal... very satisfying.

    There's always lasagna and garlic bread

    Along the same vein, there's moussaka (which I happen to love, but it's not everybody's favourite...)

    Again along that vein, there's enchiladas... very dense, very tasty!

    Now this is unhealthy, but typical southern food is very good at delivering LOTS of calories... Fried Chicken, Mashed potatoes, Coleslaw, Biscuits...

    also, here's a thread where I talk about a meal I made a few days ago, which would also be very good for this... calorie dense, not THAT unhealthy :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: banjoman2375

      These are very nice, banjoman. You gave me some ideas about adding to certain recipes, e.g. if I do a lasagna, I can make the bechamel with cream as opposed to milk. I have a feeling I'm going to need to do some portioning set-asides, because that's not something that WE could eat regularly, but my son certainly can have things like that whenever. You got me thinking about creamed soups, too: I usually use 2% in ours, but I could certainly do a portion with some heavy cream. And with the Indian-spiced dishes, which he really loves, I can down the spice factor, again by incorporating heavy cream or paneer or something. Thank you very much. Oh, and re: the Southern cooking? I'm a regional cooking FREEEEK, and Southern's my favorite American cuisine to cook from. Thank you.

    2. Also, Beef Short Ribs with Risotto

      1. Any nut butters are high in calories and offer good fats if he can eat nut butters.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Val

          Love the nut butters, which he can certainly have. And for some reason your mention of good fats got me thinking avocadoes, which he loves - I saw a recipe for a "reverse" taquito: filled with guacamole, sauced with a not-hot chile meat sauce. I think I could manage maybe one of those, but I bet he could do more than that.

          1. re: mamachef

            heck yes, bring on the avocados...can't believe I didn't think of those right away...nom nom!

            1. re: Val

              Avocado is known as "poor man's butter" in Haiti. Just spread it right on a toasted English muffin.

              1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                Shows you tropical vs. temperate lands (considering the cost of avocados in most of the US). But this is the most-frequent way I eat avocados, plus a sprinkle of salt. For me, a Trader Joe's multigrain EM, sometimes spread first with Dijon mustard. If you want to add protein (and weight--building fat), melt cheese on the EM before adding avocado. Pepper jack is nice w/avo.

            2. re: mamachef

              Avocado milkshakes/smoothies come to mind as well, mama. You're a saint, did I ever tell you that? ;)

                1. re: buttertart

                  Hah, if you could hear me in my mind while I'm being all saintly you wouldn't think that. But thanks for the nice words. It's just a matter of doing what needs done, right?
                  I think you ladies are pretty goshdarn awesome yourselves.

          2. Hi mamachef,
            My grandmother has pancreatic cancer and we are facing a similar challenge of making the food she eats as calorie dense as possible (because she often doesn't have much of an appetite). Cream soups (broccoli cheese, asparagus, etc.), bread puddings/baked french toast (lots of eggs and cream and you can vary the flavors and make it savory), and baked pasta dishes (loaded with extra full-fat cheeses and various veggies) have gone over pretty well. Does he like avocados? Those (much to my chagrin) are pretty calorie dense. I'll think of some of the other things we've been whipping up and add to the list. Thanks for creating this thread!

            4 Replies
            1. re: arp29

              Awesome, and thank you so much for responding to it, everyone!

              1. re: arp29

                Those the the things I thought about, too, since my FIL went through chemo last year and needed calorie/nutrient dense foods. I tended to use more egg yolks than whites, cream instead of milk, heavier cheese. Nuts/nut butter, avocados. And, since it's easier to drink more calories, milk shakes and smoothies (and doctor recommended Ensure).

                All the best to your grandmother.

                1. re: chowser

                  Chowser, re: the Ensure, we've actually made milkshakes using it as the base 'cause the kid won't go NEAR the stuff en plein. Talk about calories!

                  1. re: mamachef

                    We do this, too! My grandmother loves it!

                    Thanks, Chowser:-)

                    Just remembered another one...quiche!

              2. I volunteer at a charity that does sort of meals-on-wheels for people needing calorie-dense foods, and one thing I've noticed about the menus is that they combine lots of elements together that people on a more calorie-balanced diet would tend to avoid. Cram it all in, basically!

                So this week we're doing a light (ha!) meal of greek salad with tuna, which will have a big dollop of canned tuna with full-fat mayo, full-fat greek cheese, chickpeas and a buttered pita. Light on the lettuce/tomato.

                We also tend to do a lot of African-inspired stews that use lamb or goat, peanuts/groundnuts/peanut butter, and sweet potatoes or some kind of bean in the stew, with yams or cassava or sweet pot on the side AND rice. Also a Caribbean-inspired one with chicken, sugar, peanut butter, pigeon peas and similar side dishes. There's not loads of PB in the dishes but I guess it has more calories than a stock cube!

                I'd hazard a guess that scrambled eggs with extra yolks, made with butter and cream, would provide quite a calorie hit too. Maybe with wholewheat toast for some attempt at health!

                3 Replies
                1. re: gembellina

                  Love these ideas, you truly are a gem.

                  1. re: mamachef


                    Also, cheesecake. Because sometimes only sweet stuff will do.