Comfort and whenever food for vegetarians
Dear fellow CHs, I have dear friends with a child in hospital. Please help me come up with vegetarian comforting eat-any-time food to bring them. They do eat fish but not meat. I would like to bring them food that is good whenever they get to it. I know you will guide me well.
Tuna salad or tuna casserole? I've not tried it myself, but in another thread I saw someone recommend the tuna casserole on epicurious (I think they even said they'd tried it with canned salmon).
It won't last in the fridge more than a couple of days (ie., it's highly perishable), but Rick Moonen's sloppy joe's have been a hit when I've taken it to friends. The catfish reheats surprisingly well.
I was thinking today that you might find inspiration on some of the bento lunch websites. There are so many! In doing a quick search, I found this description of bento:
"When a person eats a box lunch prepared by a loved one, the preparer's feelings are transmitted through the food. In other words, the bento serves as a vehicle for communication between the maker and the eater. A bento prepared at home is imbued with the love of the eater's family."
You don't need fancy boxes to make bento, I've used tupperware in a pinch. Here are a few ideas if this is something that appeals to you:
You are thoughtful but, having been on the receiving end in a similar situation, I suggest that you might want to make a phone call first to ascertain what their current lifestyle is like. If they don't have other family members to attend to they may be eating in the hospital cafeteria and not really eating at home these days. I used to be gone from home all day long, getting home at 10 or 11 at night when I didn't stay overnight at the hospital, and kind offerings of food sent by neighbors went mostly down the disposal---I wasn't eating at home at all. A casserole or ?? might be more welcome after the patient comes home and eating at home once again becomes normal.
So many great ideas! I appreciate them very much, I knew I would get good advice here. Also appreciate the advice on quantities, I am conscious of that although they have a teenage boy so I think food tends to get eaten. :) So far I have shopped for lentil-spinach soup with good cheese and bread, and for another night a chickpea salad I know they like, plus the garlicky kale mentioned by kbjesq (which I made for myself last weekend and LOVED) plus grilled vegs. I will probably use lots of your other suggestions as well, thanks so much!
What's the recipe for the lentil spinach soup? I think my family would love that.
Are you delivering the food to their home or the hospital? If you're sending it to the hospital, put in micro containers. Make sure to include a blank label on the container so they can write their name and room. That way they can store in the fridge and warm up as they need.
Some other ideas--
Mini spinach/ zucchini quiches
Mini apple crisp
Artichoke stuffed shells
Yes I know that in-hospital drill all too well, but the reminder is a good one. I will actually be making one of your spinach jibins for them one night, that is so comforting and the essence of eat it when you get to it.
The lentil spinach soup you can find on Alllrecipes called Lentil Soup III. I stir in baby spinach at the very end and a hefty squeeze of lemon juice. It is astoundingly good considering how insanely simple it is, a real favorite of mine.
A barley-vegetable soup - would be hearty enough but easy to prepare from the freezer defrost (I usually add additional water as the barley will continue to soak up liquid).
Pasta salads with veggies
Mac & cheese
3-bean chili and a loaf of crusty bread
Roasted red pepper and corn chowder (I've posted the recipe I make all the time on the WFD thread - just leave out the chicken and switch to vegetable broth)
Some desserts would always be welcome, I'm sure - cookies, fruit bars, brownies.
I am so sorry! Heartbreaking.
How big is the family? Are there other children? I ask because sometimes the amount of food can be overwhelming for a small family.
No comparison to what your friends are going thru but when my mom was very ill and I was working FT and spending nights/weekends at the hospital many of my friends dropped off meals-whole lasagnas, hams, pots of soup and stews, etc. it was wonderful and thoughtful but too much for the 3 of us! I would either freeze it and then felt like we ate the same things for days or I would spend time dividing up to freeze. Often food went to waste as my husband was picking up all the slack at home. Making “mini” things are great for smaller families so they can enjoy it right away and not feel like it will go to waste.
If there are group of you consider putting together a meal train. This sight is pretty user friendly. http://www.mealtrain.com/ It helps the parents plan and know when meals will be covered. It also helps avoids crossovers and duplications
Now the chow. So many good suggestions already!! Some others ideas might be a
-breakfast basket-scones/muffins, good coffee/tea, nice jam. Breakfast might be the last thing they are thinking about
-shopping for perishables. Fresh fruit, milk (almond/soy), cheese, bread etc so they don’t need to go to the store
Quiche- mini or regular size
Stuffed shells in a freezer bag with a jar of homemade sauce
Veggie chili using a variety of canned beans for an interesting texture.
Spanish rice- makes an easy peasy stuffed pepper too
Here's a great soup that can be veggie or vegan, depending on the type of milk/cream and I recommend using Imagine No Chicken Chicken Broth
This kale salad with tahini dressing is spectacular and not only keeps well, I think it gets better the longer that it sit in the fridge. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8849...
This recipe includes nutritional yeast in the salad dressing, which is an ingredient that is both comforting and full of B vitamins - so important when you are under stress.
Vegetarian cold sesame noodles
Meatless chili with corn bread
Grilled vegetable platter (eggplant, asparagus, peppers, and sweet potatoes
Pasta casseroles (baked ziti, mac and cheese)
Cold pasta salads with vegetables
Corn and black bean salad
Cut up fresh fruit
Believe me, anything you make will be deeply appreciated...thank you for your kindness.