View Full Version : Help with sick friend meals
11-05-2001, 10:21 AM
Recently someone I care about very much has developed breast cancer. Some wonderful people where she works have put out a flyer to organize meals to cook for her and her husband (and 2 kids 3 and 1.5) that can be frozen while she stays home and recoups (4 weeks) from surgery. Can you guys suggest to me some meals ideas that can be frozen that can work for these age groups, and what to advise for side dishes? I just feel like I can't think too straight right now.
We're also teaming up for cleaning and personal donations for her interest. Books, comfies etc. Any other suggestions too would be great.
Thanks for your help from the bottom of my heart.
11-05-2001, 10:35 AM
Your friend sounds lucky to have so many people who care about her!
Recently, I made a big pan of spaghetti pie for a friend the day she came home from the hospital after having her 2nd child. Her family ate from it for about 4 days, including her 3 1/2 year old who told me it was very yummy.
I've also made a big pot of Chicken Enchilada soup (just posted the recipe on a soup thread) for a friend who had a premature child and thus was spending most of her waking hours at the hospital. It freezes well and the spice can be toned down for little mouths.
Lasagne freezes well. I usually cut mine into individual portion pieces and freeze for lunches or lazy dinners. Meatballs with or w/o the spaghetti, eggplant parm, meatloaf, chicken cacciatore, ratatouille, chicken pot pie, beef stew... I've had success w/all of those. Most chicken items that have a sauce also freeze and defrost well.
11-05-2001, 11:14 AM
Here is a thread with some recipes for food to take to sick or convalescing friends that also includes tips on freezing foods:
I posted my recipe for Chicken-Cheese Lasagne on this thread, which I always think is a very comforting dish. Children also like it.
11-05-2001, 11:57 AM
Your friends may want to consider chipping in on a personal chef gift certificate to use after they've all brought over their dinners. If you're interested go to www.hireachef.com to find a chef in your area. As for freezing meals 99% of all food can be frozen. If you're freezing veges just undercook them by about 2-3 minutes--same for rice and pasta.
Kids love chicken nuggets with a dipping sauce. All you'd have to do is bread the chicken and freeze it raw. Have her bake.
I'll bet the BBQ chicken pot pie would go over well. Some kids like sweet fruit sauces on seafood and poultry/pork. Here's a recipe for Dr. Pepper Spaghetti:
Dr. Pepper Spaghetti
2 pounds ground beef, lean
1 cup onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 12 oz. can Dr. Pepper
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 16 oz. package spaghetti, cooked
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1. Brown ground beef in a large dutch oven. Drain well.
2. Add onion and seasonings. Cook about 5 minutes; add Dr. Pepper, tomato sauce, and worcestershire sauce and cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in cooked and drained spaghetti. Stir in cheese.
3. Pour 1/2 of spaghetti mixture into a well greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
4. Pour remaining spaghetti into a foil casserole pan and cover tightly with foil. Date, label and place in the freezer
This makes two dishes for 4 or one for 8
11-05-2001, 12:24 PM
These are great you guys. I was defintely thinking lasagna and the Dr Pepper spaghetti sounds terrific for the kids.
Gaye, thanks for going to all the trouble.
11-05-2001, 12:58 PM
You may want to find out if your friend is on any medications that could interfere with her diet. A good friend of mine had breast cancer surgery, followed by an aggressive course of chemotherapy, and some of her chemo medications gave her very painful mouth sores. So in a situation like that very acidic foods, like tomatoes, would be difficult for her to eat. Her family can still enjoy the lasagna, and spaghetti, then maybe some individually frozen servings of something like chicken noodle soup or a butternut squash soup would be nice for your friend.
Someone suggested on one of the recent "meals for new parents" threads that desserts (cookies and pound cakes usually freeze well) or even some batches of muffins would be appreciated. I think that would be a nice idea in this situation too.
11-05-2001, 12:58 PM
I took this to a friend who was being treated for breast cancer. I included some homemade rolls. She said it was perfect because she didn't have a huge appetite. Also, some of the treatments (chemo?) can make things taste spicy so it's good to have things that aren't spicy.
THREE-HOUR VEGETABLE SOUP
2 quarts water
16 oz canned tomatoes with juice, undrained (I cut up the tomatoes in the can with kitchen scissors)
1 ½ pounds lean beef, cubed (I usually use top round)
1 can (10 ¾ oz) tomato soup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ cups chopped celery
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
½ cup medium pearl barley
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup sherry (optional – I didn’t have any this time)
salt & pepper to taste
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 cup each frozen green beans, corns, and peas (or use whatever veggies you like)
In large kettle, combine first 5 ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add celery and onions. Simmer a second hour. Add carrots, barley, sugar, sherry, and spices. Simmer 45 minutes. Add frozen vegetables. Bring back to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate overnight. Skim fat and reheat. (You don’t need to do this step if you use lean meat like round steak.) Serves 8 to 10.
May be made in advance and stored for 1 week in refrigerator. This soup also freezes well.
11-05-2001, 07:15 PM
I recently made a pan of Stuffed Shells Florentine (CL, Aug 145) for a co-worker and his wife after they had their child. She was in labor for two days and ended up with a cesarian section.
I put the shells in one of those aluminum throw away pans and froze them along with a loaf of garlic bread. I included an extra jar of sauce when DH took the dish over.
The Pork Cassoulet (CL, Sept 141) also freezes well but I don't know how that would go over with the kids.
Bree's Lentil and Tomato Soup (CL, Sept 142) also freezes well.
Mmm, other suggestions I can think of are: homemade chicken/turkey soup and chili, and I don't know if this would work but frozen pizza dough and fixings?
I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I don't have any specific ideas, but I can provide a link to a chart that gives the refrigeration and freezing times for nearly all foods.
I hope this helps, and I hope your friend recovers soon!
11-05-2001, 08:49 PM
Since it is a diverse group of ages and schedules are probably in a turmoil right now, I would suggest making a huge pot of soup and freezing in individual 8 oz containers. I do this for my husband and I as we eat on the run so much. One carton of soup in the microwave is instant comfort! I never realized how much fat free sour cream I used until I started saving the empty containers..........the size is just perfect for one person. Be sure to mark the "flavor" soup on the lid and if you are real energetic make 2 or 3 kinds so everyone can have a pick. Maybe include a loaf or two of yummy "soup bread" and they will never forget your kindness.
11-05-2001, 09:00 PM
I love to give quick breads to people. They make a healthy snack or breakfast. I like CL's Banana Oatmeal bread and the Pumpkin Streusel Bread. Another great bread is cornbread and it would be great with any of the soups.
My favorite recipe is a CL casserole from several years ago. I think it is Mostaccoli Bake and it includes spinach and tomatoes and has a white sauce. I'll see if I can get more info on it.
Good luck to your friend. I'm sorry.
11-05-2001, 09:32 PM
You guys may have already thought of this, but it's very helpful if you provide containers that don't have to be returned. I had a lot of friends bring over meals recently during a difficult time for my family, and I really appreciated all of them, but the meals that came in containers I didn't have to worry about getting back to their rightful owners were the best for me.
If you prefer not to use the disposable containers, be sure to label your container so your friend doesn't have to worry about sorting out what belonged to whom!
11-05-2001, 11:27 PM
Thank you for your great ideas and kind words. I'll get on these and tell you what comes of it. You are all so incredibly kind.
11-06-2001, 08:38 AM
Ditto on the containers. If you don't use disposable containers, at least put your name on the items that need to be returned. I had a hard time with that when I had a baby.
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