Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Double Dutch Cooking

My grandma hates to cook. I don't know why. I love to cook. No I don't. Let me rephrase. I love to cook when I have time and energy and good ingredients. I hate to cook when I have ten minutes until bedtime and two starving urchins and nothing but spaghetti noodles and cottage cheese.

In any case, I believe that there should be a point in your life at which you can say, "I'm not going to do this thing that I hate any more ever again." I believe that my grandma has probably reached that point. That fact, combined with the fact she often "fixes" cereal and apples for dinner has lead me to believe that contributing to their diet is a good thing.

I try to cook for them once a week. And here's what it looks like: Say it's Tuesday night and we are going to have lasagna. I double the recipe and make two lasagnas and we eat one. Then on Wednesday, I take them the second lasagna. Since I'm cooking for four and my grandparents are only two little eaters, my hope is that the dinner I cook will last them at least two meals.

It's working out really well, when I do it. I'm not exactly hitting once a week. Part of the problem is that pesky time thing. It shouldn't be more time consuming because I'm only doubling a recipe, but it is, ever so slightly. And some nights ever-so-slightly is way too much. Some nights, ever-so-slightly will break you.

And part of it is that I am trying to give them things that they won't/can't get for themselves. Lasagna, while not hard, is kind of labor intensive and the frozen stuff sucks. Quiche was something my grandfather had never even heard of and now he asks for it at least once a month. I made them turkey burgers this week, because my grandma is an old dog when it comes to cooking tricks.

But my ideas are sort of running thin. Yeah, I can keep making the same three or four things on rotation, because they aren't getting them every night, but I don't want to. I want to keep them interested and healthy. I want to make the stuff they really like (I'm serious - quiche is a huge hit), but I don't want them to feel like it's just ho hum, Jessi brought another quiche.

So, this is my question to you. What do you make that's easy to double, not rocket science, vaguely healthy and can be found in the "Freezes Beautifully" section of your cookbook. (Figuratively, they're not really going to freeze it, but it needs to keep at least a day.)


Suze said...

I have taken lots of meals to people who could use a little help, like families with new babies. My favorite recipes that double up easily and keep well are: chili (or any soup, really), taco salad, chicken fajitas, and risotto. That's all I can think of right now.

Suze said...

I should add that risotto is especially great because you can put ANYTHING in it. Sometimes I just do mushrooms (the kind with more flavor, not just white button mushrooms) and peas. If you're into seasonal stuff, spinach risotto, or chicken and asparagus would work now. Later in the summer you can do zucchini/summer squash and tomatoes (with sausage or, again, chicken, if meat is required).

Mimi - SleeplessInKL said...

Crockpot! I love how I can dump the ingredients into it in the morning and come home to a nice hot dinner at night :)

Make roast chicken then use the bones to make a LOT of chicken stock. Make mushroom soup using the chicken stock (easy-peasy), then thicken up the extra soup to make a mushroom pasta thingie. The chicken stock can also be used to make chicken noodle soup and/or chicken stew.

Spaghetti sauce freezes well. Double or triple it and freeze the rest.

Strangeite said...

Chicken & Dumplings. I make a mean Chicken & Dumplings and doubling the recipe maybe adds 5% (maybe) to the total prep time.

Another easy recipe that isn't exactly doubling but since we freeze about 3/4 when we make it, is shredded BBQ. If you are going for quantity, a pork Picnic Shoulder is your best bet. If not, a chuck roast is tasty and doesn't make enough to feed a regiment. Hasbrown casserole goes well with the BBQ.

Shepherd's Pie is also a very good and easy to double dish.

Anonymous said...

First, "the ever-so-slightly break you" line is perfect for how I am feeling this week. I like to make chicken and broccoli alfredo, though broccoli might be tougher on dainty grandparent stomachs. Chicken and noodles (with Reames noodles), and tortellini with pesto are great too.

:) Rita