12 June 2012

"Meals on Wheels" week 1 - menu planning for four!

My dear old Dad, who has just passed his 80th birthday, is due to go into hospital at the end of this month, for heart surgery.

Well, you can imagine how we all feel about that - but however we feel, it isn't half as bad as how my Mum feels about it all.  My brother has volunteered his car and his chauffeuring skills to take her to and from the hospital each day to visit, but I was wondering what we could do to ease the burden a little bit for her too - which in turn, will make it easier for my Dad to recuperate.  Oh, it's all wheels within wheels!

Now obviously, cooking comes to mind.  However, I didn't want to suggest that I cook some single-person meals for her and so remove a pleasant occupation that might keep her brain involved and slow down the worry a little.  But then, it occurred to me that there are bound to be days when either she will have had a stressful day, or alternatively she won't get back home until late - and she won't feel like breaking out the chopping board and getting on with some cooking.  So, I suggested it to her and she (amazingly - because my Mum is a great cook) accepted.

Which is why this menu plan blog post is entitled "Meals on Wheels" week 1 - as we're including several meals where we're cooking for one person extra and stashing that portion away in the freezer, for onward transmission to my Mum when we go to see them both on Sunday - Father's Day, don'tcha know!

Just in case you wonder whether I've forgotten my Dad in all this, far from it - I'm lending him my Kindle for his hospital stay and have loaded up the current tome on Arnhem that he's reading, plus several books that deal with his old Army regiment - the Royal Engineers - and their work in the Far East, plus some humour, some thrillers and a few books that I thought might be outside of his own choice but that might be interesting to read when you've got nothing else to do!  I've also dug out a couple of CD's that he might like to listen to on his Sony Walkman.

So, Operation Hospital has swung into action!

Here's how it's looking at the moment (although it could be subject to change!) :

Tues : Pepperoni & Mozzarella Millefeuille with salad
Weds : Sausage Casserole with mashed potatoes
Thurs : Spaghetti Bolognese
Fri : Tave Me Presh with mashed potato and peas
Sat : Rose Veal with mushrooms & cider, new potatoes, carrots & broccoli
Sun : anybody's guess!
Mon : Beef curry & mushroom rice.

It's not a dazzling array of meals, but looking at the weather, it's unlikely that we'll be breaking out the barbecue any time soon, or feeling much like salad!

As for the Meals on Wheels project, well I think the Sausage Casserole, Spaghetti Bolognese, Tave Me Presh and Rose Veal are all definites.

Pic c/o whatsgabycooking.com
Tonight's Pepperoni & Mozzarella Millefeuille is something that hubby has pulled together in his feverish imagination - but that sounds pretty darned promising.  It all started when we bought some extra pepperoni and mozzarella to go in last week's Stromboli (which didn't happen in the end).  He's built the recipe around those two ingredients, but without travelling too far in the pizza direction.  I can't say too much about it at the moment, as I really don't have much idea of where he's going with it - so you'll have to wait and see what happens!

A lentil version of a Sausage Casserole - but still yummy!
Now everyone loves a Sausage Casserole, don't they?  Yes, of course they do.  We haven't made one in ages and, because we're including my Mum in this one, are going to have to keep an eye on what we're using ingredients-wise.  She has a number of ingredients that she's sensitive to, such as peppers, sweetcorn and some spices.  However, I don't see that as a problem.  We've become quite good at thinking up alternatives and co-ordinating flavours, so I'm looking forward to this one.  It'll be lovely to have some yummy gravy, sopped up with mashed potato - a hark back to winter!  Yes, I know it's June, but you honestly wouldn't believe it, to look out the window.  Mum will have to either make some mashed potato to go with this one, or buy some already made from the supermarket - but it has to be easier than starting from scratch!

Spaghetti Bolognese was a shoe-in when we were considering what to make.  We'll box up some of the Bolognese sauce, so that all Mum has to do is cook some spaghetti - or any pasta, really - and heat up the sauce.  Easy peasy.

The Tave Me Presh (or baked mince with leeks) is one of my favourite comfort food dinners.  However, as Mum can't cope with red pepper, I'll use carrots and some asparagus instead - which will give just elevate the flavours a little.  This is another one that you can eat with mashed potato - or to ring the changes, with rice.  Again, Mum will have to make a little rice to go with it and can maybe throw in a handful of frozen peas in the last few minutes of cooking time.  Luscious!

As for the Rose Veal with mushrooms & cider, well this all depends on whether the box of rose veal arrives from the lovely people at Farmers Choice, who have offered to send me a gift box of veal with which to work.  This all originated with my blog post on Veal and I'm hugely appreciative of their kindness with regard to this offer.

I'm hoping that there will be something in the box that will be able to be made into the veal with mushrooms and cider - if not, I'll be thinking again!

Sunday, being Father's Day, is all a bit of a mystery right now.  Not because we've got any  mysterious ideas cooking in the background, but because Hubby can't think of anything in particular that he'd like to have to eat on that day - and is still thinking!

Monday brings the return of the poor old Beef Curry, which must be getting something of an inferiority complex as it's been bumped from two weeks' menus so far!  I will make it, I will!

As for extra makes or bakes, well, I don't really think we're going to have a lot of time for that this week.  Then again, I'm determined to make that Peach Cobbler some time this week as it was another victim of the alarming cuts that got made to the menu list last week!  But then, who knows what might turn up in the post that needs blogging about!


  1. So sorry to hear about your Dad and will keep you and yours in my thoughts as the month draws to a close. I think doing some freezer stocking sounds like an EXCELLENT idea, it's little things like that can make all the difference to a person having to cope to a disruption to their routine. Plus, who wouldn't want to eat your fabulous sounding food?

    Can't wait to hear all about the millefeuille by the way - intriguing!!


    1. Thanks, Seren! :) It's obviously a worry and we'd really rather he didn't need it - but heart trouble runs in his side of the family, so it could almost have been predicted. I think he's done well to fight it off until now! We're looking on it as something of a blessing, as at least when it's done, we'll have him around for a lot longer than if he didn't have it done!

      I had another idea this afternoon. I thought I could maybe bake him some small healthy muffins, which Mum could keep in the freezer and take one in each day as he gets better. We all know how grim hospital food can be - and if you're not feeling like eating it, having something nice to nibble on could make all the difference.

    2. That's a lovely idea. Lauren over at Big Eejit posted a rather scrummy and wholesome recipe just this afternoon although for some reason my iPhone isn't letting me copy links at the moment. There's also a lovely recipe on the Waitrose site for "breakfast muffins" which are full of healthsome things. You're right, hospital food in this country is sadly lacking so something homebaked and nutritious could be just the thing.


    3. Don't worry, Seren - I'll track them down and investigate! Thanks. :)

  2. Have no fear, as a Celiac and just out of hospital myself, the food in Canadian hospitals is universally as bad as yours! Adding you all to my prayers, And don't forget about Jenny in all this, she needs to be in top form to be all to everyone. And beef curry on Monday is a great start to the week.

    1. Oh dear, being a Celiac is no fun. :( Hope the flareup is over for you now! Many thanks for the prayers - all are very welcome. :)

  3. positive thoughts for your dad! These meal plans sound good for everyone :)

    1. Thanks, Tandy. :) All positive thoughts are much appreciated.


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