I visit my elderly Mom twice a week, the first visit doubles as a food drop. I cook lots of frozen meals (lunch and supper) which she can easily reheat.
She lives alone and doesn't like cooking for one. Last year I did a number of pot pies which she really enjoyed, I make them for my husband and he takes them to work and heats them up for lunch in the microwave. I did turkey, beef, and fish.
They were all a hit save for the fish.
Both of them agreed that the fish pot pie was the worst. Even though they said that I liked it the best. I had found a nice recipe for it and was enjoying it quite a bit. Though it will be a rare treat that I make for myself. Next time we have a fish fry I will set some aside and make more.
I found it funny since my mother has fairly simple tastes - nothing too fancy, spicy or chewy - while my husband loves fish.
For her any meal that can be microwaved or reheated in the oven seems to work the best. I use disposable freezer containers to keep cleanup easy. Anything with more than just a few steps usually doesn't get used.
Just yesterday I took her a big portion of lasagna squares. I made a big pan of lasagna can be cut up and frozen in individual portions. Soups are easy to freeze- just no noodles since they get soggy, I usually will bag a portion of noodles and include them as a seperate step. That she will do. Chili can be made in the crock pot and frozen in individual servings. There are a bunch of websites dedicated to "once a month" food prep and freezing. Which have been helpful for giving me ideas on things to make.
Some other single portion meals that I have tried with varrying results are:
- Spaghetti sauce. Noodles should be cooked freshly. Takes 10 minutes or so.
- Beef stew (Big hit!)
- Chicken noodle soup, but noodles should be freshly cooked in the broth
- New England Clam chowder (Big hit!)
- Beef stroganoff. Sauce can be frozen but noodles should be freshly cooked.
- Pulled meat sandwiches (pork, beef, chicken) in various BBQ sauces
- Chicken cacciatore with noodles. Noodles should be freshly cooked.
- Japanese curry with rice (Total bust, but I wanted to try it!)
I think it is nice and probably healthier than having meals delivered from something like Meals On Wheels. And it gives us a chance to connect. We'll talk about the food and she will make a suggestion or two. It is a moment for us both to share something that we really enjoy.
It was hard for her when my father passed away. They had shared an active cooking life with a lot of dinner parties. My father used to make my grandparents (mother's parents) a spicy lentil soup that was great with bread (since my grandma was vegan due to health restrictions). I found sweet pies and that sort of thing was always appreciated when I make them for my mother.