Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Plea For Help!

Okay. D-Day approaches. Or, more accurately, H-Day? The Big Surgery. It's not scheduled yet, but if I want to have it while my sister the schoolteacher is out of school and can help me with Bella (and I DO), I need to have it done within the next couple of weeks. Although I haven't blogged about it before, I have a surgery phobia/anxiety that borders on sheer panic and hysteria...and yet, that is not what I am most dreading. What horror, you might wonder, fills my heart with such trepidation? It is the question--The Question--that I know will cause more stress, bickering, and worry in my household than any other question possibly could:

"WHAT'S FOR DINNER?"

Shoot me now. OR, instead, help me out with some recipes. This is where I plead with you, Internets: Send me your easy, preferably one-dish, preferably freezable, recipes! I need dishes that have simple ingredients, are easy to assemble, and easy to clean up after. And if I can prepare them ahead of time and freeze them, even better. I AM NOT KIDDING. This is not my forte, as my cooking tends to be tasty, but complicated and messy. Super-moms and super-cooks, I'm looking to you for HELP in my time of need! Please send at your lifesaving, labor-saving recipes to me at ninjapoodles at gmail dot com, or just post them here in the comments for others to share. I've got to get cracking, and get my pantry and freezer stocked.

And to all my local friends and family--those of you who have asked me often, "Is there anything I can do?" Now's your chance. I will gladly take you up on your kind offer, if you care to make a dish for my freezer that will feed my family during my recuperation, or a treat for Alex and Bella, who will be caring for me lovingly.

Let's see what you've got, Internets. Recipes--GO!

21 comments:

  1. You will thank me forever for this site: http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/spec.html

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  2. andrea, I'm familiar with the "gallery of regrettable foods," but are there serious recipes there as well? Maybe I haven't ever looked closely enough!

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  3. Belinda, as I was reading your request for recipes, I was thinking, "I can do better than that......I can cook and freeze for her". Then you ended by suggesting this.

    I'll even take your order!

    I promise Bella and Alex will not starve.

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  4. Frito pies? I hear they're great!

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  5. Mom: YAAAY! "Dorito Chicken," please!! Except they don't make plain Doritos anymore, so it would be Tostito Chicken? Whatever. With the onions chopped up all teeeeeeeny-tiny. Bella and Alex would also be VERY happy to have the Real Man's Meatloaf (extra brown sugar). ;-) Think I can talk Chip & Andrea out of some of those chicken enchiladas?

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  6. I'm making you an honorary Jew. Voila... now you can check out these sites and find some great recipes.

    http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/~ab522/jewishfood.html

    http://www.cyber-kitchen.com/rfcj/

    http://www.cyber-kitchen.com/

    I assume you already know how to make the freezer standys, meat marinara sauce, chili, and lasagna. In addition, a BBQ brisket cooked and cut into slices make great hot sandwich dinners, and you can marinate chicken, fish and meat in teriyaki or whatever rub or marinade you like and then freeze it, so it's ready to stir fry with a bag of cut up veggies.

    I don't know how many meatless meals you eat, but frozen kugels, both potato and noodle, freeze well and are excellent. Blintzes also freeze well and can just be sauted in butter until they're cooked, about 5 minutes. YOu can fill them with cheese and fruit fillings, too.

    I know you have no access to a Trader Joes, which TOTALLY sucks, but going to your fanciest supermarket with the gourmet-type stuff will introduce you to a lot of sauces, which can be used to marinate and then saute chicken breasts. Chicken breasts are my friend when it comes to frozen stuff. I buy Kosher fast frozen bags of chikytits and just pull out what I need. Empire makes the bags and you CAN order then online.

    Eggplant parmisian and baked ziti are both easy to make and freeze. Do you have a whole foods or health food store nearby? They carry eggplant medallions that are precooked and breaded, so all you do is toss on sauce and cheese and bake. YOu can prepare that in pyrex ahead of time and freeze totally assembled and ready to bake. Ditto for the ziti. Just add a meat sauce (already made and frozen in small ziploc containers) and some sliced chicken hot sausage, and you've got a meal.

    Soups. Yes I know it's hot, but soup is still great in the summer. Make a couple of pots, one of chicken soup (I can walk you through a great Jewish chicken soup) and one of lentils/beans. Freeze in containers.

    Stews. Do you have a crock pot? Make beef or lamb stew and freeze. Note, potatos do not freeze well, so add those after. Microwave some small yukon golds and add to stew before heating.

    Corned Beef boiled dinner. Again, freezes really well, cook in crock pot, but add boiled potatos separately.

    Rabidolis. Buy a few packages of frozen raviolis and tortellonis and simply boil and add marinara sauce. Green salad, voila! Whole meal.

    Don't forget to buy frozen veggies. We always, and I mean ALWAYS have frozen organic veggies (our local market carries an entire line of organics, as does TJs and Whole Paycheck). Buy peas, asparagus, green beans, brussel sprouts, and whatever else you like. Takes a few mins to steam in microwave, and adds a healthy side dish for pastas, etc.

    How do you feel about indian food? I make a LOT of currys, and they freeze really well. You can get Pataks mild curry (or hot if you're so inclined) in the market. Take a can of whole peeled tomatos, a can of diced tomatos, add curry paste to taste, and you have a quick curry sauce. Pour over chicken breasts or lamb chunks and pour over rice. I always add veggies to my curries. I'll cut up a red pepper, some potatos, an onion and peas to stretch the sauce.

    If you have access to green curry sauce, you can also make a thai curry. Those packets work well in a pinch.

    How do you feel about Mexican? Enchiladas are a TOTAL piece of cake to make. So easy my kids both make them. Buy the fresh (in refrig section) large tortillas, a can of GREEN tortilla sauce (the red is not as good), some vegetarian refried beans, and a large package of shredded monty jack cheese. If you like chicken, you can take the boiled chicken from the chicken soup and shred it, adding it to the enchilada. Then assemble by pouring a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan, put a big scoop of beans on the tortilla, top with cheese and chicken, some chopped green onions and black olives, and roll up. Fill the pan with rolled enchiladas, top with rest of sauce so all tortillas are covered and remain soft, add a thick layer of shredded cheese, and then top with sliced tomatos, scallions, and olives. Freeze until ready to bake.

    This should give you enough easy ideas to have a variety of foods, all of which are easy as pie to make and taste good. Remember, before you go into the hospital, on your shopping trip get a large bag of shredded mozerella, one of monterrey jack, and whatever else you like cheesewise. Cheese adds cholesterol, but it also adds a lot of flavor to foods.

    Hope this helps.

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  7. Oh, geez, well when you're all done with the recipies, you MUST pass them on to me! 'Cause I SOOOO can't cook. At all.(I mean, that's why I married a cook! And now he's not home. So we starve!)

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  8. margalit - ummmmm, can you just come cook for us ALL the time! Everything you described sounds delicious! I'm sure we will get by fine, but some of the combos you described sounded great. Variety is the spice of life. :)

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  9. I'm a Super Suppers girl but the one piece of wisdom I can pass on is the disposable aluminum pans forone-dish meals. They freeze great, cook great, and throw away fabulously well. (Can they be recycled? That would make me feel better, but you asked for answers, not more questions.)

    When we can't look at another Super Suppers meal, my backup is turkey meatballs in the freezer, pasta, and a jar of sauce (oh the horrors). The meatballs are fully cooked. Defrost briefly in the microwave and heat with the sauce.

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  10. Your mom's recipies sound good. We rarely cook ourselves because Mark and now Alan are very very fussy eaters. We live on pasta lately and alan lives on cereal :(

    I'd send you my spinach lasgna recipie - but I can't find it on my blog (didn't tag it). Sigh.

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  11. Yes, along with everyone else on here who said so,

    You definitely have to do Lasagna of some type.

    If only because it's better the second time around. :)

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  12. I have my big old bag of recipes next to me and I'm composing a very long email for you now.

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  13. I'm not going to do the recipe thing at the moment, but as someone who did the Big H a couple of years ago (and I think we're of similar age...), please please PLEASE email me if you have any questions/concerns/venting you need to do with someone who knows.

    I was sad I didn't get to meet you this weekend, and sadder still for the reason. :P Stupid uterus.

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  14. Since it looks like you have a couple of cookbooks coming your way, I will just hold my meat loaf and enchillada recipe for now (okay I might email them to you).

    I'm sure you will update us as time gets closer and I will keep you in my prayers for a safe and effective surgery and quick recovery.

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  15. I'm totally useless in the recipe area, unless you're into Fruity Pebbles. ;)

    Sounds like a lot of folks are already jumping to your rescue. You're always in my prayers, Belinda. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed for you with the surgery. I lurvs you totally but I hate your health because it kept me from meeting you this weekend. Grrr.

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  16. ok, I'm not a big cook, so everything I do is easy. This is the one thing I have learnt to make that everyone seems to love! Will email it to you.

    Spinanch Quiche.

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  17. Spaghetti-Os with franks is very under-rated.

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  18. One of the Kims said Super Suppers, and there's a couple of recipes that are super easy that do freeze well. And have the added bonus of being sort of kid-friendly. The Basil-Pesto Chicken is one, and I do it with fresh breasts instead of frozen. Take 1 cup of prepared pesto sauce, add 1/4 cup djion mustard, and spread that over about 4 chicken breasts. Sprinkle with about a cup of mozzarella cheese and freeze. Thaw overnight, pop in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and the chicken is done. Serve it with some buttered noodes and bag o' salad.

    Another one that is popular and very kid-friendly is Cheesy Ravioli. You get the frozen cheese raviolis, place in a baking dish (still frozen) and add 3-4 cups of a good marinara sauce that you doctored up with some Italian herbs and garlic. Spread that over the raviolis, add about a cup or two (depending on your cheesiness factor) of mozzarell and freeze. Again, thaw overnight, bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes until sauce/raviolis are heated through, and cheese is brown and bubbly.
    We sell out of ravioli on a regular basis in our store, and we carry it in the grab and go freezer even when it's not on the menu. We also do a version with the frozen manicotti and the same other ingredients.
    You could do both of these in the foil bake and toss pans to save on cleanup as well.

    I've also got some crockpot recipes that I'll send you. You can mix all the ingredients up and freeze them without cooking, and then thaw and crockpot.

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