Meals that Freeze - Helping a Friend in Need
Helping my friend who is having surgery after cancer treatment and will be out of commission for a month. Her husband will have a lot on his plate in helping her and will need meals that can be heated in the oven as they don't have a microwave. Along the way, she has had to have her gall bladder removed so it trying to eat cleaner. Can this wonderful community help with ideas for meals to freeze? I have seen previous posts that include lasagna and soups. We live in Atlanta so summers are hot! Would love additional ideas to help my friend. Thanks so much!
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I also love the idea of using an electric kettle to make oatmeal. Bob's Red Mill Instant Oatmeal is really delicious, without all the additives and spices of commercial oatmeals--we always bring it on vacation because we follow a limited diet; we add fruit, either fresh or freeze-dried, honey and nuts. It's delicious.
A cold soup idea would be to make gazpacho but Instead of simply blending raw tomaotes, use roasted cherry/grape tomatoes (the glutamates are in the skin and seeds). Slice them in half (or dice romas if you prefer) then toss with miso paste and some soy sauce roast for 30-40 minutes at 375 and then use that to make a gaspacho. The tomatoes can also be made in big batched, brought down to room temp then frozen in single servings. They are great defrosted to toss with room temp. pesto pasta, greens, or top rice and canned tuna.
Here are some of my favorite dishes from the site (and beyond) that freeze well. I tried to include light and healthy dishes with fiber and veggies, and perhaps lean meats, that are appropriate for post-gallbladder surgery diet. Most of the dishes can be served cold or slightly warm. As a matter of fact, almost all of them can be defrosted overnight in the fridge.
Sauteed Corn, Green Onions, and Shiitake Mushrooms https://food52.com/recipes/6285-sauteed-corn-green-onions-and-shiitake-mushrooms
Swiss Chard Moussaka
Quinoa and Faro Salad
Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms
Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Farro
A quick search on the excellent Mayo Clinic web site turned up this article on post-gallbladder surgery diets. It sounds like you’re already aware that a low-fat, high-fiber diet is recommended, but according to this particular article, fiber should not be increased too fast.
Fiber could be introduced through oatmeal, cereals, grains. So perhaps some new dishes like quinoa, barley or brown rice salads. (A search on “quinoa” on this site will yield dozens of great recipes but you may want to avoid the ones with cheese because of the fat content. Your friend’s husband can quickly reheat grain dishes in a frying pan or in the oven.)
But it all depends on how she is doing post-op, how much of an appetite, etc. Maybe plain instant oatmeal, for additional fiber, might be all she can handle gastro-wise, in the beginning – you will have to wait and see. To facilitate making oatmeal and soothing herbal teas (hot or cold), consider getting them an electric tea kettle, since they don’t have a microwave. There are very inexpensive models and it will be a big time-saver for him. Maybe a good Rubbermaid jug for cold teas, and a couple good tumblers with spill-proof lids and built-in straws for when she is still in bed – more than one tumbler, so her husband doesn’t have to worry about washing up and re-using just one. (In my experience, it’s these little things that make a big difference!)
Some hospitals have excellent dietary counseling for various post-surgical situations, so you may want to check with the hospital where her surgery will be performed on any literature or support they can give you for your friend’s post-surgical diet. And of course check with her M.D., especially since she has undergone chemo and she may have dietary recommendations related to that.
Best of luck to your friend and her husband, and to you for being such a good friend. Post-surgery is a stressful time and they will be so grateful for your efforts.
Eating clean is very subjective. What I consider eating clean may differ from what they consider eating clean.
Am I wrong in my memory or is it not fat she needs to avoid with gall bladder issues. I had a personal chef client who had Celiac and loss of gall bladder and I remember vaguely that I had to be very careful about fat content.
what popped onto my head per your request were Greek foods, which tend to be more vegetable-based and can be served hot or at room temperature.
Spanakopita (spinach pie) freezes well unbaked, and once baked, can be eaten cold. Same dish can be made with shredded zucchini. Use a low fat feta, and do a light spritz of cooking spray (or quick brush of olive oil) between the filo layers instead of butter.
Dips like hummus and baba ganoush also freeze well, and when it's hot, we can make a meal out of it with some whole grain crackers, carrots, cukes, and peppers for dipping...don't feel like eating more.
The base for cold soups can be frozen ahead too-- my mom makes a cream of sorrel soup which is just cooked sorrel blended with chicken or veggie broth. Freeze. When reheating gently, whisk in some cultured low fat buttermilk or Greek yogurt. Can serve warm or chill at this point. Could probably do the same with spinach, carrots and turmeric, zucchini and dill, broccoli, etc.
And then my college fallback--quiche. Add any veggies, herbs, meats, cheeses (use low fat milk or yogurt for the custard), bake until set, cut into wedges but store in the pie tin, wrap and freeze. He can then take out as many pieces as they will eat at a sitting and reheat gently in the oven.
Hope this helps!
I've also made turkey meatloaf with mozzarella and spinach (you can replace up to half the meat with finely chopped mushrooms without too much change to taste or texture), lentil soup, and chicken/potato bakes (this recipe with par-cooked potatos swapped for the pasta and lots of broccoli added: https://www.alexandracooks.com/2013/02/18/pasta-with-chicken-lemon-white-wine-a-meal-to-take-to-a-friend/).