Most home caregivers have very little free time, so finding ways to “economize” their time is very attractive. A common quandary many home caregivers face, especially those who are employed, is finding the time to make healthy, tasty dinners on weeknights. The problem is compounded by the fact that some seniors have early bedtimes or need to have plenty of time to digest their food before going to bed – which means dinners need to be scheduled on the early side.
Sometimes home caregivers handle this issue through the take-out route – picking up dinner from a pizzeria or a Chinese restaurant or another local eatery. This is an understandable option, but it has drawbacks. For example, this can get to be a pricey alternative. In addition, when food is prepared outside the home, it’s difficult to know just what is in it – and that can be a consideration when a person is on, say, a low sodium diet.
One attractive option to consider is preparing a number of meals in advance (say, over the weekend) and then freezing them for use during the rest of the week. Reheating is a much easier option on a weeknight than actually preparing all the food and cooking it. While the dinner is heating up, home caregivers can move on to some of the other things on their “to do” list – or actually take some time to relax and catch their breath.
The following are a few suggestions for homemade frozen dinners, along with links to recipes for the items.
- Baked penne pasta: Frozen pasta dishes are among the easiest dinners and reheat wonderfully. The recipe here can be modified (for example, using tofu or tempeh in place of meat for vegetarians, or adding spinach or zucchini for extra flavor) as needed.
- Twice-baked potatoes: For items like baked potatoes, put them on a small pan (not touching each other), and let them freeze for 2 hours. Then they can be transferred to separate plastic bags. A good recipe can be found here.
- Baked chicken fajitas: This recipe can also be modified as needed. (For example, mushrooms might be substituted for peppers.)
- Tuna noodle casserole: This is a popular favorite, one recipe for which is here.
- Chicken noodle soup: Many soups are excellent options for freezing. Try this recipe for a favorite comforting soup.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Home caregivers can look online to find numerous recipes for homemade frozen dinners that can make dinnertime much more manageable.