My dad is a Bachelor. He doesn't really cook. The most he does in the kitchen is make fresh coffee and breakfasts that usually consists of eggs, bacon or ham, and maybe french fries if he has some. A little over a year ago Abuela ended up living with him; up until she passed away right before this last Thanksgiving. While she was living with him the woman, an EXCELLENT cook, made sure the man was well fed. You know, like any Abuela tends to do. Fatten you up for the slaughter.
When Abuela passed away, my dad was back to living alone. Somehow I ended up offering to cook for him once or twice a month with the purpose of leaving him prepped meals and snacks that he can just grab as he needed. Left alone he'd be eating out pretty much every day, and although that might be fun, it can be expensive, not so healthy, and not quite convenient given he may work 7 hours one day and 12 the next. My cooking for him would benefit him in more ways than not. Best best of all, we'd able to hang, bond, and watch Lifetime Movie Network together. How many chicks can say their dad watches Lifetime? Yeah, pretty much none. I personally think it helps with his work/profession (he's a Dr. in Psychology) and his therapy sessions.
The way it works is once or twice a month I go to his apartment for 1 or 2 days and cook meals and prep some snacks. I check his pantry and ingredients, do some shopping of whatever I need to cook and anything else he wants or needs, and then get to cooking. I use his money, of course, and might even buy myself some groceries or two. And sometimes he even buys me Sushi before grocery shopping. I think that more than for the bonding, I do it for the Sushi. I confess. It's all about the Sushi.
Besides the hot foods I leave in microwaveable, reusable containers, I also make him some snacks that he can take to work or eat at home. They usually have fruit, cheese, crackers, or whatever else is around or interesting. Fortunately, the man eats EVERYTHING, so I can really go crazy and he'd eat it.
Last time I made two types of snacks. One was basically some dip, veggies, and crackers.
The other one was cheese, fruit, cold cuts, and crackers.
I started with a variety of ingredients. I bought individually wrapped cheeses, cold cuts, fresh and dried fruit, crackers, veggies, hummus, and so on and so forth.
I bought some hummus and made a second dip using some leftover sun-dried tomato pesto I had made for one his pastas, goat cheese, and cream cheese.
I placed the dips in disposable aluminum containers and placed them in some plastic "bubble" containers.
Using the handy dandy "SNACK SIZE" plastic baggies, I portioned out some carrots and crackers.
I added some raisins for good luck and these babies were ready to be placed in the fridge.
I then did a second batch of snacks using fresh fruit, dried fruit (figs), individually wrapped cheeses, cold cuts, and the such. Kind of like a mini cheese platter.
Once they were all packed, dad's fridge top shelf was full of snacks and salad.
It looked something like this...
When I cook, I make him either Puerto Rican food (rice, beans, plantains, veggies, meats, etc.) or not so-Rican food (pasta, stir fries, salads, taters, etc.). Whatever is good, the man eats rocks. Last time I cooked I made chicken 3 ways, 2 different pastas, 6 different veggie sides, and a cold salad which you can see in the picture above, on the right hand side. It consisted of cherry tomatoes, black olives, sliced red onions, toasted pine nuts, feta and Grana Padano cheese, and a balsamic and herb vinaigrette.
I divided the hot food randomly and every time he pulls a container out, chances are it's not the same as the previous one. Some I refrigerate, most I freeze. I instruct him to remember to pull one or two out at least a day before so they're thawed and ready to heat up when he needs them. I don't have pics of all these hot meals as I made them 'cause I can't always multitask. But I do have pics of the hot food containers waiting for him to reheat them.
I also made a Puerto Rican style Sancocho Stew, which I wrote about a week or so ago. I divided it into manly portions and packed those into his fridge and freezer as well. This is his freezer:
So that's dad's fridge & freezer. Now, I simply sit and wait until I receive a text message from dad saying:
SOS! HELP! SOS! HELP! I only have enough food for 2 days!!!
I then proceed to call him, tell him where 2 or 3 extra - yet hidden in the freezer - meals are (in the bottom drawer which he never looks into for some reason). I then make plans to be back there cooking in 2-3 days and daydream about what rolls I'll be ordering when he takes me out for Sushi.
¡Buen provecho peeps!