Maintenance Cooking

Maintenance as in maintaining meal staples or maybe just plain maintaining sanity with all the straining and pureeing necessary for a Gastroparesis-friendly life!  I’m innately lazy when it come to certain things.  I’d rather cook once, make the mess once, clean up once but have multiple servings of Gastroparesis-friendly staples on hand.  Preparing an easy and nutritious dinner is possible with a few “go to” items already prepped and waiting.  Foods that are easy to “prep” once and portion for the freezer are:

Roasted Butternut Squash. (from 9/30/10 post)  Definitely worth the trouble.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut butternut squash in half length wise and scrape out the seeds with a sharp spoon.  Cook as many squash as you have room/pans for.  Place each half cut side down in a rimmed sheet pan or baking pan with 1/4 inch of water.  Roast for approximately 35-45 minutes until a skewer can be inserted in the neck of the squash without resistance.  Let cool and when cool enough to handle scoop out the flesh and mash in a big bowl (puree in a food processor if necessary).  Freeze in individual containers.  Squash can be seasoned as savory with onion powder, garlic, thyme and even parmesan cheese or sweet with brown sugar, maple syrup or even a spoonful of orange juice concentrate from the freezer.  A great side dish or base for soup.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  Place as many potatoes as can fit on a sheet pan in the oven.  Roast until potatoes are tender then peel, mash and portion into containers for the freezer.  Defrost in the microwave.   Season as desired then reheat for a quick side dish.  Mashed sweet potatoes can be enjoyed as is or seasoned savory or sweet.  (See post 10/21/10 for Gingerbread Sweet Potatoes)

Fragrant Rices.  Yes, rice can be frozen.  I don’t eat rice that often (usually when I’m having something with Asian flavor) and I like fragrant rices like jasmine and basmati.  I plug in the rice cooker and make more than I need, portion 1 cup or so of leftover rice in small Ziploc bags and store in the freezer.  Defrost and reheat the rice in the microwave for a quick side dish or addition to soup…how’s that for minute rice!

Strained Pasta Sauce. I strain pasta sauce primarily for Three Cheese Pita Pizzas (see post 9/3/10).  I purchase a no salt, no sugar added regional brand without a lot of chunky ingredients so there is very little to strain out.  Strain a couple of jars at a time then portion for the freezer.  Strained pasta sauce is there when I need it…just defrost.  For a little “veggie boost” divide any leftover canned pumpkin puree to the strained sauce.  It reduces the amount of tomato (if acid is a problem) in each serving and you won’t even notice the pumpkin is there.

Chicken Tenders. My favorite tip for an easy and free meal.  When I purchase a family package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts I check to see if the tenders have been left on (Whole Foods usually leaves them).  Remove the tenders and freeze in a separate container.  I’ve saved off up to 12 ounces of tenders depending on how big the package of chicken is.  No one will miss them and they are easy to defrost in the microwave and cook quickly or add to soup.

Peeled and Portioned Ginger Root. Always have ginger on hand by buying it when it looks fresh, peel it and cut into thumb sized pieces before freezing.  It will always be waiting for teas, to add to recipes or for flavoring soup.

Pancakes. It’s virtually impossible to make just two pancakes.  So I mix up a whole batch, cook them and when they’re cool pack them away in a Ziploc bag with a piece of wax paper between each pancake.  Defrost and reheat in the microwave and pair with some scrambled eggs for a quick and easy GP-friendly meal.

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6 responses to “Maintenance Cooking

  1. Cool, I never knew you could freeze rice. What kind of rice cooker do you have? That’s going to be our next big kitchen electric purchase.

  2. I don’t eat a lot of rice…more of a potatoes gal so I bought an inexpensive Black and Decker at Bed Bath and Beyond. Still jealous of your snazzy new Vitamix!

  3. Haha, well now Matt thinks we need a Zojirushi rice cooker, and I’m not sure it’s worth it. We have some research to do.

  4. Ahh, marriage a life long lesson in negotiation and compromise…now I have a Keurig taking up valuable real estate on the kitchen counter!

  5. LOL! I love my rice cooker. When I had my really bad flare-up right after surgery, rice was the only thing I could eat when I could eat. I kept some frozen so it was fairly handy. I think I have a little cheapy 3 cup rice cooker.

    As far as maintenance cooking…I usually do my cooking for my lunches at work on Sunday and tend to make more than I need, so that goes in the freezer too. Very nice.

  6. I actually like the little crust that forms on the bottom of the rice…nice and crispy!