Can you give me some advice, please?
  Re: (...)
A very good friend of ours (DH has known him since college) recently divorced. He is now living in a small apartment and his son went off to college in another state. As if this isn't enough to deal with, he is at a loss to how to prepare meals. When his son was around, they ate out a lot, or the ex-wife would bring food over (for the son, but there was enough for both). Now, nothing.

I found out that he makes a lot of grilled cheese. And pancakes. He also boils pasta and heats up sauce. But, you can't live on this kind of "cuisine"!

I want so badly to type up a few recipes, very, very, very easy, and give them to him. I really have to give him a few basic cooking lessons as well. Like, how to saute a chicken breast. But he lives an hour away, so I'd have to somehow offer to do this "own his own turf" so he will be comfortable with the stove, whatever pans and utensils he has, etc.

He leaves his apartment weekdays at 7am and returns around 5pm, not much time to enjoy cooking.

How do I even begin?! Maybe tell him that it is possible to find meatballs in the frozen food section to make with his spaghetti, and a salad (from-a-bag) would be a nice side. So I guess that I should start out by planning a week or two worth of simple, basic meals, many parts of which can be purchased at his local grocery store.

Sorry to sound so... vague... but his situation is very new to me. In fact, I have been looking around for a nice basic cooking class to direct him to (such as Cooking For The Newly Single ) but no luck. Heck, maybe he could find a friend or two there, as well.

Any, and really I do mean ANY, advice, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

my cooking adventures
  Re: Can you give me some advice, please? by foodfiend (A very good friend o...)
Tell him to buy a rotisseri (sp?) chicken--eat one of the breasts with frozen lima beans and frozen corn--heated in pots. Serve
Take the legs--strip and chop the meat. Chop an onion--heat in olive oil until translucent--add canned chicken stock--chopped celery, a can of diced tomatoes, canned navy beans drained and rinsed--then add the chicken -add water to soup consistancy --heat and serve.
Take the other breast, cover with pepper jack cheese--heat at 300 in oven until melted--heat some canned black beans in a pot with a little cumin, get some spring mix greens and serve with vinegar and oil--
Boil the remainder of the chicken and make stock. Get a frozen Lean Cuisine (meat loaf,) in between to break the chicken habit!!
Next week, get a rump roast, rub with garlic & herb seasoning (or Italian) and cook all nite at 200 (will be falling apart)--improvise the next week with vegis, frys, etc. Drink a little vino and tea--not bad.
"He who sups with the devil should have a. long spoon".
  Re: Re: Can you give me some advice, please? by Old Bay (Tell him to buy a ro...)
Vicci, when my mom passed away some years back, my dad was completely lost in the kitchen. To this day, he still eats out a lot and I supplement him with meals at my house and always send him home with a bag of goodies.

But, for those times when he wants to make something on his own, I revised some crockpot recipes for him to make it simpler, by using some store-bought and ready made products, such as pre-chopped veggies, and canned sauces. That way, he can put everything in the pot the night before, and all he ever needs is a good loaf of bread to go with it and maybe a salad. I have to warn you though, non-cooks might try something once in a while, but not as often as you and I would. If you friend isn't all that interested in cooking, you could be wasting your time.
Good luck and I hope he appreciates your efforts.

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: Can you give me some advice, please? by Mare749 (Vicci, when my mom p...)
First of all...MC9 would help immensely. The program would enable him to scale down MOST recipes to two. I like two, because you have lunch for tomorrow.

Then, the Cuisine at Home for Two is one of my FAVORITE cookbooks they put out. SO many of my favorites come from this publication. Also, making a recipe as written is a good thing.

He can make his own frozen dinners....make a new recipe for four each week and freeze three for future use. After a couple of weeks, he'd have a months worth of dinners at the ready. (A FoodSaver would be essential for the best results here. Reheating in boiling water would be preferred.)

I'll give this some thought and get back with you about specific dinner ideas.
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: Can you give me some advice, please? by Gourmet_Mom (First of all...MC9 w...)
Does he want to learn how to cook? If he doesn't then maybe going out to eat might be more enjoyable for him... Sorry to throw a wet blanket on your efforts, but not everyone is as passionate about cooking as we are.
  Re: Re: Can you give me some advice, please? by HomeCulinarian (Does he want to lear...)
Considering the time element, a Crock Pot would be useful, but even without one, it's not difficult to throw something good together quickly.

For one thing, start with meat that is already cut into bite-sized pieces. When you sauté or stir-fry that, it's done in no time. It's also very versatile, since you can add just about any kind of sauce, veggies, rice or pasta to it, and turn it into a great meal (and not always tasting the same, either).

I taught two of my friends some basic cooking before they got married. In fact, they each married women who had never learned to cook, either, so I included them. The dishes I used: Beef Stroganoff, Chicken with Leeks and Cream, and Chicken Paprikas (of which, BTW, that recipe in Billy's tribute thread is a version - just with a different name). Those each seem so rich and special (and they are), but they are actually quite simple - even for beginners.
If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?
  Re: Re: Can you give me some advice, please? by labradors (Considering the time...)
Thanks for your input, everyone.

I am fairly certain that he would like to learn how to cook basic things, especially now since he doesn't have the demands of keeping a large house clean, yard mowed, etc.
He also is on a very tight budget.

Old Bay, the rotisserie chicken idea was a great one. I know that he can buy a cooked chicken! I have never because I find it easier to throw one in the oven, so I didn't think of that option. He would be totally lost with making the carcass into soup, however.

I was thinking that he could saute a couple of chicken breasts, add bottled bbq sauce, cover and simmer for a bit, then have one for dinner (with a baked potato and reheated frozen veggie like green beans) and pull apart one to take to work the next day to microwave and eat in a roll (along the line of a pulled chicken sandwich).

You know, it's so difficult for me to see his side because it is nothing I've dealt with before. I was given free reign of my Mom's kitchen when I was 12 (Gram and I cooked together for years before that), and it seems as though most of my friends cook. They may not enjoy it as much as I do, but at least they have the basics. Our friend had been married for almost 20 years and didn't do much beyond kitchen clean-up.

Okay, I was also thinking of what I mentioned in my earlier post, a spaghetti dinner. I usually make several dozen meatballs at a time, and I'm down to my last serving remaining in the freezer, so I will get extra ground turkey and make a couple of dozen then give him defrosting instructions, and he can suppplement his plain ol' spaghetti with sauce.

Which brings another question for you all, has anyone found a jarred pasta sauce that they like? I make my own (canned 18 quart from my tomatoes this summer, and will used the huge cans from Sam's to make more when needed), so I haven't a clue.

Labs, Chicken Paprika I am not familiar with so I am going to look up recipes for that and for Beef Stroganoff. I can't say that he would be comfortable with buying and cleaning a leek just yet, but I've now started a Phase II list. And I didn't know that you could buy cut-up meat. I know that stew beef (from back when I did eat red meat) is available in cubes, but it looks as though I will be getting an education with the project, too.

Keep the ideas coming! I really appreciate the help.

my cooking adventures
  Re: Re: Can you give me some advice, please? by foodfiend (Thanks for your inpu...)
When I was in College I used to put 4 chicken breasts in a baking dish, mix cans of cream of mushroom soup and cream of celery soup, pour over the top of the breasts, cover with foil and bake, say 40 min or so (until done) at 350. Very tasty!! Serve over rice.
"He who sups with the devil should have a. long spoon".
  Re: Re: Can you give me some advice, please? by Old Bay (When I was in Colleg...)
Old Bay, that will work! Did you thin the canned soups with water or just pour it over the chicken "au natural"?!?

my cooking adventures
  Re: Re: Can you give me some advice, please? by foodfiend (Old Bay, that will w...)
I diluted with water--1 to 1.
"He who sups with the devil should have a. long spoon".

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