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11 November 2020

Four simple, hearty meals to cook and freeze for your elderly relatives

Finding easy and delicious recipes that are also suited to the nutritional and physical needs of an elderly relative can be a tough brief. Finding a variety of healthy meals for a whole week is even tougher!

Finding easy and delicious recipes that are also suited to the nutritional and physical needs of an elderly relative can be a tough brief. Finding a variety of healthy meals for a whole week is even tougher! While scrambled eggs may be perfect for a quick, simple supper, there is only so many times your parent or grandparent can eat eggs, especially if they also have it for breakfast and lunch!

Many families worry whether their parents or grandparents are eating well and getting all the essential nutrients they need to stay healthy. There are many reasons why older people don’t eat a healthy, balanced diet. Shopping and cooking may be too physically demanding a task. Appetites tend to decrease for older adults as they become less physically active, or cognitively impaired. Food could be too difficult to chew and swallow. If all three factors coincide, your loved one may soon become undernourished.

With the arrival of the cooler months, it’s the season of slow cooking, soups and casseroles. What better time to be inspired to cook some delicious, nutritious, easy-to-eat meals for your relative to simply heat and eat.

We’ve found four hearty dishes packed with high-quality nutrition and cooked to the right texture, making them perfect meals for older adults. Best of all, these dishes can be frozen into individual portions for the weeks ahead.

 

Slow Cooked Beef Burgundy

Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy has tender melt-in-your-mouth beef and hearty veggies slow cooked to perfection in a rich sauce. This meal is comforting and perfect for the cold months ahead!

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1.5kg beef chuck steak, trimmed, cut into 5cm pieces

  • 200g shortcut rindless bacon, halved lengthways, cut into 1cm strips

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme

  • 1 cup red wine

  • 1/2 cup beef stock

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 4 medium carrots

  • 16 small pickling onions, peeled

  • 400g small button mushrooms

  • Peas to serve

  • Mashed potato, to serve

  • Salt, to season


In a large frypan, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon and place in the slow cooker. Salt and pepper the beef and add to the fry pan, browning on each side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer beef to the slow cooker.

Add the red wine to the frypan, scraping down the brown bits on the side. Allow it to deglaze and simmer until reduced and slowly add stock and tomato paste. Add the sauce to the slow cooker.

Add garlic, thyme, carrots and mushrooms to the slow cooker. Give it a good stir and cook on low for 8-10hrs or high for 4-6hrs until beef is tender. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with mashed potatoes and mushy peas if desired. This dish can be frozen into individual portions.

 

Pumpkin, Pea and Coconut Curry

  • 400ml tin coconut milk

  • 2 tablespoons red or yellow curry paste

  • 700g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 3cm chunks

  • 2 field tomatoes, cut into eighths

  • 1 red capscium, cut into large chunks

  • ¼ head of cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 100g baby spinach leaves

  • 2/3 cup frozen peas

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice


Heat a wok or large saucepan over a medium heat. Add half the coconut milk and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until it thickens and reduces. Add the curry paste and stir for 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add the remaining coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add pumpkin and just enough water so the pumpkin is just covered, then return to boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.

Add peas and tomato, capsicum and cauliflower, simmer for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add spinach, sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and stir until spinach is wilted. Serve with steamed rice, garnish with basil leaves or coriander.

 

Hidden Veg Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium brown onion, finely diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 500g minced beef

  • 1–2 teaspoons chilli powder

  • 2 carrots, finely chopped (you could use a food processor)

  • 1 zucchini, finely chopped

  • 55g tomato purée

  • 1 × 400g can chopped tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • Sea salt

  • Cheese - optional


Sweet potato and broccoli mash:

  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped 

  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or butter  


Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Sauté the onion for about 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add finely chopped carrot and zucchini and saute until soft.

Add beef, chilli powder, oregano and salt and stir. Add the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and mustard; stir and cook for 5 minutes.

Add up to 250ml water as needed to create a sauce; stir and cook for another 5 minutes, until the meat is cooked through.
 

For the mash:

Steam or boil the sweet potato for 10 minutes, until soft. Add the broccoli and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork or knife. Transfer the broccoli and sweet potato to a food processor with the salt and oil or butter and pulse to a smooth puree.

Line a 33 × 23cm baking dish with the mince mixture, then top it with a layer of the mash. Add grated cheese on top (if using). For individual portions, you could use large ramekin dishes.

Bake in preheated oven at 190 C until completely heated through and the mash starts to brown a bit, about 15-20 minutes.  

 

Moroccan-spiced Vegetable Soup

This quick and tasty soup can be made with fresh and ready-to-use ingredients in a matter of minutes. It can be stored in the fridge or freezer, and makes the ideal light supper or lunch.   

  • 1 pouch of pre-cooked brown rice and quinoa

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 celery stalk, diced

  • 1 carrot, diced

  • ½ red chilli, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons Moroccan seasoning

  • 750ml vegetable stock

  • 400g can chickpeas, drained

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Natural yoghurt to serve

  • Coriander leaves, chopped to serve

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot. Saute onion, celery, carrot and chilli in the pan for about 5 mins. Add Moroccan seasoning and stir to combine for 2 mins. Add the vegetable stock, chickpeas and quinoa and brown rice and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Serve with natural yoghurt and chopped coriander and a slice of crusty wholegrain bread.

(Shauna/Camille)

 

Slow Cooked Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 800g skin-on chicken thighs

  • 250g. baby red potatoes, quartered

  • 1 sweet potato, cut into 4cm chunks

  • 2 parsnips, cut into chunks

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme

  • Freshly chopped parsley

  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

In a large frypan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and sear until golden, 3 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in a large slow cooker, toss potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips in remaining 2 tablespoons oil, butter, garlic, thyme, parsley, and season generously with salt, pepper and half the Parmesan. Add chicken, remaining parmesan and parsley and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, until potatoes are tender and chicken is fully cooked and soft-textured. Serves 4-6.