Thursday, May 05, 2011

With a Little Help From my Friends...

A couple of months ago, a good friend of mine was plagued with some shoulder and upper back pain. She's always been disgustingly healthy, so she put off going to the doctor.

Good thing she didn't put it off any longer.

She has a cancerous tumor the size of a baseball in her lung.

Right now, she's on a 7-week regimen of chemo and radiation. Meaning she rides down into the city 5 times a week to get a treatment of one or the other or both.

And she continues to work a full-time job. Gah.

Her employers are more than willing to give her all the time off that she needs. Her job and insurance wouldn't be affected, but she says that if she doesn't work, she'd just sit at home and dwell on her illness. A week into her regimen, her hair started falling out, so last Saturday she went and had it shaved. What a woman!

Although her friends and family have all signed up to be designated drivers down into the city, I'm working on a little something else.

It's important that she keep her weight up, but after going to the city for treatment and then working, she's too tired to cook a lot of the time. Frozen crap is boring and not tempting to the tastebuds. A diet of fast food isn't terribly healthy.

Plus, she doesn't eat meat. Not for any ideology---she just doesn't like it. She does however, eat eggs, cheese and fish.

I've decided to stock up her freezer with some yummy comfort foods she can just pop in the oven or microwave. I've already made several vegetable and cheese quiches, but I'm looking for something different, some variety.

Guess I could look up recipes on the web, but I don't want to make her a guinea pig. LOL

So I'm turning to you guys.

Do you have any tried and true recipes you cook for your family that she might like?

I'm looking for:

rice/pilaf/vegetable dishes (I already have a kick-ass Spanish rice recipe)
a different kind of mac and cheese recipe (not out of a box)
pasta recipes
potato recipes (I'd really like a scalloped or au gratin potato recipe that isn't the usual)

And if you could send up a thought for healing, I'd truly appreciate it.




Rootietoot said...

How about a vegetable pot pie-just like chicken pot pie with an herbed bechamel sauce instead of canned cream of whatever, potatoes,carrots, green peas and some kind of biscuit or puff pastry crust- freezes like a dream and you can make a big one or small individual sized ones. I've heard chemo can change your sense of taste and some things don't taste right. Could you ask her about that?

debra said...

I've never been much of a meat eater, and I have a vegan daughter so I cook this way all the time. I'm also not much of a recipe user--recipes, to, me, are more like guidelines. So here's what I might prepare.
Easy cheese sauce: I heat condensed milk (it comes in non-fat, low fat or full fat) in a saucepan. I add grated cheeses---whatever I have in the fridge, and stir until blended. Then I pour it over veggies or veggies and pasta. I put the whole thing in a baking dish and bake until it's hot and bubbly.
I prepare brown basmati rice (smells wonderful) and add salsa or canned diced tomatoes. I add cumin or basil depending on my taste of the day. I add a can of beans, maybe some corn and some black olives for color. You could put grated cheese on top.
I also use tofu---would she eat that? If so, I'll send you some ideas.

Anonymous said...

There's always lasagna and stuffed shells. When my daughter was having chemo for breast cancer she said her mouth got very sensetive to sour tastes like they hurt so I wonder if tomato sauce would work. probably should make it as "au gratin" as possible and limit the tomato sauce to just a decorative swirl.

Rita said...

Miso soup is always yummy. Also hummus is high in protein and is great for snacking. The best place though for high protein meals is another chick I follow her blog is called the world according to eggface.

Good luck and I think its great what you are doing for your friend!

Sheri said...

This is my new favorite dish in the WORLD!

This is a link from my recipe blog . . . there's some good stuff in there! :)

Gail Dixon said...

What a good friend you are! This is an awesome gift.

Your friend is quite a trooper to work and go through all the medical stuff, too.

I've been really healthy most of my life but this is a reminder that nagging aches and pains should probably get checked out. Thank you!

Lisa said...

What a great friend! My dad went through chemo for lung cancer. He said he ached from it, so how great to have someone give a little care.
A simple fettuccine alfredo
I use Bertoli because when I try to make my own it tastes funny.
I add 1/3 Cup Parmesan cheese
Add Carrots and Broccoli
Pour over cooked fettuccine noodles

Anonymous said...

What a good friend you are! My favorite comfort food of this type is this mac & cheese, which is just as yummy without bacon.

ChickenTherapy said...

My partners step-mum is going through the exact thing at the moment and Chris' Dad is a terrible cook!Once a week, the night before chemo, they come over and I cook them a big 3 course comfort meal and pack up some meals for them.

The main ones that I do are bags of vegies pre-oiled and seasoned so they can just put them on a tray and roast them. Lasagna or pasta bake, something in a baking dish that can be reheated easily. And a soup for the days when the mouth ulcers are bad and hard food isn't an option. I do a tomato soup or spiced butternut pumpkin or French onion.

clairesmum said...

how about a 'strata' type of dish - the layers of stale bread, beaten eggs/milk/cream, shredded cheese, sometimes some chopped sauteed veggies? have done them with bacon/sausage, perhaps the veggie versions of those, or tofu, would work as well?
silken tofu can be blended into a pudding, something that is high protein but soft, sweet, easy to eat can be pleasing during chemo when she may be very very tired, or have mouth sores.
strata and tofu puddings don't freeze, but can keep several days in the refrigerator.
there's a cookbook called "Cooking well for the unwell" not a great title, and i don't recall the rest of the info, but a librarian might be able to track it down.
check cancer treatment web sites, such as American Cancer Society, for ideas.
she can ask at the place where she has chemo, or the local hospital, for ideas, or referral to a dietician if she has a really hard time keeping up her intake.
will see what i can find in my recipe box.
sometimes just a small amount of cut up fresh fruit is appealing, either alone or with some ice cream or sorbet on top. having the food all prepared and ready to eat, in a single person portion, can make all the difference to someone with poor appetite.
carnation instant breakfast is good. so is a bit of dry milk powder added into items where you use milk, to add protein and calories.
you're a good buddy.
healing thoughts ascending.

Bonnie said...

My husband invented 'black beans and fire roasted tomatos'.
Drain a can of black beans, add some garlic and a can of fire roasted tomatos, and nuke.
I will put it over pasta or rice, and top with cheese.

Black Bean Burrito Bake (delish!)
4 tortillas (8", corn or flour)
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 cup frozen or canned corn
1/2 c. plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream
1 chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce)
1 c. salsa (from a jar is fine)
1/2 c. (2 oz.) shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, cheddar, whatever)

Drain and rinse black beans. Put half of the beans in a blender or chopper and mush them up.

Put the whole beans, mashed beans and corn in a bowl. Chop the chipotle pepper up, removing the seeds if you don't want a lot of heat. Stir it and a little of the adobo sauce into the yogurt. Let it sit 10 minutes or so.

Stir yogurt mixture into bean mixture. Combine thoroughly and then put a half-cup of the mixture in the middle of each tortilla. Roll the tortillas up and place seam-side down in a greased baking pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350ยบ for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, spread salsa over burritos, and then sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for another 15 minutes, uncovered, until cheese melts and burritos are heated through.

Does she like Indian food? I won't bombard you with recipes for stuff like channa dhal and lemon dhal, unless she likes that.

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

Oh I'm so sorry to hear about your friend... I hate hearing about people getting seems everywhere these days :(

I can't add any recipes, I'm not that talented, but I will send good thoughts to her!