Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.(Philippians 4:8)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Assistance needed ... Quick & Simple Dinner ideas?

Back story here ... my husband is the second of nine children.  One of his brothers recently turned 21 years old in August and is a junior at our local University here in Montana studying microbiology.  My brother-in-law is an awesome guy... wonderful, actually.  He works summers at our Camp Mak-a-Dream for children with cancer.  The kids, and staff, all love him, too. This summer he was invited to shadow some doctors at St. Jude Children's Medical Hospital.  He thinks he may now switch his major.  He's just that cool.

Well, this past year, he's been having some medical issues which have perplexed our local doctors and have resulted in a few trips to the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.  He and his parents returned this weekend from another said trip.  This time, the doctors believe they have the diagnosis correct. ... youth-onset ALS. Lou Gehrig's Disease.  The research on this is ugly.  Jack though, all he cared about after this trip was getting back to school in time to study more for his exams.  The family is doing what can be done, where Jack will let us, and my husband and I are providing a few meals a week to this very hungry college "boy."  He never seems to stop eating, as one of the staffers at the summer camp said he could recommend in a letter for him ... :-).

So, my request to you, is for some very simple, basic ingredient-type casserole recipes that you think I could cook for my brother-in-law.  We're talking beef, chicken, potatoes and pasta, vegetables type here.  Simple. :-)  We just want him to be able to reheat these meals in the dorm and serve.  What do you fine bloggy-buddies think?  Think you could help me?  I would so appreciate anything you think is good, solid comfort food.

Thanks and many blessings to each and every one of you!
Quiltastic day to ya!



  1. Meatballs are great make a big batch and freeze them. Good for pasta bakes and sandwiches. Could also add itlian sausage to the mix. Chili is also good, always have some in my freezer!

  2. I have some great freezer meals that you can take and he can stick in his freezer and are easy for him just take out the night before and pop in oven when you get home. call me if interested.

  3. Im so sorry about this diagnosis! A close friend in her 50s was diagnosed this year and hers started top down and her decline has been so fast. I would encourage him to find his dreams and live as many as he can. Food-Lasanges(sp?) are good. Also I recently saw a recipe where you can bake pies in short wide canning jars and freeze them! Dessert is always good! He is in my prayers.

  4. Remember 'Breakfast-Pizza' from your childhood?? Yummmm

  5. So sorry to hear this sad news. Sending a prayer up for him.

    I have a great recipe for baked ziti.
    1-1lb box of ziti
    1-3lb chub of ground chuck
    2-jars of prego
    1-small can tomato paste
    2 tbsp of chopped garlic
    2 lbs shredded cheese
    1 half stick of butter

    Brown ground chuck while noodles are cooking. Drain fat off meat and place back into the pan. Add the prego and tomato paste with the garlic. Add enough water to have it juicy but not runny. Cook while noodles are finishing up at least until it comes to a good boil. Drain water from noodles and add butter to them in a large bowl or you can use the same pan. Do not combine with meat. In an oblong baking pan place just enough of the sauce to cover the bottom.(not thick) Next cover bottom of pan with half the noodles. On top of the noodles cover with half the meat sauce. Next cover meat with cheese liberally. Make another layer the same way. Put in an oven heated to 350 degrees F and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly. This will serve around 8 people and is very good. Hope you enjoy.

  6. So sorry to read your family is going through this! For comfort food, my kids always want mac n cheese. (made from scratch with 'real' cheese) ;-) I keep frozen cooked meatballs, turkey etc in the freezer for quick meals too. Good luck!

  7. You've got some good suggestions here. I agree with Debra about the meatballs, add a couple of hoagie buns and some sauce (his favorite jarred, or your homemade) and he can have a sandwich on those days he doesn't want a meal, or just inbetween meals. Guys can eat a lot! Chili is good too, I just made me some and froze it into individual servings since I live alone. You could pop it into one of those disposable 9 X9 pans for him. Add some grated cheese for him to toss on top and fresh cornbread for the day you make it, crackers for his leftovers. Unless, of course, he likes cornbread reheated, I myself am not a fan of it so I opt for crackers. There's always stews, rich and hearty and full of meat, don't skimp on the meat. They reheat easily and are especially good on cold days. For the mac and cheese, you can pretend to make it healthier by adding broccoli. My grown kids also like for me to add meat (usually ham, but sausage or hamburger will work, think hamburger helper) and onion.

    Hope you find lots of ideas you can use in our suggestions. Your family is in my prayers.

    While I understand it's hard for him to let others do things for him, boy do I, remind him he's actually helping you all by allowing you to do something for him. He sounds like a kind and loving young man and I know you all want to help as much as possible. - Nita

  8. I just wanted to tell you "Thank you so much" for your thoughtfulness!! We all love our Secret Santa swap gifts. You are so generous and talented. It really made my day yesterday when the package arrived. Thank you!

    I am sorry to read about your brother in law. The only recipe I can think of offhand that is casserole-y is the chicken casserole I make sometimes. You just take some stuffing (I use Stove Top) and put a layer in the bottom of the baking dish, add a layer of cooked cubed chicken on top, then I always add a layer of broccoli to that, dump a can of undiluted cream of chicken (or celery or mushroom...) soup over all of it, bury it under another layer of stuffing, and shove it in the oven until everything is hot, usually about an hour... It's not bad, and it's definitely easy.

    I hope that you and your family manage to have a very joyful holiday season. You've given my family wonderful gifts, and we will enjoy them for a long time. We are sending you love and best wishes this season. Merry Christmas!

  9. We have two close friends suffering through cancer and we've prepared the following a few times to help with meals - it's delicious and fast to make.

    TaterTot Casserole

    1 1/2 lbs. lean hamburger
    season to taste (I usually add salt/pepper/ground garlic
    Cook until done and drain any grease, add the following:

    2 cans of cream of chicken soup (can use low sodium, low fat, or cream of celery or mushroom)
    2 cans of green beans
    stir together until well mixed, place in 9 x 13 pan. Top with a little shredded cheese of your choice.
    Top completely with tater tots, then cover with shredded cheese.

    Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, provides dinner for several days.

  10. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law's diagnosis. I wish him all the best. Here is a quick recipe for you to try:

    Chicken Wrap Casserole

    1 package flour tortillas
    1 bunch of fresh spinach
    1 bag fajita chicken pieces
    1 bottle peppercorn ranch dressing
    1-2 cups grated cheese, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or any combination

    Take 5-6 flour tortillas and cut them in 1/4 inch wide strips. Place these in bottom of 9x13 inch casserole dish. Top with chopped up spinach enough to cover the tortillas. Spread fajita chicken pieces on top of spinach. Pour peppercorn ranch dressing on top of chicken. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350°F for about 20-30 minutes till heated through. Enjoy. It takes about 5 minutes to throw together. By the time you heat up the veggies and set the table the casserole is done.

  11. I was so sad to here about your brother-in-law,we should live every day to it's fullness because we never know what tomorrow will bring. We nearly lost our daughter to H1N1 last week.
    Cheddar Burger Soup (easy and freezes well)
    3/4 lb ground beef
    3/4 cup onion
    3/4 cup carrots and celery diced
    1tsp basil
    2tbsp butter
    3 cups chicken broth
    4 cups cubed potatoes
    1 1/2 cup milk
    2 cups cheddar cheese or any cheese you like
    1/4 cup flour
    1/4 cup sour cream
    1. Heat 1 tbs butter in large pot an medium heat. Cook and stir vegetables and beef until beef cooked.
    2. Stir in basil add broth and potatoes,cook until tender.
    In separate pot melt remaining butter stir in flour, add milk stirring until smooth.
    4 Gradually add milk mixture to soup constantly stirring. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer,stir in cheese. When cheese is nmlted add sour cream and heat through.
    This is a real comfort food and my husband loves it on a cold night.
    Much love and blessings at christmas. Sandra