Cooking for Delivery


IMG_0108Food. There’s a Christmas present.

Include a promise to keep the food deliveries coming throughout the year, and you have made someone’s day. That’s how it was for my father-in-law, who manages to find his way in the kitchen but hasn’t spent his life cooking, but has now become the chief cook and bottle washer. My husband and I decided that a year of homemade food deliveries would be a good gift for his parents, and it was certainly well received.

The first delivery looked like this, carefully packaged for storage. IMG_0233


IMG_0110For the freezer:
  • Lasagna, cut into squares and individually packaged
  • Meatballs packaged 4 to a container
  • Stuffed Baked Potatoes, easily thawed and heated in the microwave
  • Beef Stew, frozen flat in ziploc bags, in bowl-sized portions, and biscuits
  • Cook’s Illustrated’s fabulous make-ahead dinner rolls, requiring a quick counter thaw and time in the oven (A Passionate Plate has illustrated the prep nicely, here.)
  • Lowfat cinnamon crumb muffins
For the fridge:
  • A jar of steel-cut oats with side containers of chopped nuts and maple syrup
  • Not-even-close-to-lowfat homemade “Reese” cups (These were in the house because we’d been experimenting with them, and thought they might be appreciated. They were.)
  • Cooked and seasoned mixed grains and wild rice.

Out of that list, I’m sharing the recipe for steel-cut oats, because I’m eating a bowl right now. I made a batch yesterday and divided it into short, wide-mouth mason jars for the fridge. (Technically, I’m eating a jar of oatmeal.)

This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated and is one of hundreds of reasons you should subscribe. You can do this in print, for your iPad, or online, or some combination, and it’s worth every penny. I’ve been a follower since they started publication (twenty years!) and have never been disappointed in a recipe.  Three of the recipes from this delivery are theirs, or have morphed from theirs over the years, lending credence to my recommendation.

Perfect OatmeaL

3 cups water
1 cup whole milk (I use skim because that’s what we have.)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup steel cut oats
1/4 tsp table salt
Bring water and milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over  medium heat. In the meantime toast the oats in the tablespoon of butter in a small skillet for a few minutes, until they begin to get a little color and start to smell yummy.
Stir the toasted oats into the simmering pot of milk & water, reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer gently until it thickens and resembles gravy, about 20 minutes. Add the salt now and stir very gently with a wooden spoon handle (there’s a reason for this but don’t panic if use a regular spoon, just be nice). Continue simmering, stirring with the spoon handle occasionally, until nearly all the liquid is gone and the oatmeal is thick, about 7-10 minutes more. It can stand off heat, uncovered, 5 minutes, to set and absorb more liquid. 
Serve, and enjoy the best oatmeal EVER. Topping bar here includes brown sugar, honey, chopped walnuts or pecans, and dried fruit. Serves 3-4.

All of the food was appreciated and enjoyed, except the grains, which were something new to their plate. I’ve sent more meatballs and sauce in the meantime, but it’s time to plan another big delivery. All in all, a useful and very good gift idea, adding variety and interest to someone’s diet, especially someone who is perhaps not used to preparing meals.



One Response to Cooking for Delivery

  1. Best present ever. Yum!

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