Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dinners for Dad

Every Spring, my mom flies down to Florida to visit her parents and my dad stays home to work. This year, mom is flying out of Indy, so my dad decided to come visit me and run a 5k with me this weekend.
Since my mom will be out of town all week, my dad was going to be reduced to making Ramen noodles and tuna sandwiches, his specialties. I decided that I wanted to make my dad a weeks worth of dinners for a few reasons...

1. He is a great dad

2. He promotes my blog like no one else to the entire congregation (he's a pastor)

3. He works really hard all week long, and should eat healthy dinners

4. He recently became a pescetarian, which means I get to make some of my favorite vegetarian dinners for him

5. I love to cook tons of food all day long (2 hours in the kitchen to make these 5 dinners, it was heaven!)

Some of these dinners I have made before, and some are new. I often have people asking me what they can make ahead of time and freeze, or what they can bring to neighbors or friends that will stay well, so here are a few ideas for you!

For my dad, I wrote out instructions for each meal on how to reheat it, so I'll post that too.
Here's the menu for him for the week:

-Eggplant and Bean Ragout over Polenta

I found out that you can put corningware directly in the oven from the freezer, but I instructed my dad to thaw what he's having for dinner in the fridge each day.

When you do put corningware directly from freezer to oven, it's best to put it in the oven, then turn the oven on so as the oven warms up, the corningware gradually warms and won't crack.

It looks crazy, but the more pots/pans going, the better!

For the Minestrone, I made the soup base, but didn't add the stock or pasta. I cooked the ditalini, and then packed it in a seperate tupperware so the pasta doesn't get mushy. I also packed the vegetable stock seperately so my dad can add how much he wants to get the soup to the consistency he wants.
I wrapped the bread in foil, then put it in a freezer safe plastic bag.

Here are the directions I gave Dad:
Minestrone Stew with Beer Bread
Heat a soup pot over medium; add soup to it. Bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and the stock. Bring to a simmer again and heat the pasta through.
If you want your bread warm, place it in the oven, still wrapped in foil, at 300 for 15 minutes, while the stew cooks.
Serve with some grated parmesan cheese on top.

For the enchiladas, I used Refried Black Beans rather than regular canned black beans. They add a nice texture to the enchiladas. I added extra cayenne because Dad loves spicy food!
Black Bean and Pepper Enchiladas -

Take the plastic lid off the casserole and place in the oven.
Turn the oven on to 400 degrees.
Bake enchiladas for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.
Serve with sour cream and shredded lettuce.

For the lentils and rice and veggies, I cooked the rice and lentils completely, but left the veggies raw so they wouldn't over cook. I simply added a pinch of saffron to the rice, and cooked it in vegetable stock.

Spiced Lentils, Saffron Rice and Veggies

Take the lid off the casserole and place it in the oven.
Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

I decided to make my dad a dinner with seafood once for the week. I've never cooked shrimp before, but I found a recipe in cooking light that i thought he'd like. I thought it would be good with some orzo with peas. My mom hates peas, but I love them, and so does my dad!
Feta and Tomato Baked Shrimp, Herbed Orzo with Peas

Place the foil covered shrimp dish in the oven, do not take the cover off.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400, take cover off, cheese should be melted and tomato sauce should be bubbly.
Spoon pasta and peas onto a plate, break up and microwave for 2 minutes.
Spoon shrimp and tomato over the pasta and peas.

For the final dish, I decided to make a ragout over polenta. My dad loves eggplant, and I thought the eggplant and cannelini beans would be a great combo. I'll be blogging this recipe soon!

Eggplant and Bean Ragout over Polenta

Uncover, place in the oven and turn it on to 350 degrees.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and heated through.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese.


Joelen said...

How thoughtful of you to make such delicious meals for your dad! Good luck to both of you on the upcoming 5K!

Liv said...

You are such a wonderful and thoughtful daughter, Ash!

Joanne said...

Aww you are such a good daughter. Good luck in the 5K...its SO cool that your dad is running it with you.

Stephanie said...

What a sweet and thoughtful idea! I love that you also posted how you packaged them and also the reheating instructions! This is super helpful!

Kittybits said...

good for you, your dad's a lucky guy! and now I want minestrone, yum!

natalie said...

What a sweet daughter you are! I'm sure he's going to love it!

MyRunningJourney said...

That's so sweet of you! And those are delicious meals, especially the enchiladas!! :)

emily said...

so sweet!

Joi said...

I bet your dad was thrilled. What a great idea. The dishes look wonderful.

Colin's Mom said...

I'm sure your dad was beyond grateful for your thoughtfulness! I've made that shrimp dish and it's great, so hopefully he'll like it too. You did a good job picking.

Elyse said...

What a great daughter! All of these meals that you've made for your dad sound fantastic. He is one lucky dad (and it sounds like you're a lucky daughter :) ). Great job!