One of the most common things that people talk to me about is cooking their own meals. I often hear phrases like "they've disconnected my cooker" or "they don't trust me to use a cooker anymore".
It can be extremely frustrating to have to rely on ready meals when one of the most important occupations, meal preparation, has been taken away from you.
Friends and relatives often disconnect a cooker and hob as a safety measure when they realise that their loved one has burnt a saucepan or left the cooker on and set off the fire alarm. It can of course be very worrying.
In the past couple of weeks, I have been exploring cooking with a microwave. I first had a microwave when I lived at home with my parents in the mid 80s. To be honest, all we used it for was warming up left overs, beans, jacket potatoes and milk. We had not used it to prepare a full meal at all. However, throughout my research, I can see that this form of cooking can be very beneficial and liberating for some people, especially if it means you maintain your independence.
There are ready made meals that you can buy from all supermarkets or from the internet. Some of these need to be kept in the fridge or freezer and some can be stored in the cupboard. However, for some people, shopping for and putting together your own choice of ingredients to make your meal is the most preferred option.
To get started with microwave cooking you will need a couple of basic items (Christmas present ideas coming up!) A microwave! A simple one with 2 dials is best, 1 dial for the temp or power and 1 for the time plus a 'start' button. Microwave plates and bowls with lids or buy separate covers, an oven glove.
I have recently shopped in the Home Bargains food isle and specifically looked for ingredients that could be cooked in a microwave to provide a healthy balanced meal. Below a just a few suggestions.
All of these items where purchased in Home Bargains. Most can be stored in the cupboard, the mash and veg need to be put in the freezer.
I tried the Dolmio pasta and sauce, really easy to prepare, just put the pasta in a bowl, cover and mix in the sauce and microwave for a few minutes on high. This meal cost £2. You could also stir in some of the veg to add a bit of colour and nutrition.
The rice pudding was my husbands fave. Again, place in a microwave safe bowl, put in the microwave for a few seconds and then eat, add some of the pineapple chunks for some Vitamin C.
Ask the person you are supporting what they like to eat.
What is their budget?
Do they have the appropriate equipment and storage space?
Have they used a microwave before or do they need some practice?
Can they carry their meal to where they want to sit and eat?
How will they get their shopping? Online or go to the shop? Do they need support with this?
Look at the cooking instructions on each item (these may need to be written out bigger on a piece of paper.)
Do they need a visual plan of what to eat and when?
Fit a smoke alarm if there isn't one already fitted.
I will continue to do more research on meals and ingredients for microwave cooking and let you know what else I come up with.
Thanks for Reading
This is not an exhaustive list of ingredients, equipment or tips.
There are my own views and opinions.