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Cooking with a bad back

Hi-I'd like to include all of your tips for cooking for yourself and/or your family when you have a painful back or neck for a new blog post. Please share any easy meals you make that require few ingredients and very little work. Thanks!
Communications Manager


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    edited 01/28/2014 - 6:17 PM
    these are just some things I do to help create problems.

    • - Try to make meals that require time up front, but then can slow cut
      - Prepare most ingredients (cutting/paring/peeling/etc) while sitting down at a table
      - Have all the rest of the ingredients nearby (salt/pepper, fresh spices, wine, broth, etc)
      - Last minute cutting down by the stove on a cutting board
      - Keep the garbage pain right by your stove to throw out unused ingredients
      - While cooking at the stove top, have a small stool or something so that both feet are not on the ground
      - Have a glass of wine for the cook
      - Get help for lifting any heavy pieces off the stove or out of the oven.
    French Onion soup

    • - Cut about 5 lbs of Onions (sitting at a table - 10 minutes)
      - I sauteed them in butter/oil for 15 minutes (that I had to stand by the stove)
      - Then added 1/4 sugar and salt/pepper, sauteed at a higher temperature for about 45 minutes until onions caramelized. I only needed to be by the stove every 8 or to minutes to stir, the rest of the time, I was sitting.
      - After onions were slightly amber , I added 1/4 cup of flour, stirred that at a lower setting for about 15 minutes. I slowly added the 1/8 cup of cognac, then flambeed it, Then I slowly added the wine and kept on stirring. This I needed to be by the stove.
      - Finally, I added about 10 cups of beef broth, salt and pepper, stirred and put the cover on and simmered for about 2 hours.s

    Before serving, I remove some of the onions, the prepare individual bowls . I add soup to fill them. Then on top, I put the toasted bread and generous amounts of Gruyère and Parmesan cheese Bake that for about 15 minutes and its ready to serve. Pair with a light Pinot Noir or a fuller low-oaked Chardonnay.
    Note Depending on the type of onions you use, you might want to add a little Cream Sherry before serving. I like to use a combination of the standard American Yellow onions along with the sweeter Vidalla Onions.
    Now this French Onion soup is for Friday night when we have friends over, so I dont need to make it that day
    In total, this meal took 3 hours and 25 minutes to make. From that time period, only about 45 minutes of so I needed to stand by the stove.

    Since I do a lot of cooking, I look at different ways to make things easier. Unfortunate, I do not like simple meals or ingredients, so my recipes can be a bit time consuming, but I always minimize the time I need to stand or be that active
    These are just a few things I do to minimize any pain while cooking.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I want some of that soup!
  • Preheat oven to 375. 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 1 can of chicken broth, 1package of dry onion soup mix,
    1 1/2 cups white rice. Mix all these in a large (preferably glass) baking pan. Place 10-12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (breasts if preferred) in the mixture, side by side. Cover with foil and bake until chicken is cooked thoroughly and rice is tender. (About 1 1/2 hours) easy to prepare and delicious to eat!!!
  • Julie-Do i have your permission to turn this recipe into a blog post for our site? Can I use your name, or do you prefer I just refer to you as a forums member? Thanks for sharing!!
  • A roast is easy. Brown it in skillett, put in roasting pan, add potatoes, carrots, onions, whatever your family likes an put in oven. You don't have to stand an stir or flip or do anything.

    I do potatoes soups, vegatable soups, etc. They are easy and I don't have cook the next day. ;)

  • I'm the cook in the house. I really only have problems if I have to cut up a lot of things and spend too much time standing in one spot. So I'll prep things the day before if possible. I'll sit at my counter to do things too. I can usually find a willing helper if needed. A few drinks really help a lot.

    Diagnosis: Thoracic facet syndrome & cervical and thoracic radiculopathy from car accident trauma.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    in making some classic dishes but reducing the effort in doing so. From the time I was about 6 years old, I used to watch my grandmother cook. Coming from an Italian family, that meant a LOT of FOOD and COOKING. Later on as I started cooking by myself (around 13) I noticed that my grandmother never measure anything! I turned out pretty much the same.

    Oh, you put a little of this in, some more of that, yeh, thats perfect thats the right amount!

    Try putting that into a printed recipe. But the real challenge is that once we are somewhat spinal restrained is coming up with ideas/suggestions/practices that will make the entire meal so much easier.

    Its not that difficult to do.. First you think about what a recipe calls for and what are the various steps involved. So, then look at that and figure out ways to make it easier, not shortcuts, but easier on us folks!

    That is what I try to continue to do.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thank you so much Ron! I was the same kind of chef. I truly loved making elaborate, little pinch of this, tiny shake of that, meals. My specialities were Italian & Indian cuisines, both incredibly time (on my feet) consuming...particularly with good music & wine ;-)

    I'd honestly considered this a love I'd lost forever. Thank you so much for your tips..you've inspired me to get into the kitchen again. Truly thank you!
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • You can add pillow or pads and place it infront of the counter and sit to do all your prep and even at the stove when cooking, reduces the stress on the back. Be careful if you are frying anything because if it splatters and your sitting down your movement out of the way can be hampered, I use those splatter screens and keep it between me and the hot oil when turning chicken etc.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • MSGMSG Posts: 296
    edited 04/22/2014 - 12:41 PM
    Anything you can buy already chopped like onion, garlic, bell peppers, do so. Costs a bit more but saves the back.

    If you buy meat at the big warehouse type stores in bulk, cook some of the meats ahead of time & freeze.

    Seperate some of the ground beef into 1lb increments & brown with the frozen chopped onions & garlic then freeze in a quart size bag. It's your base for so many things, & if it's done ahead of time, that much less standing on your feet when you do cook.

    Divide up your chicken, freeze some of the breasts, & boil the rest. After boiled, cube some, shred some, than freeze in Seperate ziplock bags. Step 1 of your chicken casserole, enchalidas, etc, done.

    Begin a love affair with your crockpot. 2 of my family favorites:
    Bbq beef ribs- put ribs in cp & cover w/ BBQ sauce. Add chopped onions & chopped garlic if desired.
    Pot roast- get an envelope of Lipton soup mix, whatever flavor you like, onion, herb, mushroom etc. mix with hot water & stir, than add the roast & cook on low all day.
    ***be sure & use crockpot plastic liners, eliminates 90% of cleanup.

    If you have one of those places where you can go & put together your dinners ahead of time, consider using it. You pick ahead of time what meals you want to purchase, go in & they have all the prep work done, all you do is put it all together, put it in containers & take home & freeze. Then all you have to do is defrost & cook. Sometimes you may have to cook the side dish the day of, like rice or something but that's not too bad. If you don't know what I'm referring to, PM me & I'll give you the name of the company where I live, & you can look at the website & see if you have something similar where you live. I didn't want to say the name of the company in case it would be a violation.

    Follow the "KIS" saying: keep it simple, especially if you have young kids. It's not worth the pain you will go through to spend 2 hours making a fancy dinner only to have to battle with your kid to eat it. Spaghetti with sauce from a jar is is going to go over better with the kids than homemade sauce (even if my Grandma turns in her grave everytime I use it :)

    Finally, Im learning to do everything in phases. Put the casserole in the oven, lay down. Sort the laundry, put a load in, lay down. Shave my legs, lay down before I finish getting dresses. Fold a load of laundry, lay down. Pay bills online, lay down. My whole life is a series of phases. If I could do this at work, I'd still be able to work, but you can't lay down every 15 or 20 minutes at work, so that's that. It's hard to accept that things I could do in an hour, now may take 3. But, if it lessens the pain, & thus lessens the need for meds, than so be it.

    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    a new recipe...
    Probably within the next couple of days. I could just post it, but Allison makes sure it is grammatically correct and formatted for Spine-Health articles.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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