TA Life: Easy Cooking for Seniors

TA Life: Easy Cooking for Seniors

Since moving into my new home in the TAs a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been surprised at how much the focus of my life has shifted to center around food. The Deece has become a thing of the past (thank god) and for the first time in my Vassar career, I’ve been able to enjoy the freedom of cooking for myself. While this can be a very fun and rewarding task, it can also be a bit daunting. Meal planning, organizing, and not to mention the actual cooking part all take time, something that is often in short supply for busy Vassar students.

But we all have to eat and that doesn’t always have to include microwave dinners. In fact with just the tiniest bit of effort and pre-planning when you run over to Stop & Shop, really amazing meals are possible.

Below is a really awesome recipe that involves ground turkey, a cheap and healthier alternative to red meat: turkey meatloaf. The other is for oven fries, which go great with the meatloaf because they take the same amount of time in the oven. I made them both this week for my housemates and both were a big hit. Enjoy!

Turkey Meatloaf from myrecipies.com (but I placed my own personal modifications in brackets)

Photo: Yunhee Kim/myrecipes.com
Photo: Yunhee Kim/myrecipes.com


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, [or two pinches]

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper [or one pinch]

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce [you can also use soy sauce]

  • 1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth [this is not necessary]

  • 3 tablespoons ketchup, divided

  • 1 3/4 pounds ground turkey, 97% lean

  • 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs [you can make your own very easily, simply toast bread until it is dry enough to snap in half and then crush it up with the butt-end of a knife]

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, broth, and 1 tablespoon ketchup; transfer mixture to a large bowl, and cool.

  2. Add turkey, bread crumbs, egg, egg white, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mixture in bowl, and mix well [you can do this with your hands (although be sure to wash them before you touch anything!) or a spoon] (Mixture will be very moist.)

  3. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat lightly with cooking spray. Form the turkey mixture into a loaf, and place on the pan. Brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake 1 hour. Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.

OVEN FRIES: simply rinse and then cut a couple of potatoes into wedges (like you would an apple, just keep cutting the slices in half), toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever other seasonings you like such as garlic powder, oregano, thyme, etc. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or if you are baking them with the meatloaf, 45 minutes to an hour. They should be golden brown and easily pierced with a fork.

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