Shorewood Senior Blogging

Chef Rick Charles’ menu at Shorewood Senior Living includes gluten free options, as well as simple versions of popular recipes, such as braised chicken piccata, potatoes au gratin and barbecue bacon ranch salad. (courtesy photo)

Chef begins blog about cooking for seniors

Sept. 25, 2019 — “I’ve been to other retirement communities, and there is a huge lack of scratch-cooked and healthy food for seniors,” said Rick Charles, chef at Shorewood Senior Living in Florence. “I thought, if I could show that cooking from scratch is easy, it would help remove barriers for those wanting healthy options.”

In May, Charles began “Cooking For Seniors,” a blog about homecooked meals for the senior palate at The recipes include some of Charles’ favorites, including braised chicken piccata — “it’s a hands-off piccata that can be prepared for a huge group relatively easily” — as well as menus for each week.

“This is intended for retirement home chefs,” Charles cautioned, explaining that the recipes as posted are for groups of 50 seniors. “You can convert a lot of these recipes for smaller crowds by dividing by eight.”

Although the recipes are designed for seniors, Charles said they do not lack in flavor or seasonings. He often uses herbs, wine, spices and table salt in his recipes. However, since they are scratch made, even down to the stocks he creates, there is less sodium in the overall meal.

And the residents at the Shorewood are noticing.

“I go out during the mealtimes, and they’re super happy with everything,” Charles said. “When I go to the dining hall, there’s a buzz as people talk, drink wine and eat their meals.”

The recipe he plans to post to the blog this week is a chicken parmesan with vodka sauce, which he prepared for residents Monday night.

The blog features pictures, detailed instructions and even videos for some of the harder steps of the processes, as well as a variety of regional foods, such as Hungarian goulash, Oregon Coast clam chowder, shrimp gumbo and Italian sausage soup.

“The best way is to pick simple recipes that aren’t too complicated,” Charles said about those wanting to start off cooking from scratch. “We use lots of fresh goodies and as many homemade ingredients as possible. And just stick with it, as there is a learning curve. You’ll be healthier and happier for it.”

Shorewood Senior Living is just one of the exhibitors at the seventh annual Good Life Boomer and Senior Expo on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Florence Events Center, 715 Quince. Siuslaw News presents the expo, which is sponsored this year by Banner Bank and PeaceHealth Peace Harbor.

Attendees at the free expo will get to learn about retirement communities, senior services, health concerns and volunteer opportunities. People can also donate canned goods to Florence Food Share during the event.

In addition, everyone who attends will be entered into a raffle for a Roby’s Furniture & Appliance and The Mattress Shoppe “New Night’s Sleep” package valued at $1,700. Plus, free scoops of BJ’s Ice Cream will be served until supplies run out.

The Good Life exhibitors include: Addus, Banner Bank, Best for Hearing, CapTel Outreach, Dynamic Hearing Solutions, Florence Antiques & Coast Jewelers, Hearing Associates of Florence, Lane Council of Governments, Life Care Center Coos Bay, Long Term Ombudsman, New Friends Memory & Residential Care, New Horizons In-Home Care, Nova Health, NW Memory Care, Oregon Eye Consultants, Oregon Pacific Bank, Pacific Source, Pain Relief, PeaceHealth, Roby’s Furniture & Appliance and The Mattress Shoppe, Salvation Army, Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance, Shorewood, Siuslaw Area Partnership to Prevent Substance Abuse, Spruce Point Assisted Living and Memory Care Community, Wellness Essentials, West Lane 90by30 and Westmont Senior Living.