Full mouth reconstruction is a big deal--it's considered a major surgery (or surgeries) simply because of the sheer amount of work is that is required. After you have a procedure, you'll most likely be asked to follow a soft or liquid diet while your mouth heals. Whether that's for a day or for weeks on end, these three simple recipes will keep you satisfied and healthy, all for under $15 each.
Just right for a Saturday morning feast, this rich Italian recipe will have you begging for more. This will serve up to four people, so if you're cooking alone, feel free to quarter the amounts.
- 1.5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1.5 cups of diced tomatoes
- 1.5 cups of polenta
- 2-3 Tuscan kale leaves
- 1/2-cup of white cabbage
- 1-2 teaspoons of real butter
- Cheese to garnish
- Egg (optional)
Start by placing your olive oil on medium heat in a large saucepan. Then, finely chop the garlic and place it in the pan. Lightly brown it, turning down the heat if necessary.
Add in the tomatoes and allow the mixture to simmer on low for about 15 minutes.
Next, place about 5-1/2 cups of water or chicken stock into a medium to large pot. Bring it to a hard boil. With the polenta dish or bowl beside you, gradually whisk it into the water a little bit at a time.
It is crucial that you continue to whisk, as your polenta will become lumpy without it! If you're new to the grain, watch this video for a hands-on look at the process.
Continue to whisk the mixture for just over two minutes, and then turn the heat down. Allow the mixture to simmer on low for another 30-40 minutes, adding in the kale, white cabbage, and real butter at five minute increments throughout the first 15 minutes. As it cooks, the polenta should thicken up and gain a bit of body.
As you continue to stir occasionally, add a splash of olive oil to a second small saucepan. Fry one egg in your favorite style, but don't allow it to burn. The idea is to keep it nice and soft.
Your polenta is done when it begins to form a mass that can be easily pulled away from the sides of your saucepan. When this occurs, serve it by layering tomato sauce and polenta in a bowl. This works best if you start with tomato, and then add a layer of polenta, and then repeat this once again; ultimately, you'll want a layer of tomato on top.
Garnish with the fried egg and grated cheese and serve with fresh parsley.
Since the polenta has the consistency of mashed potato when cooked correctly, it's the ideal choice for swallowing without chewing at all. If your dentist has advised you not to chew at all, simply skip the egg on top or scramble it into small pieces.
Effortless Soft-Food-Diet-Approved Chicken Corn Chowder (Perfect for Lunch!)
Regular chicken corn chowder verges on inappropriate for soft diets. The corn can be chewy as can the chicken, overworking areas that need rest in order to heal properly. But you don't need to sacrifice this warm comfort food altogether, you just need to make a few changes.
- 1 large can of creamed corn
- 1/2-cup of shredded chicken (check your favorite grocer's deli section)
- Chicken stock or bullion
- Cream or milk to taste
Start by adding the creamed corn to a medium-sized pot. Bring it to just under a boil and add the chicken stock or bullion, and mix until dissolved or distributed. You really only need one cube for plenty of flavor.
Take your shredded chicken and shred it down even further. You want to get it small enough so that it can be swallowed easily without chewing, while still maintaining enough substance to give it flavor. Add this to the pot and stir it in to distribute it throughout the creamed corn.
Next, add either cream or milk to taste.
Tip: 1/2-cup of milk works perfectly in this recipe--it adds just the right amount of thinning to the creamed corn, creating that rich-and-warm corn chowder flavor. Cream will add further richness, but you may need to balance the thickness with a bit of water to get it right.
Continue to heat until everything is mixed together well and heated throughout. Pour into a bowl and serve immediately.
Roast Beef Dinner, Soft Diet Style
This has all the richness of a regular roast beef dinner, but is far easier on a healing mouth.
- 3-4 medium potatoes OR 2 cups of ready-to-eat mashed potatoes
- One small roast (cut is irrelevant)
- One packet of crock pot roast seasoning or brown gravy
This recipe does require some preparation, as you need to get the meat as soft as possible before you create your recipe. It doesn't matter what roast cut you get because the crock pot will do an excellent job of softening it over the course of the day. Because you really need to take it that extra mile when in recovery from full mouth reconstruction, plan to start it first thing in the morning and let it go on low all day long.
First, start by placing your roast into the crock pot. Mix your seasoning packet as per the instructions on the back. Most will call for the addition of 1/4 to 1/2-cup of water; if yours doesn't be sure to add at least 1/4-cup of water to the crockpot before you turn it on.
Allow this to cook on low for at least eight hours, turning several times to ensure that both sizes are soaked in juices. After about seven hours, test the roast's softness. You'll know it's done when a gentle press with a fork results in the meat pulling away from itself.
Once done, leave the crock pot on low and make your mashed potatoes. You can do this from scratch, or you can do it with the help of a pre-frozen bag--whatever's easier at the time.
After your potatoes are ready, turn off the crockpot and use two forks to shred your roast thoroughly. Much as with the chicken, you want to get it small enough to be swallowed without chewing without obliterating it.
To serve, scoop the mashed potatoes into a bowl. Swirl your gravy-like roast drippings in a circular pattern over the top, and then sprinkle with the shredded roast. This can then be eaten by the spoonful and easily swallowed.
Tip: If your family is already having a different roast--like turkey or chicken--you can still make this recipe. Just use the softest part of the meat (usually the white meat closest to the bottom of the pan or roaster) and shred it really well.
This recipe provides a fantastic way to feel a bit more normal while going through your recovery. Best of all, family and loved ones can eat the roast as-is, while you can adjust it as needed to suit your healing mouth.
After a procedure, it's more important than ever to ensure that your nutritional needs are met. While it can seem like getting a balanced diet is difficult, it is possible to alter many meals to suit a softer diet requirement. Start with these recipes for best results--they provide much-needed protein to help you heal while still maintaining plenty of flavor and texture. If you have questions about nutrition after a full mouth reconstruction, contact your dentist today.