Saturday, February 8, 2014

Showing More Love: Bringing a Meal

One of the best and most practical ways to show someone love is through food.  They say the fastest way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but I don't think this age-old adage only holds true for fifty percent of the population.  I know I've become fast friends with anyone who offers to bring me a meal in time of need!  What woman doesn't appreciate a night off from the kitchen and a delicious meal she didn't have to prepare?  

Over my years of receiving and bringing meals, I have some tips I'd like to share (in no particular order).  Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section!

1. Recently my church has started to use a website called Take Them a Meal to coordinate meal-bringing to families in need.  It is a really great resource and I highly recommend it, especially for families who will need meals for a period of time (surgery, new baby, etc.).

2. When bringing food, consider bringing it in a container(s) that you don't mind the family keeping.  Aluminum pans work great here and are usually only a couple dollars for a multipack at your local grocery store.  It's just so nice to relieve the family of the duty of remembering what dishes are returned to whom, etc.

3. If your financial and time budgets allow, throw in a few other grocery items as well.  We've received meals before along with a pound or so of grapes, steamable veggie bags, some bread and deli meat, or muffins for breakfast the next morning.  I found those few extra things really helpful, especially because after Micah was born I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out how to get to the grocery store!  So I appreciated those little things that stretched my need for an outing a bit further.

4. Consider the leftoverability of the dish you bring.  Ok, that word might not be real, but the concept is.  If you bring more than the family can eat in one night, just make sure it reheats or keeps well.  Soggy blobs are not good eats.  

5. Consider food allergies and preferences.  Just ask.  Everyone appreciates the thoughtfulness involved in asking.  

6. If you're bringing food to a nursing mom, consider the ingredients in your dish.  Foods that are overly spicy, overly garlicky, or heavy on the dairy don't always translate well into breast milk. 

7. Heavy on the protein.  Especially for someone who just had surgery or a baby and maybe experienced significant blood loss.  I'm not saying bring steaks (although, that's a good way to make a friend ;), but a vegetarian meal might not be the best choice for these individuals.  Might.  Again, just ask. 

8. Here is just a list of some yummy recipes that friends might appreciate (please forgive me if over half of them are from P-Dub.  I'm totally into her stuff right now): sour cream noodle bake, creamy chicken spaghetti casserole, chicken and dumplings, chicken cordon bleu casserole, sausage, apple, and red potato skillet, chicken and wild rice casserole.

That's my list for showing love through food.  Please feel free to share your best tips and recipes for bringing meals to friends!  

10 comments:

  1. I really like this list :)

    Spaghetti is an 'easy', freezable, reheatable wonder when it comes to bringing a meal. Throw in some 'Texas Toast' and an easy salad... seriously, great.

    Breakfast Casserole is also pretty excellent. (Lots of protein from eggs and bacon or sausage, peppers, onions, hash browns) etc.. I think it's great to have a morning/brunch option -- plus, it can last for about a week. You can even put this type of "casserole" in muffin tins and have several grab-and-go portions to box up and take too.

    Home-made is quite wonderful-- but sometimes even picking up or ordering a meal is wonderful too.
    A lot of restaurants have a to-go option (Ruby Tuesdays, Outback, Panera, Jason's Deli etc...). --could be expensive, but maybe easier for some when cooking something home-made in not an option. Of course there is fast food carry-out or delivery that could be scheduled for them as well (Chinese, Pizza, Mexican etc)

    -- and maybe just remember to be careful about "weird" foods. At least in my opinion, basics are normally best. For instance if I'm not normally a Thai cuisine connoisseur, I don't know that I'd be all that interested in that sort of meal when I'm not feeling well or exhausted beyond belief. Meat, potatoes, veggies... can't go wrong with mac and cheese, stew or good 'ol comfort foods. ;)
    --but of course it depends on who you meal is for and what their preferences are :)

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    1. Yes! These are all great suggestions. I especially like what you said about "wierd" foods ... I agree that comfort dishes are probably the best way to go.

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  2. Excellent suggestions! I love also making dessert with whatever meals I'm making for a family. I keep a few doughs handy usually, like a cookie dough or Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls. Usually I just double (or triple depending on what I'm making) what I'm making for my family that night for dinner depending on the receiving family food preferences. A good breakfast is always nice too. I just did this a few weeks ago too! :) I love cooking so this is always a fun way for me to bless someone else.

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    1. I've never thought about bringing breakfast, but that is a really great idea! And how smart to keep dessert doughs in the freezer ... I'll have to steal your idea :)

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  3. Take Them A Meal is the best invention in all the land. It has done wonders for the hospitality in our church.

    One of my favorite go to's is home made tacos. So I cook up the meat before but then bring them everything they might want to use. A bag of chips, tortillas, a bag of cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole...etc, etc. All things they can get more use out of than just the one meal. Yummy for snacks and for other things as well :)

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    1. I love that website! Mostly I love the email reminders haha!

      I actually brought homemade tacos to a family last week! That's one of my go-to's as well - it tastes good and always makes yummy leftovers.

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  4. Sounds like I have a "presenter" at one of our HH events... Great post.
    Here is a favorite recipe of mine to take to folks.

    Slow Cooker Italian Ravioli Stew
    4 medium carrots, sliced (2 cups) I used the julienne from the produce section
    1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
    2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes with Italian-style herbs, un-drained
    2 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth
    1 can (19 oz) cannellini beans, drained , I do NOT drain them, I just pour them in.
    2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
    1 package (9 oz) refrigerated Italian sausage- or cheese-filled ravioli ( If I don't have this, I put in chicken, or use the bagged pastas, but that has to cook a bit longer to be finished.

    1 In 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix all ingredients except ravioli. Cover; cook on Low heat setting about 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. It really does take 6 hours for the carrots to cook. If you want it to go faster, just saute the carrots ahead of time.
    2. Increase heat setting to High. Stir in ravioli. Cover; cook about 8 minutes longer or until ravioli are tender.

    Source: Country Time recipes

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    1. Haha! Well I'd be happy to do anything you might need :)

      And thanks for the recipe ... it sounds delicious!

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  5. Such a good list!!

    When we had Faith, someone brought us paper goods (plates, cups and napkins) when they dropped off the meal. I thought that was a smart idea. If a family doesn't have a dishwasher that definitely lessens some of the work load. And if a family does have a dishwasher, it's still helpful because that dishwasher might not always be run and/or emptied in a timely manner (not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything, haha!)

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    1. That's a really great idea - disposable dishes. I know what you mean about a full dishwasher ... not from experience either, though ;)

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