Friday, December 27, 2013

Giving the Gift of Food: Taking Meals To Friends and Family

Some of the best food I've ever eaten has been delivered by friends and strangers in a time of sickness or exhaustion. A meal brought to your door on a night when you have no energy to cook says that someone is thinking of you. My friends Ashley and Ryan from Center Cut Cook received the news a few days ago that Ryan has cancer. Many miles separate us and I can't deliver a meal to their door; so I'm participating in a virtual potluck for them today.

I hope that there are friends near them to deliver a meal and hug them both as Ryan recovers from surgery and starts treatment this coming year. While they are facing those treatments over the coming year, our blogger friends are getting together to help raise a little money to help Ashley and Ryan. You can click here to make a donation (every dollar helps).

Are you overwhelmed at the thought of delivering a meal to another family? I used to be the same way. As a newlywed, a friend called and asked me if I would take a meal to another family. I agreed to do that and then panicked. I called my mom and arranged for her to prepare the meal I was supposed to deliver!

What I wish I'd known then is that the meal doesn't need to be complicated. A simple pot of soup or a dish of pasta can be appreciated beyond words. Wondering what kind of meal to give? Today I'm sharing some of our favorite meals to deliver, from soups and stews to crock-pot meals, pastas, and casseroles. (I'm including tips for transporting each one as well!)  Hopefully this post will inspire others to step outside their comfort zone and take a meal to someone near them in a time of need.

Most meals can be delivered early in the day, if that is a better fit for your schedule (and theirs!). Don't forget to include a short note with instructions for reheating.

Crock-Pot Chicken Fajitas ~ The fajita filling can be delivered in a disposable pan covered in foil, or in a large disposable plastic dish. Take along a stack of tortillas or a side of cooked rice for serving.

Baked Italian Meatballs ~ Easier to make than you might think, these meatballs freeze well and reheat nicely. if you are making them ahead of time, let them cool and then transfer to a large Ziploc bag or disposable metal pan. Deliver with a jar of Five Minute Marinara Sauce and some pasta. If you prefer to take the meal ready-to-eat, cook the pasta and place it in a large disposable pan. Top with meatballs and sauce. Toss well to make sure everything is well coated.

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Baked Potatoes ~ This is one of the easiest meals to make and to deliver. Place the warm chicken and sauce in a disposable plastic or metal container, place the baked potatoes in a disposable metal tray and cover with foil. Take along Ziplocs or small plastic containers filled with the different toppings.

Italian Red Wine Pork Roast (Crock-Pot or Oven recipe)  ~ Place the meat in a disposable metal tray and cover tightly with foil. Take along some mashed potatoes, also in a metal pan covered with foil. A salad or some roasted broccoli is a great way to finish off the meal.

Mexican Lasagna ~ This is one of the most popular casseroles that I deliver. It can be made ahead of time and then just popped in the oven to bake when ready to eat. I like making meals like this, because you can double the recipe and feed your own family at the same time. Prepare the casserole in a large disposable metal pan and cover with foil.

Baked Potato Soup (Stove-Top or Crock-Pot recipes) ~ When I take soup to people, I try to take it cooled and in a large gallon size Ziploc bag. If I'm taking warm soup, I often place it in large plastic containers that won't need to be returned. the toppings can be placed in separate Ziploc bags.

Sweet and Tangy Pulled Pork (Crock-Pot recipe) ~ This pulled pork gets rave reviews each time we serve it. Transfer the pork to a disposable tray and cover with foil. Take along a bag of rolls and a jar of barbecue sauce for pulled pork sandwiches.

Chinese Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry ~ This is one of my family's favorite meals and surprisingly it transports very well. Place the chicken and vegtable mixture in a disposable pan and cover with foil (or in a large plastic container). Place cooked rice in a separate container and cover. (I recommend checking with the family first though and making sure that they enjoy Chinese food!)

Spicy Five Bean Chili with Steak and Sausage ~ When I take soup to people, I try to take it cooled and in a large gallon size Ziploc bag. If I'm taking warm soup, I place it in large plastic containers that won't need to be returned. the toppings can be placed in separate Ziploc bags.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Ryan and Ashley.
Praying peace and comfort will be yours through this difficult time. 

Check out all the great foods being shared today in a virtual potluck for Ryan and Ashley:
Kick Ass Chicken Lasagna - Sugar Dish Me
Meals to Deliver to Family and Friends - Barefeet in the Kitchen
Comfort Food Because Sometimes Bad Things Happen - On the Banks of Squaw Creek
Center Cut Cook - The Midnight Baker
Best Meals to Deliver to Friends - Slow Roasted Italian
Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole {Gluten Free} - My Gluten Free Kitchen


  1. You have some beautiful shots of delicious dishes Mary. Bev & Pat spent the day yesterday delivering food and visiting with her two favorite aunts.

  2. Mary, Mary. You are so sweet and kind. Thank you so much for the prayers and support, they are truly appreciated!

  3. Nice collection, Mary. My thoughts and prayers are with Ashley and Ryan.

  4. I love meal ideas for things like this - being part of a church community is truly wonderful for the meals people bring in times of sickness, new babies, moving, etc., and it's always good to have more ideas since I tend to panic a bit each time too :)

  5. Among the a large number of regarding provides gifts, probably no compensate could whenever you want probably be because charming along with important because bouquets