If you didn’t get a chance to read my article, Body and Soul, written about setting up meals for a needy family, you can read my post here, or head over to Crosswalk to read it, here.
As I’ve said before, it’s not just church friends that we should be looking out for. It’s our neighbors, friends, or really anyone in need who comes across our path! Among the responses that I got from that first post, this particular comment inspired me to write a Part II:
Though I love to cook, I always stress out when I need to prepare a meal for someone in need. I have a very hard time thinking of something that will be family friendly, will not break my budget, and will not take me hours to prepare. Do you have any suggestions?
And another comment:
I think of myself as a pretty good cook, but when it comes to bringing meals to others, I panic! I always feel like they need to be “casserole” type things, and I’m not always good at those, especially if they have to be frozen beforehand.
Get ready for some ideas for easy meal combinations. See which one fits you best!
On the Run
Take and Bake Pizza, salad in a bag, box of cookies
Costco (rotisserie) chicken, salad in a bag, frozen pie
Take-out Chinese, Italian – or any kind of food
Costco lasagna, French bread, any kind of dessert
Short on Cash
Spaghetti, salad in a Ziploc bag, brownies (99 cents!)
Tacos and fixings, and make a cake! (59 cents!)
Any kind of casserole with French bread, plus another inexpensive dessert
You’ve Got the Time
Whatever you’re cooking for your family, double it up!
Chicken, Steak, Roast Beef, Pork …
Try my Mango Chicken
Roasted Balsamic Chickens
Chicken Pot Pie, Shepherds Pie, Enchiladas, Soup & bread
Try a new recipe!
I’ve also doubled recipes, freezing 1/2 (remember to use disposable dishes!). This works out well, as you can pull the dish out of the freezer and either defrost first, or take frozen! Taking frozen gives the family the option to re-freeze, to make their meals stretch longer.
I love Ziplocs. So many times I will whip up a salad and layer it in a Ziploc bag. Or grab meat out of the freezer in my Ziplocs (see post, here) and make up a pan of Enchiladas. Realistically, you don’t even have to take a dessert. A main entrée is enough!
What about surprising your neighbors with a meal, just because?
There have been times when I’ve planned ahead, knowing that I’d have extra food, where I’d tell my neighbors, “I’m bringing dinner to you tonight!” They’d be amazed and delighted not to have to cook. I love the element of surprising them! Of course reciprocation is not expected, but there have been times when they’ve shown up at our front door with homemade ravioli for our family! What a treat!
I end here with my friend Myrna’s story. It really touched my heart and I think it will yours, too:
About 20 years ago I took some chicken soup to a gal from my Bible study (I really didn't know her at the time---but the Spirit inspired me) who had pneumonia. She had a preschooler in the home and another school-age son. Looking around her tiny house, I could see what to do. I quickly washed up the sink full of dishes and gave the bathroom a once over. She recently reminded me of this---I had not remembered doing it at all---it was such a simple thing, but that's how our deep friendship began.
Yes, Myrna has it right. You never know how a friendship will start.
And this is life abundant!
(Photos: Our lettuce beds just this week! Tulips in front yard. Last night I took a fresh head of lettuce from our garden, to give to the hostess who had us over for dinner. YUM!)