More Meals ...

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!)


ellen b. said...

Wonderful ideas. Beautiful encouragement. Your blog is great Sandy. It's great how you show that hospitality and showing love to others is not as hard as we may think. The discourager wants to keep us from these simple acts of kindness that let Jesus shine through our lives. Blessings...

Kirstin said...

That's just not right...the lettuce I mean...we've had rain, hail, snow, rain and more hail today...my MIL has tilled a plot for us to garden together (yippee), but with this nasty weather, who knows when that will happen.

Anyways. We have done a meal for a neighbor before just because...they were very overwhelmed. It was nothing they ever expected. They weren't quite sure what to say, but they were so thankful. Both husband and wife work and they were just great neighbors and I just wanted to bless them. So I made a chicken pot pie (made two...one for us as well), rolls, salad, and cookies.

I too double meals when cooking for someone and I make meals that are easy and not overly expensive. Often times I'll throw in a jar of homemade jam or pickles.

Mrs. B. said...

I've been meaning to try your mango chicken. It looks so easy and yum yum yum.
Thanks for the ideas.

Carol Van Atta, Princess Warrior said...

What fantastic and simple ways to bless others.
So often, in this day and age, we, even as Christians, are wrapped up with "me ... me ... me, and ours."

Hey, I'm guilty, too. Thankfully, we can bless others in simple yet profound ways. I'm going on a "drop a note" quest. I don't mean an email either.

I'm going to send out cards with Scripture and encouraging words.

Whatever, God moves you to do, well, do it! Just think how great our world would be if we all followed through. Wow!

Thanks for the great post. Carol

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

I am loving all the meal ideas! I plan on incorporating more of the "care" attitude into my daily life. Truly it is who I am - I am a nurturer by nature. I also am passionate about cooking, so combining the two is natural. I appreciated your ideas because, realistically speaking, this is a very busy time in my life and I sometimes need someone else to think for me! :) So thanks!!


Stephanie said...

Thank you for the wonderful ideas, as always !!

Have a great weekend,

Donnetta (momrn2) said...

It is great to be reminded that giving isn't always about food! When I broke both arms and had preschool children the meals brought in were a wonderful blessing.

I also had a lady very new to our church at the time offer to come clean my house. I was humbled and almost refused her offer due to my pride. I'm glad I didn't as her gift of cleaining was just as much a blessing as the food that was coming in!!

I have never forgotten the gift and blessing of either...

Thanks for sharing these examples!!

Org Junkie said...

Those are great and helpful suggestions, thank you Sandy!

Jen said...

Those are some great ideas. I take meals quite often. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Fuschia said...

What a great post! Great meal ideas, and great reminder to think outside the "need" box and just bless someone!

Ornery's Wife said...

Another winner! I came by to see if you were doing the bloggy giveaway this week, since I almost missed your last one! :-) Drop by Miller Manor sometime this week and leave a comment on any post for a chance to win some note cards and stuff. Have a good week!

Krysta said...

We have a lot of elderly people in our neighborhood. Sometimes it's as easy as taking them shopping, out to lunch, mowing their lawns or rolling down their trash cans.

Wendy said...

Great ideas and what a wonderful neighbor you are!

Those tulips are beautiful!

tearjerker said...

Just last week I committed to a meal to help out a fellow mom on my message board...her little boy is undergoing his second relapse of leukemia. I decided to go with the Chicken Enchiladas since they freeze so well, they can thaw them on their own time.

Thanks for all the great ideas Sandy!

Simple Family Supper lady said...

This IS what ABUNDANT living is all about! This is love in action!!!! Thanks for your encouragement!
I am adding you to my list of favorite links. Have a wonderful day..... :)

Tammy said...

I think this is what Christ calls us to do in every day life. Wonderful...I learn so much from you!

I could identify with the folks that said making a meal for someone else stressed them out, although I did do this a few times while in Mops- for those that just had a baby or for other reasons. I felt so good being able to help in some way- and I do remember how blessed I was when people brought us meals after I had given birth, too!

Andrea said...

How interesting that I just read this post tonight. I just brought a meal of enchiladas (and strawberry shortcake) to a friend who just had a baby. Then, my next-door-neighbour(who has also turned into my best friend) has been having a rough week, so I made some extra for her and totally surprised her.

Tamara said...

Thank you for your wonderful suggestions! I am printing this post to keep in my cookbook file!

Tamara said...

And would you mind posting a link to your mango chicken?

GiBee said...

Very good suggestions, Sandy!