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What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat

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Taking in a Meal to a neighbor or family

What food to make and tips to make it easier on you and the person you are helping

 Have you been asked, or even offered to take in a meal to someone?

I’ve got you covered here in  What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal that They Will Want To Eat, and I can help you with this situation.

Even though you want to do this act of kindness, does the thought of taking in a meal, send panic running (or galloping) through your body?

Or do you get cold sweats worrying about what to take that they would want to eat?

And how in the world do you approach them in the first place?

Don’t worry, I’ve brought together valuable information just for you!

  • Everything from how to comfortably ask the day and time for bringing in the meal; making it convenient for all involved.
  • What type of food they would actually want to eat while keeping you in control of what the meal is, so you can stay in your budget.
  •  Ideas for you to know how to be approachable when wanting to help, so it’s not awkward for anyone.

 

So, if you’re looking for tips on taking in food when there is a new baby,  someone had surgery, there’s an illness in the family, unfortunately a death – or just because you know it would cheer them up—

I’ve got What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal They Will Want To Eat, along with recipes that are easy and varied for you to choose from.

These handy tips will  make your meal not only one that is enjoyed, but remembered as thoughtful and extremely appreciated.  




What You Need To Know About Taking In A Meal they Will want to eat

A meal is always welcome and a VERY thoughtful gesture of friendship and kindness.

However, it can be a scary idea to think about feeding other people,  or their kids; especially if you don’t know them very well.

So, when do you take in a meal? What are the circumstances that says: FEED US PLEASE

Then, what do you say when contacting them about taking in a meal? 

Most importantly, how do you find out what they like, so they will enjoy it, meaning your time and resources are useful and not wasted?

I have it all covered, so you don’t need to worry.  

 

When should you take In A Meal?

There are so many opportunities, but here are the most common:

  • A new baby.
  • Someone is ill or had surgery.
  • There has been a death in the family.
  • A job loss.
  • They are getting ready to move and everything is packed away (*see special moving tips below in this post)
  • Moving in (*see moving tips, again below in this post)
  • You know they are struggling with something personal, a family member’s situation, or outside circumstances that are challenging.  A meal can make the world seem gentler and a more compassionate place to be.
  • A traumatic event of any type. I have a post you might like How Can I Help When Someone Is Sick And Show I Care?
  • Anytime you want to help out, be kind, and especially when you feel impressed to, that is the perfect reason to take in a meal.

 

The Appreciation Comes From The Details

Let’s be real, we all say ‘thank you’ to a meal and that we ‘like it’.

However, if we ask a few questions, we are going to be HERO’s as well as taking in a meal that will be REALLY enjoyed and EATEN.

Details such as:

  • Use disposable pans, bags and dishes to deliver the food in. I like to prepare as many of the items I am taking  in the same type of pan if possible. The reason for this, is that I only have to have one to purchase and store one type; saving money and space.  Something like THIS would be good for everything from salads, to jello, to rolls to a main dish. You could  use two of these pans  for the main dish if you are taking the meal to a large family.

 

       Using something disposable avoids situations such as: whose bowl does this belong to?                Which unmarked pan does the young boy at the door want returned while his mother                  waits outside, not wanting to ‘be a bother’, as you are frantically trying to find the right lid          to ‘her pan’ in the myriad of  dishes stacked on the kitchen counter….which makes you                want to scream/cry/wish you had ordered out pizza that night.  Disposable dishes all the            way baby. They make everyone happy!

       Or there’s the well-meaning neighbor stopping by to collect their dishes – when you’re not           feeling well as you recover, or finally just got the newborn to sleep… gggrrrr….So if that’s             you, neighbor….please do a favor and call ahead:) Actually, please just use disposable.

 

  • Ask if anyone in the family has food allergies, or if there is anything they simply will not eat.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Of course you, kind person, need to stay in your budget and fix a meal that you are comfortable making.  However, if you take in something they cannot, or simply will not eat, it’s a waste for all involved.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For instance:  Some people really cannot force themselves to eat rice – it’s a texture thing. And some cannot tolerate the taste of spaghetti sauce.                                                      Despite your best effort in making a meal, and their gratitude in your gift, it will not be as useful as it could be. (For example, I will not, cannot – not in a boat, not with a goat, not in the rain, not on a train….I will NOT eat eggs as the major ingredient.  So a beautiful quiche would be devoured by my husband and family, while I would have to open a can of something or other.  I would still send a thank you note of course, but if the meal were to help me out—-hhhmmm—–you get the point)

 

  • If you know your neighborhood well, and others are also taking in a meal(s) to the same family, it would be a good idea to ask the family what food(s) they have already had brought in. You don’t want to be the third well intended person in a row to bring in, say…. chili. 

 

  • If you are dropping the meal off early, or a freezer meal, be sure to label the food with what it is, the date to use by, along with any special cooking or reheating instructions.

 

  • Ask if there is a certain night they would like a meal brought in. Or let them pick from two or three nights that are convenient for you. 

 

  • If you have the means, taking in a freezer meal, along with a meal for that night, would be very appreciated.  

 

After delivering 5 cesarean babies,  several knee surgeries,  then total knee replacements on BOTH knees TWICE, adding in several other surgeries myself; not to mention all that has happened with 5 kids and a handsome hubby over upwards of 40 years of marriage; I have been a blessed recipient of numerous meals.  Truly they have been such a gift.

I have also taken in, or delivered more meals in my adult life now than I can begin to count. 

So, from receiving, and giving, so many meals, I’ve learned some tips that I’ll share with you about how to make it a win-win situation for everyone involved, as well as EASY too! 

 

Did you know there’s Etiquette to taking in a meal?

1 Ask what time they would like the meal brought in to avoid any embarrassing complications.

 

2- Should you take in a homemade or pre-made/frozen/purchased meal or dish? That’s up to you.

 

3- Make sure whatever the meal is, that it’s completely ready to serve to make it easy on the person you are helping. Meaning, they do not have to prepare it in any way, shape or form.

 

4- This is not the time to try to impress them with your amazing culinary skills of grandeur – imagined or real, lol.  Good old fashioned – comfort food is a winner every time.

 

5- Let the person know who you are bringing the meal into that you are:

A) just dropping off a meal (hot or one to be warmed up)

 

B) helping the kids have their dinner, cleaning up the dishes, getting the adults their dinner and tidying up afterwards – maybe you could even do a bit extra with the help of the kids:)

Only do what is comfortable for that person you are helping and best for you also.  You don’t want to put yourself in a situation that is awkward, anymore than you do the person you want to help.  It is very important to get the details clear before the meal is brought in.  Either way, let them know you have only the best intentions and can leave it with the kids at the door if that’s best.

 

6- Give a couple of choices that you are able to make or provide for the meal; meaning within your budget and ability.

For example, I have a grand daughter who at the age of four will eat Kim-chi and we are not Korean.  The girl will eat about anything and try everything that doesn’t run faster than her.

I have another grand daughter who likes……fast food pizza….oh and donuts:)

So ask the parents what ALL their kids will enjoy. Because you aren’t doing anyone a favor if they have to pull out the pans and make dinner after you leave to feed the kiddos. 

It’s not being picky in my opinion, it’s just life, and if we are there to support a friend in that situation, let’s be a help and not a hindrance. (Meaning no comments or judgments, that are not charitable in nature or nice in tone at this sensitive time for the family.)

 

7- Let the person know if you are bringing in the entire meal; meaning sides and dessert.  Or if you are just bringing in the main dish so they know what to plan on, and can make arrangements for the rest of the meal if needed.

 

8- Do all you can to NOT to be late or cancel.  Confirm the day or night before so it is clear that you are bringing in what you have discussed, as well verify the time.

If something does come up that is completely unavoidable and prevents you from taking in a meal, make sure to apologize and take in a meal soon as possible, along with one for the freezer due to the inconvenience.

 

9- If taking in meals for a new baby, I have special ideas in my post ALL THINGS BABY

 

10- Sometimes the situation is more complicated and you need to know how to handle the emotions and what is happening with the person or family that you are serving. It can be hard to know what’s appropriate when illness, tragedy, suicide or any other situation of deep mourning occurs.  What do you do? What do you say, or not say, is even more difficult. How can you help that is actually of benefit?  I have some great information at my post: How Can I Help When Someone Is Sick And Show I Care?

ways to help a person or family when tragedy, illness or hardship strikes their home. What to say, not to say, what to do and more

 

TIPS for taking in meals when someone is MOVING in or out

Take everything needed for the meal including:

  • ALL the paper products such as paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins

 

  • Drinks. Ask what they like and allow the kids to have; such as water bottles, type of perferred soda pop and kids punch pouches.

 

  • Ask if they will have access to the oven or stove to warm up the food.  If not, it would be considerate to take in (on a smaller scale of course) as I show in my post a COLD PASTA BAR or build-your own sandwiches with the ingredients and condiments in separate containers.  Or simply a variety of Sub Sandwiches for them to choose from. 

 

  • Find out if it would be more convenient to have the food transportable if they are moving from one location to another, and take the food in a disposable foam cooler.  THESE DISPOSABLE BOWLS  would be great to have on hand for this reason.  These recipes would work GREAT for this type of meal:

 

BEST CHICKEN PASTA SALAD

A cold pasta salad using rotini pasta that has grapes, celery, crisp apples, smokey Gouda cheese and toasted almonds. All topped with a creamy poppy seed mayonnaise dressing for a perfect dish

 

Asian Chicken and Orzo Pasta Salad

An oriental style bowl filled with a refreshing salad made with Orzo pasta, rotisserie chicken, fresh vegetables and a light refreshing dressing with a little spice from chili sauce and cool from Ranch dressing

 

The Easy Chicken Pot Pie and the Best Homemade Manicotti can be made and baked the same day or frozen for later use. 

Both come with printable baking instructions to include with the gifted dish

Click HERE for the Easy Chicken Pot Pie

This easy Chicken Pot Pie recipe tastes like homemade but it's with premade pie crusts, frozen vegetables and rotisserie chicken. The homemade savory sauce is gourmet and brings it all together. Freeze one for later

Best Chicken PotPie

 

 

 

 

 

Click HERE for Best Homemade Manicotti

A plate with green beans and manicotti stuffed pasta shells. The shells are filled with ground beef, cheeses and seasonings. They are topped with marinara sauce and more cheese then baked till warmed through

Easy Stuffed Manicotti Pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

More ideas:

Best Chicken Fajitas

Delicious Chicken and fresh Vegetable Fajitas baked in the oven with green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers and onion. Seasoned with a wonderful homemade fajita seasoning. Serve with your choice of condiments.

 

Best Anytime Chicken Tacos

Two chicken tacos in hard shells with shredded rotisserie chicken. Chopped tomatoes, lettuce are on top of the tacos for a delicious meal that's quick, easy and delicious for a busy weeknight or lazy weekend meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Vegetarian Fajitas also Gluten Free, and these are really

A beautiful plate of sauted peppers in several colors along with other vegetables all combined with the perfect spices to make this vegetarian fajita dish perfect for any meal.

 

Best Homemade Meatballs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Pizza Pasta Bake

A hearty casserole full of pizza flavors from the hearty sauce, pepperoni, olives and cheese all mixed into pasta.

Easy Hot Cheese & Ham Sliders on Sweet Hawaiian Rolls

A Hawaiian sweet roll with ham and Swiss cheese in the middle along with a complimentary mustard sauce. Topped with the traditional Poppy Seed sauce all warmed up to melt the cheese and heat the ham.

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




Salisbury Steak & Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

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Salisbury Steak & Mushroom Gravy

Salisbury Steak & Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy is COMFORT food at it’s BEST, while easy and quick too!

Hands down, this Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  

It’s also a fabulous way to stretch the budget with a meal that is packed with flavor and satisfies. 

It is home cooking, but it is also considered in the category of gourmet and company elegant. Serve this Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy over noodles or rice.

I have a trick to share. If you are feeding a bunch of munchkins and need to stretch the meat budget; after cooking the beef patties, simply cut them into pieces to reaaallllyyy extend the meat.  So instead of everyone getting a meat patty, they get lots of bite-sized pieces.  Either way –  YUMMY! 

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Ingredients:
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 small onion, minced

1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbl. garlic, minced

1 tsp. beef bouillon

1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning

4 Tbl. butter, divided

1 (8 – 16 oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup water

1 (1.2 oz) packet brown gravy mix

1 (10 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup milk

1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

2 Tbl. sour cream

12-16 oz. pasta of your choice or rice *AMS reader Tasha suggested mashed potatoes for this dish – YUMMY!

Directions:
In a large bowl beat eggs.

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Then add in the beef, bread crumbs, onion, vinegar, garlic, beef, bouillon, Worcestershire and steak seasoning.

Mix thoroughly.

Then shape into 4 oval patties.

In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbl. butter over med-high heat.

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Place the patties into the pan.

Brown patties on both sides and transfer to a plate.Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 3

To the pan add remaining 2 Tbl. butter and mushrooms; sauté for 7-8 minutes.

Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 4

If the mixture runs dry, add more butter, or a bit of water.

In a bowl, add the water and whisk in gravy mix until smooth stir in cream of mushroom soup, milk, balsamic vinegar and sour cream.

Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 5

Stir into the mushroom mixture and cook for 2 minutes.Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 7

Return the browned hamburger patties to skillet and spoon gravy over top.

Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 8

Cover the pan and simmer the meat and gravy together for 20-25 minutes or until the meat is cooked completely through.

Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 9

As you can see, the gravy will thicken while cooking.Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy 10

*While the meat and gravy are simmering, cook your rice, pasta or potatoes.

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak and Mushroom Gravy

Serve Salisbury steaks and mushroom gravy over hot cooked rice, cooked pasta or mashed potatoes

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.

 

You Gotta Try This Chipotle Burger

You Gotta Try This Amazing Chipotle Burger!

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You Gotta Try This Chipotle Burger

You Gotta Try This Amazing Chipotle Burger!

It’s BURGER time with family and friends!!!

My family LOVES these juicy, delicious burgers that I created. I like a good burger ok, but these I really enjoy, and I think you will too.     

You do NOT want to miss these, not spicy just full of flavor burgers. The avocado adds a creaminess and the cheese gives just the right hint of flavor.




You Gotta Try This Amazing Chipotle Burger

Ingredients:

2 lbs. lean ground beef

2 tsp. worchestershire sauce

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. chopped garlic

½ tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning

1 ½ tsp. Emerill’s seasoning

2 chipotles in adobo sauce (scrape out the seeds) More makes it very spicy

1 tsp. beef bouillon

6 slices pepper Jack cheese

Hamburger buns, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, *avocado slices-important  


Directions: 

Chipotles come in a can such as this and in many brands, but I wanted to show you what they look like. Chipotle BurgerFreeze the extra in a freezer baggie or container.Chipotle Burger

TIP: Using disposable plastic gloves is best to keep chipotle peppers out of fingernails and off of hands.

Seed, cut off stem if attached and dice 2 chipotle peppers very small.Chipotle Burger



In a mixing bowl, stir to combine beef, worchestershire sauce, garlic, paprika, steak seasoning, Emerill’s, chipotles and beef boullion.

Again use ANY brand you would like of ingredients, these are just what I use and had on hand.

Chipotle BurgerWet hands to prevent sticking and shape into 4 patties slightly larger than the buns; set aside covered in refrigerator if not cooking immediately.




Light charcoal.

When coals are ready grill patties on one side, turn and cook till done.

At the end of cooking, place on slices of cheese and melt.Chipotle BurgerServe on toasted or plain bun, with lettuce, tomato, onion, sliced avocado and your choice of condiments.Chipotle Burger

Carrie’s recipe, Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




hamburger, meatloaf, main dish, old fashioned meal

Old Fashioned Moist Meatloaf

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Old Fashioned Meatloaf 1Do you have a hankering for GREAT old fashioned meatloaf?   Well, here you have it!  

This meatloaf is moist, tender, meaty, lean,  full of flavor and just plain comfort food.  The topping is a huge bonus for a perfect finish.  A bit of surprise of hhhmmm, what’s that in there, with a whole lot of yumminess slathered on top.  When it’s baked on top it caramelizes and is incredible.  Seriously, this is fabulous and perfect for a night in, or to impress your company.  Give it a try! Click through to the next page for the recipe.

Moist Old Fashioned Meatloaf

Ingredients:

1   1/2 lbs. lean hamburger (80%-90% is best)

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 bell pepper, chopped

1 – 2 Tbl. chopped garlic, to taste

2 Tbl. butter

1 egg

2/3 cup milk

1/3 cup grated carrot (makes the meatloaf incredibly moist)

2/3 cup dried Italian bread crumbs

1 Tbl. worchestershire sauce

1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. Montreal Steak seasoning

1 tsp. beef bouillon

1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. hot sauce  

Topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 Tbl. mustard (dijon is great for this topping)

1/2 cup ketchup   

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Line the bottom of a 5×9″ loaf pan with parchment paper if desired – but makes it so much easier to take out for serving.

Lightly coat the pan with spray release. 

Old Fashioned Meatloaf


In a fry pan or skillet, add in the butter and cook the onion and green pepper until tender and the onion is almost clear. 

The reason for this step is to avoid biting into a almost raw piece of onion or pepper.Old Fashioned MeatloafAdd in the garlic and cook 1 more minute. This takes the edge off of the garlic.Old Fashioned MeatloafIn a large bowl combine the ground beef, cooked onion-bell pepper and garlic mixture, egg, milk, grated carrot, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, Montreal steak seasoning, basil, bouillon and hot sauce. Old Fashioned MeatloafMix mixture well, I like to use the disposable gloves for this step.Old Fashioned MeatloafPut the meat mixture into the prepared loaf pan, pat in evenly and to slightly compress.  

Topping: In a small bowl combine the ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and mix well.Old Fashioned MeatloafPour over the meat mixture in the pan.  Old Fashioned Meatloaf

Bake until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, which will be approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your oven and the size of pan you used.

Allow meatloaf to sit for 5 minutes and if you have excess grease in the pan; carefully pour it off, using caution not to burn yourself.

Slice and serve.  DSC_2603- editCarrie Groneman’s original recipe.  Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow.  2014, 2016

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




Carrie's Chocolate Chipotle Chili

Carrie's Chocolate Chipotle Chili

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Carrie's Chocolate Chipotle Chili

Carrie’s Chocolate Chipotle Chili


I wanted to create a robust, full bodied, hearty, rich chili with layers of flavors, and I mastered it!  (In my humble opinion of course).  The chocolate gives a wonderful depth of flavor and does not stand out as ‘chocolate’ at all.  It actually tones down the chipotle perfectly. 
This really is a fabulous chili to serve with my Cornbread Cake, or any bread or crackers alongside will be completely satisfying.  Because the flavor improves when allowed to ‘marry’ (sit overnight) this is a great make-ahead meal.  In fact double it and freeze some for cold winter days.
 
 
CARRIE’S CHOCOLATE CHIPOTLE CHILI
Ingredients:
2 lbs. hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbl. cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes with chipotle
1 can diced tomatoes (regular)
3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes, Knorr (4 small ones of other brands)
1 ½  Tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. Montreal Steak seasoning
1/2  tsp. chili powder OR  1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1/4  tsp. smoked paprika
2  Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 can tomato paste
3 cans tomato sauce
1  Tbl. red wine vinegar
1  Tbl. balsamic vinegar
1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (1/4 cup grated).  These are squares of chocolate and comes in a box in the baking isle; not to be confused with the cocoa powder) 
*See bottom of page for grating chocolate
Serving options: sour cream, chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese  Directions:

In a large pot, over medium-high heat, sauté the hamburger, onion, garlic and bell pepper until meat is cooked through.Carrie's Chocolate Chipotle Chili 1

Drain the meat mixture well.Carrie's Chocolate Chipotle Chili 2Add in the diced tomatoes, beans, water, bouillon, brown sugar, cumin, steak seasoning, chili powder or chipotle chili power, cocoa powder, tomato paste, tomato sauce vinegars and chocolate.

OPTION #1 Heat to boiling and reduce to a simmer (uncovered), stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes.

OPTION #2  Place the ingredients into a crockpot and simmer on low for 2-4 hours.Chocolate Chipotle Chili 3It is best to let it cool and refrigerate overnight to ‘marry’ flavors.

When ready to serve, heat through and serve with desired options.

*Heat over the stove or in the crock pot

Use a hand grater to shred the unsweetened chocolate, allowing it to melt and blend into the chili

DSC_1260This recipes freezes beautifully!  
Carrie’s recipe, copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.
 Cornbread Cake Recipe Link
 DSC_1283 - corn bread cake

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