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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.




Savory & Sweet Glaze and Marinade

Savory Honey Marinade

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Savory & Sweet Glaze and Marinade

This glaze goes well with pork, chicken!

This marinade pairs beautifully with chicken, pork or beef.  You can also marinate the vegetables in this same marinade – except in a different baggie than the meat of course:)

It is a bit sweet, a bit savory – giving it a little bit of sassy – making it absolutely delicious.




Savory Honey Marinade

Ingredients:

Savory Honey Marinade

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/2 tsp. Montreal Chicken Seasoning

1 tsp. fresh grated ginger root

1 Tbl. chopped garlic

Approx 3 lbs. of chicken or beef steak  (For the steak ask your butcher for a very tender cooking piece of meat.  It’s better to have a smaller piece and more chicken or veggies for a melt-in-your-mouth succulent piece of this heavenly marinated steak, than a bunch that is tough and chewy.)

Vegetables, optional


Directions:

Purchase the size you need at the store. 

You can break off the desired amount you want to buy; you do not need to take the entire thing, just a small amount if that’s all you want to buy. Ginger Root

Peel the ginger root with a vegetable peeler or a knife.Ginger Root PeeledGrate on small holes of grater. Ginger Root Grated


In a medium bowl, whisk together the Honey Marinade ingredients until well combined.Honey Marinade 1Place meat in zip lock baggie

Pour enough marinade to cover the meat. 

Put in the refrigerator for 1-24 hours; flip over every so often to distribute the flavors evenly. 

Do not leave more  than 24 hours, otherwise the meat fibers begin to break down.Chicken KabobsIf making kabobs, soak the wooden skewers for 30-60 minutes.
Marinated Kabobs 3



Thread the meat and vegetables onto the skewers.Marinated Kabobs 4Grill meat until it is done; use a digital thermometer for best results.Marinated Kabobs 5*Safety Tips for handling chicken: 

  • Keep meat cold
  • After handling or cutting chicken, clean hands, utensils and area thoroughly with a very good antibacterial cleaner such as a vinegar and water or a clorox and water solution.  Use the cleaner on counter, sink and other surfaces also.
  • After turning the chicken on the grill, when the chicken is almost cooked through, use clean tongs to turn the meat so as not to contaminate the now cooked meat with any residue from the raw meat.
  • Discard any marinade that the raw chicken soaked in. Do NOT use or taste marinade or anything that has been exposed to raw chicken.
  • Cook chicken thoroughly using a digital thermometer.

CLICK HERE FOR A BALSAMIC GLAZE MARINADE

CLICK HERE FOR A HURRY-UP MARINADE

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

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




Vegetable and Meat Glaze for the Grill

Quick and Easy Grilling Marinade

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Vegetable and Meat Glaze for the Grill

Grilling Marinade for Meat and Vegetables

This is a quick, but very flavorful alternative when you are in a hurry for marinating vegetables, chicken, pork or beef.    
Simply place the meat or vegetables into a baggie, the one ingredient to cover, place it in the fridge and you’re ready to cook in no time at all!




Hurry Up Marinade

Ingredients:
Prepared Italian Salad Dressing, zesty, original, or your preference
Chicken, Beef  steak, pork or Vegetables   (For the steak ask your butcher for a very tender cooking piece of meat.  It’s better to have a smaller piece and more chicken or veggies for a melt-in-your-mouth succulent piece of this heavenly marinated steak, than a bunch that is tough and chewy.)  
Directions:
Place meat or vegetables in a zip lock baggie. Pour enough bottled Italian dressing to cover the food.Veggie Kabob



Put the ziplock baggie in the refrigerator to marinate 1-24 hours, flipping over every so often to distribute the marinade evenly.Veggie Kabob 1If making kabobs, soak the wooden skewers for 30-60 minutes.Marinated Kabobs 3Thread the meat and vegetables onto the skewers.Marinated Kabobs 4



Grill meat until it is done; use a digital thermometer for best results.Marinated Kabobs 5*Safety Tips for handling chicken: 

  • Keep meat cold
  • After handling or cutting chicken, clean hands, utensils and area thoroughly with a very good antibacterial cleaner such as a vinegar and water or a clorox and water solution.  Use the cleaner on counter, sink and other surfaces also.
  • After turning the chicken on the grill, when the chicken is almost cooked through, use clean tongs to turn the meat so as not to contaminate the now cooked meat with any residue from the raw meat.
  • Discard any marinade that the raw chicken soaked in. Do NOT use or taste marinade or anything that has been exposed to raw chicken.
  • Cook chicken thoroughly using a digital thermometer.

CLICK HERE FOR A BALSAMIC GLAZE MARINADE
CLICK HERE FOR A SAVORY HONEY MARINADE 
Carrie’s recipe, Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.
 



Make delicious tomato basil bread just like panera

Easy One Hour Tomato Basil Bread

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Make delicious tomato basil bread just like panera

Tomato Basil Bread

Down home goodness in a hurry. Terrific with my homemade Tomato Basil Soup or herbed butter as shown.  Slice it a bit thick, top with some slices of cheese and broil for a wonderful comforting and substantial meal.




Easy One Hour Tomato Basil Bread

Instructions:

1 ½ cups milk

6 Tbl. granulated sugar

3 Tbl. Active dry yeast

14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, pureed

2 Tbl. fresh chopped basil  OR  1 Tbl. dry

5-6 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. garlic salt 1 tsp. baking powder

2 Tbl. butter, melted

1 Tbl. lemon juice, bottled works fine

Butter for brushing on top of loaves  

 


Directions:

This recipe makes 2 loaves (8 ½ x 4 ½”).

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat 2 pans with non-stick spray and set aside.  

In a large measuring cup or microwavable bowl microwave milk for 1 minute on high. Check to make sure it is the temperature of a warm baby bath. Heat a bit more if needed.

Add sugar to the warm milk  and stir. Tomato Basil Bread 1Add in yeast, stir and set aside for 5-7 minutes allowing it rise.Tomato Basil Bread 2When it is risen it will look like thisTomato Basil Bread 3

Tomato Basil Bread 4




Meanwhile puree tomato.Tomato Basil Bread 5In a large mixing bowl of stand mixture add 4 cups of the flour, milk, pureed tomatoes, basil, salt, baking powder, melted butter, lemon juice and yeast mixture.Tomato Basil Bread 6Knead with a dough hook 5-8 minutes; adding 1-2 cups flour to make a soft dough.  

NOTE: The dough must be soft, just firm enough to handle with floured hands.Tomato Basil Bread 7However, use just enough flour to keep it from sticking completely to the sides of the bowl.Tomato Basil Bread 8




You want a sticky dough like this after mixing:Tomato Basil Bread 9Pour a bit of flour on a counter or cutting board.

Dump the dough onto the lightly floured surface.

With a little flour on top of the dough and a bit on your hands.

Divide the dough in half, put half into a prepared pan and the other into the other pan. Tomato Basil Bread 10Pat out lightly with your hands to make even.Tomato Basil Bread 11Place saran wrap over the pans, then a clean towel to allow it to rise.Tomato Basil Bread 12




Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. 

Take off towel and saran wrap.Tomato Basil Bread 13Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a digital thermometer reads 185.

Brush the top of the loaves with additional melted butter.Tomato Basil Bread 14Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Pictured with my homemade Tomato Basil Soup you can find HERETomato Basil Bread 15Recipe from Becky Low, Dairy Council

Copyright of Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




Homemade Tomato Pesto Basil Soup

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Oh my, is there anything more comforting than  really (REALLY) good tomato soup?  NO more cans with this easy recipe, and it IS the BEST!

 Here is my recipe for a tomato soup with amazing flavor.  Pair with homemade Tomato Basil Bread for a hearty and satisfying meal.


Homemade Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients:

½ cup real butter (1 stick)

1 med -large onion, diced

3 cans (14.5 oz each) diced fire roasted tomatoes, with the juice (can use regular, but fire roasted has a great flavor)

1  ½ cups water

1 cube chicken bouillon, Knorr (or 2 teaspoons granules; to taste)

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Montreal Steak seasoning

½ teaspoon salt

1 can evaporated milk

3/4 cup basil pesto

1 cup real Parmesan cheese, finely grated

 optional: 6-8 oz. risotto or small pasta, cooked till al dente, drained



Directions:

Melt butter in a large saucepan.

Add onions and cook over medium heat, stirring until completely translucent.

Add tomatoes, water, bouillon, balsamic vinegar, Montreal steak seasoning and salt.Tomato Basil Soup 2Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes to allow for ‘marrying’ of flavors.

Working in batches, pour soup mixture into blender (but only about ½ way up the container and hold a towel over the top, tightly, to allow for expansion due to the hot liquid) and process until smooth.Tomato Basil Soup 3Pour pureed soup into a pan. 

Add in the basil pesto-

And the evaporated milk

 

Then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add in the fresh grated Parmesan cheese, stir and serve hot. 

 

*If adding risotto pasta, cook according to directions when beginning soup.

Drain well and add to soup with the evaporated milk and pesto.

The pasta will expand if allowed to sit in soup overnight or for several hours.

 Delicious when paired with an open faced grilled cheese made with my Tomato Basil Bread, you will find HERETomato Basil Soup 6Carrie Groneman’s recipe

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.




pasta, spinach, fast dinner, hurry up meal, spaghetti sauce, penne,

One Pan Penne Pasta

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One Pan Penne Pasta

One Pan Penne Pasta

Here’s a dish that easy, fast, economical and healthy. If you’re in a rush for dinner, this is a perfect solution.

Serve with some bread and fruit on the side, and your family is fed in a hurry – satisfied and full.




One Pan Penne Pasta

Ingredients:

14 oz. uncooked penne pasta, choose one that is high in fiber and protein 1 med. onion, chopped

1 Tbl. garlic, minced

1/2 – 1 lb. lean hamburger

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, optional

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

14-18 oz. marinara sauce

8 oz. can tomato sauce

14 oz. diced tomatoes, roasted if available

9-12 oz. fresh spinach, optional

1- 1/2 cup cheese, shredded, cheddar, mozzarella or mixed



Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions, but al dente; add in spinach last 1 minute of cooking if using.One Pan Penne Pasta 1Cook for 2-3 minutes until spinach begins to wilt. 

Scoop out approximately 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Drain the spinach into a colander.One Pan Penne Pasta 2In same pan that you had just cooked the spinach in, over medium heat, add the hamburger and onion; sauté until done, then add in garlic.

Drain off any fat. To the hamburger mixture,  add the Italian seasoning, basil, Montreal Steak seasoning, smoked paprika, balsamic vinegar, marinara sauce, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. 

Pour approximately 1/4 cup of the pasta water into the empty marinara sauce bottle.One Pan Penne Pasta 3


Shake the bottle with the pasta water to rinse out the excess of the marinara sauce 

One Pan Penne Pasta 4

And pour into the pan with the hamburger and marinara mixture.  One Pan Penne Pasta 5Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes to allow seasonings to hydrate and sauce to marry flavors.

Then, gently stir in the penne pasta and cheese and heat through.  Serve hot.One Pan Penne Pasta 6

Carrie Groneman’s recipe

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Here’s a GREAT comfort meal that you’ve just got to try!

Old Fashioned Moist Meatloaf – click HERE

hamburger, meatloaf, main dish, old fashioned meal

Old Fashioned Meatloaf