Recently, my friend Malinda, who’s also the director of our web series and a self-proclaimed kitchen catastrophe, asked for a favor. A friend of hers hurt her back and was on doctor’s orders to not stand, bend, lift, or do any other movements outside of the prescribed physical therapy. (Or that which is required to live…you know, like going to the bathroom, and showering.) That also meant her normal cooking and meal prep were out of the question. Some might say “Yay! No cooking!”, but for a busy family with two working adults, this was problematic. Short of ordering delivery every night (which gets expensive and can be unhealthy), there was only one solution – assemble an army of friends and family to each cook and deliver one meal so their family would have at least one hot, home-cooked meal for each day of her recovery.
That’s where I come in. Malinda, not wanting to poison her friend with her own culinary concoctions, asked if I could cook a meal.
Me? Cook for other people? Use my creativity in the kitchen? Show love and caring through food? Sounds right up my alley. Sign me up!
If you’ve ever been to a potluck, you know how many tater-tot casseroles and tuna-noodle casseroles find their way to the party. Now don’t get me wrong….I loves me some tater-tots and tuna-noodle goodness. But there’s only so much casserole a body can handle and remain sane.
So, I thought I’d share the results of our meal-planning brainstorming session with some meal ideas that aren’t casseroles. These meals are all easy to create, easy to package, easy to reheat, and guaranteed to please. And I promise you’ll get as much joy in the giving as those who receive it.
1) Mexican Fiesta: Refried beans, ground beef, grated cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, flour tortillas and taco shells.
2) Comfort Food Extravaganza: Meatloaf, cheesy mac-and-cheese, green salad.
3) Tailgate Party: Pulled barbecue chicken sliders, potato wedges, baked beans.
4) Italian La Dolce Vita: Lasagna, garlic bread, Caesar salad.
5) Let’s Pretend to be Healthy: Baked potato bar (baked potatoes, cheese, sour cream, bacon, chives, broccoli, etc), biscuits, salad.
6) Peasant Feast: Hearty beef stew, cornbread, green salad.
Cook and package everything in disposable aluminum pans. And if you’re feeling extra thoughtful, also take paper plates and cutlery, which will eliminate the need to do dishes.
Recipes for many of these entrees and sides can already be found on this website. The others will be coming soon. Enjoy!