For a friend in need or just because, these healthy recipes travel well and make great gifts for others.
It's a lovely gift for any friend who could use a night off from cooking. For tips on making meals extra special, we talked
to contributor Marge Perry, who offers these ideas:
• Don't make it a surprise—talk to your friend about what day works best for the delivery. Anticipation of the meal is part of the fun.
• Be sure to include a menu so recipients know exactly what they're getting.
• Provide disposable plates, utensils, and napkins so cleanup is easy.
• Bring food in a casserole dish that's part of the gift; don't make the recipient responsible for returning your dishes. Alternately, use disposable containers.
• Provide heating/freezing instructions.
• Include a small treat for other family members: dog bones or cat toy.
• Tuck in a time-consuming puzzle to keep a toddler busy while Mom tends to a newborn or wraps presents.
• Include a separate package with tea bags and candles for peaceful moments: nice for new moms.
Dress up a Greek salad by adding barley to the cucumber, tomato, feta, and kalamata olives. Packaging idea: Tie a ribbon around
a pretty serving spoon and include it with this one-dish meal.
View Recipe: Greek Chicken and Barley Salad
Use cauliflower or roasted peppers if your meal recipients don't like zucchini. For an extra special gift, give in small,
individual ceramic dishes for your friends to keep.
View Recipe: Penne Rigate with Spicy Sausage and Zucchini in Tomato Cream Sauce
This casserole is a quick and easy swap for more traditional tamales - but just as delicious. Be sure to include a recipe
card when you bring this meal for friends. It will be a gift that keeps on giving.
View Recipe: Chicken Tamale Casserole
Perfect for a cold day, be sure to bring this chili to a friend complete with all the fixings: shredded cheddar, chopped onion,
and sour cream. Package each topping individually so that everyone can make up their bowl to their own preference.
View Recipe: All-American Chili
Although the yellow and green squash give this hearty one-dish meal a colorful appearance, you can use one or the other, if
View Recipe: Chicken and Rice Casserole
Perfectly giftable, this rustic casserole has something for everyone: creamy sauce, earthy mushrooms, and a cheesy topping.
View Recipe: Wild Mushroom Pastitsio
Bring a bowl of warmth to a friend with this classic American comfort food. Flavorful stock, fresh-cooked chicken, traditional
vegetables, and egg noodles lend starchy body to the broth of this favorite soup.
View Recipe: Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
Cipollini onions are small, flat Italian onions. If you can't find them, substitute pearl onions. Other large full-flavored
greens like mustard greens or kale will work, as well. This slow-cooker recipe is a winner when you're looking for a time-conscious
meal to make for a friend.
View Recipe: Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens
If you can't find fresh corn on the cob, substitute 2 cups frozen corn kernels, and broil them with peppers. Your friends
aren't the only ones who will get a yummy gift when you cook this recipe: Hang on to the extra chipotle peppers and use them
to spice up a pot of beans, rice, stews, or canola mayonnaise.
View Recipe: Tortilla Meatball Soup
Poaching the chicken keeps it moist and succulent, so you'll need less dressing to bind the chicken salad. Tote along rolls
and a fresh green salad to the complete this friendly meal.
View Recipe: Creamy Chicken Salad
Stock a friend's freezer with this lasagna recipe—just leave thawing and baking instructions so it's ready to go whenever
a quick and hearty meal is needed.
View Recipe: Rachel's Special Occasion Lasagna
The pulled pork sandwich is a crowd-pleasing classic, and cooking the roast in a slow cooker makes this dish incredibly easy.
Bring the pulled pork over with all the fixings: buns, coleslaw, and extra barbecue sauce.
View Recipe: Pork and Slaw Sandwiches
Sweet potato elevates this chicken curry. Steam jasmine rice and pack in a separate container before bringing this meal to
View Recipe: Sweet Potato Chicken Curry
This classic beef stew recipe has all you expect in beef stew: tender chunks of beef, carrot, and potato. Yet the cremini
mushrooms are a wonderful surprise. The slow-cooked flavor will show your friends just how much you care.
View Recipe: Basic Beef Stew with Carrots and Mushrooms