Tips for Making Meals for Friends
• 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.
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
This Cajun-favorite is easy to transport and even easier to devour.
Greek Chicken and Barley Salad
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.
Penne Rigate with Spicy Sausage and Zucchini in Tomato Cream Sauce
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.
Chicken Tamale Casserole
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.
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.
Chicken and Rice Casserole
Although the yellow and green squash give this hearty one-dish meal a colorful appearance, you can use one or the other, if you prefer.
Wild Mushroom Pastitsio
Perfectly giftable, this rustic casserole has something for everyone: creamy sauce, earthy mushrooms, and a cheesy topping.
Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
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.
Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens
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.
Tortilla Meatball Soup
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.
Creamy Chicken Salad
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.
Rachel's Special Occasion Lasagna
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.
Pork and Slaw Sandwiches
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.
Sweet Potato Chicken Curry
Sweet potato elevates this chicken curry. Steam jasmine rice and pack in a separate container before bringing this meal to a friend.
Basic Beef Stew with Carrots and Mushrooms
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.