There is someone who could use a meal because of a surgery or illness, or a job loss, or a new baby, or a new house, or.... Good or bad, the reason why doesn't matter. They need a little help in the kitchen. Something home cooked that says "someone cares enough to take time to cook food and bring it to me."
I like to cook. I decide I'll help out. I start thinking about a menu. This is the part where it's easy to get stuck. I can't think of a menu. I don't have time to make an entire meal. I wonder about what foods they like. Or, don't like. And that's where I sometimes stop. Sometimes it's easier to make excuses than to make spaghetti. I want it to be so perfect that I end up doing nothing. There is a whole lot of "I" in this train of thought and not so much thinking about the one in need.
DO NOT let that happen. What about the "someone cares" part? The caring is as important as the actual food. Take a casserole. Take a salad. Take a dessert. Take hot dogs, for goodness! Sloppy Joes are a good meal if there are kids in the house. Just act on your good intentions. (You realize I'm talking to myself here.)
I just delivered supper to a friend. I called and promised to bring supper before I decided what I would take. Maybe that works best. I think if I'd tried to plan before I called her, I might have never made the call. I made a slow cooker meal that we like and it made plenty for me to divide—supper for them, supper for us. I knew I should have added something green, but I delivered just the beef stew, bread and dessert. And I managed not to apologize for not bringing a green vegetable or a salad.
These recipes were easy for me. And the slow cooker worked with my schedule this time. But you likely have your own easy recipes. And there are plenty of simple recipes with fewer ingredients here on my blog. It's a good idea to have a couple of meals—or dishes—that are your standard "comfort meals." Your go-to menus. That will make it easier to offer a meal. If you take single dish, you can think of it as a "meal starter." It still shows you care. These meals don't need to be gourmet and are not cooked to impress. It's the caring that counts.
Here is what I took yesterday. Do you have a "go to" comfort meal or dish that you typically take? I'd love to get new ideas. If you look on the recipe index here, you'll see ideas under the MENU heading for Care Package Meals. There are a few ideas there of foods I've taken before. To be honest, I had forgotten about that list. On my own blog.
Let's make this year a "year of kindness." Goodness knows the world needs it. So you don't cook? There are plenty of ways to show kindness—send a card, write a thank you note, smile at people, run an errand for someone, donate to a food bank. There are so many ways to be kind. Do the one that speaks to you.
|SLOW COOKER BEEF STEW|
This time I used 3 lbs of beef and added an extra potato to make a little more stew and cooked it in a 5-qt. slow cooker. You can serve a bowl of this hearty stew or spoon it over rice. It's good both ways.
SLOW COOKER BEEF STEW
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 to 2 lb. beef stew meat
2 tablespoons cooking oil (or more as needed)
2 medium potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
2 or 3 carrots, peeled & cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled & cut into chunks
2 teaspoons instant beef bouillon granules
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram or basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
2-1/2 cups V-8 juice
Place flour in a plastic bag. Add meat cubes and shake until meat is coated with flour. In a Dutch oven brown half of meat in 1 tablespoon of oil, turning to brown on all sides. Brown remaining meat in remaining oil. Drain off any excess oil.
In a 3-1/2 to 4 quart Crockpot, layer potatoes, carrots and onion. Add meat. Add all seasoning. Pour vegetable juice over all.
Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours (or on HIGH for 5-6 hours) until meat and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf.
I was baking bread anyway and it was nice to share it. This is easy for me because I've made a zillion loaves of this bread and don't need to look at the recipe anymore. But a pan of Sister Shubert rolls from the grocery store freezer would have been just as good. The Parker House Style is our favorite.
If you'd like to try this sourdough bread, you'll find the recipe HERE.
This is the easiest cake I know of. (Both recipes say "quick." They really are.) Use your favorite frosting, or top it with fresh fruit. This time I couldn't resist caramel. I used the pans I had here...one round for us, and one oblong with a lid that was easy to transport. I do my best to only use dishes and pans that don't need to be returned.
QUICK & EASY CAKE
2 cups self-rising flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
QUICK CARAMEL FROSTING
2/3 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1/3 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
In a saucepan over low heat add butter--melt. Add brown sugar--stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add milk--stir and cook while you bring it to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes. Slowly add powdered sugar while stirring--keep stirring until thick enough to use as frosting.
(I used a wire whisk to add in the powdered sugar until it got thick and then I switched to a heavy spoon. This frosting hardens, so ice your cake quickly.)