Life is full of ups and downs. Thankfully we have wonderful friends that are there for us when we need them.
And sometimes, even if we don’t care to admit it, we need help. And what better way to help someone in need than to cook them a meal?
After I had my second baby, I was lucky enough to have a bunch of friends
Perhaps you have a sick neighbor, or a friend that was recently in the hospital, or a friend that had a baby. Life is busy enough, add any of these situations to the mix, and worlds get turned upside down.
Any one of them would probably love a homecooked meal. But just how do you go about bringing food to a friend? And most importantly, what do you make? I’ve got you covered.
Let’s go to the Chalkboard.
How to Cook for a Friend in Need
Before we get going, we need to prepare a bit. Here are some things to keep in mind as you start to cook for a friend in need.
- Think about why. What is the reason you are cooking? Is this a happy occasion? The birth of a first baby, perhaps? If so, plan a celebratory meal for the couple. Is a friend grieving? Then comfort food may be best. Remember the reason you are cooking.
- Who are you cooking for? Is this for a family or adults only? Is the family vegetarian? Gluten-free? Keep in mind, as much as parents love to have our kids be adventurous eaters, not all kids are. If you are cooking for a family, it’s best to keep it simple.
- Communication is key. Reach out to the family and ask if there are any food allergies. These can be serious, so keep that in mind as you cook.
- It doesn’t need to be perfect! The meal doesn’t need to be complicated (although it can be if you wish). It truly is the thought that counts.
- Do double-duty. I like to add a recipe to my meal plan that I can easily double. That way, I can have dinner done for my family as well as the person I am cooking for.
- Think about packaging. The person you are cooking for has enough going on. Don’t expect any containers back. Leftover takeout containers are great here or pick up some inexpensive plastic containers while you are food shopping.
- Add some extras. A loaf of bread, a small salad, a vegetable. And don’t forget dessert. I mean, who doesn’t love dessert?
What to Cook for a Friend in Need
Now we have a general idea of what we should do, but the big question still lingers. Just what do we cook for a friend in need? Read on to see the 25+ recipes that will be sure to bring a smile.
- https://buythiscookthat.com/white-chicken-chili/ This chicken chili is comforting without being heavy. If cooking for kids, half the amount of green chilis to tone down the heat. Don’t forget the toppings!
- http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/soup-recipes/tex-mex-corn-chip-chili My boys’ favorite chili. Not spicy at all, this recipe comes together in 35 minutes and is easily doubled or even tripled. It also freezes really well.
- http://www.ezrapoundcake.com/archives/20782?utm_source=feed&utm_campaign=rss-no-more&utm_medium=rss Cheeseburger and macaroni together in one dish, how can you go wrong? This is a great comfort meal, sure to please adults and kids.
- http://www.ezrapoundcake.com/archives/17560?utm_source=feed&utm_campaign=rss-no-more&utm_medium=rss Based on an Ina Garten recipe, this bolognese is my go-to recipe to bring to new parents. It is a special meal that takes 30 minutes to make. Bring the new parents the leftover wine, and a great loaf of bread to truly make it a meal to remember.
- https://thekitchenchalkboard.com/chicken-meatball-soup/ Our own recipe that is comfort in a bowl. Full of veggies and meatballs, this soup is filling but not heavy. Even the pickiest kids love these meatballs.
- https://therecipecritic.com/hawaiian-fried-rice/ A complete departure from what you think of as a comfort meal, but don’t let that stop you from making this. The colors are bright, and the dish is flavorful.
Little Prep Time – Short on time? Don’t let that stop you from cooking for a friend in need!
- http://iowagirleats.com/2013/03/25/lazy-girls-chicken-enchilada-casserole/ Don’t have much time to get it together? Try this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats. It is full of flavor and has little preparation time. Bake it and bring it over or prep it in a throwaway pan and write the baking instructions on top.
- https://www.thecreativityexchange.com/2014/06/chicken-caesar-pasta-salad.html This recipe is super flavorful thanks to the Caesar Salad dressing, so buy one you love. We like Marie’s. Feel free to use a rotisserie chicken to cut down on prep time.
- http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/cheryls-fancy-pants-chicken/919928 This dish. Oh, how I love this dish. When finished, it is genuinely restaurant quality, and it takes five minutes to put together with no chopping at all. Serve it with rice, mashed potatoes, or buy a big loaf of crusty bread.
- https://www.budgetbytes.com/chicken-yakisoba/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes The ramen noodles cook in minutes. This dish is just as yummy day 2 (if it lasts that long).
Love to cook? Have an afternoon free? Try these recipes below that are well worth the time it takes to make them.
- https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/94113/high-temperature-eye-of-round-roast/ There is little prep for this roast beef, the time involved is mostly inactive. Give this with mashed potatoes and steamed carrots, and don’t forget some horseradish sauce for all of the leftover sandwiches they will have.
- https://www.today.com/recipes/rao-s-meatballs-marinara-sauce-t68306 The ultimate comfort food. Meatballs and sauce will bring a smile to anyone’s face, and this recipe is straightforward, delicious, and doesn’t require too many ingredients.
- https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/meat-loaf-recipe-1921718 No one does meatloaf like Ina Garten. Serve it alongside potatoes in any iteration (mashed, roasted, french fries) and any vegetable.
- https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/01/chicken-and-penne-in-vodka-cream-sauce-recipe.html With or without the chicken this penne ala vodka is delicious. Not up for making the garlic bread, grab a loaf from the grocery store. And if you are up for it, make a small salad for the side to round out the meal. I love the one from Cozy Apron below.
Let Your Slow Cooker Do the Work.
- https://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/beef-stew-with-buttered-egg-noodles Don’t skip the step of browning the meat on this recipe. It adds a ton of flavor.
- https://www.momswhothink.com/yankee-pot-roast/ Simple and flavorful. Simply put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning, and by evening you will have a del
icious meal ready to bring to a friend in need.
- https://fitfoodiefinds.com/meal-prep-carnitas-burrito-bowls/ Spend an hour prepping this, and you will provide meals for a week for a friend.
A meal for a friend in need doesn’t need to be a casserole. Check out these options that stand alone or make a great addition to any meal.
- http://thecozyapron.com/cozy-cameo-dad-n-me-and-italian-chopped-salad-makes-three/ My go-to salad. It’s so yummy. I omit the salami and serve it with any Italian meal; you can’t go wrong with this one.
- https://www.cookingclassy.com/avocado-and-grilled-chicken-chopped-salad-with-skinny-chipotle-lime-ranch/ Sometimes when you are going through tough times, you forget to take care of yourself. That means vegetables are low on the list. This salad is just the cure.
- https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/butternut-squash-soup-with-fontina-cheese-crostini-recipe-1949183 To save time, purchase pre-chopped butternut squash. The crostini won’t travel well so, feel free to substitute a crusty loaf of bread.
Don’t let a dietary restriction stop you from bringing them a meal when they are in need.
- http://therecipecritic.com/2014/01/copycat-panera-broccoli-cheese-soup/ Tastes just like takeout. Substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock for meal vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike will love.
- https://www.skinnytaste.com/spinach-lasagna-rolls/ Lasagne taste without all of the lasagne prep! These roll-ups are delicious. You can make your own sauce using the Rao’s sauce recipe above or used jarred sauce (I won’t tell).
- https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/mediterranean-farro-salad-recipe/ Full of vegetables and filling? Sign me up! If you can’t find farro, feel free to substitute pearled barley or orzo. Just adjust the cooking time.
- https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/vietnamese-spring-roll-salad/ This recipe is naturally gluten-free and delicious with or without a protein. Feel free to leave the nuts out of this recipe if you are concerned about allergies. I have made it without nuts several times, and it’s still great!
Paleo and Whole 30 approved
- https://40aprons.com/whole30-egg-roll-bowl-paleo/ There is a reason that this recipe is also known as “Crack Slaw.” People can’t stop eating it! Bonus that it is both Paleo and Whole 30 complaint.
- https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/02/rustic-red-kale-and-white-bean-soup.html A great tomato-based soup full of veggies and made filling by the beans this is a must-try for vegans and non-vegans alike.
With all this in mind, let’s cook for a friend in need!
If you need even more ideas for what to cook for a friend in need, check out The Kitchen Chalkboard’s Pinterest Board and let me know in the comments what you made and how it all went.
My Lib says
Recently I’ve had quite a few friends who are going through tough times. Whether it’s a joyful transition, like a new baby ; or a rough patch, like chemotherapy, I’ve found that the best thing I can do is to bring them food. After all, feeding someone in their time of need is one of the oldest, purest acts of love.
I couldn’t agree more! How lucky they are to have a friend like you. Hope you find these tips helpful.