I wasn’t sure exactly what to call this Recipe Exchange, but here’s what I intended: You know those meals that you make for friends who just had a baby? Or are home sick with the flu and five kids? Or, G-d forbid, lost someone close to them?
I called them “Chesed Meals” only because I associate them with our shul’s Chessed committee. But I guess I could just as easily have called them “meals to share with friends in need”.
Anyway… I am feeling inspired by a good friend’s recent birth (recent, as in yesterday ~ Mazal Tov, D&D!). Our shul is wonderful about organizing meals for new moms, but I often find myself stumped for what to make. It seems as though I’m not alone, as when I ask for suggestions, I always get the same two answers: Lasagna or stuffed shells!
And I get why: It reheats well, travels well, and doesn’t cost a small fortune (the cost of kosher mozzarella not withstanding). But, there are only so many 9×13 disposable tins of lasagna a post-partum mom can eat!
Instead of sharing a specific recipe today, I am instead going to share some of my suggestions for “chesed meals”. I’d love it if you would do the same – although you can also feel free to share recipes… I always love those, and I know the rest of you do, too!
Oh, and if you have written a blog post about making a meal for a friend – or getting a meal from a friend – or, gosh, anything remotely related to friends and meals, feel free to link up on the Mr. Linky.
Here are my favorite tips for “chesed meals”:
- Send along a fresh and abundant salad — and cut up veggies, too, if there are young kids at home (throw in some yummy dip and you’ll be the hit of the chesed meal kid committee!)
- Tuck in some cut up fruit – I so appreciated the Tupperwares filled with ready-to-eat fruit after my daughter was born; it’s a little harder in the winter time, but even some already washed blueberries are a lovely treat in the morning
- Give disposable containers – the last thing a friend-in-need needs is to worry about returning your Pyrex
- Incorporate fresh and flavorful ingredients, while toning down the spicy-factor – unless you know for sure that the “heat” will be well-received
- Pack a few extra treats for any kids at home – chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bread and apple muffins are some of my go-to favorites
- Make what you’re having – to prevent this from turning into a four-hour ordeal, just double up on what you are planning to make for dinner anyway
And here is a list of meals that I have prepared in the past, in case you are looking for some inspiration:
- Baked ziti, lasagna, spinach stuffed shells – Yes, I know what I said above, but there’s a reason that lasagna is a “chesed meal” cliche, people.
- Broccoli and/or mushroom quiche, home fried potatoes and fruit salad with yogurt sauce
- Sweet & sour chicken with stir-fried rice (I made it easy on myself by using the breaded chicken cutlets from Empire, which our Costco no longer carries, sadly)
- Vegetarian chili with cornbread and tofutti sour cream (vegan family with some food allergies)
- Vegetable stir-fry with tofu, white rice, egg rolls (not homemade, although that would have been a really nice touch)
- Falafal, hummus, “chips” (how Israelis say French fries – and yes, you eat them in the pita), Israeli salad & fresh pita
- Faux Swedish meatballs (I just took them out of my freezer and quickly made the sauce), served with majadara, chopped salad and steamed veggies (This was for a family who had a baby on a Friday morning and needed a quick Shabbat dinner in the hospital)
- Soup & salad, with homemade bread
- Build your own tacos – I just individually packaged up veggie taco meat (made with either TVP or Morningstar crumbles), cut up tomatoes, shredded lettuce & cheese, “refried” beans and sour cream
- Roasted veggies with orecchiette pasta, tossed with lemony vinaigrette + a Greek salad (This was my personal favorite… mmmm, I want it now just writing about it!)
Ok, now it’s your turn: Please do share… anything and everything remotely topical is welcome, either in the comments section or linked up with the Mr. Linky.
Shabbat Shalom and Tizku l’Mitzvot!