I was talking to Matt Swaim this morning on the Sonrise Morning Show radio about toting food to folks who are ill or who are new parents. I shared a couple Bible quotes along with some good tips and really good dishes to tote. Here they are!
Romans 12:13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Matthew 25:35,43 For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink….
TIPS FOR TOTING FOOD: MAKE IT EASY!
Make it easy to clean up. Nobody wants to have to remember who a dish belongs to and keeping it in a safe place to return. Those can accumulate! This makes it easy on the giver, too, since I can tell you there have been times when I brought a meal in to someone in a regular pan and never got it back. Go over to the dollar store and pick up some of those aluminum pans – they’re usually 2 for a buck. I like to bring disposable plates and utensils, too. That way, no mess at all to clean up..
And if you know the person will be laid up a while, it’s nice to organize a team effort, someone bringing food every other day or so. And you really don’t have to prepare the whole meal, either. A main dish is just fine, or do it with a friend and you each take care of part of the meal.
CHECK FOR ALLERGIES
Check before making something to make sure you’re not bringing over a meal that can’t be eaten due to allergies or sensitivities. This is especially true for children.
If you’re bringing food to a breast feeding mom, remember that whatever nourishment she gets goes straight to the baby, too, so avoid real spicy foods or something that may hard for her to digest.
It’s also nice to ask if there are particular food no-no’s, something that the recipient doesn’t really like to eat. I also like to ask what they’ve been hungry for. That way, I don’t repeat what others may be bringing.
DON’T OVERSTAY YOUR WELCOME
Especially for the first few weeks of a new mom & dad’s life, it can be overwhelming and having to entertain is not something they should have to do.
Stay for a decent amount of time, but don’t overdo.
VEGETARIAN PASTA FAGIOLI
A nice meatless meal. One of my most requested.
Made with whole wheat pasta, you’ll taste a nuttiness that you won’t get with regular white pasta. You’ll never miss the meat! While the pasta is boiling, make the sauce. Divide recipe in half if you like.
l pound short pasta, boiled
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 can, 28 oz, diced tomatoes with juice
2-3 teaspoons dry oregano
3 cans beans: cannellini, kidney or any combination you like, drained
Several handfuls spinach, chard or escarole (opt)
Salt and pepper to taste
Plenty of Parmesan for sprinkling on top
Heat oil and add garlic and oregano. Cook just until garlic is golden. Don’t overcook or it will burn. Add everything else but pasta and spinach. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook 10-15 minutes. I like to take the potato masher and mash some of the beans into the sauce. Adjust seasonings and add greens, stirring to cook only until wilted. Pour over pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
TIP FROM RITA’S KITCHEN: The sauce can be frozen.
BAKED MAC & CHEESE
2 cups macaroni, cooked according to package directions
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
2-1/2 cups milk
3 cups cheddar or combo of your choice of cheeses plus 1 extra cup for top
1/4 cup Parmesan
Few breadcrumbs to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter, stir in flour and seasonings and blend in milk. Cook until thickened and then stir in 3 cups cheese plus Parmesan. Pour over macaroni and blend. Pour into sprayed 2 quart casserole. Top with rest of cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake about 30 minutes.
TIP FROM RITA’S KITCHEN:
This is a good freezer dish. After I mix the sauce and cheese together and top it with more cheese and crumbs, I don’t bake it but just put it in freezer. It can go directly from freezer to oven, covered with foil. It will take longer to bake. When it starts to bubble, remove foil and continue to bake so top gets golden brown.
Spray breadcrumbs for better browning: Give them a quick spray with cooking spray and that tiny bit of fat will help them brown nicely.
LOTTIE’S EASY CROCKPOT ROAST
Lottie Hilgefort is my daughter-in-law, Jess’, sister and typical of a very busy mom.. Lottie said: “ I adapted this from different recipes I liked until I came to perfection. It is so delicious and moist. I always serve with mashed potatoes, as you have lots of delicious gravy.”
3-4 lb chuck roast
1 envelope beefy-onion dry soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can good red wine (or water)
3 tablespoons flour
2 beef bouillon cubes
Place roast in sprayed crockpot. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over. Cook on low 8-10 hours.
GOOD KEEPER ORANGE MARMALADE FOR ANY TOSSED SALAD
Mix together in blender or by hand, following directions below.
3/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 generous tablespoon minced red onion
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, unseasoned or more to taste (or white wine vinegar)
1 cup Canola oil
Sugar or sugar substitute to taste: just a little bit – or none if you prefer
Combine everything but oil. Whisk in oil. Store in refrigerator. Shake well before serving. Stays good in frig for a couple of weeks.
YUMMY PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
This is a wonderful recipe for the little ones to help with. That way, they feel like they’re involved, as well. No flour so it’s gluten free. Great for those watching their carbs especially if you use Splenda blend that’s equal to sugar and a sugar free chocolate kiss.
1 cup peanut butter – I use creamy
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 and spray baking sheets. Beat everything together well. It will look sticky. That’s OK. Roll into small balls and put 1” apart on baking sheets. Flatten a bit with fork. Bake about 9-11 minutes. Don’t overbake. They will continue to bake as they cool on the cookie sheet. Makes about 24
TIP FROM RITA’S KITCHEN:
If you like, sprinkle a few chopped peanuts on top after you flatten with a fork.
Push a Hershey’s kiss in the middle of the cookie right after they come out of the oven.