This week I got a Facebook invite from a friend asking for some of us ladies to make meals for a mom at church who had been in the hospital and was still sick at home recovering. Normally I am prepared for just such an occasion. Usually in my freezer there are 4-5 meals frozen, ready for when someone get sick, has a baby, or has to deal with a death or other difficult situation. Things like soup, chili, lasagna, etc. all freeze wonderfully and it is so convenient to be able to just pull a meal out of the freezer when it is needed. Generally, when making soup, chili, or a pasta dish, I make double and freeze half for just such a need. But when I went to the freezer today to pull out a meal for our friends from church, all I found was ½ a bag of cheddar broccoli soup.
So as I plan to stock my freezer up on meals, I thought I would share some of my favorite “take a meal to” recipes. TIP- Always ask about allergies or diet restrictions. It doesn’t help anyone to bring food a family member cannot eat. This is always important to me because I have severe (and strange!) food allergies.
Loaded Potato Soup -You can follow the recipe in the link, or just do what I do. Peel 5-10 pounds of potatoes and cut them into ½ inch chunks. Put the potatoes in the slow cooker. Grate 5-6 carrots & mix with the potatoes. Cover the potatoes with chicken or beef stock. Cook on high for 2-3 hours. Before freezing (or eating) add 1-2 cups of grated cheddar cheese and 6-10 (or more!) slices of full-cooked bacon. If you are giving this warm, you can top with sour cream & chives, if you prefer (we don’t!).
Broccoli Cheese Soup – Like Panera only cheaper & healthier! I always make this in the slow cooker. This also goes well with a baguette.
Lasagna – There are a million ways to make this one too. Two of our favors are to leave the meat out or add in zucchini “noodles”. Add a baguette or salad to finish the meal.
Chili – Again, I use the slow cooker and just make a ton. Because of allergies my chili is on the mild side, but spice it up any way you like. Include shredded cheese and some crackers to finish off the meal.
TIP – Freeze these things in zipper bags flat in the freezer. They will take up less space when stored.
TIP – Write on the zipper bags (before filling!) what the dish is, if it includes vegetables, and any cooking or re-heating instructions. I always put a heart and our family name because that makes it seem more personal to me. Someone did that on food that we received after our last kiddo was born and I thought it was cute.