The Gift of Food

posted by Andrea | 06/11/2011

Where I come from {and I suspect most of you can relate} whenever something significant happens, we run to our kitchens and start making our favorite foods.

Whether it’s a birth, a death, a sickness, or just a special occasion, I don’t know anyone who does not appreciate the gift of food!

 

Personally, I always try to give clutter-free gifts, and food is one of my favorite clutter-free gifts because I can easily incorporate it into my normal routine and it is always so appreciated.

I’ve given many food gifts over the year, and last week I brought a full meal to a friend of mine who just had her second baby. I don’t think it’s necessary to always bring a full meal, but for a new baby, I like to give the mom one full night off from cooking and a few extra minutes to relax.

If you’re new to food gifts, here are a few tips I’ve learned over the past few years…

1. Give Normal Food:

Don’t try to make anything too fancy or expensive. Just make a double batch of whatever you were going to make for dinner that night. If their family is anything like yours, they will love it!

I like making pasta dishes, casseroles, or anything else that can be served in one pan.

veggies, salad, and pizza/spaghetti casserole

2.  Use Disposable Containers:

I know, it’s not as environmentally friendly, but you can find 9 x 13″ containers at the dollar store and this makes it SO much nicer for the recipient of your gift.

Not only will they have a night off from cooking, they’ll also have a night off from doing the dishes, AND they won’t need to worry about giving you your pans back.

 

3. Make a Few Extras:

I always like throwing in a few extras… especially if it’s a  family with kids. Throw in some freshly baked cookies, a loaf of homemade bread, pudding cups, special candies, or anything else.

I made a Jello salad, fresh bread, and chocolate chip cookies in addition to the salad, veggies, and casserole. This way, I knew they would have a complete meal and my friend wouldn’t have to provide anything except the drinks.

4. Ask About Food Allergies:

It is more difficult to plan your food gift around specific allergies, but wouldn’t it be horrible if you inadvertently caused an allergic reaction!! I’ve learned to always ask ahead of time… just in case!

5. Include Cooking Instructions::

If your food needs to be cooked or baked, make sure you include the instructions. I also like to include the recipe so they can make it again if they like it.

6. Get Creative:

You don’t always have to give a full meal. In fact, many times I don’t give a full meal… it just depends on the situation.

  • A busy mom with several kids might love to have someone pack the kid’s lunches for a week
  • An elderly relative  might only want a small loaf of quick bread or some gourmet coffee
  • A stressed college student would probably be thrilled to get a package of homemade {or store bought} snacks and other treats
  • A young couple might only need a very small meal so they aren’t overwhelmed with leftovers
  • You could also give fresh produce from your garden or even home canned salsas, jams, and jellies

When it comes to food gifts, the possibilities are virtually endless!

 

Even though I do enjoy cooking and baking, I still LOVE receiving any type of food gift — and I know others do too.

What about you?

Have you recently given or recieved a gift of food?

What is your favorite food gift to give or receive?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly, recipes!

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15 comments

  1. Staci @RandomSweets

    06/11/2011

    Great tips. I LOVE giving the gift of food – mostly baked goods! Your casserole looks delicious Andrea – maybe you could share the recipe? :o)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I just got another request for the recipe so here you go Staci: It’s seriously SO easy!

    Just cook your spaghetti noodles and mix in your sauce {homemade or store bought}. Put the mixture in a greased 9×13″ pan and top with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and any of your other favorite “pizza” toppings!

    Bake at 350 F. until the cheese is melted and the dish is heated through — usually about 20-30 minutes!

    See, told you — so easy!

    [Reply]

  2. Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger)

    06/11/2011

    Great strategies. I like sending casseroles, soups, and fresh cut veggies. Casseroles and soups can be refrigerated and reheated, so they can be put aside for a day or two if more convenient.

    [Reply]

  3. Kristen @ JoyfullyThriving

    06/12/2011

    All great hints, Andrea! I always try to provide a full meal, even if it means tossing in a can of veggies in the winter. Disposable pans are also so helpful! I think the gift of food is helpful, practical and also very much appreciated.

    [Reply]

  4. Kristy Smith

    06/13/2011

    Looks delicious! Can you share the recipe for your pasta dish???!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    The “recipe” is SOOO easy Kristy — just cook your spaghetti noodles and mix in your sauce {homemade or store bought}. Put it in a greased 9×13″ pan and top with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and any of your other favorite “pizza” toppings!

    Bake at 350 F. until the cheese is melted and the dish is heated through — usually about 20-30 minutes!

    See, told you — so easy!

    [Reply]

  5. Faith

    06/18/2011

    This is a GREAT gift. I can tell you from experience. My women’s small group at church blessed me with a week’s worth of dinners after I gave birth to my daughter. They all coordinated with each other to make sure we didn’t get a duplicate meals. My son has a nut allergy so I’m glad you mentioned about asking about food allergies. :-) I have since made some food and meals for people in our church who were sick, etc. It’s such a great feeling knowing you are blessing people with something they definitely need. Andrea, that pasta dish recipe sounds delicious and very family friendly. I don’t know anyone who would turn that away.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Faith,
    Yes, I totally agree — food is almost always the best gift!

    And this pasta dish is super easy…you should definitely try it out!

    [Reply]

  6. In the water | jodimichelle

    08/29/2011

    [...] from the hospital was the gift of food. Andrea at Simple Organized Living did a great post on The Gift Of Food that has me inspired. (Ok, honestly, every thing on her site is [...]

  7. My Favorite Clutter-Free Food Gifts

    11/02/2011

    [...] that work for you, they pick the one they want, and then you deliver it just before dinner time. I’ve done this several times and it’s a winner for sure! {One tip — put the food in disposable containers so they don’t have to worry about [...]

  8. Kelekona

    05/12/2012

    For potlucks, I like to write the recipe on a card so that everyone can see exactly what is in the dish. Also, if someone really likes a casserole you’ve brought them, they can duplicate it for themselves later.

    [Reply]

  9. Ann M

    06/17/2012

    I cook for a ministry at my church, and I’m always in need of 9X13 pans. The best deal I’ve found is for 30 pans plus lids at Sam’s Club for $12. I know you need to be a member, but maybe someone you know is already one and could pick up some next time they shop. Just FYI!

    [Reply]

  10. Alicia N

    08/21/2012

    Love this idea! Love you site! Where did you find the wonderful containers? I am thinking about making dinner for all of the teachers that live in my neighborhood for the first day of school next week. Also going to get my week organized using many of your recipes and ideas.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I get all my tinfoil containers from the grocery store — but you can buy them from Gordon Foods, Costco, or even on Amazon.com too. They will probably be by the aluminum foil and plastic wrap.

    [Reply]

  11. Kristin

    03/18/2013

    Giving food gifts – something I want to do more of, but often feel unsure about it – not everyone’s tastes are the same! So usually it’s just a few fresh-baked cookies. But I want to edge out of my comfort zone. It’s nice to hear that it is something that is generally welcomed.

    [Reply]

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