Whether it’s the best reason ever (like your friend having an adorable baby boy) or a rough season (like sickness or loss) – sometimes, you need to throw together a dinner for someone you love.
Now, I cook all the time, but I can still have that “what in the world do I make?!” anxiety hit me when I think about taking a meal to someone. Not only do I want it to be good, I want it to be:
- quick & easy to heat up
- in a container they can throw away, if needed
- according to any diet, personal or medical
- free of any trouble food/allergies
So I’m rounding up my tried-and-true, go-to meals for all of us!
A quick word on allergens:
If you are taking a meal to someone, absolutely take the time to clarify if they have any food allergies or sensitivities. If you are using a meal train, this will usually be noted by the coordinator or on the online sign-up.
Most people are more than happy to answer if you simply ask, “Are there any foods or ingredients you would like me to avoid?”
! I have made notes on each of the following recipes according to:
- GF = gluten free
- EF = egg free
- DF = dairy free
I haven’t included soy or nut allergies. According to the specific allergy, be sure to check the bottle or container of any ingredient – even spices! As a mom of a child with severe food allergies, I know how important this is.
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I feel like lasagna is such a staple for taking to loved ones. However, this recipe taught me that it’s WAY easier than I thought and finally broke me of my habit of purchasing frozen lasagnas (I know, I know…) Do yourself a favor and make 2 at a time, so you have dinner yourself!
One wedding gift we received that has made taking dishes like this to others is this handy tote*. I honestly didn’t think I would use it at first, but it has saved me from a lot of burns in transport!! It’s also great because you can use your glass baking dish (if it’s someone you see often and can get it back) or you can use a 9×13 disposable tin*. Either way, it is surprisingly helpful!
meatless/vegetarian, GF if using gluten-free pasta
If it’s cooler outside, this is such a cozy soup to serve! Make sure to bring some great bread that only needs a quick toast. You can also bring a salad if you want- although this soup is packed with veggies already!
meatless/vegetarian, EF, GF if using gluten-free flour or other thickening agent
I love this recipe because “Asian” food doesn’t often come to mind when bringing dinner to someone. It gives some great variation to the soups & pastas, plus is a homemade version of some awesome takeout!
DF, GF (if you need gluten-free soy sauce, my friend recommends this one*!)
Recognize these from the Top 10 Starter Recipes? Easy, cheesy- can’t get enough of it. Both recipes can be done in the crockpot or quickly on the stove-top. Just don’t forget the toppings!
GF, EF, DF if you don’t add cheese
Crockpot is the way to go for an easy meal if you don’t have too much time on your hands. Whether you use chicken, pork, or even a chuck roast, it will be falling to pieces by dinner time and perfect to take over to a friend!
I love using a crockpot that has clips for the lid because it makes it so easy to unplug and take over! We’ve had this one* for 4 years and it is absolutely perfect!
EF – can also be GF and DF if cream of mushroom soup is substituted appropriately
Looking to make your delivery even more thoughtful? Consider bringing:
- paper plates & napkins for easy clean-up
- a favorite dessert
- or if the occasion is positive, you could bring a fun gift like this!!*
Consistent with every recipe I’ve ever made from Gimme Some Oven, I found this recently and LOVE it. I’m ashamed (or not ashamed?) to say I’ve also tried adding a little bacon to the recipe early on to give it some extra flavor and love it that way, too. Of course, it wouldn’t be vegetarian then, but it’s an option!
meatless/vegetarian, GF, DF, EF
An amazing twist on classic chicken noodle, it is so comforting and can be frozen if needed. This is especially good for your sniffly or achy loved ones as they get better! Pair with a great bread (or maybe some Sleepy Time Sinus Soother* 😉 )
DF, EF, GF if using gluten-free orzo
This is how you do pasta. Seriously so tasty & easy to make! Coming from Budget Bytes, it’s also easy on the wallet!
GF if using gluten-free pasta (egg noodles work well if not avoiding egg!)
9. Breakfast Casserole
What’s better than breakfast for dinner? Breakfast for dinner with leftovers for breakfast the next day 😉
While breakfast casserole can be done many ways (and done well, I might add) – there are two takes that are my favorite. First is the sausage-crescent roll combo like this one. And also amazing is more potato-focused like the one here. Pair either of these comfort foods with some fresh fruit – totally golden.
Potato-based casserole is GF (not the crescent roll one)
10. Chicken fajitas
This recipe is wonderful for both baking in the oven or using the crockpot, PLUS my dad said this was the best Mexican meal he’d had at home, soooo there’s that 🙂 I tend to make this on my favorite baking sheet* rather than a glass dish to cut down some of the moisture.
Make sure to take over some tortillas, cheese, and sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt if your friends roll like that).
EF, GF if gluten-free tortillas
Need more ideas?
Warm day? Make a quick salad with grilled chicken! I love putting together a green salad with lettuces, spinach, cucumber, cheese & marinated grilled chicken. Include a bottle of their favorite dressing or your own quick homemade recipe* and you’re good to go! This is especially great during the warmer, summer months when soups aren’t as appealing.
Out of town? Have it delivered! Pizza places often have salads, pastas or wings, and other places like Panera offer delivery, too!
There you have it! I’d love to hear your best go-to’s in the comments so I can add to my personal list.
And also, way to go for being a good friend 🙂