I just got back from a week trip to Iowa to visit friends and family, and most importantly, throw my sister’s baby shower!
It was fun to make all the food for her shower (including Pioneer Woman’s chicken salad), but I still had more cooking to do when I got back to Virginia!
If you’ve had the opportunity to be around any new mamas at all lately, I hope that those in your community have taken the chance to bless their growing families with some prepared meals. It’s such a relief (at least I hear and I anticipate!) to know that out of the million new challenges you’re facing, dinner isn’t going to be one of them!
For the last several years, the expecting mom usually designated a person as her point person and all others were responsible for contacting her. For the last year or so, technology has saved the day!
The website is called Take Them a Meal and it’s FABULOUS. You still need a point person, but the website allows you to include any information about the family’s food preferences/allergies, when they’d like the meal delivered, and the best part…
…SIGN UP! You don’t have to create an account. You just pick the day of the week that works well for you. Check the other types of meals that have been listed (so no worries about repeats) and then put down your information! It also makes it easy in the event that your plans change. The expecting family can check online to see what will be coming, who will be coming, and can also contact them directly if plans change.
I just love when technology actually helps us to serve our neighbors more!
So, all that said, just to get to today’s recipe. I brought a meal to a family yesterday that just had their second child two weeks ago. An adorable little girl named Gloria I went with one of the few casseroles we eat in this household: Mexican Tator Tot Casserole.
For years, I completely missed out on tator tot casserole (or hot dish–depending on your region, haha).
Green beans: eww.
Cream of mushroom soup: eh, but with green beans, eww.
Ketchup: yes. I’ve seen people put ketchup IN and ON it. Wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.
But dang it, who doesn’t like tator tots themselves?! Something simply had to be done.
So I asked myself, what foods DO I like that might be able to work?
Here’s the answer!
Lean ground beef.
Yep, I like that.
Especially if it’s seasoned with onions, garlic powder, and cumin.
Black beans, mexicorn, and fiesta cheese soup?
Sounds good to me!
(Keep in mind this was all doubled).
So when it comes to canned black beans and the stuff that accompanies them in the can, I’m a bit vain.
I don’t like the funny color it changes my dish, so I rinse them.
But it’s completely up to you!
Lastly, add a can of milk (just fill a soup can) and mix all your ingredients together. Then when you blog the next day, take the time to wonder why your pictures were so fuzzy!
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the final product (rushing out the door to deliver!). I recommend just baking until your tots are done. It’s also delicious if you melt a little colby jack cheese on top This recipe (doubling the meat and canned goods) yielded 2 9X9 casserole dishes plus an oblong casserole dish I had from IKEA.
To wrap things up (let’s face it, I’m using this blog as an excuse to not do my T-Tapp workout), here’s a few pointers on bringing people meals:
1. Bring it in a container you don’t need returned. If you want to bless them with a nice, new casserole dish, go for it! Otherwise, disposable or semi-disposable (something they might be able to use for future storage) works great!
2. If you happen to know that there’s a working partner in the household, include a portion that they can bring to work the next day (just a nice bonus!).
3. Include dessert!
4. There’s nothing wrong with take-out. If you’d like to bless someone but know your cooking would be well, er, less than a blessing, bring them take out! Chances are that they haven’t gotten out of the house in some time and may just be craving that Jimmy John’s sub!
5. Lastly, be sensitive about time. You may be SOOO excited to finally meet the baby and want to hear all about the birth story, but dinner time may be survival time in their new house. Be sure to let mama know how thrilled you are to meet the new one and spend time with her, but be sensitive and willing to take a rain check!
What are your favorite “take them a meal” meals?