Have a friend that’s feeling under the weather or just brought home a newborn? Or maybe a couple that just returned from their honeymoon to an empty pantry? Sometimes the best thing you can do is drop in with a hug and a delicious home cooked meal.
We’ve rounded up our favorite recipes that can be easily prepared and either eaten that night or frozen and reheated when needed.
Tip: Always label the dish unless you’re dining with your friend that evening. Include the date it was prepared, any special cooking instructions and whether there is another component to be included (i.e. pasta or rice that needs to be cooked to go with a pre-made sauce).
Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp
Quick, easy and healthy.
- 1 tsp. oil
- 4 scallions, whites and greens separated, chopped
- 1 tbsp. Thai red curry paste (can use garlic chili paste instead)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 6 oz. coconut milk, regular or light
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Salt to taste
- Begin cooking rice in a rice cooker
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high
- Add scallion whites and red curry paste and sauté one minute
- Add shrimp and garlic, season with salt and cook about 2-3 minutes
- Add coconut milk, fish sauce and mix well, simmer about 2-3 minutes, until shrimp is cooked through
- Remove from heat, mix in scallion greens and cilantro, serve over rice
- Make this dish vegetarian by omitting shrimp and fish sauce
- You can cook the sauce by itself and bring it to your friend with uncooked rice, pre-chopped scallions and cilantro so she can enjoy later in the week
(Recipe and image via SkinnyTaste.com)
Spicy Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup
Delicious, slightly spicy and very comforting.
- 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage (chicken or pork)
- 2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped, about 4 overflowing handfuls
- ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 medium or 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced
- 8 cups chicken broth or stock, 2 boxes
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Heat a large heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat
- Once the pot has heated through, add the sausage, removed from the casing. Using a wooden spoon, begin to break up the sausage and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until it has fully browned.
- Remove the crisped sausage from the pot and transfer it to a plate or bowl. Set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium, add the butter or oil and throw in the onions and garlic. Stir, scraping down the bottom of the pot picking up the browned bits of sausage with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook until soft and translucent about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using, and continue to sauté until the onions have caramelized.
- Add the chopped kale in batches, allowing it to wilt down as it cooks. It might seem like a lot of kale but it will cook down, just like spinach.
- Add the nutmeg and stir. Cook the kale for another 3 minutes until it has turned bright green and completely wilted down. Throw in the sliced potatoes and cooked sausage.
- Pour in the chicken stock or broth and bring pot up to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer until the potatoes are cooked tender and soft.
- Taste the soup for seasoning; at this point you may add more salt, pepper or red pepper flakes, if desired.
- Once the potatoes are fully cooked, stir in the heavy cream. Serve with some crusty bread on the side for dipping.
Tip: This soup freezes well in an airtight container and is just as delicious when reheated over the stove – perfect for friends who don’t have the time or energy to cook. Just put it in a pot over medium heat until it’s piping hot!
(Recipe and photo via The Candid Appetite)
Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake
A variation on lasagna that’s great for vegetarians.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup pasta sauce (any kind will do, pick your favorite)
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided (shredded or rounds)
- ½-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 large bunch fresh basil, cut into ribbons
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over low heat in a large saucepan
- Once warm, stir in the quinoa
- Fold in half of the mozzarella and half of the tomatoes, then chop 6 fresh basil leaves and add them in too
- Once combined, spray an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire quinoa mixture into the dish
- Top with mozzarella and the remaining tomatoes
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn the boiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly
- Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil ribbons
(Image and recipe via Half Baked Harvest)
Chickpea, Feta and Parsley Salad
Great as a side or by itself!
Servings: 6-8 as a side dish
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
- Pinch red chili flakes
- 2 14-oz. cans of chickpeas
- 4 scallions, green part only, chopped
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- Juice of one lemon
- 5 oz. crumbled feta cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the red onion until lightly golden
- Add garlic and chili flakes and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Set aside to cool so it doesn’t melt the feta when you mix it in.
- Drain the chickpeas, rinse and place in the salad bowl
- Add crumbled feta, scallions, parsley and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper
- Add the cooled onion and garlic mixture and remaining oil and mix well
Tip: This salad will keep over a few days and would be great for lunch or dinner.
Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
Because everyone needs a little something sweet at the end of a meal.
For the bread:
- 3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up
- ⅓ cup melted butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp.vanilla
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Dash of salt
- 1 ½ cups flour
For the swirl:
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
- Butter and flour a loaf pan – we use 9×5 but any size will do, just keep an eye on it while it’s baking
- Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together
- Sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture, then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!
- In a small dish, mix together the swirl ingredients
- Add half of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle about half (maybe a little more) of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon sugar on top.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, but remember to keep a close eye on it in the oven
(Recipe and image via Lovin’ From the Oven)
A home cooked meal from a friend will put a smile on anyone’s face, and you can bring fresh flowers or wine in our decorative wine box for an extra special touch.
What are the tried and true comfort foods you’ve cooked for friends in need? Tell us in the comments below.