The posts over the last few weeks have been about preparing ourselves and our homes for hospitality. I enjoy having people into my home and blessing them with a meal. But sometimes we are called upon to carry our hospitality outside the walls of our home.
The last two weeks have been eventful and challenging. We were very blessed at the birth of our second granddaughter, Ilona Julia Fern!
Before they left the hospital, their pastor’s wife called about bringing in some meals for them that first week when they are adjusting to a new baby in the house. Providing a meal for a family in transition or crisis is a wonderful way to express hospitality: treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, and generous way.
I like to keep menus simple when I am taking meals to another family. I have a “go to” meal that I can prepare quickly. In fact, I can prepare the entree and put it in the freezer so that it can be thawed and baked while I prepare the rest of the meal. My recipe makes three meatloaves so I can make one for my family, one for the family in need, and one in the freezer so I’m prepared for the next time.
Italian Meatloaf (makes 3-4 8x4x4 loaves)
2 pounds lean ground beef (I use 93% lean.)
2 pounds chicken Italian sausage
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped mushrooms
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add chopped onions, celery, carrots, and garlic.
Sauté until onions are transparent, then add in the mushrooms.
Sauté for another three or four minutes and then set the pan off the heat.
In a large bowl, place the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
(I use my hands to make sure the two kinds of meat are mixed well.)
Then add the sautéed vegetables and stir until combined.
Since I use very lean meats, I line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly grease it with olive oil.
Divide meat mixture into three or four pieces, shape into loaves and place on cookie sheet.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, until done.
Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
To complete the meal, I added mashed potatoes and brown gravy, a Romaine lettuce salad with pears, raspberries, and sliced almonds, and a jar of poppy seed balsamic vinaigrette.
Here are some helpful hints when you are preparing a meal for another family:
Always check to make sure there are no food allergies, sensitivities, or extreme dislikes.
Prepare a healthy, balanced meal that you would enjoy receiving.
Take the meal fully prepared,
i.e. even if you bought salad in a bag go ahead and put it in a bowl
(but do keep the dressing separate so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy).
The need for provided meals may be that no one in the home
has time or a free hand to do any preparation.
Label your dishes clearly and make arrangements to pick them up.
( I take the meal in a reusable cloth grocery bag so my dishes can be place back in the bag.
Then if needed, they can be left on the front porch for me to pick up later.)
Do you have a “go to ” recipe that you use when asked to provide a meal for someone in need? Is it a recipe you are willing to share? I would love to feature one of your recipes in a post!
We have been blessed by meals provided by others in out times of crisis and transition, and we have been blessed to provide meals to others in their times of crisis and transition. I’m thankful for opportunities to extend hospitality.
Sharing my heart 4 home,