Take a ride on the “Meal Train”…

This week I was introduced to a wonderful website: http://www.mealtrain.com/. It is free, and (after setting up a free account) you can set up sign up lists for providing meals. One of our NU professors is being released from the hospital after a surfing accident last fall, surgeries, and many weeks of rehab. His administrative assistant sent me a “meal train” link inviting me to provide a meal during this transition time. Of course, I signed up and today is my day!
 
If you coordinate a meal ministry, this is a great tool to utilize. You are able to put in the address of the family receiving the meals, preferred delivery times, and any important diet information. The website automatically sends the volunteer a reminder email the day before.
 
I love ministering to families through cooking and hospitality!
 
I looked at my menu plan for this week and decided that what I was going to prepare for us could easily be doubled. So I am making my Italian Meatloaf. I thought I would share my doubled recipe because it is so versatile and easy! It is also a great recipe for making meals ahead since you can prepare the meat loaf then freeze it to thaw and cook at a later date.
 
meat and potatoes
 
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
2 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
 
Sauteed ve
 
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.
 
loaves ready for oven
 
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.
 For dessert, I included a pint jar of Peach Pound Cake*
with a small jar of Raspberry White Chocolate Dessert Sauce*
from my pantry shelf.
 
*Those are subjects for a future post.
 
Helpful hints when you are preparing a meal for another family:
 
#1
Always check to make sure there are no food allergies, sensitivities, or extreme dislikes.
 
#2
Prepare a healthy, balanced meal that you would enjoy receiving.
 
#3
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.
 
#4
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.)
 
I hope you will consider riding the “meal train” the next time
a family in your church or community is in need.
 
I am so thankful that sharing a meal allows me to be a blessing and share my heart for home.
 
Pam

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