I Care Food Hacks

Obviously, Doubting Believer is not a food blog or recipe site, but it is about living a life in Christ and becoming the people God calls us to be. A life in Christ is a life of service and care for others. We all know that one of the best ways to show that we care when someone has just had a baby, is dealing with an illness or has suffered a loss is food.

We are busy people. Sometimes our best and often only option is to call Grubhub and have something delivered. But if you want to convey that you’re available and ready to help, delivering something semi-homemade with your own hands really gets that message across. It says to a person, “you are worth my time.”

When I was a solo pastor and the mom of a busy kid, here are some of the hacks I used to be able to show up with food that I “made.”

Fake-it til you Bake it Lasagna

This is the only lasagna I ever make. It’s adapted from a recipe I found in Real Simple magazine years ago. All the ingredients are frozen or shelf-staple, so you can always have the ingredients on hand.

1 bag frozen cheese ravioli
1 bag frozen beef ravioli (or another cheese if vegetarian)
1 28-ounce jar of red pasta sauce
1 bag frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
16 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmasean cheese

Take a 9 by 13 inch casserole dish. Layer cheese ravioli. Cover with a layer of sauce, then spinach and then a layer of shredded cheese. Repeat layering with beef ravioli. Top the last layer of mozzarella with Parmasean.

Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 to 10. (I usually take it over unbaked with directions written on the foil covering.)

Are you helping out a family with kids? Take a big basket of healthy snacks and kid-friendly foods. When life is stressful, it is a big help to parents to know that their kids can grab or prepare something themselves.

Granola/Protein bars
Fruit leather
Single serve mac and cheese cups
Instant oatmeal packets
Clementine oranges
Juice boxes
Single serve applesauce/fruit cups

If you’re not familiar with this, it may sound weird, but give it a chance. Often an appetizer, it’s great to snack on.

Grape Jelly Meatballs

1 jar of grape jelly
1 bottle of Heinz chili sauce
1 bag frozen meatballs or package of Lil Smokey sausages

Put it all in a crockpot and set on low until sauce is melted and meatballs/sausages are hot through

1 cup of brown sugar instead of grape jelly
1 bottle of barbecue sauce

And my fav I-really-care-but-didn’t-have-time-to-cook “recipe.”

1 pint or quart of  blueberries
1 frozen Sara Lee Pound Cake
1 can Redi-Whip or container of Cool Whip

Let them assemble when ready or, if they're up for it, you assemble when you arrive (it thaws pretty quick) and then set a spell and enjoy some cake and conversation.

Do you have an easy-to-make, favorite go-to meal or dish that you take when someone is grieving, ill or recovering? Share it with us.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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