There are many reasons to cook for others besides, of course, just wanting to be nice. A new baby. A birthday. Someone is sick. Special occasions. Or, for condolences.
I feel it is important to cook something right for the occasion. For example, a birthday, something the recipient loves or something decedent. I have friends who love my homemade pimento cheese. So, that is a good choice for Shayne or TJ. My father, though, prefers my chocolate chip cookies. I sometimes send a package to him though it costs a ridiculous sum to ship them from here.
For a new baby, I think some sort of large tray of food is good. Anything that is ready to go and in the fridge when you actually have a second to eat (lasagna, enchiladas, etc.). Pasta salad is a good option in this circumstance, too. In the past I have made homemade salad dressing, which you know a new mom doesn’t have time to make but will appreciate.
For sick people, that is easy. Soup! I like the standard chicken noodle, but anything broth, not cream, based will do.
For bereavement fare, it is a little easier. Anything will do. These people just don’t have the time, energy or even appetite to cook. Most often, they aren’t eating much, either. However, they do have people stopping by to show respect. So, something to feed the guests will be much appreciated. And when the mourners finally do get hungry, it is nice to have a stocked refrigerator. Take it from me, they will appreciate it.
When we lost a close friend, I had some other friends and family bring us food. There was pasta salad from my friend Cody. This was perfect. It was a huge, ready-to-eat meal that we could snack on and share with our out of town guests whom we had no energy to prepare for. She also brought by a homey meatloaf and mashed potatoes. My husband could not have been happier. And it made the house smell good.
And then there was a tray of lasagna from my mom. She had mentioned this chicken spinach lasagna before, and I thought it sounded delicious. She doesn’t always like to make “big trays of food.” She generally cooks only enough for leftovers once. But in this case, she made an exception. And it was very much appreciated.
This lasagna is rich, but not too crazy decadent; the spinach and chicken lighten it up just enough. It kept well and reheated without drying it out. It made enough for us to have for a few meals. Not to mention, it was delicious. I would add a generous splash of Tabasco to the sauce to give it a kick. Use this recipe next time you need to take someone a tray of food!