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Old 06-16-2011, 10:21 AM   #1
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Delivering meals to friends

Some friends and I will be taking food to a mutual friend that is having a baby at the end of the month. She and her husband have 3 kids and want me to bring a Mexican dish/meal (we each have a theme for our delivered meal). I'm trying to think of all the options for my theme of Tex-Mex. Their kids are not particularly picky, but they do eat mostly processed, fast and convenience foods. I don't want to do anything too "out there", so am looking for fairly standard Tex-Mex things. So far, the options I've thought of as possibilities are:

Hot Items to be reheated:
- Chicken for tacos (store-bought tortillas)
- Beef for tacos (ditto)
- Spanish rice
- Refried beans (I make these from scratch and can vary the spiciness)
- Queso to dip or add to tacos/rice

Cold Items:
- lettuce
- cheese
- tomatoes
- guacamole
- salsa

Any other thoughts? I will put these in containers that will be easy to reheat. We are waiting to hear that she has the baby before bringing the dishes in a rotation (I'm first) that will get her through the first couple of weeks. They have no freezer space, really. Easy leftovers for lunch would be an added bonus from the meal. I thought of something like an enchilada casserole, but am afraid it would get too soggy before they eat it.

Suggestions anyone?

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Old 06-16-2011, 10:44 AM   #2
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I like your idea and how nice of you to do that!

You've got 5 reheatable items, and 5 cold, and tortillas (large and small) get extras of the tortillas (and pink ones -tomato- if it's a girl). That's a lot of packages/containers. Any chance you have a nesco with dividers that all of them could be heated up at once? It can be a 'make your own' feast--not unlike what QDoba does. They bring in heated pans of chicken/beef/rice/beans, and cold containers of salad items with either hard or soft shell tortilla (or both).

When dinner is done, assemble a tex-mex casserole for lunch the next day with all the leftover warm ingredients, the next day the cold ones can go on top once the casserole is baked. Or use the salad items to make a salad, taco salad?

You are welcome here anytime! I still remember bringing home my youngest baby, and my neighbor shopped for corned beef and all the trimmings so we could cook a big irish boiled dinner. I'll never forget how kind that was.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:33 PM   #3
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Thanks, Bliss.

For the cold items, I've purchased a plastic "veggie and dip" tray from the party store. Each compartment will have one of the cold items and I'll wrap it in plastic wrap to keep in the fridge. For the hot stuff, I have purchased the disposable aluminum bake trays (like you bake brownies, etc. in) of varying sizes. They can have their lids removed and just be put into the oven all at one time to be reheated. I realize plastic and aluminum are not exactly the best thing in the world, but the other stipulation is that we don't want her or her family to do dishes or have to deal with returning anything... so the next best thing is something that will at least recycle. The rice and beans will be side-by-side in one aluminum container. The chicken and beef will be side-by-side in another aluminum container and the queso will be in a smaller container by itself. So, that's 3 containers for the hot and 1 multi-compartment container for the cold (plus a package of corn tortillas and one of flour).

Just wasn't sure if I was leaving anything out or should switch some things. I decided to leave out the little condiments like jalapenos, hot sauce, cilantro and onions. If *I* feel like it's a complicated meal, I'm sure a family with a new baby will feel like it's complicated. I want to be thorough, but not over-do it. YKWIM?
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:44 PM   #4
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This is very nice of you to help out your friend!

I understand about not wanting to do dishes and in this case I agree. In other situations it is nice to use real dishes picked up at thrift shops or tag sales. Many very nice "odd" items are available for very little money.

My mother used to always include this note.

When the plate is empty
and the goodies are all gone
fill it for another friend
and then just pass it on.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:22 PM   #5
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I love what you are doing! I think you have just what they need. Whatever you use as dishes will be fine with the new mother I am sure. Besides, whatever the clean-up is, I am sure her husband will be just fine with it! ;)
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:31 PM   #6
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Maybe some sour cream. I'd be careful with the spices not only for the kids but for Mom too especially if she's breast feeding the new baby.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabbur View Post
Maybe some sour cream. I'd be careful with the spices not only for the kids but for Mom too especially if she's breast feeding the new baby.
Sour cream is a great idea, thanks! I'll add that to my list

As far as spiciness and breastfeeding go, I think you are propagating a very, very wrong old wives tale. I was a La Leche League leader for 6 years and breastfed my dd for nearly 4. Food need not be bland if you're breastfeeding. In fact, the more varied the foods and spices, the better it is. There *are* changes in the way the milk tastes and that is a good thing for the baby. I mean, all over the world, there are women breastfeeding their babies and still eating things like pho and hot curries with no ill effects. It's just an old wives tale that breastfeeding women need to eat bland food. And yes, she will be breastfeeding, and yes, the kids like it spicy (probably because she ignored the old wives tale when she was breastfeeding them).
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:52 PM   #8
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Your idea sounds tasty, but I would add to try to make sure everything can be stacked. They will probably be short on fridge space, since they'll likely have stocked up on basics and will have others' dishes and leftovers to accommodate.
Good call with the disposable containers. I recycle and use cloth diapers and napkins, but I have to say, I wouldn't have minded disposable when we had my daughter. We still have a small container that doesn't belong to us from someone who dropped off food after she was born (almost 2 years ago). We tried to get everything back to its proper owners, but in all the shuffle lost track of who brought which container (most were unlabeled) and nobody seemed to want to claim it. I still feel bad when I see it. Someone did something so nice and helpful for us, and I couldn't even get their container back to them.

If you'd like another idea, here's a great enchilada casserole that keeps well in the fridge or freezer and can just be popped in the oven or even microwave if the dish is small enough to fit & microwave safe:

put a thin layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish, then layer ingredients in order like lasagna: Corn tortillas, sauce, seasoned & browned ground beef, chopped black olives, shredded cheese. When layers are almost to the top of the pan, top with one more layer of just tortillas, sauce, and then cheese.

I've also added sauteed onions, peppers, and even cooked zucchini with great results.

Oh, and thank you for being the kind of helpful, loving person who makes life with a new baby much easier!
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:19 PM   #9
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I think what you are doing is very sweet. It doesn't matter what you and your friends bring--it will be so appreciated. I know that I've appreciated when friends have cooked for me--even if what they cooked wasn't something I'd make. Just the fact that someone cared enough to do that, it tasted good (it would have tasted good even if it were sawdust). You've earned a star in heaven for your kindness. It will come back 10-fold.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:40 PM   #10
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Goodness, gracious!! I hope it doesn't come back 10 -fold... we're done having babies. LOL!!!

I'm not one to do anything disposable, as renew/reuse/recycle is our family motto, but our friend lives quite far from us and the logistics of trying to get dishes back would just be too much stress for new momma and family. Sometimes I feel it's worth it for the intent. I wouldn't worry about getting dishes back, but she would, and she needs NO added stress.

I've done casseroles before (Tex-Mex, that is) for luncheon carry-ins and the tortillas seem to get soggy. Maybe that's something that I'm doing incorrectly, but texture is really a big thing for me. I don't like the soggy tortillas when the casseroles have to sit for very long. JMO.

I'm not sure about the fridge space. Stacking is a good idea. We're (the friends) bringing meals every other day (assuming left-overs) so I hadn't thought of that aspect and kind of thought that they would have space. That's good to keep in mind, though. I appreciate it. Thank you!!
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