Guest contributor, Adina Bailey from Take Them a Meal
Do you take meals to friends when they are recovering from surgery or welcoming a new baby? These are excellent times to encourage a friend, but as I’ve moved toward middle age (gracefully, of course), I have come to realize there are MANY more situations where a meal could be helpful.
We recently had to take my six year old daughter, Emmeline, to the emergency room one morning. She has been blessed with health, but she awoke with some symptoms that we had never seen before. Our emergency room visit turned into a day of testing, and we arrived home a little before 7 pm. My friend, Ann Marie, had dropped off a meal on our porch. At that hour, the warm dinner was refreshing to our tired bodies and minds.
Now, when I hear that a friend has been to the emergency room, I plan to check if I can bring over a meal. That’s just one personal example, but there are many other “unconventional” times when a meal might be a huge help to a friend. You might also consider taking a meal when a friend is:
- taking care of her family that has the flu
- caring for a sick or aging parent
- dealing with chronic pain
- facing infertility or a failed adoption
- studying for mid-terms or exams
- searching for work after losing a job
Some of these situations require that you be ready to take a meal quickly. That means you might have to put a meal together with items you have on hand. Even a pizza or rotisserie chicken are meaningful when delivered with love.
One of my favorite recipes to make at the last minute or that I can make ahead is Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. Usually, I have all the ingredients on hand. I’ve developed this recipe over time based on a recipe from my mother-in-law.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
1 whole, fresh, chicken (3-4 pounds)
2 celery stalks, halved
1 small-medium onion, halved
1 handful fresh parsley
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 bag egg noodles or your favorite noodle (use rice for a gluten-free dish)
2 tbsp salt
Wash whole chicken in cold water and remove any surprises that are inside the cavity. I just throw these extra “parts” away.
Put the chicken in your favorite stock pot and fill the pot with water until the chicken is covered, plus an inch or so of extra water. Add celery stalks, onion, and parsley to the pot. Bring water to a boil and then simmer for about an hour. The chicken will float and start to fall apart when it’s fully cooked.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot onto a plate to cool. Remove the celery, onion, and parsley with a slotted spoon (these were added to flavor your broth). While the chicken is cooling, add your carrots to the broth and boil lightly for 10 minutes. Once the carrots have cooked, remove the your pot of broth/carrots from the stovetop to cool a bit.
Cook your noodles in a separate pot according to the package directions and drain. I do not cook my noodles in the broth because keeping them in the hot broth after they cook causes them to fall apart.
Pick the white meat from your chicken and tear into bite size pieces. I pick the dark meat as well, but I save it to use later for a different meal. Add the chicken and drained noodles to the warm/cool broth. I add 2 tbsp of salt, but add enough salt to suit your taste.
My favorite way to give my Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup to a friend is in a glass jar, so I can take it warm. Large canning jars work well for giving away some of your soup. It makes plenty, so I usually have a meal for my family and another meal portion to give away.
|Adina Bailey, Co-Founder, TakeThemAMeal.com
Adina Bailey is the co-founder of TakeThemAMeal.com along with Scott Rogers. She loves hearing about ways that friends are caring for each other with meals. Most of her writing is inspired by emails sent to her from TakeThemAMeal.com users. Adina lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia, with her husband, Mike, and three fun kids who seem to grow a few inches every day.
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