Help a Reader: Blessing Others with Tasty, Frugal Foods

A request from Lindsay:

I’m a mom to a 2 year old and 3 mo. old.  I’m thankful that as of this year I’m a stay at home mom.  Your series, Mommy Come Home solidified the longing in my heart for homemaking.  Anyhow,  now that I’m home I feel more available to prepare and take meals to families that I know who need it (new moms, sick family,  or just because).  We are on a tight budget, but I don’t want this to keep me from blessing others.  I would love to hear your top frugal picks of meals to take to others.

First of all, congratulations on the blessing of being home!  Your hard work and sacrifice will be worth it as you nurture your family and minister to others from your home.  Preparing food for others is my absolute favorite ministry, because I love to cook and bake, and I can do it right alongside what I’m already preparing for my family.

Something that has worked well for me is to not focus on a meat heavy main dish.  In fact, when presented the opportunity, I often choose to make “breakfast for dinner” for a family.  Not only is it easier on the budget, but if several people are taking meals, I don’t have to worry as much about making a duplicate.

I’ll likely make Overnight Breakfast Casserole and Cinnamon Rolls, and then take along some fresh, in-season fruit to go with the meal.  I’ve had many a family thank me for bringing something “different.”  The family can choose to eat it for supper, or save it for breakfast the next morning, which may be nice if they are in a season of quick, simple breakfast fare.

Another idea, if they aren’t counting on a full meal, is to take a basket (collect them at yard sales for pennies) filled with muffins or quick breads and fresh, in-season fruit.  Breads can be frozen and pulled out for snacks, or breakfast.  Some of our favorites are

That’s what works for us!  How about the rest of you?  What are your favorite frugal foods to fix for other families?  (Recipe links welcome.)

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  1. Love this post! Looking forward to seeing what others bring to families. I have a three month old and was SO appreciative of any meal and love to help others out also.

    I typically bring a pasta dish, like the Lasagna Casserole from MoneySavingMom. However, I love the breakfast idea! Also, with fall coming, soup & salad with rolls might be a fun meal idea.

  2. What about baked overnight french toast? I got the recipe from my mom (no idea where she got it); it’s peaches and thick bread and the batter and you bake it in the morning. Everybody to whom I’ve served it has loved it.

  3. My favorite frugal meals to take to others are chicken enchiladas (chicken, cheese, sauce, tortillas), chicken tortilla soup, veggie beef soup and baked spaghetti. I recently had a friend have shoulder surgery and since her husband was taking care of dinner, I took her a basket of goodies – double choc cookies, hm granola and fresh from the oven cinnamon rolls. I’ve also taken sandwich fixin’s and fancy rolls to make the sandwiches on and a breakfast “hash” type dish (shredded potatoes, eggs, sausage, green peppers, cheese).

  4. Emily Davis says:

    i make single (or double) servings of hearty soups, like spiced lentil soup or a tortilla soup, so new mom’s can defrost when they choose, whether it be lunch or whenever. i almost always take a frozen meals, as it seems like RIGHT after some big event, everyone brings something over, and sometimes there might just be too much right now, but it would be lovely to be able to defrost and cook something, say, a week or two later.

    • Yes. Especially if you aren’t “scheduled” to provide a meal at that specific time, it’s nice to have something that can go in the freezer.

  5. Thanks for the idea of a breakfast casserole. Two moms in my daughter’s class are expecting, and I’ve wanted to try a new, easy, frugal recipe. This fits the bill!

  6. Almost any casserole would work. =) I like to take my chicken and rice casserole. Or a hardy soup as was mentioned earlier. Taco soup is one, and Green Chili Chicken is another one.

    How about Baked Spaghetti? When this is cool, it can be cut into squares, wrapped and stored in the freezer. The same goes for a Lasagna. I love to make these, for individual freezer meals.

    Debbie J
    East Texas Crafter

  7. I brought a mom from my Mom’s Club a meal this morning! It was Mac & Cheese & Ham Casserole ( Steam in a bag frozen green beans and Brownies but I LOVE the idea of Breakfast for Dinner! I know how much our family loves homemade cinnamon rolls, so I know other families would appreciate them, too. Great topic!

  8. I love to make cookie dough and freeze it in a roll. I think that makes a great gift because people can have “cookies on demand”

  9. breakfast for dinner is a great idea:)

    I like to bring soup or salad with homemade bread. Also, muffins already in a freezer bag, so they can be put directly into the freezer to be used when needed.

  10. What a GREAT idea! I’m totally using that one next time I take a meal to someone! New website looks great, BTW.

  11. Jennifer Young says:

    How about homemade pizza? Making your own dough is very easy and it can be frozen. You can present it as a kit fresh or frozen: ball of dough, half a jar of red sauce (or eyeball it), and a bag of mozzarella cheese (you can almost always find this cheap). If you have room in your budget, add a bag of pepperoni or mushrooms. I like to throw in a bag of homemade mini muffins. Always helpful for breakfast and snacks, especially for kids. Some soup and a loaf of bread (try Amy’s french bread–so delicious) would be great too. And, I’m a big fan of the breakfast for dinner idea! This is my favorite french toast recipe, it is amazing: Bottom line: Don’t feel like you have to take anyone a four course meal. Anything at all is appreciated:)

  12. Thanks everyone for the great tips! I think I have a couple of new ideas to try out next time.

  13. Wow, what a great post! Thanks for sharing!! I am definitely going to be trying out some of the recipes you posted. I know some families who could use them 🙂

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