Meals for Friends

Melissa and I have a friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer. We were talking about how we wished she lived in Atlanta so we could cook for her and her family. Of course, the conversation snowballed into, “Let’s do a post about what to cook for friends when they are sick, have surgery, or you just need to bring them a meal!”  Here are some tips and ideas if you are making a meal for a friend, no matter what the reason is:

  • Whatever you bring, make sure you pack it in disposable containers. No one wants to wash dishes or have to keep track of who to return what platter to.
  • Always ask about allergies, food aversions and doctor requirements. Why waste your time making food some people in the family can’t or won’t eat?
  • Consider kids. If the friend you are cooking for has small children, take them into consideration when choosing your menu. Homemade macaroni and cheese is usually a big hit with them.
  • You don’t always have to fully cook the food. There are times that I will “prepare the food” and write instructions on the lid of the disposable container with the oven temp and how long to cook for.
  • Make enough for leftovers. As long as you are making a meal for your friend, you may as well make two, as long as it freezes well.  When I make spaghetti pie, I always make two. One to eat and one to freeze!
  • If you bring a salad, make sure you pack the dressing separately so the lettuce doesn’t wilt. Bagged salad is perfectly acceptable.
  • If there is a meal sign up, look at it! Most people will indicate what they are making when they sign up for their day. This helps to prevent 15 chicken and broccoli casseroles.
  • Don’t expect that your meal will be eaten on the day you deliver it, unless you know for certain otherwise. Your friend might still be working on leftovers from the day before!
  • If you are cooking for someone who is sick or had surgery, be sensitive to their stomach! Chances are they are looking for more comfort food as opposed to something with a lot of spice.
  • People always cook dinners. It’s nice to also bake a loaf of banana bread or pick up some muffins and fruit for breakfasts!

Need some ideas for what to make? Give some of these a try. Mix and match to fit the needs of your friend and what you already plan to make.

Broccoli Casserole – you can add poached chicken and rice to this to make it a great full meal casserole

Carnitas – Bring the meat and all the fixings! You can go ahead and put some meat aside in a resealable baggie to freeze or let your friend do it.

Middle Eastern Salad

Pasta Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Chicken Soup

Artichoke Soup

Arugula Salad with Parmesan

Oven Fried Ranch Chicken

Turkey Tetrazzini

Chicken Parmigiana

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Zucchini

Roasted Potatoes

Parsley Spaghetti

Syrian Noodle Rice

Garlic Green Beans

Pork Tenderloin


  1. Emily says:

    Great suggestions! I would add to the list oven baked chicken. I will never forget when it was my Mom’s last days & someone brought oven baked chicken, potatoes & vegetables. It was perfect! At that point we were eating for survival & not pleasure. And Denise, I bet you can guess who cooked it.

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