Sending dinners to a sick friend?
My dear friend is quite ill and I want to send food to her home -- not
so much for her (not sure what she can eat) but for her family. I want
foods they can easily eat for dinner -- not looking for cookies or
candy. Fruit basket is healthy and would be ok, I guess...but I don't want it to look
celebratory at all (also seems to make more financial sense for me just to buy some nice fresh fruit and drop it off.) I am not sure where to order from. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Many thanks in advance.
this isn't the same thing, but after we had a baby this winter, friends and family brought food like lasagna, things that were easy to heat up. It's a nice gesture. When my mom was in hospice three years ago one of my aunts made a pot of her famous gumbo (we're from SE Texas oringinally) and a big coconut layer cake. We were all so grateful for the food (and cake) and it was easy to heat and eat. Good luck--I'm sure whatever you bring will be appreciated.
If you're within driving distance, you could make several casseroles, baked pasta dishes, chicken pot pies, etc. and bake them in disposable cookware (I'm thinking aluminum pans) and deliver those for reheating. Another option would be to find a personal chef in the area and hire them to make several meals to be delivered (find someone who cooks all the food elsewhere - you don't want to suggest a stranger showing-up on your friend's doorstep ready to take over the kitchen for a couple of hours).
Another option (and one I've done for several friends and family members) is to go shopping at places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Cost Plus, etc. and purchase a variety of either shelf-stable/ready to heat and eat meals or "dried" meals (like noodle bowls). If there are children in the house you can include stuff like Annie's brand mac and cheese (comes in different varieties/flavors) and Annie's crackers, etc.
Another option (again, if you're in driving distance) is to go grocery shopping for the family (my mother's good friend did this while my mother was recovering from a mastectomy and I was so stressed trying to keep the house together and care for her that I couldn't get around to going shopping). Get fresh fruits, prepped veggies, yogurt, prepped meals, and the staples, like bread, milk, eggs, sandwich-making ingredients, coffee, tea, sodas, fruit juices, etc. Try to balance between stuff that expires fast (such as sliced deli meats) and stuff that'll hold for a while (dried salami). And don't forget food like ice cream and cookies - sometimes, in the middle of stress, we want comforting, "bad for us" foods.
Good thoughts for your friend and her family.
ElsieDee's suggestions are good ones. If you are within driving distance, that is definitely the way to go. Glad makes disposable (but also reusable, like their storage stuff) bakeware. We have used them several times for lasagna, enchiladas, casserols, etc to give to sick or pregnant friends/families. They can be baked in the pans, frozen and then put right in the microwave and/or oven to be warmed through.
Another option (I'm sure people have many thoughts) is the Home Bistro. We've sent these at times to friends with sick kids or recently home parents with newbornes. They're frozen, but a cut above (in my opinion) frozen meals from most stores. (There are some markets in places that actually do their own frozen meals, which in some cases are better). They vaccum seal and freeze their meals and ship them in coolers packed with dry ice. They have a fairly broad selection and have always been well received by our friends. We got the chance to try some when they messed up the shipping and sent us an order meant for my sister. They couldn't take the food back, so we got to give many items a try. I didn't love everything, but most of it was pretty good and depending someone's desired level of food, they can be pretty nice for 10 minutes worth of reheating attention. Good luck and best to your friend.
One last thought would be that if your'e in an area with an organic food delivery option, you could buy them a few deliveries of produce. In the Bay Area, we have Planet Organics, which has a $29 minimum order for produce for free delivery. They can deliver weekly or every other week.
A neighboring family recently lost their father, and we took them dinner. I baked cornbread, a green bean casserole, and cream cheese brownies in foil pans and made fried chicken, all of which is convenient to eat hot or cold, and reheats easily. We also took disposables, because we figured no one would want to bother with dishes. Your friend isn't in the same situation, but the same would probably apply. You're a kind person to think of her and her family.