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what to make for neighbors who are moving?

I want to make a complete but simple meal from my good friends and neighbors who are moving (just a street away), next week. My plan was to take them a complete meal with paper plates, napkins, main course, over to their new home on the day they move in so they don't have to worry about what to eat after all that moving work. There will be the couple, 2 children, and probably a set of grandparents at the house to help with the move. None of them are real foodies, and my friend is a self admitted terrible cook. So, nothing extravagant. I was thinking about a chicken piccata, a nice salad, bread, and maybe some type of pasta dish. I would like to bring everything over in containers that they can heat the food up in, and hopefully throw away.
First question, can I put chicken piccata in an aluminum pan? Won't the lemon react with the aluminum pan? Second, I hate to serve a pasta with a tomato based sauce with a lemony sauce, so was thinking about what else I could serve with the chicken. The children are plain eaters, so I don't want anything too sophisticated. Any ideas on what I can make and can be just warmed up in an oven? All ideas are welcome.
Thanks all.

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  1. How about pasta with a nice bolognese sauce. Our grandkids love that and when I make chicken piccata I leave some of the cutlets out of the lemon/caper sauce for them. So, I would suggest if you make chicken piccata send some plain breaded and fried chicken pieces for the kids. Add a nice salad and bread an you are all set.
    PS I put alot of finely chopped carrots in my bolognese so that the kids get their veggies.

    1. I made a meal for a family recently. They, too, had smaller children, weren't foodies and there were other grandparents around for whatever reason. I made homemade meatballs (smaller size) in homemade marinara sauce. I used less sauce than for pasta. I sent that hot in an aluminum container. Alongside, I sent hoagie buns (I made sure they were split) and provolone slices for meatball subs. I also made a nicer salad for the adults (and children), but for a moving situation, crudite with a good dip might be nice. Then I sent some washed grapes in a ziploc bag and a lemon velvet poundcake loaf, sliced. Not to blow my own horn, but to say how well it was received, the mom gushed about it to friends and I heard about it second-hand.

      2 Replies
      1. re: FeedingFive

        How about a lasagna along with some salad and garlic bread? Some fruit for dessert. A bottle of wine for the adults and juice that you know the kids will like.

        1. re: snk

          I'm for the lasagna idea!! First that popped into my mind!! With a salad and Garlic Bread!! It was the meal I always asked for on my trips home from college.

      2. I like the lasagne idea or something like pastitsio that can be reheated easily whenever they need a snack. That, some good italian bread and they're set for lunch, too. You could do a chicken marsala instead of a piccata if you're worried about the clashing flavors.

        1. Could you grill some meat and send over a taco/fajita kit (veggies, beans, rice, salsa, ect.), that seems re-heatable but maybe too much work for you. If you go the piccata route, why not just a simple olive oil, garlic sauce for the pasta, or would a rice pilaf suffice? Not sure about aluminum and lemon, so to avoid the idea all together check out the food storage aisle next time you're in the market. I think it's Gladware that makes a disposablish container that can stand up to 400 F (maybe Reynolds brand, not sure).

          1. What a sweet idea. Chicken sounds like a lovely main. Not sure it it's too "foodie" but to go with you could do a pasta with pesto sauce for the adults -- some cut-up baby tomatos thrown in if you felt ambitious. Tastes good hot, cold or in between. For the kids, something the v. young bite-bites (picky and inconsistent eaters) generally love, which distresses their father to no end, is pasta with a very basic sauce of diced tomatos with cream cheese mixed in (this does have tomatos -- but if doing just for kids they probably wouldn't care). Potatos salad or a good old-fashioned macaroni salad could be another way to go starch-wise.

            Not sure where you stand on dessert -- but watermelon and/or some home-made chocolate-chip cookies might be a nice way to finish it off.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bite bite

              If set on the chicken piccata idea then as enbell suggested I often do a simple oglio as a side but, for the kids, you might consider linguine with a lightly creamy button mushroom sauce. Otherwise, I agree that one can't go wrong with meatballs or any type of casserole (lasagne or eggplant parmigiana). An egg-battered chicken scallopine is another way to go. You could make the lemon sauce on the side, so kids could have it plain. Perhaps you could line the aluminum pan with parchment paper to avoid reactivity with the lemon?