Friday, October 13, 2006

dinner in a basket

I am not a great cook, or even a good cook. I think it is because I don't do a good job of following the recipes and never seem to have everything I need.
So, when I get asked to make someone dinner I get totally stressed out! I just don't know what to make and what if it tastes totally gross. In fact in my last church group in Nashville, I very rarely was asked to bring anyone dinner because I think they knew I was a total stress case about it.
I was asked last week to bring a meal to a new mom at church. Oh my I started to panic. I decided to come up with a standard meal that I would bring, also with a standard way to bring it. (for some reason also stresses me out, I never have those disposable gladware)
Here is what I made:
  • Rosemary Chicken in a crockpot. (Chicken, Cream of Chicken soup, milk, lemon & herb seasoning and rosemary. So easy)
  • Uncle Ben Whole Grain Brown Rice
  • crescent Rolls
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (recipe to come)
  • Butternut squash
  • Granola for Breakfast (Mindy's recipe)
  • A pack of instant macaroni for the little boy
  • A pack of Crystal Light Ruby Red Grapefruit
Luckily I have gobs of pink ribbon. (love that ribbon outlet) I tied all the foil wrapped food and then put them in a basket. I made the babies monogram with the list of dinner and tied it to the basket. I tried to mask the food with cute note and ribbon. I hope it worked.
If you have a great standard meal you take to people I would love to know.


Amanda said...

An easy shepherd's pie recipe from the Essential Mormon Cookbook, it is in the "Love Thy Neighbor" section. It is so easy, has all four food groups and generally apeals to grown-ups and children. I have made it several times for families at church and it has always gotten good reviews. I will include a tossed or fruit salad, something simple for dessert(a friend from church had a baby right before the 4th of July so I sent along some red, white and blue rocket popsicles for her other kids that time) and usually some homemade bread or rolls from my bread machine if I have the time.

Amanda said...

P.S. I don't know what you are talking about...I have always eaten wonderfully well at your house!! And that dinner basket sounds amazing! I am sure the family really appreciated it.

Amy said...

It sounds wonderful and I would be delighted to receive it all in such a beautiful presentation. You make me want to make dinner for someone in our ward! I especially love the idea to have something more kid friendly for the little boy. Don't be selfconscious. That sounds like the most thoughtful meal!

Anonymous said...

OH YA! i may not be crafty like you- but i CAN TOTALLY COOK!!! hehe

lets see..well the past 6 months i have had dinners brought to ME!!

chicken pot pie is what i
impossibly easy chicken pot pie..YUM! and kid friendly

Jill said...

What a great basket of food. That's an embarrassing contrast to the foiled covered plate of Costco brownie bites and the 2 GLAD containers of fruit I contributed to dinner for a new mom last night.

Bek said...

The bow and the monogram make up for it...presentation is key and makes up for a lot. I think what you prepared is perfect.

I love to cook and cater often and would venture to say that I am a really good cook...but here is my standard new mom meal...

--Rotissary chicken from the grocery store and roasted red potatoes (oil, salt pepper, oven...)

--Lemon Thyme chicken (THE BEST chicken ever--I catered a dinner for 60 ppl last week and got asked for the recipie over 30 times). It is from the Barefoot Contessa and is truely the best recipie I have ever made...

Chicken tenders or thin sliced breasts
--Lots of lemon juice (about a cup for 6 breasts)
--Lots of olive oil (about 3/4 cup)
--Dried thyme
--salt, pepper and garlic (optional)

Marinate the chicken in the above recipe. Grill or bake it over. When finished give it a good sprinkle of salt and pepper, a douse of olive oil, squeese 1 lemon over the top and sprinkle more thyme. Viola. EASY, yummy fast and every thing can come from the pantry (I admit that I am lazy and use bottled lemon juice...).

OR--last but not least...brie, tomato and basil sandwiches. Just get yummy bread and tell them to toast it, send sliced toms, basil and bried (or even ham or bacon) and a little bottole of balsamic vinegar. There aren't many people who don't like this combo....

At least you brought dinner. You would be suprised...

amanda said...

Oh Kristi---what a gorgeous little presentation. Love that monogram! You are a woman after my own heart--in a non-lesbian sort of way. So creative! Love it! I totally understand not being able to cook. The only thing I ever make when asked is Lasagna and EVERYONE in the ward knows it. Everyone always tells me it is really good. I don't have a recipe, though, I have been making it for so long I just throw things together. I think the "secret" to the great taste is wacky ingredients--like nutmeg (yes, for real) and I always use the sharpest most premium cheeses mixed with cottage cheese instead of ricotta. Ricotta is so bland and fattening. Anyway--what a pretty basket. I am sure they will be thrilled to get it!

mipper said...

wow. um, yeah, wow. way nicer than i normally do. i just took in stromboli to a friend with a green salad and what else, jello with mandarin oranges in it. she wents nuts over and just came over today so i could teach her to make it. i took everything over in either a pyrex dish or plastic ziplock bag though... so yeah, not much in way of presentation.

mostly i just try to make stuff that doubles easy or just makes a lot in the first place. i have a pretty easy oven jambalya that gets good reviews. of course, someone mentioned it but the betty crocker chicken pot pie. lasagna is always a hit. i also have a pretty easy mexican casserole to take in. let me know if you want any of those recipes. i won't take up your comment space with them unless they sound good to you.

i think you did great. way nicer than most meals i have ever given or recieved. no wonder you stress out girl, you set the bar so high for yourself! ;)

Laurie said...

Very good ideas.

When I've just had a baby my favorite thing to get is a chicken dish, bread, fresh fruits, and something chocolate. I've also received fruit and cheese/cracker baskets, which are such great snacks when you're smashed out of your mind tired.

I'm taking dinner tomorrow night, so thanks for the inspiration.

amy w. said...

I'm so with you on stressing out on the dinner stuff--everyone has such DIFFERENT tastes. My new thing--a gift certificate from a favorite restaurant (with takeout) or gourmet grocery store with yummy hot food items.

I drop it off the day before and then hubby usually picks up the food on the way home OR they just wait for a day they want to use it. Not very Martha, but I rest easy knowing I know they are getting something they like.

Jenny said...

I normally make Rita's jambalaya and have never had a complaint about it.
Love the basket. You are always going above and beyond. I would love to be a recipent of that!

Kristi Brooke said...

ohh thanks for all the ideas.
Christina, i seriously think you could write a book with all your great meal planning.

Bek thanks for taking the time to share the recipe.

Mipper... there is no such thing as taking too much space on a blog, i would love the recipe! or if you have it typed it feel free to email me too.

Dana said...

I have done my own crockpot chili and sweet cornbread before.

I have done take out pizza.

I have done Chicken Fettucine Alfredo.

Pizza bread with salad.

Ham and Potato casserole.

It is always hard to come up with ideas for dinners. You never know what the family's likes and dislikes are.

Encore Dance said...

All these recepies sound so good! Being a newlywed I struggle in the Kitchen!! You should start a cute "Blogger's Cookbook" or something because I'm going to have to print these recipies and ideas! Thanks for sharing all your creative ideas!!

Kristi Brooke said...

Julia, hannah has an awesome recipe blog!

Julia said...

Wow, the presentation is awesome.

We have had 28 babies born in our ward since last November (no twins, but a set of triplets and a set of quads coming up-- there is definitely something in the water). This has given me ample opportunity to perfect the art of taking dinner to people. Unfortunately, I always stress out, I feel like people always expect something big (In my next ward I'm not going to let it get out that I went to culinary school).

I now have a standard-- Lasagna bolognaises, homemade sourdough bread (I will post the recipe sometime, really easy and really good). Salad with caramelized walnuts, dried cherries, pears, gorgonzola and a vinaigrette. Steamed artichokes or asparagus, and usually a cheesecake for dessert. This has definitely taken the stress out of dinners, but a girl I took dinner to said, "you made lasagna, and I thought you were a professional chef." She was joking of course, but I was a little annoyed. I guess you can't win.

Elisa said...

Kristi, I am SO with you on the stressing thing. I never know if they will like what I like, and anything I make may or may not turn out that night. I am not a consistant cook. I usually end up taking pizza (store bought) with a green salad and all the fixin's and breadsticks. I think having a standard meal is a great idea, maybe I could get really good at one thing.

Cristin said...

Love how you put your signature on everything you do!!!!

Kari Lynne said...

You are just too much, Kristi. Most people would just make spaghetti or a quick casserole. When we got home from the hospital our ward brought us sloppy joes...2 nights in a row. That was the beginning of Savannah's gassy nights. You are such an awesome person to go the extra mile and do those extras things for that new mom. I'm sure that she appreciated it and thought it was soooooooo cute.

Anonymous said...

this sounds delish! and oh so cute. i firmly believe that presenation is everything. cookies off of an adorable plate always taste much better than cookies on a white paper plate! ( :

i too struggle with the taking dinner deal and stress out. sometimes i don't even make dinner for my family that night because i feel like i spend the entire day worrying and preparing for someone else's dinner! i like your idea of having a standard meal, as i have always just tried to do something that i'm currently cooking that my family is eating. then i have to decide what to make and i think that's half the battle.

i've done the old pot roast before cooked with veggies and taken along a salad and dessert. a couple of weeks ago i did a butternut squash stew (which i think it yummy but my kids do sometimes and other times they don't) with a salad and lion house rolls. i, of course, buy the rolls, especially this night as my sister-in-law makes them and they are even better than the lion house! there was no way i would attempt those for her!

i'm sure your little family was so happy with their meal and your thoughtfulness. you really do set the bar pretty high for yourself ( :

p.s. where can one find hannah's recipe blog? i need something new to put on my table at night.

michelle said...

I think your dinner sounds great, and you can't beat the presentation! Who wouldn't be excited to get that basket?

My favorite meal to make for others is lemon chicken, broccoli with blue cheese sauce, rice, and homemade brownies.

Reading Julia's comment has made me hungry!