Cooking for Others: A Guide to Home-Cooked Meals & Meal Train Ideas

I recently shared a few ideas about cooking for others (aka home-cooked meals and meal train ideas) and so many of you were looking for more ideas, had ideas to share, and were interested in seeing a guide about it and how I usually go about it!

Cooking for Others: A Guide to Home-Cooked Meals & Meal Train Ideas - Lexi's Clean Kitchen

I am really excited to share this post with you today because I truly think it is a useful tool and resource and filled with great recipes that will help you, help those in need! I’ve been cooking a lot lately for various families so before I jump into the recipes, here are a few tips I’ve gathered.

A few notes about delivering meals:

  • Dietary Restrictions: Always inquire about dietary restrictions before planning the meal! What do the kids hate? What are you hoping to get the kids to eat more of? Does everyone eat meat? Etc.
  • Delivery Time: Text/email/call the coordinator or the family to find out the best time to deliver dinner. Keep in mind that the family is dealing with an important issue (either good in the case of a new baby, or difficult in the case of illness) and may not want to visit with friends, so plan on dropping off on the porch.
  • Disposable Containers: I alway use disposable food containers/trays so the family doesn’t have to clean dishes for me to pick back up!
  • Make it Extra Special: If I have time and depending on the situation, I’ll add chocolates, wine, flowers, or something extra special. If the occasion is a newborn baby, something special for the big brother or sister, like a coloring book, stamps, stickers, or a little game is always a great idea to make them feel extra special. If  I know the person and am in communication with them, I’ll ask them if they need any groceries on my way (milk, etc.)
  • No time to cook? Look into local meal delivery services or restaurants and have a meal delivered! Chip in with friends and figure out a schedule that works.

P.S. Don’t know what a meal train is? Mealtrain.com is a crowdsourcing platform that helps organize home-made meal giving for a friend around a birth, surgery or illness also known as a Meal Train! It’s essentially just a website that helps you organize the process and allows people to sign up for different days, etc.

Breakfast:

  1. Granola
  2. Cut Up Fresh Fruit & Yogurt
  3. Frozen Smoothie Packs: Place smoothie ingredients for one serving in freezer-friendly Ziploc bags, label with an expiration date (about 6 months for frozen fruit), and store in the freezer until ready to use!
  4. Freezer Waffles: Pumpkin Waffles, Double Chocolate Banana Waffles, or the Best Ever Waffles in my Cookbook
  5. Freezer-Friendly Pancakes
  6. Frittata: Potato Leek and Chard Frittata, Sweet Potato BLT Frittata
  7. Quiche
  8. French Toast Cups
  9. Breakfast Burritos (freezer-friendly)
  10. Breakfast Parfaits in Mini Mason Jars
  11. Muffins: Cinnamon Bun, Banana Berry, Pumpkin Sticky Bun Muffins, Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Muffins, Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins, Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins
  12. Breakfast Cookies
  13. On-The-Go Baked Egg Nests

Main Meals: Lunches & Dinners

  1. Freezer Burritos
  2. Pasta Dishes: Pesto Pasta Salad, Pasta with Meat Sauce, Sausage and Veggie Pasta, Mac and Cheese
  3. A Protein: Grilled Chicken, Steak, Shrimp, Fish
  4. Meatballs: Thai Meatballs, Loaded Turkey Meatballs, Nanny’s Sweet & Sour Meatballs
  5. A batch of soup: Chicken and Kale SoupTurkey Chili, Game Day White Chicken Chili, Healthy Broccoli Soup, Green Chili Vegetable Soup, Feel Good Veggie Soup, Classic Chicken Soup, Butternut Squash Curry Soup, Tomato Basil Soup (with grilled cheese), Slow Cooker French Onion Soup (and send a loaf of bread)
  6. Chicken Nuggets: Zesty Chicken Bites, Pecan Popcorn Chicken
  7. Sheet Pan Dinners: Sheet Pan Buffalo Chicken, Sheet Pan Chicken & Veggies
  8. One Pan Meals: Lemon Garlic Chicken & Rice, One-Pan Indian Spiced Chicken & Cauliflower, One-Pan Fiesta Chicken
  9. DIY Taco Bar or Taco Salads
  10. Casseroles: Spaghetti Squash BakeCreamy Pumpkin Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole
  11. Slow Cooker Dishes: Caribbean Pulled Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Thai Curry Chicken, Beef Barbacoa, Carne Asada, Slow Cooker Baked Potato Bar
  12. Sausage, Peppers, and Onions
  13. Mason Jar Salads
  14. DIY Lunch Pinwheels
  15. Loaded Egg Salad
  16. Copy-Cat Chipotle Burrito Bowls
  17. Stir Fry
  18. Pre-Made & Wrapped Sandwiches
  19. A Tray of Lasagna

Side Dishes

  1. Tray of Roasted Vegetables: Maple Roasted Brussels SproutsSpiced Roasted Cauliflower, Perfect Roasted Veggies, Garlic Roasted Vegetables
  2. Salads: Arugula Salad with Mint Chia DressingSteak Cobb Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette, Grilled Caesar Salad
  3. Mexican Street Corn Salad
  4. Israeli Salad
  5. Pasta Salads: Antipasto Pasta SaladBLT Pasta SaladCold Asian Noodle Salad
  6. Sweet Potato Fries, Zucchini Fries, Eggplant Friesor Regular Fries
  7. Instant Pot Risotto
  8. Beet Slaw
  9. Greek 3-Bean Salad
  10. Potato Latkes (makes a lot)
  11. Mediterranean Fritters (makes a lot)

Snacks/Treats

  1. Cut up Veggies & Hummus or Other Dip: Tzatziki Sauce, Spanish Eggplant Dip, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Spinach and Artichoke Dip
  2. Mini Meatloaves 
  3. Chips & Salsa
  4. Salad Roll-Ups
  5. Trail Mix (make a homemade blend of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and chocolate chunks)
  6. Granola Bars
  7. No-Bake Energy Balls: Nut-Free Powerbites, Mint Chip Bites, Chocolate Chip Cookie Energy Bites
  8. Cookies: Double Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesChocolate Chip Cookies, Chai Cookie BarsOatmeal Raisin Cookies
  9. Secret Ingredient Brownies (send a pint of ice cream, too)
  10. Cupcakes
  11. Chocolate Dessert Cups + Fresh Fruit
  12. Bowl of Fruit (pre-cut)

Misc.

  1. Cold Brew Ice Coffee
  2. A Pitcher of Iced Tea
  3. A Pitcher of Lemonade
  4. Chia Seed Jam
  5. Paleo Sandwich Bread or a Loaf of Bread
  6. DIY Chicken Rub
  7. Wine
  8. Chocolate
  9. Flowers
  10. Fresh Milk (or other groceries)
  11. Non food related: Chip in with friends and hiring a cleaning service!

Have other ideas? Leave them in the comments below!

Mint Chip Energy Bites

No Bake Mint Chip Bites - Lexi's Clean Kitchen & Quitter's Circle #ad

These Mint Chip Energy Bites are the perfect on-the-go snack. They’re easy to make, absolutely delicious, and require absolutely no cooking or baking.

No Bake Mint Chip Bites

I am so excited to be partnering with Quitter’s Circle, a collaboration between the American Lung Association and Pfizer, to bring you today’s recipe!

You all know how passionate I feel about helping you lead a healthier lifestyle. Since the day I started Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, that has always been my core mission. Whether it’s helping you on your clean eating journey, stocking your pantry, giving you tips to wake up feeling great, or giving you cleaner beauty and skincare ideas– I want you to be the best you!

Now, even though I’ve never personally been a smoker, I am so excited to partner with Quitter’s Circle, an online quit smoking community, to show you my favorite ways to fuel your body and mind with healthy tips and recipes to help set you up for success!

Having people in my family who smoke, I’ve seen firsthand the negative effects that can come from it. This has made me passionate about helping others – whether you smoke, or you know somebody you love that smokes – make positive, healthy changes to their lifestyle!

Quitter’s Circle is a fabulous resource that provides motivational tips and a variety of information ranging from how much money you can save from quitting smoking, to articles on why you need a quit smoking support squad, and I am so excited to bring you even more ways to be confident, feel great and glow from within!

 

These no bake energy bites are the perfect mid-day snack that you can grab in your hand and munch on. Easy peas-y, and gives you something to distract your hands and mouth on your work break!

No Bake Mint Chip Bites

No Bake Mint Chip Bites

Mint Chip Energy Bites

Preparation 10 minutes 2017-08-18T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 0:00 2017-08-18T00:00:00+00:00 Serves 15 balls     adjust servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add dates to your food processor and process until broken up into pea-sized bits.
  2. Add in coconut flakes, walnuts, cocoa powder, peppermint extract, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Process until well-combined. Mixture should come together into a large ball.
  4. Roll the mixture into 15 roughly 1-inch balls.
  5. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes before storing in the refrigerator for up to one month.

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Quitter’s Circle, a collaboration between the American Lung Association and Pfizer. All thoughts and opinions presented in this post are purely my own.

Avocados {Avocado Boats: 5 Ways}

For this week’s Healthy Food Friday with American Express I want to talk about some serious brain food. AVOCADOS. Avocado is a super healthy fat. That’s right. By now you know I am all about healthy fats in my diet! I think we’re almost over the low-fat fad, right? Good! Avocados fill me up and are loaded with nutrition that I want daily.The Benefits of Avocados

You are going to love these avocado boats. Craving a BLT? Got you covered. Want something refreshing? Tropical Salsa coming right at you! How about in the mood for breakfast food? Baked egg is calling your name. See where I’m going with this? Avocado heaven: five ways.

Avocado BoatsAvocado boats: the easiest way to snack {for two people}. Cut an avocado in half, the long way. Remove the pit. Get creative and stuff with your favorite salad, cuisine, or an egg. WA-LA. A snack for two. One for you, and one for some lucky individual.

Let’s break it down:

Pico De Gallo: Chopped tomato, red onion, garlic granules, jalapeño, cilantro,, Himalyan sea salt, and lime juice.

Turkey BLT: Off the bone turkey breast, nitrate-free bacon, chopped tomato, fresh spinach.

Israeli Salad: A household favorite! Find it here.

Baked Egg: Crack an egg into the center of your avocado half. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes until egg whites are opaque.

Tropical Salsa: Delicious and refreshing. It’s also delicious on top of fish! Recipe.

Avocado Boats

I was selected by American Express to contribute to their Tumblr community. As such I was paid for my services, but all opinions in general and about American Express are my own. 

Avocado RecipesSriracha Lime Chicken Chopped Salad // Tropical Salsa

Mason Jar Lunches // Avocado BLT Egg Salad

What’s your favorite way to eat avocado?

No-Bake & Nut-free Powerbites

Happy Healthy Food Friday, my friends! We’re at the mid-way through August mark and ready or not, school is just around the corner (one week for us here in Boston). For the next number of weeks I’m going to be focusing on back-to-school treats for you or your kiddos that are packed with brain foods to keep you going throughout the day. I’ll also be focusing on easy weeknight dinner options including one-pot, make-ahead, and crock-pot meals. I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments below of specifics you are looking for!

 

Let’s start with an easy breezy no-bake snack that is loaded with healthy whole ingredients and of course, healthy fats, protein, and carbs. Sunflower seeds are a powerhouse and contain awesome health benefits. They also make for a nut-free option to bring to schools that don’t allow nuts! 

The Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

 

So what do we have going on here?  Easy, no-bake, nut-free, deliciousand packed with nutrients to fuel you up mid-day.

 

No-Bake & Nut-free Powerbites

 

No-Bake & Nut-free Powerbites

 

 

No Bake Nut-Free Powerbites

Preparation 10 min 2017-08-18T00:10:00+00:00 Serves 10     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunbutter (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1/2 cup mix of dried craneberries, golden raisins, and dark chocolate chips (these or these are great)

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well
  • Roll into balls and let chill, you can perfect the shape further once they chill in the refrigerator
  • Remove and enjoy!
  • Recipe Notes

  • I like to store them in the refrigerator
  •  

    No-Bake & Nut-free Powerbites

     

    No-Bake & Nut-free Powerbites

    I was selected by American Express to contribute to their Tumblr community. As such I was paid for my services, but all opinions in general and about American express are my own. 

     

    What back-to-school foods do you want to see? Easy weeknight dinners, lunchbox snacks- you name it!

    Blueberry Protein Breakfast Donuts

    Everything is better as a donut, right? I recently bought a donut pan and am absolutely loving it. I’ve been making tons of healthy treats and serving them in the form of donuts; which is definitely surprising to my family and friends! These were fabulous. I kept them in the fridge and ate them as a protein snack throughout the week.

    Blueberry Protein Breakfast Donuts | Lexiscleankitchen.com #glutenfree #dairyfree Ingredients: (Makes 6: 120 cals each/8g fat/9g carbs/8.5g protein/3g sugar)

    • 1/2 cup almond meal
    • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I use grass-fed whey)
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1 ripe banana
    • 1 tsp coconut oil
    • 1 tsp raw honey
    • 1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
    • 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
    • Handful of fresh organic blueberries

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350
    2. Grease donut tin
    3. In one medium-sized mixing bowl, combine almond meal, protein powder, baking soda, and salt
    4. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, banana, coconut oil, honey, almond milk, and vanilla
    5. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix well
    6. Fold in blueberries, and mix
    7. Pour into donut tins and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

    Blueberry Protein Breakfast Donuts | Lexiscleankitchen.com #glutenfree #dairyfree