The gift of a home-cooked meal is often more appreciated than any other type of gift, especially during this busy time of year. Taking even one thing off a friend's plate (no pun intended) can be such a welcome relief. Now consider a friend going through cancer treatment or grieving the loss of a loved one over the holidays, and this gift becomes even more helpful and meaningful.

Since we're all busy too and taking a meal can take a little time, we've collected recipes for delicious, healthy and most importantly easy meals (well, most of them) that travel well.

1. Skillet White Chicken Lasagna

We found this recipe from Lemons for Lulu and knew it was one we wanted to share. "One-skillet" meals are always appealing to us because not only are they easy to make, but they are easy to take. Once finished, transfer this delicious dish to a disposable container that you don't need back. As WhatFriendsDo CEO, Aimee Kandrac, always suggests, "Be sure to take food in disposable containers that you don't want back." Remember, we're trying to ease burdens here and asking them to wash and return dishes is adding two.

As WhatFriendsDo CEO, Aimee Kandrac, always suggests, "Be sure to take food in disposable containers that you don't want back."


2. Vegetarian Shepherds Pie with Lentils

Another hearty and healthy meal comes to us courtesy of A Couple Cooks. The creators of this recipe suggest "...it could be called simple but it is definitely not quick" so if this is your selection, make sure you allocate enough time and consider making a double batch. If you're putting in the extra time, you might as well have a meal ready for your family in the end. Doubling recipes is actually one of our "go to" tips. You'll end up with a meal for yourself or an extra your friend can freeze for enjoying later.


3. Pumpkin Apple Carrot Soup

Once winter hits, warm soup always sounds especially good. Here's a recipe, shared from Tastes of Lizzy T's, that is chock-full of nourishment and winter weather appeal. Pair this with fresh bread and a salad and you'll have a complete meal that is sure to hit the spot. WhatFriendsDo's Director of Customer Experience, Jen DeMotte, suggests, "When taking a meal, we always suggest taking the full meal. This doesn't have to take much time. You can stop by the grocery on the way and picked up a salad in the produce aisle, a fresh loaf of bread in the bakery, and some cookies for dessert."


"When taking a meal, we always suggest taking the full meal. This doesn't have to take much time. You can stop by the grocery on the way and picked up a salad in the produce aisle, a fresh loaf of bread in the bakery, and some cookies for dessert."


4. Easy Asparagus Quiche

A meal that is often overlooked but typically loved by all is breakfast! We often suggest switching up things a bit and taking a Breakfast Basket instead of dinner. This recipe for Easy Asparagus Quiche by The Produce Mom serves as the perfect main course for breakfast. Quiche is very versatile and can be modified for just about any food restriction or preference. Vegetables can be swapped (Don't like asparagus? Try spinach or broccoli instead.), crust can be left out for gluten-free diets, and meat can be added if your friend isn't a vegetarian. Add some muffins, fresh fruit and pick up coffee on the way, and voila, breakfast is served!


5. Easy Chicken Casserole

Anything with "easy" in the title is sure to catch our attention. This recipe shared from Heather Tallman, otherwise known as basilmomma, was especially appealing, because it was shared via the Little Red Door Cancer Agency and is a "cancer fighting recipe." This casserole is easy AND packed with ingredients, like whole grains, beans and veggies, known to help fight cancer. The recipe makes a large batch so consider putting in two smaller disposable pans and freeze one for later.


6. Vegetable Bolognese Pasta

This all-vegetable pasta dish by writes4food is sure to be a crowd pleaser and is a perfect solution if you're making meal for a friend who is a vegetarian. This recipe also makes a large amount and freezes beautifully so save some back for yourself. Consider keeping the pasta separate from the sauce when delivering to your friend. This makes it easier to freeze extra sauce (pasta does not freeze well!) but even more importantly, the plain pasta will likely be a more kid-friendly meal eaten plain with butter and parmesan cheese.


There you have it -- 6 meals that will travel well this holiday season! If you have a friend going through a tough time, check out WhatFriendsDo and start a support team for them. In addition to many other features, the shared calendar makes it especially easy to coordinate meals. Reach out to me at jill@whatfriendsdo.com for help setting up your team.