Setting Up a Meal Train

A meal train is when a group of family members and friends work together to deliver meals to someone who is going through a major life change. While some of these occasions are happy, like the birth of a new baby, it is often set up to assist in sad and stressful periods.

The general idea is to have a calendar where everyone chooses a date to drop off a meal. That way the person or family in need is well fed while they cope with their transition.

Meal trains can be organized via group emails or texts. Setting up a google spreadsheet that can be shared around is a simple way to organize a meal train. There are also apps and services that can be used for coordination, for example, mealtrain.com and takethemameal.com.

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Even if you aren’t up for coordinating a meal train, it’s always nice to drop off a healthy meal to someone who could use a bit of a hand.

Here are a few tips if you’re planning on dropping off a meal to someone:

• Use containers that you don’t need to get back.

• Date the food, because they might not remember when it was dropped off.

• Provide reheating instructions.

• Ask about dietary restrictions in advance.

Here are three healthy meals that are perfect for sharing. They are rich, warm, and filling. Food that will comfort and nourish. Make a double-batch so you can enjoy it as well!

Rich Vegetable Noodle Soup

This noodle soup is a simple and comforting dish. It’s the sort of soup that tastes better the next day, making it perfect for a meal train.

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 large potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes

3 leeks, chopped, white and light green parts

3 large carrots, diced

1 1⁄2 Tbsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 quarts stock

1 can of tomato paste (156 mL)

1 pinch of saffron threads

1⁄2 lb. green beans, ends removed and cut in half

8 ounces soup pasta or spaghetti, broken in pieces

1 jar of pesto (200g)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, add the onions, and saute over low heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add the leeks, potatoes, carrots, salt, and pepper and saute over medium heat for another 5 minutes.

3. Add the stock, stir in the tomato paste, and saffron. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Add the green beans and pasta and simmer until the pasta is cooked, about 10 minutes.

5. Serve the soup with a dollop of pesto in each bowl.

Slow Cooker Kale & Sausage Stew

This is comfort food at its best! This sausage stew features a tomato and mashed potato base that is absolutely delicious.

1 pound Italian sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 large-sized can diced tomatoes (28 oz)

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 cup of water

3⁄4 tsp each salt and pepper, to taste

2 large-sized mashing potatoes, peeled

1 small bunch of kale, stems discarded and leaves torn

Mashed Potatoes

1⁄2 cup of milk

1⁄2 cup of olive oil, plus more for serving

1⁄2 tsp each of salt and pepper

1. Mix the sausage, onion, tomatoes, and garlic in a slow cooker. Pour in the water and add the salt and pepper. Push the potatoes into the liquid so they are mostly covered.

2. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or 3 to 4 hours on high, until the potatoes are fork tender.

3. Remove the potatoes from the slow cooker. Add the kale to the slow cooker. Stir and allow it to cook while mashing the potatoes.

4. Mash the potatoes with the milk, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir back into the stew and serve.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

While casseroles, soups, and stews are the mainstay of meal trains, sometimes a fresh salad is just the thing. This quinoa salad is packed with vegetables and flavour for a bright dish that will taste good for several days in the fridge. Tomatoes and cucumbers are both delicious additions to this salad, however, they taste best when served right away. So stick with the carrot and pepper if you’re giving the dish to someone else.

1 cup of dried quinoa

2 cups of water

Salad dressing

1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp salt and pepper, to taste

1 clove of minced garlic (optional)

Toppings

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 red pepper, chopped

2 carrots, grated

1⁄3 cup chopped fresh parsley

3 diced spring onions

1⁄4 cup dried cranberries

1⁄2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Place the quinoa and water in a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the quinoa is cooked but not soft, about 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Once the quinoa has finished cooking, gently toss it in the salad dressing. Allow it to cool before adding the toppings. Taste, and adjust the salt as necessary.

4. After the quinoa has cooled, stir in the chickpeas, red pepper, carrot, parsley, and spring onions. Mix well.

5. Top with the cranberries and crumbled feta and serve.

Emillie Parrish
Emillie Parrishhttp://emillieparrish.com/
Emillie Parrish loves having adventures with her two busy children. She lives in Victoria and is the author of the fermentation-based blog fermentingforfoodies.com.