The majority of the time, when I go all out in the kitchen, it is to bring a treat to a celebration, like apple bread as a congrats for a new baby, chocolate cookies with peppermint patties for Christmas Eve, or creepy cupcakes for a Halloween party. But there are also times to show you care by heading in the kitchen and cooking and baking up a storm for sympathy. Sadly my good friend’s dad passed away this weekend so I knew exactly what I wanted to do to show support.
I know there is no energy or time to grocery shop and cook when you are grieving and funeral planning! So I made it my mission yesterday to get together a full meal to drop off today for my buddy and her fam. On the menu? Mixed greens and veggies with Italian dressing on the side, homemade Bolognese sauce with two packages of fresh pasta, a warm loaf of bread from the bakery, and for dessert, chocolate peanut butter cookies, all packaged up and ready to heat and eat whenever hunger strikes during this tough time.
It is times like these I REALLY appreciate where I live in the North End neighborhood in Boston. I headed to Haymarket to stock up on all the veggies. Next up, the butcher to get ground beef and pork plus bacon. Fresh pasta was my next stop and I knew would be the perfect accompaniment for my homemade sauce, which I picked up a couple of packages of at DePasquale’s. Then it was home to get ready to roll!
Here are the stars of the show for the Bolognese sauce, which I made from this recipe!
The best thing to do was prep everything and do all my chopping, grating, peeling, measuring, etc before turning on the oven.
Then it was show time. Once everything is ready to heat up, it is very easy. Brown the garlic, onions, and bacon and then set it aside.
Cook the meat and then mix the bacon combo with the ground cooked meat before adding it all to a big pot with the rest of the veggies, tomato sauce, chicken stock, herbs, etc.
Then it is all about waiting, covering up the pot, simmering, and stirring and in one hour, the sauce gets a deep flavor, perfect to go with the pasta.
I put it in a Tupperware that held 7 cups, once it had cooled, and popped it in the fridge to deliver to them today.
I left the pasta in the packaging to keep it fresh, since it only takes 3 minutes to cook, made the salad this morning and picked up the bread, so everything was ready to go. I also put Italian dressing in a baggie and parmesan cheese in another one, so they really only need one thing for this, meal. A drink! Well and silverware, plates, and napkins. Hmmm that is actually a good idea if someone is doing something similar for sympathy. I will remember that.
For dessert, I tried a new recipe, also from All Recipes.com, Eggless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies, which the bf taste tested and loved so he got a few to take home too. It’s the usual cookie recipe where the dry ingredients are mixed up separate from the wet, and then they are combined to make a thick dough, which is made into balls and ready to bake.
Then voila, 12 minutes later, chewy, chocolatey, peanut buttery cookies, ready to enjoy.
Although I know I can’t take away the pain my friend and her family are feeling from their loss, even if just for a few minutes, they can eat a filling, veggie and meat filled meal, with a sweet dessert, to savor while they spend some time together. Hope this helps anyone else who wants an idea for a meal plan to drop off to a family facing a similar situation.
**This meal was prepared with deepest sympathy for the family of Seng Mong Hua, who passed away on 1/11. Should anyone have an interest, donations can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or to the Beth Israel Hospital Hematology Transplant Unit, in his name.