*This post contains affiliate links, which may provide income to this tiny blog at no additional cost to you! You can read our full disclosure here.*
Whether it’s the best reason ever (like your friend having an adorable baby boy) or a rough season (like sickness or loss) – sometimes, you need to throw together a dinner for someone you love.
Now, I cook all the time, but I can still have that “what in the world do I make?!” anxiety hit me when I think about taking a meal to someone. Not only do I want it to be good, I want it to be:
- quick & easy to heat up
- in a container they can throw away*, if needed
- according to their diet (i.e., if they’re vegetarian)
- free of any trouble food/allergies (i.e., milk, eggs, soy or gluten)
So today I’m sharing my go-to meals to take to others with you!
(And let’s be real, my future self will refer to this.) Each is noted GF = gluten free, EF = egg free, DF = dairy free. I haven’t noted soy free because it will depend more on the products you buy. Always check the ingredients!! This can also go for gluten, but I’ve included specific notes where it’s likely to pop up.
1. Three Cheese Lasagna
I feel like lasagna is such a staple for taking to loved ones. However, this recipe taught me that it’s WAY easier than I thought and finally broke me of my habit of purchasing frozen lasagnas (I know, I know…) Do yourself a favor and make 2 at a time, so you have dinner yourself!
One wedding gift we received that has made taking dishes like this to others is this handy tote*. I honestly didn’t think I would use it at first, but it has saved me from a lot of burns in transport!! It’s also great because you can use your glass baking dish (if it’s someone you see often and can get it back) or you can use a 9×13 disposable tin*. Either way, it is surprisingly helpful!
meatless/vegetarian, GF if using gluten-free pasta
2. Broccoli & Cheese Soup
If it’s cooler outside, this is such a cozy soup to serve! Make sure to bring some great bread that only needs a quick toast. You can also bring a salad if you want- although this soup is packed with veggies already!
meatless/vegetarian, GF, EF
3. Chicken Fried Rice
I love this recipe because “Asian” food doesn’t often come to mind when bringing dinner to someone. It gives some great variation to the soups & pastas, plus is a homemade version of some awesome takeout!
DF, GF (if you need gluten-free soy sauce, my friend recommends this one*!)
4. Chicken Tortilla Soup OR White Chicken Chili
Recognize these from the Top 10 Starter Recipes? Easy, cheesy- can’t get enough of it. Both recipes can be done in the crockpot or quickly on the stove-top. Just don’t forget the toppings!
GF, EF, DF if you don’t add cheese
5. Crockpot Chicken or Pork with potatoes & carrots
Crockpot is the way to go for an easy meal if you don’t have too much time on your hands. Whether you use chicken, pork, or even a chuck roast, it will be falling to pieces by dinner time and perfect to take over to a friend!
I love using a crockpot that has clips for the lid because it makes it so easy to unplug and take over! We’ve had this one* for 4 years and it is absolutely perfect!
GF, DF, EF
6. Italian Lentil Soup
Consistent with every recipe I’ve ever made from Gimme Some Oven, I found this recently and LOVE it. I’m ashamed (or not ashamed?) to say I’ve also tried adding a little bacon to the recipe early on to give it some extra flavor and love it that way, too. Of course, it wouldn’t be vegetarian then, but it’s an option!
meatless/vegetarian, GF, DF, EF
7. Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
An amazing twist on classic chicken noodle, it is so comforting and can be frozen if needed. This is especially good for your sniffly or achy loved ones as they get better! Pair with a great bread (or maybe some Sleepy Time Sinus Soother* 😉 )
DF, EF, GF if using gluten-free orzo
8. Chicken & Spinach Carbonara
This is how you do pasta. Seriously so tasty & easy to make! Coming from Budget Bytes, it’s also easy on the wallet!
GF if using gluten-free pasta
9. Breakfast Casserole
What’s better than breakfast for dinner? Breakfast for dinner with leftovers for breakfast the next day 😉
While breakfast casserole can be done many ways (and done well, I might add) – there are two takes that are my favorite. First is the sausage-crescent roll combo like this one. And also amazing is more potato-focused like the one here. Pair either of these comfort foods with some fresh fruit – totally golden.
10. Chicken fajitas
This recipe is wonderful for both baking in the oven or using the crockpot, PLUS my dad said this was the best Mexican meal he’d had at home, soooo there’s that 🙂 I tend to make this on my favorite baking sheet* rather than a glass dish to cut down some of the moisture.
Make sure to take over some tortillas, cheese, and sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt if your friends roll like that).
EF, GF if gluten-free tortillas
Need more ideas?
Bonus- make a quick salad with grilled chicken! I love putting together a green salad with lettuces, spinach, cucumber, cheese & marinated grilled chicken. Include a bottle of their favorite dressing or your own quick homemade recipe* and you’re good to go! This is especially great during the warmer, summer months when soups aren’t as appealing.
Out of town? Have it delivered! Pizza places often have salads, pastas or wings, and other places like Panera offer delivery, too!
RELATED: Ways to Help (+ printable coupons) for New & Expecting Parents
ALSO RELATED: The most step-by-step meal planning guide ever