Put care into compassionate service meals

Published: Thursday, April 22 2010 12:18 a.m. MDT

Turkey and Stuffing Bake is a casserole that can be made in advance, frozen and used for a service emergency.

Jenny Stanger

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One of the worst experiences I had as a Relief Society president involved

waiting around for a compassionate service meal that never came.

I thought we had arranged to provide meals for a couple of days for a

family that didn't really want the meals but were persuaded when we told

them the ward loved them and wanted to serve.

I don't remember the specific circumstances of the need, but the memory

of the phone call I received around 6:30 p.m. on the promised evening is

vivid.

The brother on the other end of the line was nice enough but hungry. He

had two little boys and a wife who were hungry as well, and they were

looking for the meal that should've been there an hour earlier.

I responded with alarm and tried to find out what had gone wrong.

After a few fruitless phone calls, I swooped up the meal I had planned

to serve my family and drove it over to the home of the people who were

relying on us. 

(I ended up taking my children out for fast food.)

I was embarrassed and angry, so when I was asked to write up some tips

for compassionate service, the first thing that came to mind was this:

  • Be prompt and reliable when it comes to bringing in meals. Don't delay or forget.
  • Do your homework on the family

    or individuals you are attempting to serve. Find out how many are in the

    household, who has strong likes and dislikes, who has allergies to what.

    ·
  • Keep it clean. This is not the time to taste the soup or sneeze on the salad. Don't let little Johnny taste the spaghetti or poke the cake.
  • Keep it simple and recognizable. A fancy French dinner is less likely

    to please than something familiar and comforting like a roast and

    potatoes.

  • Make it easy. Put the dinner in disposable containers that don't need

    to be returned.

  • Deliver instructions with the meals. How long does it need to cook and

    at what temperature? Is there ice cream in the dessert that needs to

    stay frozen?

Here's a good recipe from Jenny Stanger, author of \"Fabulous Freezer

Meals\" and of the website www.freezerdinner.com. It makes three

casseroles that each serve 8-10 that can be prepared and frozen for

compassionate service \"emergencies.\"

Turkey and Stuffing Bake

3 packages (6 ounces each) stuffing mix

10-11 cups turkey or chicken (cooked and cubed)

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

2 cans (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup

3 cans (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of mushroom soup

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare stuffing mix according to package directions. Add turkey and

cheddar cheese. Combine the soups and milk in a separate bowl. Pour 1

cup soup mixture into each of three greased 9-by-13-inch foil baking

pans. Top with turkey mixture and remaining soup mixture. Sprinkle with

Swiss cheese. Cover with layers of plastic wrap or foil and freeze two

casseroles for up to 3 months. Label the frozen dishes: 350ºF for 1 hour

20 min. Cover the remaining casserole with foil and bake at 350ºF for

30-35 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

To serve: Bake, frozen and uncovered, at 350ºF for 90 minutes or until

bubbly. Or defrost overnight in the fridge and bake at 350ºF for 35-40

minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. (The fast way to do

cooked turkey is to buy a 3-4 pound boneless turkey breast, bake it and

then cube it.)

For more help, see the Sugardoodle website that features tips on creating a compassionate service binder idea

that makes serving the ward easy.


E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com

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