Becky Hadeed: Our Celebrity Meal Provider for May
Becky Hadeed: Our Celebrity Meal Provider for May
Yesterday, I took an hour drive to meet up with my friend, Rachel, so we could discuss her daughter's upcoming wedding. As many of you know, Rachel is the reason Take Them A Meal exists. We had a lovely visit (it's never long enough), but during the drive, I turned on Becky Hadeed's podcast because I knew it would make my drive seem short. During each episode, you feel as though you are hearing two friends chat over coffee about recipes, family, and life. It's one of my favorite podcasts.
I met Becky last year when she interviewed me for her podcast, The Storied Recipe. Out of all of the interviews I've done over the years, hers is one of my favorites. She asks questions with such ease and speaking with her is like talking to a friend. Becky made and photographed one of the recipes that I like to take to friends and her food photography skills were just as impressive as her podcast hosting skills. I was in awe! If improving your food photography is an interest of yours, you definitely need to check out her photography posts.
I've continued to communicate with Becky over the past year. She is kind, encouraging, and humble. When I asked if she would consider being our Celebrity Meal Provider for May, she said I might be using the word "celebrity" too broadly. Ha! Not at all! Who better to learn from than someone who regularly facilitates stories of food, culture, and love?
Let me introduce you to Becky and her favorite meal to take to her friends:
Becky Hadeed: Our Celebrity Meal Provider for May
Becky Hadeed: Our Celebrity Meal Provider for May
1. What is your go-to recipe when taking a meal to a friend?
As host of The Storied Recipe Podcast, I get to try new recipes from around the world almost every single week! This work has introduced me to so many new dishes, techniques, and flavor combinations and our family has gained many new "favorite recipes" through my global guests!
But when it comes to making meals for friends, I turn to something very familiar from my own childhood - Tex Mex "Lasagna". Whatever the season or trouble, this cozy, bubbly, flavorful dish brought me comfort anytime my mom made it.
Tex Mex Lasagna comes together in just 20 minutes. It's filling and freezes/defrosts without any trouble at all; you can even cook it from frozen. It's good for you, as the cook, because it's super easy to double - one for your friend and one for your own family. Leftovers are just as good as the first round and kids usually seem to like it as much as adults. As you'll see below, there are oodles of easy-to-no-prep sides that pair perfectly alongside the lasagna - or, if you're really in a time crunch, all the macronutrients you need are right inside this one dish. Finally, this Tex Mex Lasagna recipe is easily adaptable for gluten-free, vegetarian, or dairy-free families.
2. What do you send along with the recipe? Any sides or desserts?
Depending on the size of the family I'm feeding, how soon they'll be eating the meal, and my time for prep, I've added any combination of the following sides:
  • Mexican rice
  • Pico de gallo (The Pioneer Woman has the best recipe!)
  • Guacamole (or just avocados to slice)
  • Pineapple, fresh (cut into chunks) or canned
  • Canned peaches
  • Fiesta corn salad - just saute corn with diced red pepper & red onion
  • Jello (my mom always made Jello salad with Tex-Mex meals!)
  • Premade or homemade Tex-Mex salads
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cornbread or cornbread muffins
  • A Tres Leches Cake really goes well with the theme! But if I'm being honest, I've never sent one along with it ;-)
  • A cool, citrusy sherbert is another great complement and something you don't have to make. Just make sure you can keep it cold during the drive or drop off. (One of the Take Them A Meal bags works great for this!!!)
  • I've made strawberry shortcake to add a little fruit to the meal. This only works if the family is eating the meal shortly after delivery. (It's also a lot of work, so only if you can budget a lot of time to make this meal.)
  • When time is short, forget about a "matching" dessert. I'm never ashamed to send along my favorite Toll House chocolate chip cookies or a pan of brownies made straight from the Ghirardelli box!
  • If I have enough time and my recipient is a mother of a newborn - especially with other kids in the home already - I like to send along a midnight snack for the exhausted parents or a grab-and-go breakfast for the kids. In this case, I like to send homemade blueberry muffins (Those massive Costco muffins are always equally appreciated!) or my homemade granola recipe.
3. What containers do you use to take this meal?
One of my kids was in the PICU for a month and another was in the NICU for 6 weeks. Also, my nature tends toward forgetfulness. Together, those two things taught me to never burden stressed, exhausted, or grieving families with an expectation that they track or return any containers.
I always make the Tex Mex Lasagna in a foil pan from Costco. I tend to send other things in their original packaging or gallon Ziplock bags. I know some households consider tupperware/plastic containers returnable and some don't. So, if I ever use those, I send a note along saying I have too many and don't want it back!
Generally, I put everything together in a large brown paper bag turned on its side. The family can simply recycle or reuse that bag.
4. What inspires you to faithfully take meals to others and how does that align with your work on The Storied Recipe?
First, if I'm being totally honest, I wouldn't say I've been particularly faithful in taking meals to others since COVID! There were many years in my life where I brought meals to others weekly, but it's less of a regular habit than an occasional act at the moment. So I suppose this question is encouraging me to be more faithful - and more attuned - to that way of serving!
As host of The Storied Recipe podcast, I am more convinced than ever that food is one of the most memorable and meaningful gifts we can give. There is something quite primal about food; we need it and when that need is met, we feel safe, secure, and loved. Food is also deeply personal; when you give someone the gift of your beloved recipe, you share with them a little bit of your family, heritage, preferences - and a lot of your time. So together, when you meet such a deep, felt need with a gift that is so personal and intimate, you create a bond with the recipient that they will always remember - and want to pass on to others!!
Be sure to check out Becky's podcast, The Storied Recipe. If you're curious to hear her interview with me, you can listen here.
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Scott & Adina
Welcome! We're thrilled you stopped by. A well-timed meal delivered by a friend is one of the best gifts imaginable. In this space, we share our favorite recipes, meal-taking tips, and other ways to care for those who are dear to you.
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