Tuesday, September 27

Gifts of Food for Loved Ones!

Whenever I hear that a friend is in a bad way or in need, my first instinct is to COOK for them.  It's one of best gifts I can give. 

Recently a much-loved co-worker suffered the loss of her only son who was 30 and who left behind a 3 year old son.  The loss has made so many of us feel for our friend and also reflect on our own relationships and how much our loved ones mean to us!  Our friend doesn't have a deep-freeze, so my idea of multiple lasagnes and casseroles was ki-boshed!  We put our heads together and came up with a few jarred soup ideas - hope you like them; they would be super cute for xmas gifts, or any time you want to give someone a little boost!

First of all, you need to assemble some clean (sanitized) mason jars or snaplid jars (I tend to hoard so used some old pickle and pasta jars).  Next, you need to grab some craft items and your glue gun - might as well "bedazzle" these suckers!

Here are the 5 varieties that I made up, but there are limitless possiblilites - just google "soup in a jar" and you'll be suprised what you find!

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

2 1/2 cups dried black beans
3 tbsp dehydrated onion flakes
3 tbsp granulated garlic
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 large can diced tomatoes

Place 2 cups beans into the bottom of a jar.  Put rice into a ziplock bag and layer on top of the beans.  Combine the spices in a ziplock bag and layer on top of the rice.  Top with the remaining black beans.  Print off the instructions and attach to the jar:

Wash beans.  Put in pot with contents of seasoning bag.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil and cover beans with 2 inches of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until very well done (about 2 hours). Beans should be very soft.  Add water as needed to keep beans from sticking; there should be liquid left on beans when done. Ad a can of diced tomatoes and heat thru.
To cook rice, put 3 cups of water and 1 tsp salt into a pot and bring to a boil.   Add rice, lower heat, cover and steam for 20 minutes.
Serve about 1/2 cup rice in a bowl and ladle the bean mixture over top.  Sprinkle with minced cilantro, finely chopped green onion, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Alphabet Soup PLUS+

2 cups of "no name" soup mix (it's the one with barley, lentils, rice, beans, alphabet pasta)
1 tsp dried chili flakes
4 tsp dried chicken bouillon
6 tbsp dehydrated vegetable flakes
1 large can of diced tomatoes

In a jar, pour in one cup of the soup mix.  In a plastic bag, combine the spices and vegetable flakes (this is the "soup spice mix").  Place on top of the soup mix, then pour another cup of the soup mix on top. Print off the instructions and attach to the jar:

In a large stock pot, combine soup mix and spice mix, one large can of diced tomatoes and 8 cups of water.  Bring to a boil on high heat.  Reduce heat to a medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Remove from heat & serve.

Instant Baked Potato Soup

1 box sour cream and chives potatoes (Betty Crocker Brand)
packet of sauce mix from potatoes
1 packet dry cheese sauce mix from boxed macaroni and cheese (they sell this in bulk at a lot of places - about 1/4 cup was what I used!)
3 tbsp bacon bits

Remove packet of potatoes from box and break the dry slices up with your hand - punch out your aggression from the day!  Layer the potatoes into the bottom of the jar.  Pour the chive sauce into a small ziplock bag and place on top of the potatoes, then the same thing for the cheese sauce, and then the bacon bits.  It all goes into the water at the same tme, but it makes the jar look "prettier"!  Print off the instructions and attach to the jar:

Combine contents of jar with 2 cups milk and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes.

Beef Vegetable Minestrone

1 cup tiny shell pasta
1 1/2 cup dehydrated vegetables
4 tbsp beef bouillon
2 tbsp dehydrated onion
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf

1 large can diced tomatoes

Layer the shells in the bottom of the jar.  Place the vegetables in a ziplock bag and place on top of the shells.  Combine all of the spices and place on top of the vegetables.  Print off the instructions and attach to the jar:

In a large stock pot, combine spice package, dehydrated vegetable package, 8 cups of water and large can of diced tomatoes.  Bring to a boil on high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours,, or until vegetables have softened.  Bring soup to boil again, add pasta and cook for 20 minutes or until done.  Remove from heat and serve.

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 cup fine egg noodles
Spice Mix:
4 tbsp chicken bouillon
2 tbsp onion flakes
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
~ 10 whole pepper corns
1 bay leaf

Pour egg noodles into a jar.  Combine all o fthe spice mixes in a ziplock bag and place on top.  Print off the instructions attach to the jar:

In a large stock pot, combine spice mix & bay leaf with 8 cups of water.  Bring to a boil on high heat; reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add egg noodles and continue cooking for about 20 minutes, or until noodles are cooked through.  Remove from heat and serve.

Make sure to hug the people you love today xo



  1. This is such a fantastic idea - I think I'm going to do something similar this year for Christmas! Seriously love this, it's such a unique gift!

  2. I am so sorry to hear this. You are so thoughtful to do something like this. It's a really unique idea and I'm sure your friend was thankful to have these. I think so many people get overloaded with fresh and frozen foods at funerals that this would be a good option for sure. Thank you for sharing the idea and again I am so sorry for your co-worker.

  3. What a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing. I am very sorry for your friend's loss.

  4. There is something about sharing food which is so comforting. These are all fabulous ideas. So sorry to hear about your friend's loss. I'm sure your thoughtfulness was very comforting for her.

  5. What a great idea. Christmas presents come to mind. Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a creative gift idea! Love it, and they all look so pretty, I'd have a hard time breaking them open!
    I'm sure your friend really appreciates all your thoughts. Even I feel sorry for her hearing about what happened.

  7. These are great ideas. I honestly think that food can soothe the soul.

  8. What a creative and thoughtful gift. I am so sorry about your friend and her son.

  9. Wow, this is a beautiful idea. I also want to bake or cook for someone the moment they are in need. I know she will appreciate what you have done for her. Thanks for the great ideas!

  10. What a thoughtful gift for your friend. It's so creative and beautiful.