What Is Better than Flowers? Food For Sick & Bereavement Gifts

Recipes to take to bereaved families.

Bereavement gifts are never an easy thing. People automatically default to flowers. While the flowers were beautiful, I have to say during the loss of our child, food by far made the biggest impact to our days. It was the most helpful thing we received. We ended up with a freezer stocked full of meals. There was no prep work necessary. All I had to do was dump the bag into the crockpot. Such a huge relief!

Recently my Mom asked about meals we received.  She wanted to know what meals I would recommend as she planned to prepare a few to take to a friend diagnosed with cancer. Food has become our go to. It is automatically the first thing we think of.

Those meals turned me onto freezer meals. Before that, I had never stocked my freezer. I never spent much time meal planning beyond a few days because the food would inevitably go bad. Not anymore!

Since she asked, I thought I would share a couple of easy recipes with you. These are great for new moms coming home from the hospital, sick family and friends, or a death in the family. They are so good I use these recipes to stock my own freezer now. I’ve also discovered the best (and cheapest) way to do this…with BJ’s Wholesale Club.


BJ's Meat Department

When I meal plan, my shopping always begins at BJ’s Wholesale Club. I love their meat department. Large quantities. Good quality. Great prices! It can’t be beat, and believe me we have tried. While there I always stock up on the freezer bags and foil pans. They have some great produce. We never make it out without a stop to check out the sweets. This time, we found the best sugar cookies ever!

My girls love our shopping trips there. The car on the front of the carts, the huge aisles, even the free food samples.

BJ's Wholesale Club

This trip was my last meal planning session just a few days ago. I was able to put together 14 meals that would each feed a family of 4. So affordable and simple. Two of those recipes I’m sharing here, one chicken and one beef. Try them out yourself. Make them and take to a friend in need for their freezer. Either way, they are easy to make and provide a full meal with no additional prep work. Plus, they taste great!

Chicken Divan

This is a family favorite for us. It goes back to when I was a kid. Make it ahead of time, freeze it, thaw it out, throw it in the oven. Dinner is ready.

Bereavement Gift

  • 2 chicken breasts – cooked & cubed
  • Cooked Rice – I use 2 cups jasmine rice, 2.5 cups cold water, 2 tsp garlic salt. Stir, bring to a boil, simmer 15-20 minutes (or until all water is evaporated). Mix it with a fork.
  • 1 package frozen broccoli florets – chopped
  • 1 single size container plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, rice, broccoli, yogurt, broth, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Mix it well. Dump it into the bottom of a small foil freezer pan. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top. Cover with your foil lid.

To cook – Take it out of the freezer the night before and thaw in the refrigerator. Set your oven to 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Shepherd’s Pie

Another family favorite for us. This is another meal that provides meat, potatoes, and vegetables all in one. Make it ahead of time, freeze it, thaw it, throw it in the oven with no additional prep work.

bereavement gift idea

  • 1.5 – 2 pounds of ground beef – cooked & drained
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1.5 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies
  • Mashed Potatoes – Made any way you like. We love Alton Brown’s recipe.
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a bowl, mix the ground beef, tomato sauce, garlic salt, onion powder, and pepper. Pour it into the bottom of your foil freezer pan. Pour the frozen veggies in as the next layer. Dump the mashed potatoes on the top and smooth them out. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top. Cover with your foil lid.

To cook – Take it out of the freezer the night before and thaw in the refrigerator. Set your oven to 350 degrees for 1 hour.


There you have it. Two great recipes that will make a much bigger impact than sending flowers!

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