August 20, 2008,
S.B. asks from Seattle, WA on August 14, 2008
What to Bring New Mom & Her Family for Dinner?
I am planning to bring dinner to a friend & her family who just had their 3rd child- but I am at a loss as to what to make! I do work a lot so sometimes I buy ready-made meals from Pasta & Co or Eat Local on Queen Anne. But this time I want/should make a homemade meal. Any suggestions for those of us who are 'culinary challenged'?
Z.A. answers from Seattle on August 15, 2008
Something that will come with leftovers!!
Off the top of my head, here are some ideas...Please note...I'm a notorious CHEAT. I've worked in some amazing kitchens over the course of many years (although also NOT for years)...and while I'm more then willing to cook all day long when the urge overwhelms me, my favorite cheat is to pick up sides or halves from restaurants/grocery stores. For example; anytime I'm doing Mexican I run down the street to Azteca and place orders for rice & beans & pico de gallo ; or grab soups from WholeFoods when I'm doing sandwichy things or quiches ; or 10 mini loafs of that great dark brown bread from Outback. You get the idea. If it costs less to buy it from a restraunt then to make it AND it saves me a bankroll of TIME I'm on it like white on rice. Hehehe...after all...I'm doing the main course right? And who DOESN'T love warm, yummy, freshbaked bread in addition to their dinner? No one ever cares that I didn't bake it.
Other Easy Big Pastas
- Chicken Broccoli Alfredo (w/ Penne)
- Red sauce w/ Mild Italian Sausage (shells or penne)
- Pesto or Pesto Cream (Fucilli/Cavatappi/Linguine)
Carne Asada (if you might BBQ) also (Azteca rice/beans cheat)
Shrimp Louie Salad
Stout Braised Beef Short Ribs
Giant Muffin Pan Mini Quiches
Breakfast for Dinner (crepes/waffles/pancakes with etc etc)
BBQ Chicken Quesadillas
Cornbread baked on top of chili (one pan, batter is poured over chili and baked until cornbread is done)
1 - I can message/post any recipe you're interested in if you like. Most of these are super quick and easy. A few are customizeable per person (the mini quiches, any of the salads, BforD). All of them can be cooked a day in advance and warmed up, or in the case of the salads prepped in advance and tossed in situ, EXCEPT for BforD. The only one I opt out of is the lasagna recipe...everyone has their own ;)
2 - I always bring "saftey" sides for kids, a bag of tatertots, mac'n'cheese, pizza delivery phone #, etc., depending on who's house/kids.
3 - Dessert. Sooooo easy in the summertime. I would suggest either berries with fresh whipped cream (w/ a touch o'vanilla in the cream) or an "icecream soccerball"...the kind the kids kick around in the yard in order to make it.
(I'm going to go poke around for a snack now)
2 moms found this helpful
A.M. answers from Seattle on August 15, 2008
When I had my babies, people from church brought me so much food, we couldn't eat all of it. It was wonderful that they put so much time and effort into it, and we appreciated every meal. I would suggest first of all, not to overdo it and make a huge meal that they need to save if others are bringing food, we ran out of room in the frige. Also, it seemed like everyone brought chicken, and after a while we were craving anything besides chicken.
You might consider taking a fish meal, such as salmon, that you can season and prepare and leave for them to put in the oven, along with appropriate side dishes that kids like as well. (you said this was her 3rd so make sure the food is kid friendly.)
It is so sweet of you to help out like that. I know from the mom side how much it means to have that extra help. I have 3 kids and I husband who is clueless in the kitchen and it really made my life easier to have help like that. Not to mention the fact that I had a c-section and was starving from nursing all the time, but in no condition to walk around much less cook.
Good job, you are a good friend to her!
1 mom found this helpful
S.P. answers from Seattle on August 15, 2008
I have been fortunate enough to have been both on the receiving and giving end of these wonderful meals. My suggestion would be to stay away from the pasta. We were a bit over-pasta'ed. We ended up giving some away to the neighbors (which made me feel guilty). Also, stay away from bread (unless you know they are not receiving any other meals).
I like to call and ask where they are with meals- would they like something prepared and ready to eat that night or something for the freezer. I try to only bring enough for one meal (this is again if they are receiving a lot of meals).
A super easy- yummy meal- is to use a simmering sauce from Trader Joes. All you do is cube chicken cook it and pour the simmering sauce over it. Then serve it with rice (you can even buy the microwave rice at TJ's). You can add a salad or steamed veggies and the adults have a yummy meal.
Always give them the food in something they don't have to return. (It was such a hassle returning everybodies containers- and I was NOT organized right after I had my baby (or even now for that matter). I like to put in mac and cheese, carrots, and a little treat for the siblings. It is fun to pick up some books from a thrift store so the older kids get something for being new older siblings. It is also fun to put in a bit of dessert- either and ice cream or homemade cookies or brownies. Sometimes we would even get some beer or wine which was fun.
My last gift is to forbid them from writing a thank you note- most people do anyway but it does take some of that pressure off if they are feeling guilty for not writing one.
What a wonderful gift you are giving your friend! Thanks, S. Palmer
1 mom found this helpful
L.A. answers from Seattle on August 15, 2008
Any thing is great it really doesn't matter. I always make a red sauce - I always freeze red sauce so I freeze an extra big batch make up whole wheat rigatoni - then a salad - then I bake bread unless it's hot then I buy bread.
That being said - frozen lasagna from Cosco is great - leftovers. I've had people bring me Taco Del Mar love it - and now I'm planning on bring lunch for the new mom when home on maternity leave after all the family leaves for Qdoba. It really doesn't matter - I'd make sure they don't have any weird diet requests. I'd also try and remember what a breast feeding woman can't eat - one couldn't eat any peppers. And I'd try and bring good food for their kiddos. One mom brought me a bunch of protein bars and quick lunch foods - fresh fruit for lunches.
In this case it is the though that counts - and frozen pizza is just as good as a homemade meal. Don't forget gift certificates to local take out eateries.
1 mom found this helpful
M.W. answers from Seattle on August 15, 2008
When our daughter was born, a good friend of mine brought us spiniach manicotti in two separate foil containers (one for freezing) with clear lids. She wrote the baking directions on an index card and taped it to the top. She also brought us garlic bread from our local grocery store. For dessert, she made a brownie in the same kind of foil baking pan. It was the BEST meal we had after coming home (aside from my mama's tamales and enchiladas!). My husband is a vegetarian, so it's a vegetarian recipe, but I'm sure there are lots of meat sauce recipes available!
I asked her for the recipe and now I make it for my other friends with newborns. It was super easy to make, but I cheated on the brownie mix (used a box), and also store bought garlic bread. You can send me a private message if you're interested in the recipe.
Have you ever been to allrecipes.com? It is an awesome recipe site and you can read reviews of people who have tried the recipes, as well as "tweaks" people suggest. They even have a section for quick and easy meals. I've used the site for years and it has several of my current "staples" on it!
1 mom found this helpful
S.R. answers from Seattle on August 20, 2008
Pasta dishes are common due to time constraints ie. spaghetti, lasagna, etc. or stews, soups, and casseroles.
Our family used the grill and made some ribs (the thin korean ribs) marinated in Soyaki (think you can get them in Trader Joe's or Fred Meyer), some fresh stir fried Bok Choy with garlic, and steamed rice. Then my husband baked some fresh cookies. We made it a family event so everyone had a hand in it. We thought something different would be nice. It didn't take too long and it wasn't cheesy.
M.B. answers from Seattle on August 15, 2008
When my daughter was born almost a year and a half ago some people from my husband's church brought us some meals. You could do a soup/stew that is easy to reheat. You could do a crock pot meal, that sounds good to me. You could also do a casserole of some kind. My family has a great one that is rice based that I will share with you if you'd like.
Anything really that is easy to reheat, or can just be eaten as is.
Hope this helps,
K.P. answers from Seattle on August 15, 2008
spaghetti, easy to make easy to freeze