When I had my babies, one of the absolute best and most wonderful things our friends and family did for us was provide us with food. Their generosity was so appreciated and we didn't have to worry about going grocery shopping, cooking or even cleaning up. Because I know how helpful this was for us, I LOVE bringing food to my friends and family with new babies. As an added bonus, I get to meet the new little one!
I've listed five dishes here that typically make, and I love these particular dishes for several reasons. They are inexpensive, not very labor intensive, healthy, can be easily customized, and with the exception of the pasta salad, all freeze well. (No one is going to want to freeze that salad anyway!)
A few more things to consider when you bring the meals:
- Think about providing paper plates, napkins, and cutlery (recyclable!) so the prep and clean up is minimal.
- Find out if there is anything you can do to help around the house. Throw in a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, run the vacuum, take the dog for a walk, etc.
- WASH YOUR HANDS even if you aren't planning on holding the baby. Keep those germs out of the house!
- Put the food into containers that you don't want back anytime soon, or ever.
Slow-Cooker Chicken and Lemon Soup with Pasta
I first discovered this super delicious soup from a friends Facebook post a few years ago. I have altered it over the years, customizing it to my tastes, and you will probably do the same! It freezes well and its very easy to prepare. It can be made even easier by using store-bought rotisserie chicken and pre-chopped veggies. Add a salad and some bread and you have a delicious home cooked soup that is packed with nutrients. Customize this soup with more/less carrots or other veggies, leafy green vegetables, turkey meatballs, or whatever else you can come up with! Shells, orzo, mini ravioli, tortellini, or even rice are great options, but really you can use whatever you want.
For extra indulgence: Cook the pasta in chicken broth before adding to the soup.
1 pound chicken thighs, 2 1/2lbs of chicken breast, or 3-4 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken.
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 stalk of Rosemary. (1 tsp dried)
4 cups (32 ounces or one carton) of chicken broth
Zest of two Lemons
Juice of two lemons
1/2 lb to 1lb of pasta of your choice. (If using smaller pasta like orzo, 3/4 cup-1 cup is probably enough)
Saute the onions, carrots, and celery in 1-2 tbsp olive oil using a large dutch oven or sauté pan for approximately 5 minutes until the veggies have softened. Add the dried herbs and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Add a small amount of the chicken broth to deglaze the pan and scrape up any small bits of veggies and onions. Transfer this mixture to the slow-cooker insert now.
Lay the thighs or breasts in the bottom of the slow-cooker and completely cover with the chicken broth. (This is especially important if you are using chicken breasts as they can dry out if they are not fully covered.) If you're adding frozen veggies, add them now.
Cook until the chicken shreds easily, approximately 6-8 hours on low. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred, returning to the cooker.
Cook the pasta separately according to the package directions.
10 minutes before serving, stir in lemon zest, juice, pasta, and leafy greens if using.
Garnish with parmesan cheese & parsley.
If you are using shredded rotisserie chicken, in lieu of transferring the ingredients to the slow cooker, simply combine the remaining ingredients together and simmer for at least 30-45 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasonings.
Spicy Sesame Pasta Salad
This delicious pasta salad can be made using chicken, beef, tofu, or served simply as is, and the ingredients can be varied to suit any taste. I've included the basic recipe here, and you can add additional ingredients you like or think might work. Typically I add harder vegetables like peppers and carrots at the beginning and let them marinate all day, but thats not necessary at all. I like to add cucumbers at the end for a fresh crunch. You can also use whatever kind pasta you want. I have made this using both regular and whole wheat pasta, but you could give it a shot with rice or other gluten free type pasta as well.
1 lb sturdy pasta like spaghetti, bowties, rigatoni, rotini, etc
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1/4 cup canola oil (you can also use corn oil)
1/2 cup sesame oil
6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon of salt (optional)
1/2 chopped cilantro
3/4 cup peanuts
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
extra cilantro leaves for garnish
- Cook pasta to al dente. Try not to overcook as the pasta will absorb some of the marinade
- Combine the red pepper and oils over medium heat for two minutes. Add honey, soy sauce, and salt, if using. Keep over low heat until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
- Mix the sauce and pasta together and refrigerate for 4+ hours, or overnight. This is also when I add shredded chicken, beef strips, peppers, carrots, and anything else I want to be sure marinates all day.
- Just before serving, add the peanuts, cilantro, and green onions, and any additional vegetables like cucumbers. Mix well. Serve and enjoy!
If using tofu:
I marinate the tofu in the same sauce as the pasta salad and then cook separately.
Nonna's Homemade Meatballs & Sauce
My husband has been making these meatballs for me for years. Its his mother's recipe, and her mothers before hers. The original recipe is a handful of this, a shake of that, and a bunch of this, and while I have attempted to standardize the measurements, don't hesitate more or less ingredients as pertains to your own personal preference. You can make these meatballs using ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, or a combination!
These are a great dish to bring because they freeze really well AND they can be used in all sorts of ways! You can bring pasta for spaghetti and meatballs, subs and provolone for meatball subs, leave out the sauce and use in soup, or simply as they are with a veggie and starch.
1 lb ground beef
2 large eggs
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1/3-1/2 cup dried parsley
3 tablespoons dried basil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 32oz can whole tomatoes with sauce
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
1/3 cup dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried basil
Pinch of oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
Using your hands, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Form into small balls, line up on a large baking sheet. Cook for approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cook longer for larger sized meatballs. Let them cool completely and then they can be refrigerated or frozen.
Saute the onion and garlic in 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a large sauce pan until golden. Add in all the other ingredients. We like to squeeze the whole tomatoes with our hands, but chopping or smashing them works just as well! Cook over medium to medium high heat for 30-45 minutes (or hours if you have the time!) If you are combining the meatballs and sauce, add the meatballs at any time and let it cook away. Adjust the seasonings after about 30 minutes of cooking. Once the sauce has completely cooled it can be refrigerated or frozen.
Macaroni & Cheese
I LOVE this macaroni and cheese. My mother has been making this recipe for years and I have no idea where the original recipe came from. You can use really any kind of pasta you have on hand, including whole wheat! Only have cheddar on hand? Use that! Want to add meatballs, broccoli, or something else? Its easy to add a little extra.
1 lb penne pasta, cooked just shy of al dente
4 cups Milk
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
12 ounces gruyere cheese
Salt & Pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
Preheat Over to 350 degrees
Bring milk just to a boil, set aside
Melt butter, add flour, whisk for 5 minutes, but be sure NOT to brown
Add the hot milk to the flour mixture, whisk well. Add 1/2 tsp paprika, salt, pepper and return to heat. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, approximately 5 minutes.
Add penne and any additional ingredients to the milk mixture and toss well.
Butter or grease a 13" x 9" baking dish and distribute evenly.
Spread grated cheese evenly over top.
Baked until hot and the cheese is melted, approximately 20-25 minutes.
Finish with 3-4 minutes under the broiler.
Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal
Don't forget breakfast as an option to bring to a families with a new baby. This oatmeal is easy to put together, low maintenance, is very versatile, and can freezes well.
2 Cups of steel cut oats
8 cups water
1 can of coconut milk or coconut cream
1 tablespoon of sugar (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a crock pot. Cook on low overnight (8-12 hours). Top with dried fruit, nuts, brown sugar, maple syrup, and more!
Author: Renee Corbino
Renee keeps Balanced Birth Support organized and amazing as the Administrative Manager. She lives in Sarasota, Florida with her husband and two cute little boys. She is a breech birthing mama and supporter of empowering births.