When we had our first baby, I could not get over the kindness of so many people who wanted to bring us dinner. I honestly don’t think I had to cook for about a month. I can remember eating each meal and thinking it was the best thing I’d ever eaten…probably beacause i was famished from breastfeeding around the clock and I think we can all agree that food just taste better when someone else cooks it. I’ve made meatloaf 100 times but have someone else drop it off on my doorstep and I swear its the best meatloaf on the planet.
A friend texted me this week asking if I had any meal suggestions to take to our friend who just had her second baby and thought I would share here what I sent her. These are all dishes that I have taken to friends with new babies and have found them not only to be tasting and filling, but also family friendly for little ones. New moms are HUN-GRY and they need all those extra calories to help keep up with feeding that new baby so these dishes aren’t exactly the healthiest but they make great leftovers that will carry them a few days without having to cook. If ever there was an apporopriate time for “comfort food”…it’s during your early post partum days!
Each of these recipes can be prepped a head of time and delivered to your friend ready to be popped in the oven. Food is always best fresh so just text your girlfriend and let her know what to preheat her oven to so all she has to do is throw it in when you arrive. I also like to send my meals in disposable cook wear so washing and returning my casserole dish is one less thing for the mom to have to worry about.
Alright, here they are friends! Take your pick below for your next Meal Calendar sign up!
This is my go-to lasagna to make because its simple. I know the best lasagna’s take a lot of effort and TLC but I just don’t have the time at this point in my life to be in the kitchen all day long. The no boil noodles cut down on time and I love the combo of the cream cheese with the ricotta…yum. This meal is best paired with a salad, garlic bread and maybe even a side dish of roasted veggies.
Shauna Niequist is an amazing author and chef and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love this easy take on enchiladas. The actual name for this recipe is “Annette’s Enchiladas” but since we don’t know who Annette is, I’m just calling them chicken enchiladas! I love that you can use a rotisserie chicken and laying the tortillas flat vs rolling them is so simple. This dish is great served with corn chips, salsa, Mexican rice or a tossed salad with a creamy avocado lime dressing.
I know meatloaf can get a bad rap and truthfully, I wouldn’t touch it until about 4 years ago when I tried this recipe because it claimed even the greatest of meatloaf haters would like this recipe. They were not lying. The sauce that has a secret ingredient (apricot preserves) is the superstar that takes it from lunchroom meatloaf to fan favorite. Be sure to use as lean of meat as possible with this recipe to avoid grease issues. Ground Turkey is a great option or the leanest cut of beef is also good. I like to serve this with mashed potatoes and broccoli.
Spaghetti Pie via Leeza Blanchette (my MOM!)
There are many versions of baked spaghetti’s out there but I reached out to my mom to share her’s. It’s truly my favorite and even though it has cottage cheese in it (which I won’t touch), I love this dish. She pulled the recipe out of what I can only assume was Reader’s Digest submitted by a sweet old lady named Beverly Stoops from Barstow, California. I love it! This is a BIG dish so this would be perfect to split into two dishes to have one for your family for dinner and one to take to a friend. Here’s the recipe:
-1 1/2 lbs of Italian sausage
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 32 oz. jarred spaghetti sauce
-1 C of water
-generous splash (1/2 C) of red wine
– I lb. spaghetti, cooked and rinsed
– 1/2 stick of butter
-3 eggs beaten
-16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
-10 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
– 16 oz. cottage cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 11×13 casserole dish. Brown sausage and onion in a large saucepan. Drain grease. Add spaghetti sauce, red wine and water. Simmer until thick. Toss cooked spaghetti with butter, eggs, Parmesan and half of the mozzarella until well mixed. Spoon spaghetti and cheese mixture into dish and press down. Cover evenly wish a layer of cottage cheese. Spoon sauce on top. When smooth, poke holes with a wooden spoon randomly over entire surface. Bake for 20 min. Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top . Return to oven and bake 10 to 15 more minutes longer or until golden and bubbly. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serves 12-16
Crockpot Pot Roast via McCormick Pot Roast Seasoning Packet
I love that I can chop everything up and throw it in a ziplock bag and bring it to my friends house in the morning and let her slow cook it all day in her crock pot. I like to serve this with rice, sourdough bread and a green salad.
Crockpot Pot Roast
-1 package stew meat
-5 stalks of celery, chopped
-3/4 package of baby carrots
-3/4 bag of petite potatoes, halved (i like the tri blend of purple, red and yellow)
-1 medium size onion, chopped
-3-4 cloves of garlic (i like the frozen minced cloves from Trader Joe’s for easy, no chopping)
-1 package of McCormicks Pot Roast seasoning
-1 C of water
Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hr
Of course I couldn’t leave out dessert! As you can see, it is also from Bread & Wine so this book would be a great addition to your cookbook collection. This is actually a pretty healthy dessert but I suggest topping it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream! It can also double as a breakfast option in the morning eaten cold with yogurt. Again, this is the perfect item to bring prepped and let your friend bake so it will be hot and fresh…and make her home smell heavenly!
I truly believe this is the best thing you can do for a new mom so hopefully this will help make the process a little easier for you. It’s a blessing to be a blessing to others…