Good food to bring to new parents?
Close friends are at the hospital in labor, and expect to bring their new bundle of joy home in the next few days. I'd like to bring over some food for them and the hordes of family and well-wishers that will soon descend on them.
New daddy is Italian, and any sauce I might make will never be up to his and his family's standards, so that also rules out ziti, lasagna, etc. and anything else that would rely heavily on a good tomato sauce.
I wasn't raised with casseroles (dad was a meat and potatoes man) so I don't really have much of that sort of food in my repertoire. I'm looking primarily for one-dish meals that will reheat well. Cold dishes that could keep for a few days without getting unpalatable would also be good. And I'm sure that they would be happy to have something frozen to defrost later when the initial flood of food gets eaten.
Thanks for any suggestions!
Thanks all for the suggestions. We settled on meatloaf (my standard recipe, from Fanny Farmer, and cutting down on the onions I usually load it up with), mashed potatoes (organic potatoes, with skins on and lots of butter and sour cream mixed in), homemade beef gravy (a bit bland with no beef fat to start, but came out edible and better than canned/jarred) and finally, a mac & cheese recipe I got from an old Food & Wine that had tons of cheddar, parmesan and roquefort and tasted pretty good!
Mom & Dad had been pretty much surviving on Power Bars so they were grateful to see some real food.
Also, being a chowhound, I couldn't settle for a standard boring bouquet of flowers, and had to go with a cookie bouquet. I've sent these before and they are always well received, and a nice change of pace from the standard flowers. Link below...
bite size pieces of parmesan
(the plating could be key here.)
Captain crunch and coconut squares
(the same recipe as Rice Cispie sqaures, except use Captain Crunch and coconut)
6 cups cereal
4 cups miniature marshmallows (or 40 large marshmallows)
1/4 cup butter
1 package of shredded coconut
mix together cereal and coconut
heat butter to melt in pan and add marshmallows, stirring constantly until completely smooth.
Stir in half the cereal until its comfortably mixing and then add the other half. Stir until well coated(It looks like there won't be enough marshmallow mixture, but there is enough)
Spray 9" X 12" baking pan with cooking spray (or use parchment paper).
Press the cereal mixture into the pan using wax paper and cool (chill in fridge if you want)
Cut into squares.
And, if you use a larger, shallower pan (like a sheet cake pan) the pieces can be made in smaller dimensions)
Your question makes me remember what was undoubtedly the most appreciated meal of my life...my first real meal after giving birth to my only child. My best friend's mother prepared a fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, green salad and apple cobbler dinner. All made from scratch, all laid out in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish, delivered to our door and served piping hot, and all consumed, inhaled, appreciated. It was the first food I had eaten in days... Of course, this is a meal from another generation...who makes fried chicken any more? There is a fabulous recipe for fried chicken in the the first Silver Palate cookbook, (page 93), made with lots of lemon zest and brown sugar. Yes, making fried chicken is a lot of trouble and fairly labor intensive, but then so is having a baby.... :-)
You could top it all off with a pitcher of homemade lemonade made with fresh lemons and a simple syrup...gee, swap a mediterranean potato salad for the mashed potatoes and I think I know what I am making for Saturday's picnic supper!
What a good friend you are...this is an essential part of caring for new parents. they're generally dazed by the amount of work, lack of sleep, and lack experience you have to attend to the most important achievement/person in their life! We had wonderful friends, and in-laws who helped with both.. I remember a wonderful shepherd's pie--lots of meaty flavor, protein and calories with no effort; my mother -in -law's cold rice salad during a torrid time when baby girl was born; I had also cooked a whole turkey in advance and freezed a lot--easy chunky sandiwhc, heated up meal. Simple is best...roast chicken, things you can eat with your hands (not pizza or tacos), a great home made soup, lasagna, not too spicy. Physically, it's a grueling time for mom who's nursing and using a lot of energy, and not a lot of sleep as well. High calorie, low fat, simple good food keep the new 'rents going. A giant nicoise salad would be good as well.
So simple, but I think my favorite was a huge tub of homemade hummus and a loaf of good bread. I kept them at my side at all times. Also, fresh fruits and veggies--cut up, ready to eat. Another nice thing for the new mom, especially if she's breastfeeding, is a case of something interesting and healthy to drink. You have to drink sooo much.
You are doing a very good thing for your friends. They will appreciate it so much!
I second all the suggestions here and remember fondly the donated meals that got us through those newborn days. Homemade marmalade cake with icing (people tend not to give you sweet stuff, but we craved a decent dessert!). Very mild chicken curry with rice. Sliced ham and fresh brown bread to make sandwiches. A whole roasted chicken with roasted veg., ready to reheat. Think protein!
At this time of year especially, things that can be eaten cold are appreciated. They will be preoccupied with the baby and will want things to eat that require little or no preparation.
Potato salad, cold roast chicken, poached salmon, good breads, beet borscht are all good. Ready to make greens for salad and a jar of homemade dressing will probably be appreciated as well.
I took my girlfriend:
A HUGE bowl of salad - greens, mushrooms, etc. Put thin sliced onions in separate baggie. Also in separate baggie a pound of boiled shrimp, chilled in a soy based marinade.
Also tons of "morning glory muffins", reasonably low-fat muffins with shredded carrots, apples, etc.
My friend said she lived on salad and muffins for many days.
I've cooked for several families with newborns, including my own, and have a couple of suggestions. Often, not always, onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage or other leafy greens as well as different things for different people cause gas which you and I dont necessarily feel, but the baby, through breastfeeding will. Try to cook relatively bland food, but not untasty food. Dairy can sometimes be a problem as well.
Some things that have worked well in the past are mashed potatoes, sweet and regular, meatloaf or turkeyloaf, macaroni and cheese, simple roast chicken, cous-cous with sauteed or steamed veggies, poached or baked salmon with dill sauce.
re: jake pine
Great suggestions from all, keep them coming. You folks are giving me some great ideas!
I feel like such a goober for not coming up with meatloaf and mac and cheese on my own! Oh well, I'm pregnant as well and my mind isn't what it used to be ;-)
I also like the idea of roast chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes and of course, risotto.
I find that risotto makes lovely leftovers -- it can be reheated or eaten cold. Roast beef or pork may also be nice, as it is good cold and can be made into sandwiches, etc. Nothing too spicy if the mother is breastfeeding -- spicy foods can upset baby's stomach, so I would stay away from things like chili.
Being the mother of a new baby myself, I can tell you what we greatly appreciated: homemade macaroni and cheese, roast chicken, nice green salads, soup (if it's not too hot outside!), chili...pretty much anything that can be eaten for lunch or dinner in various combinations and doesn't take much effort to reheat or serve!
I can tell you that your friends will appreciate you SO much. This is the best gift you can give them!