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Feb 17, 2009 09:39 AM

Food (Dinner) ideas for a new mom?

I'm part of a meal co-op and am taking a meal to a friend who had a baby 4 weeks ago. I've asked her for some direction (as far as food restrictions, cravings, etc.) the only thing she told me is to stay away from red bell peppers and anything spicy.

I'm completely drawing a blank on what to take for her and her husband for a meal. I'm thinking a lasagna or something along the lines of a baked dish would be too heavy (cheesy, etc). It would have to carry well, or be put together before hand, so they could bake (I live about 20 minutes away from them). ...I'm completely blanking.

Any mom's out there recall what they enjoyed eating during those first months? They've been getting meals every other day from various friends, although, I don't know what others have brought.

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  1. How about making up a hearty stew (meat or poultry) and creating individual pot pies? There's something comforting and hearty about pot pies. They're simple, easy to prepare and with a simple salad and glass of wine you've got a complete meal.

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Individual chicken or veggie pot pies are a great idea. Flavorful, but not too spicy.

      You can also make quiches, with or without the crust. Mini sizes made in a muffin tin are great because they can be part of a meal or a quick bite for the super-busy new mom. You can try veggie quiches with spinach, zucchini, mushrooms and mozzarella.

      What about grilling some chicken cutlets and packing them in a ziplock? Buy some romaine hearts, roll the washed leaves in paper towl and store in a ziplock. That way mom has a grilled chicken salad and all she has to do is tear up the lettuce. You can also roast some beets, grill carrots or other veggies, and buy some nice olives and pack all in small containers.

      Prepare veggie and cheese quesedillas (don't cook) and stack them in a large container with a paper towl between each one. When they're hungry, all your friend has to do is pop them in the oven until the cheese is melty and the tortilla toasty.

      Macaroni and cheese freezes well, as does a macaroni casserole with meat sauce, My husband claims macaroni and meat is better baked from the freezer than baked fresh.

      Good luck!

      1. re: todao

        Love the pot pie or one giant pot pie, chicken or beef, lots of vegetables and a great crust. You can even use great bakeware that is disposable next to the aluminum pans, Only a couple of bucks and well worth it. Even smaller ones for individual pies. Salad is great, wine (Mom may have to stay away if breastfeeding) Dad I'm sure will partake.

        I love to roast a turkey, easy, don't have to do a big one, inexpensive, make some traditional stuffing and mashed potatoes. She can use the leftovers for sandwiches and evening bites. Fun and a turkey is the easiest thing in the world to cook.

        Lasagna is great which I saw before.

        Turkey tettrazini,

        I make a great vegetable dish with potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms baked which is great to go with a spiral ham. Another simple, heat and serve. I have many local places BJ's, Sams and local stores who carry them inexpensively. Great to have. She can recreate many meals with the left overs.

        Me ... I love meatloaf and most people do. That is always good.

        Roast pork slow cooked for a few hours with sweet potatoes, carrots parsnips, onions, general seasoning, mushrooms, simple food

        I make a great mushroom and chicken pasta. When I travel with it, I grill the chicken, set aside, then grill the mushrooms and onions and deglaze with a little wine ... Make the pasta and add the spinach and mushrooms and chicken to it. Then I keep the sauce seperate. All they have to do it mix together. I take mine in a throw away hot cooler cup. Really easy.

        Meatballs is also nice to take, pre baked and served in sauce. All she has to do is make pasta

        Baked chicken cut in sections is a good think to send

        I also did beef stirfry (stayed away from peppers) mushrooms, onions beef broth, rice and it freezes well

        And soup of course. I have tons of easy creamy healthy soups. Lots which is wonderful for a new mom

        1. re: kchurchill5

          Those are all great food ideas, but I wanted to pipe up to point out that nursing moms don't have to skip the wine altogether. Basically, if you are sober enough to take care of an infant, you're sober enough to breastfeed one. For readers that need to know, check out, an evidence-based website about BFing. :-)

      2. I'm not a mom... being male... but here's a thought:

        You don't HAVE to make a casserole-type dinner for folks. In any situation, they are going to have to bake it for 30-45 minutes (at least) right? I'd be willing to bet that they've had their fill of lasagna at this point - it's a pretty common gift-dish.

        Why not prepare a chicken dish or a pork loin? Leave the chicken or pork raw and just leave them with instructions on how to bake it.

        My thought is buy a chicken and split it into quarters. Season it in whatever way you think they will like (salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil, dijon mustard, white wine, fresh herbs?) and plop it into a disposable aluminum roaster. A layer of onions, carrots and celery on the bottom will help the chicken elevated and cook. This would probably take about 30-40 minutes (uncovered). That's simply a quick idea, but it's different than the typical lasagna.

        Do know that whatever you make will be more than appreciated, though!

        1. If you can find out through the co-op's E-mail list what they've already been given, that would help a lot so you don't over-pasta them!

          Otherwise, cheater scalloped potatoes (boiled potatoes, sliced thickly, mixed with white sauce), cheese added or not, ham chunks. Bake ahead and transport. It reheats well, but do NOT freeze. Tell them to eat any leftovers during the next few days.
          The potatoes get very soggy and nasty.

          Or how about minestrone soup with little meatballs. I usually use ground chicken or turkey. If you use tortellini for the pasta, it is a generous meal-in-a-bowl.

          Then there's always pulled pork. You can make it in a crock pot, it transports well, you don't have to make it terribly spicy (dad can eat a few peppers on the side if he wants). Take some wonderful rolls and coleslaw.

          Chicken and rice with petit pois in a white sauce. Bake ahead because it reheats well.

          I don't know if you're doing dessert as well, but if not, maybe take some individually-wrapped and freezer-bagged muffins and/or cookies. Raisin-bran muffins, oatmeal-dried cranberry cookies. Something for a quick snack for mom at the least and good fiber for her.

          How does a meal co-op work? Is this something more than just friends helping friends? Is it a larger network than that?

          2 Replies
          1. re: nemo

            I too am very interested in the meal co-op - please share how it works.

            As for the food for the new mom, there are a number of threads on Chow that are really, really helpful.

            1. re: nemo

              Thanks for all your helpful suggestions!!! I appreciate it, as even after searching the boards, I was still drawing blanks.... but no longer!

              The 'co-op' may have been a misleading term - it's just friends helping friends. This one was organized through this very convenient website: - it works like a registry - you set up what days you want meals and send the link out to whomever you wish. People then sign up for a day, and are supposed to put what they are bringing (so there aren't duplicates) - although, this group of friends just said things like "something yummy" - so it pretty much defeated the purpose. It was very easy to use, free, and would be useful for a myriad of occasions.

            2. When I've made foof for people in various situations (and I haven't yet cooked for a new mom,) the item most appreciated was one that could be eaten hot or cold--fried chicken. People love it. You can pick the skin off for picky kids, you can heat it up in the oven, or eat it straight out of the fridge. I usually accompany it with biscuits or mashed potatoes, green beans or broccoli if I know the family likes it, and brownies baked in a foil pan. This whole meal is much appreciated, reheats or can be eaten cold, and is pretty easy to put together.

              1 Reply
              1. re: amyzan

                I've had good luck giving a lasagna to new moms... easy to reheat, and comfort food.

              2. My daughter just had her third child on 2/11, and I told her to think about what she wanted me to make them for dinner one night. She knows my specialties, so I thought maybe spaghetti, or chili, or roasted chicken. Well she wants mom's pot roast! So that she will have! Pot roast, potatoes, gravy, some rolls, with a fresh tossed salad. I'll have to make enough for my husband and I to eat as well, or he won't let me take it out of the house, so we will pack it up, go over there and all eat together.

                I am also going to take her some pre-seasoned burger patties, for the freezer, and some buns, so she has a quick meal for one night. I was thinking about a bean soup, but I'm afraid since she is nursing, and has an incision, that might be too gassy for her and the baby. I'll wait on that. Maybe a pot of chicken soup would be better.

                5 Replies
                1. re: danhole

                  I would make chicken soup. Comfort food, and practically a meal if you add in maztah balls. Congrats on the new grandbaby!!

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    Thanks for the congrats! My daughter could live off chicken soup and I have a turkey carcass and some chicken parts stocked up, so after the pot roast, she's getting soup.

                    1. re: danhole

                      That's great for you- and her! You can make different 'flavored' chicken soups too..

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        I'm curious. What do you mean? Different flavors? I'm drawing a blank here.

                        You know when I think about making food for a new mommy I take into consideration whether or not they are nursing. Her last baby got terrible colic from certain foods my daughter ate, and she had to watch the spice factor as well. Not all babies are that sensitive, and it took some trial and error to figure out what was bothering little Bella, but she eliminated some things and the colic settled down.

                        1. re: danhole

                          Maybe flavors isn't the right word, more like flavorings. My grandma makes chicken soup with dill, a friend makes a curried chicken soup, I've had butternut squash and sage chicken soup.. kind of along those lines.