Meals to prepare for new parents
I have three friends who will all have their first babies within a month of each other. I want to be able to bring them meals that are easy to heat, freezable, healthy and delicious. One is a vegetarian, one is a pescatarian. In a perfect world, I could make and freeze x3 several meals to take to each new parent's house. What would you suggest?
First of all, I would find out if any of the moms are going to be nursing. Sometimes the spiciness of certain foods get into the breast milk and you could end up with a baby that gets kind of cranky. I swear--when I was nursing my firstborn, I could not eat vindaloo style indian food because it would go right to the milk and it did not make for a happy baby. Everything else, though was ok--so I would check that out.
Anyway, because life can be sort of overwhelming when the baby first comes home, it may be in your best interest to make a one-dish meal...like a big homemade mac n' cheese..or a lasagna..lasagna can always be made veg style...eggplant parm--perhaps...the one-dish makes for a simple timeframe. Maybe you can also add a nice baguette and a very simple dessert..like cookies or madelines...
Whatever you end up making, I can tell you those meals will be greatly appreciated by the new moms!!!
We were grateful to receive all sorts of food gifts from our friends and family. The ones we appreciated most were those items sent in single serve packs. My daughter nursed every 2 hours, and was a slooow eater... therefore mom was sleep-deprived and too overwhelmed, some days, to divide a pan of lasagne for later storage. I'm embarrassed to think of how much food spoiled before I could get it into the freezer. Added bonus is that small packages heat quickly, for quick meals. Inexpensive single-size containers can be re-used for lunches later :)
Soups and stews are easy to thaw and eat with one hand. Including lots of vegetables will boost the fiber, too.
French toast casserole and apple crumble can make great breakfasts easier.
Quiche is good, I think even better without the crust so you can warm in oven or micro and is protein rich. One of the best things I made was a turkey breast (obviously not for everyone) that you can slice and eat right over the sink. ( I remember need waaay more protein than usual as a new mom.) Shepherd's pie...simple, not spicy dishes that you can nuke and slop into a bowl. Maybe a nice carbanaro style pasta dish. Fruit salad is excellent.
Mild enchiladas would be very good and easy...you could make spinach and cheese, add olives or even mushrooms. And any baked pasta dish is always a good bet.
A vegetarian lasagna would work for all three, and reheats well.
Or a chickpea stew plus a vegetarian biriyani, both of which will freeze and reheat well.
A good, thick vegetable, rice and bean soup, made with vegetarian stock and tomatoes.
I'd say stuff that can be eaten one handed...
-things in muffin tins... vegetarian meatloaf topped with a veggie or potato mash; individual stratum, cottage cheese protein muffins (quick breakfast); layered lasagna, oatmeal for breakfast, mushroom pot pies, etc.
-pocket food - mini calzones or empanadas
-homemade granola bars
-springrolls - for variety, but more immediate consumption :)
good luck to all!
I like the suggestions for soup frozen in smaller portions and emme's suggestion for one-handed food the best. While casseroles and lasagnas are great for freezing and are kind of classic for this situation, if you get a lot of visitors with food, you do get tired of them. Plus, sometimes you don't feel like you have that much time to sit and have a meal sometimes. That's when healthy granola bars or something that requires no prep time and can be eaten on the couch or on the way to the doctor's appointment comes in handy. I would have loved homemade granola bars or an empanada that could be tossed into the toaster oven for a minute or so. Soup's good for the added liquid needed when nursing.