I can remember back when I first had Hailey. I recall that overwhelming feeling of wondering how I could possibly keep up with doing anything besides attending to her needs. It was such a blessing to have friends show up at the door with meals, especially because we were still relatively new to the area. Having the the luxury of eating a warm meal prepared (or picked up) with love- what a treat!
Since then I’ve really understood how helpful food is in a variety of life’s situations, both joyful and challenging, and keep a running list of my favorite meals to bring to a new mom. I also think gifting a delivery of one of these can be an incredible gift.
A friend of mine recently had her third beautiful baby. Another friend organized a meal train and I love how now people space out the meals over several weeks. It’s such a smart idea, since a meal can be just as (if not more) helpful one month in as it can that first week.
I know many people subscribe to the “just show up” with a meal mentality and I totally get that because what new mom wants to have to think about or decide what to have for dinner? That is the hardest part, right?
However, sometimes I like to try and feel out the situation just a little bit via text. I know my friends’ eating habits (dairy-free, vegetarian, etc), but then I try to gauge whether they are in the mood for comfort food or if they’ve been inundated with casseroles and might be ready for something on the lighter side. I only put out a feeler once and if the mom has no input, then I choose something myself to not add to her mental load.
Once I get a sense of the dinnertime vibe, I consult my list and go for it!
Meals to Bring to New Moms
Southwestern Sausage and Vegetable Brown Rice Casserole
This super simple, 7 ingredient casserole is full of fresh vegetables and brown rice, making it as wholesome as it is hearty. Easy to prepare ahead of time, this Southwestern sausage and vegetable brown rice casserole is adaptable and is sure to become a family favorite! I deliver it with tortilla chips, guacamole, and salsa. I also use tin baking dishes from Costco (the sturdy kind) so new mom doesn’t have to worry about washing or returning ay dishes.
5 Ingredient Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie
This is always a hit for the low-card/paleo crowd. It’s packed with flavor and kids love it too (just use non-spicy sausage). Again, use a disposable tin for delivery. This one goes great with a salad and rolls.
This recipe rocks because it makes two large pans of enchiladas, perfect for a large family or so you can knock out your own dinner and bring dinner to a friend in one fell swoop. Plus, it’s easy to pair with chips, salsa, and guacamole which is always a win in my book.
Sausage, Kale, and White Bean Soup
This sausage, kale, and white bean soup recipe has a comforting and robust depth of flavor and texture thanks to the spices in the sausage and the creaminess created by pureeing the majority of the beans. A great choice for cooler weather when a hearty warm soup and piece of crusty bread fits the bill.
Black Bean Burgers:
I’ve tried a lot of different bean burger recipes and the recipe from Emily at the former Daily Garnish remains my favorite. It’s flavorful, nutrient-dense, and hearty; a hit for moms, husbands, and kids (because you can dip it in ketchup!). The only problem is that Emily’s blog no longer is in existence and I searched all over for a way to give her proper credit for this recipe. There is nowhere to link to it but I have it written down from years ago, so I’m going to put it here. Thank you, Emily, for this delicious recipe and so many others; I miss your blog!
Daily Garnish Black Bean Burgers
- 2 cans black beans (rinsed and drained)
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1/2 cup dry rolled oats
- 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Next, add the oats and pepitas to your food processor and grind until coarsely chopped (they will still be a little chunky). Let it run for roughly 10 seconds.
- Grate the carrots, and then add to your mixture in the food processor.
- Add 3/4 of the beans, all spices, and the olive oil.
- Once all of this is in the food processor, give it a stir and mix it all together.
- Spoon mixture into a mixing bowl and then fold in the rest of the whole, reserved beans.
- Wet your hands and then form into 6 medium-sized patties.
- Place patties on a non-stick baking sheet or into a baking pan, and bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes, turning once in the middle.
- If you want to grill these, pre-bake them for 30 minutes at 300, and then throw them on the grill to reheat and get a little extra browning.
I brought these burgers to my friend and I doubled the recipe to make dinner for both of our families at once. Then I wrapped them up with instructions to bake them for 40 minutes at 300 degrees. I added a large Greek salad, buns, and pickles too. Viola- dinner!
Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup
Especially if it’s cold season, this deeply flavorful chicken noodle soup is the best, thanks to the lemon and dill added at the end. I often make it without noodles and either deliver it with noodles on the side or with rolls. That way if they want to freeze or delay eating it, the noodles don’t get mushy.
Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells
This easy stuffed shells recipe with basil, spinach, tomato, and ricotta cheese will make just about anyone ask for seconds… which they can because it makes two pans! If you can’t find shells, I often turn these into lasagna roll ups. I cook the lasagna noodles, spread the filling down the center, then roll them up and place in a dish. Then just top with sauce and bake.
Whole30 Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping
Perfect for the health-minded new mom that is craving comfort food. The recipe takes a little time to prepare but I can pretty much guarantee they’ll ask you for the recipe. It’s hearty, delicious, and easy to prepare ahead of time.
Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup
This is hands-down one of my favorite soups. It’s not a meal for everyone, especially if they already have kids at home and you want to bring something the whole family will eat with ease, but for a new mom to one child that is seeking comfort and flavor, it’s a great option! Bonus, if the mom has a full fridge but you still want to bring something, freeze it in Souper Cubes, and deliver perfectly portioned soup meals for when she needs something wholesome in a hurry.
Mom’s Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce
If the family eats meat, this is a hands-down go-to. It’s the spaghetti recipe I grew up eating and I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t like it. Comforting, flavorful, and super-kid friendly! Serve with pasta of your choice and a salad.
If your friend has a full fridge, then a slow cooker meal prepped and ready for the fridge or freezer can be hugely helpful. Full prep it and freeze in a gallon freezer storage bag for the new mom to pop into the slow cooker at her convenience. Easy crockpot meals for family
There have been times I really want to bring a meal but have not had time to get into the kitchen and make something. My go-to options for picking up a meal are:
- Zoe’s Kitchen: Fresh, delicious, Greek-inspired food! Plus they offer small and large family meals that make it easy to order and pick-up.
- BBQ: For comfort food that the whole family will love (cough, mac ‘n cheese, cough). Local friends, Big Tiny’s BBQ in downtown Mooresville is one of my favorites!
- Pizza: Who doesn’t love pizza, right? For my friends that just want to have a meal they can throw down and have the whole family eat, pizza wins. I usually grab Papa Murphy’s because I love the take ‘n bake style so they family can have freshly baked pizza whenever they are ready for it.
- Gift Card: You know you’re friend, and sometimes a gift card for them to use at their convenience works best. Whether it’s to grab a quick meal from a grocery store, Door Dash, or their favorite restaurant, it’s sure to be appreciated.
I usually try to toss in a snack or muffin (or these toaster pop-ups if they like hearty and wholesome) and maybe a fun beverage, but I keep in mind that done is better than perfect. I used to get so nervous about feeding other families- would they like what I brought? Would it be enough? But now I remember how grateful I was for any food or meal brought to me as I was balancing diapers and cluster-feedings, and know that just showing up with something is so appreciated.
I’d love to hear from you-
What is your go-to meal to bring a new mom friend?
What was the best/most helpful meal you received when you had a baby?