She just spent nine months growing another human being inside of her, 12 hours in labor, 45 minutes pushing and now she has to cook dinner? Um, no. Your BFF just brought home the most precious little baby in the world. That newborn may look perfectly peaceful, but don’t be fooled. She’s keeping your friend up all night, not letting her shower and making it almost impossible to get anything around the house done. Instead of ordering out night after night, your new-mommy friend is jonesing for a home-cooked meal. That is… a meal that’s home-cooked by someone else! Check out these easy meal options to help the new mom -she’ll appreciate it more than you know.
1. Dressed-Up Spaghetti Sauce: Even though the new mom doesn’t have hours to slave over a hot stove, she might have a few minutes to boil some water and toss a few fistfuls of pasta in (or, at the very least, her baby-daddy can). All you need to supply is a super-charged sauce. If Mom (and the rest of her family) eat meat, ground beef into a stock sauce for a hardy meal. If not, chop a rainbow of veggies to toss in or spruce it up with some fresh basil. Break the sauce up and pour it into freezer bags. Now your friend can eat what she wants and save the rest for later. Add a loaf of crusty Italian bread and some fancy shredded parmesan too!
2. Deconstructed Noodle Soup: You’re all about chicken soup feeding the soul, and you want to share your cooked-up splendor with your new-mom friend. You’re kinda’ nuts about noodles and add in more than enough, but maybe your friend would rather have a thinner version. Accommodate different tastes by deconstructing your soup creation. After cooking the homemade meal, strain out the noodles and pour them into a plastic-ware container (add a bit of the broth in so that they don’t dry out). Package the broth separately. You can even slice extra veggies or cook more chunks of chicken, putting the add-ons in their own containers. When your friend reheats the meal, she can use as much or as little as she wants. And bonus, she can save some of the noodles to use in other soups or with sauce, or turn the extra chicken and veggies into a healthy salad.
3. Baked-Anything With Pasta: Ziti, spaghetti, macaroni, fusilli, rotini. You can use any of them in an easy pasta bake. Cook the pasta, pour it into a pan and add whatever seems yummy. Cheese and sauce are the standard. But you can turn it into a baked mac and cheese with, duh, cheese (and bread crumbs too!). Or add cooked ground meat, chicken or sliced steak for a more filling meal.
4. A Big Salad: “It’s a salad, only bigger, with lots of stuff in it.” Seinfeld fans will recognize this Elaine-ism from the ‘90s. You’ve Googled “freezer meals” and “What to bring a new mom,” and all you’ve gotten back are super-stuffing, crazy-heavy recipes. Yes, new parents need a good ol’ home-style meal or two. But, they also need some veggie-packed health as well. Fill a larger-sized mixing bowl with lettuce and “lots of stuff.” This can include sliced peppers, olives, mushrooms (maybe even some grilled fancy ones), cherry tomatoes, cut cucumbers, cooked and chilled asparagus and anything else you can think of. Bring a side of cooked chopped chicken, sliced strip steak, hard boiled eggs, baked tofu or a cheese blend. Don’t forget the dressing! Buy a bottle of the new mom’s favorite flavor or make your own with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
5. Breakfast for Dinner: Okay, this isn’t exactly a freeze and reheat meal. New mommy and daddy need to eat this one pretty much right away. Pick a time to bring it over when they can sit down and dine. Better yet, offer to watch the new baby (in their home) as they eat without an interruption. Scramble some eggs, pack up a few pancakes and grill a big bunch of bacon. Get extra superstar friend points and do the cooking (and cleaning) on demand. Take over the kitchen and create your own omelet station or set up a pancake bar (with strawberries, blueberries, bananas, chocolate chips and several kinds of syrup).
(Photos via Getty)