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Meals for Friends in Need!

You all have been very patient with me, since clearly I have pregnancy and new babies on the brain 24/7.  My Twitter feed is basically a chronicle of my latest cravings (mayonnaise toast, anyone?)  My Instagram is a stream of bump photos and (again) food… and I may have even made a few inappropriate comments here on Pretty/Hungry regarding the discomforts of being pregnant during an Arkansas summer.

So I appreciate you coming back to read despite the overdose of baby talk around here.  Today is actually no exception… But it applies to all of us, I promise!  (And side note: The two seemingly-identical photos below are there so that you have your choice of which to Pin, depending in who you bring meals to the most!)

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A Great Round-Up of Meal Ideas for New Mommies!

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A Great Round-Up of Meal Ideas for New Neighbors!

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I’ve been thinking a lot about how wonderful it is when you’ve just had a new baby, or moved to a new neighborhood, or had surgery or some other infirmity to deal with, and loved ones surround you with help.  Particularly help with meals!!  If you’re anything like me, cooking can take up a HUGE part of your daily life… especially if you are concerned about providing healthy, minimally-processed meals for your family.  (And even MORE especially if you’re trying to do that on a budget!)  So lifting that burden from someone, especially when life is hectic for them, is one of the sweetest, awesomest ways you can serve/love them.

There are so many good excuses for NOT bringing people food: perhaps you have a super-busy schedule, or maybe they live in the middle of nowhere, or maybe you don’t consider yourself a good cook.  But I’m telling you, the blessing is huge for them!  People have brought us Domino’s pizza before and I was over the moon with gratitude. :)

I’ve compiled a great list of meal ideas to bring to friends, as well as a few helpful tips straight from the horse’s mouth. (“The horse” being other Pretty/Hungry readers sharing about what they found to be especially helpful when they were the recipients of a food gift.)

Whether your friend is a meat n’ potatoes eater, a vegetarian, a comfort food lover, or a family the size of the Duggars, I’ve got ya covered with this round-up!

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For the “Meat n’ Potatoes” Family…

Cheeseburger Casserole – It is beyond delicious and will exceed all expectations considering its humble name.  It’s one of my favorite dinners and I’m actually a bit of a food snob. 😉 I like to bring along a steamer bag of pre-sauced/seasoned mixed veggies from the freezer aisle to round it out. And, of course, dessert.

Easy and Amazing Cheeseburger Casserole

 

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For the Meatless Family…

Wild Rice & Kale Casserole – Hearty, nourishing, and unexpected!  I personally love this meal.  I bring it along with a bag of green grapes and a dessert. Yum!

Meals for New Mommies!

 

{Image and recipe credit: Half-Baked Harvest)

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For the Crowd…

Pepperoni Calzone Roll – My favorite meal to bring to friends because who doesn’t love pepperoni pizza?!? This recipe is easy to double or triple for a crowd.  I tack on a store-bought Ceasar Salad Kit and a batch of brownies. Perfect and easy!

Meals for New Mommies: Pepperoni Roll!

 

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For the family who “loves everything”…

Tomatillo Chicken Lasagna – (I guarantee they won’t get it from someone else!  Plus it happens to be the best-tasting Mexican dish on the planet.)  Bring along a jar of salsa, a container of sour cream, and some seasoned black beans as a side dish!

Meals for New Mommies: Tomatillo Chicken Lasagna

 

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For the Health-Conscious Family…

Quinoa Taco Bake – This fun dish is packed with protein, complex carbs, and veggies out the whazoo!  I serve it alongside a big bag of shredded lettuce and tortilla chips.  It’d also be great to bring some homemade guacamole if you have the extra time to make it.

Meals for New Mommies: Cheesy Quinoa Taco Bake!

 

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For Comfort-Food Lovers…

White Lasagna – It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, it’s filling, and it’ll make you roll your eyes with bliss (Ahem: I mean, your friend.)  Assemble at home, then provide friend with simple baking instructions so that he/she can bake it whenever they’re ready.  Bring along a salad kit and a bag of grapes to cut some of the richness.

Meals for New Mommies: White Chicken Lasagna

 

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For the “Foodie Family”…

(I’m throwing this one in there just to reassure you.  If you have a “foodie friend” in your life and you are intimidated to cook for him/her… trust me, they will be so thankful to have a break from the kitchen, you cannot go wrong!  No one’s expecting lobster soufflé!)  Make anything your own family loves… it’s sure to please.  But just for kicks, here’s an easy idea that will impress the foodie friend in your life since it’s less common than the typical tomato-based pasta bake.  Red Pepper “Romesco” Pasta Bake!

 

Meals for New Mommies: Romesco Pasta Bake

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And you absolutely can’t forget about dessert!  Here are some go-to’s in my repertoire that everyone loves. (Links below the photo.)

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Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars1 - Copy

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1) Raspberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes

2) Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars

3) “Special K” Treats

4) Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Bars

5) Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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And lastly, some of my awesome readers have provided me with some great additional tips to keep in mind:

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When bringing food for any reason, the things I’ve appreciated most are actually how the food is brought and whether they checked family allergies. Bringing the food in a pretty dish is lovely, but then it has to be cleaned and returned. Use disposable dishes, bring food that’s ready to go in the oven or already prepared, just think ahead to keep things as simple as possible for the family you’re feeding.

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There is nothing wrong with asking whether your friend likes a certain ingredient or type of meal.  It’s especially important if the meal you want to bring uses an “iffy” ingredient like mushrooms or tofu (some people love those, others don’t.)  Don’t make food that is purposely bland or plain just because you’re afraid they might not like what you put in it… just ask!

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My favorite thing that someone did after B was born was bring us dinner (a standard pasta dish)… But they also brought breakfast food for the next day! It was so thoughtful and definitely made it easier on a momma of two!

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We appreciated every dish, but one time we had chicken spaghetti 6 days in a row, so try to find out what others have been bringing them and try not to duplicate if possible. Lol! Also, as a new mom I always loved anything with oatmeal (cookies, etc.) because oats help jump-start milk production. We also appreciated someone who dropped off a breakfast item, bananas, and gallon of milk. That was a more unique take on it, but we had plenty of dinner leftovers and loved having breakfast options too.

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My favorite meal someone brought us was actually a lovely fresh salad! When C was born, so many friends brought over food. It was all pretty hearty and heavy—and I loved it, but I was also longing for greens!

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A sweet friend once brought us a meal and also brought along pre-prepped bags of veggies with hummus and even a batch of muffins. What a perfect way to a nursing mommy’s heart- food!

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 I must admit, the thing I always look forward to is the dessert!  It’s such a nice treat since I don’t always make desserts for routine family meals.  Also, as a side note, one thing that makes it easier is when people bring the dishes in disposable containers. That way we don’t have to remember who brought what and try to get it back to them. That’s the hardest part when life is already somewhat chaotic after a big family transition.

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Now go forth and give food!

XXs & OOs,

Carissa

8 Responses so far.

  1. Thank you for these ideas! Those are great! I especially like that you even tell us what side items/extras to bring with each meal. This is the perfect post for well-meaning but clueless folks such as myself.

  2. Shannon says:

    Great ideas! Thanks!! Something I’ve begun doing for others is simply making taco meat, homemade spaghetti sauce, or seasoned shredded chicken and freezing in 1lb bags. If I’m not able to provide an entire meal at that time, at least I can pass on some prepared freezer proteins that they can add to tacos, noodles, quesadillas, chicken casseroles, etc.

  3. Kary says:

    Love all your meal ideas! Do you have gluten free meals posted on your blog? I am not an expert on what is considered a gluten free food. But I need to learn! Thanks for your posts! I plan to try several of your recipes.

    • Carissa says:

      Hi Kary! My gluten-free options aren’t all that extensive because no one in my family has that specific dietary restriction. But here’s a small list of recipes here on the blog that are gluten-free. You can just type the names in the Search Bar.

      Pineapple Coconut Muffins, Maple Pecan Granola, Quinoa Chili, Quinoa Taco Bake, Quinoa Greek Salad, Tomatillo Chicken & Corn Tortilla Lasagna, Steel-Cut Oats, Crockpot Pear Sauce, Protein-Packed Chocolate Mousse, Green Monster Smoothie, Rosemary Skewers, Spaghetti Squash with Pesto, Potato Sausage & Kale Soup, Delicious & Healthy Mashed Cauliflower, Game-Day Green Goddess Dip

  4. John and Mary says:

    Brilliant! I have been sending food to folks for a long time, (really long time), and these suggestions have inspired me and given me some amazing recipes, as well as ideas to work off of.

  5. Kelly says:

    I really appreciate this post! I’m definitely bookmarking it for future reference. I love that you gave ideas for different types of eaters/family preferences… like the healthy eaters and the vegan eaters! :) Thanks!

  6. […] in fact.  And throughout the past two weeks, we’ve been very blessed to receive some wonderful food gifts from friends and family to help relieve the burden of food preparation while my body heals and we get accustomed to life as […]