10 Meals You Should Make for Your Friends with New Babies - Skillful Cook
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10 Meals You Should Make for Your Friends with New Babies

10 Meals You Should Make For Your Friends With New Babies collage of images.

Babies, Babies, Everywhere!

I'm seeing babies in my newsfeed and on blogs and in real life like it's crazy baby town right now, because it IS crazy baby town. And I LOVE IT. ♥

Now here comes the part where I talk about how much I like kids and you go, awww/gag. But true confessions, I really like those little ones. Infants and toddlers and preschoolers and kids and let's not forget the baby animals, too, right? This is one of the many reasons why I spent many summers as a nanny and eventually became a real-person-official elementary school teacher. In fact, as you read this, I'm probably hanging out with my friendly little gang of nine-year-olds, teaching them how to read and multiply and think. Also hopefully imparting my two cents on how to be supernice peeps and make the world awesome. As it stands, the outlook is good. They're naturals.

Speaking of supernice peeps in the awesome world, how nice is it when you are at the end of your rope and someone brings you a lovingly prepared meal? and just like that, home cooking is on your table? I mean, you can't think about food prep and recipes and coordinated meals in these times. Your thoughts turn to survival mode: Hungry. Find food. This is one of the things I love about food - it serves in the most universal and intimate way.

Woman holding a newborn.

{my new nephew Charlie}

I haven't been a new mom myself, but many of my friends and family members are currently in that precious and all-consuming phase of life known as Parent of Infant. Someone please give these people some kind of badge of heroic honor, or better yet, A WARM MEAL. The constant feeding (so demandingly hungry, those little things), the midnight rocking and singing, the non existent sleep, and the need to stay calm stay calm stay calm when the crying is like whoa and the energy level is like zero. Not like you're also trying to recover from the most extremely physically and emotionally exhausting event of your life, or running around chasing a two year old with an infant attached to your body. Parents of small children, I'm bowing down to you as I type this.

This week I've been hitting up the blog archives and cooking up a storm for my friends with new babies. My sister just received a mass delivery of food that I've been slowly accumulating in the freezer over the course of the last few months, and last night Bjork and I brought a laundry basket (keepin it classy) full of some favorite meals and treats over to the NICU where our good friends are camped out for a while with their premie twins. TWINS. I can't even.

So since it's been on my mind more than the actual recipe that I had to share today, here are ten meal ideas that make perfect food deliveries for your friends with new babies!

1. Chicken Tamale Pie

Chicken Tamale Pie in a clear baking dish.
An oldie but a goodie - you just can't not love it. It's so extremely simple to make and everyone loves it. Add a side salad, maybe some tortilla chips, and you've got a guaranteed winner.

2. Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole

Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole in a white baking dish.
Casseroles DO have a time and place, and this is one of them. It's healthy and completely made from scratch - no cans of soup + lots of fresh veggies + good protein. Bake, cover, and deliver.

3. Crockpot Carnitas

Carnitas on a plate.
I love making this one for friends because you can just pack all the meat up in containers and then deliver it with all the fixings: tortillas, limes, avocados, cilantro, salsa, chips, Mexican cheese, sour cream, cabbage and carrot shreds for topping, and this could go on for a long time. Fiesta mama.

4. Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Crockpot Chicken Wild Rice Soup with bread.

It's mellow, creamy, and wild ricey. It's the ultimate comfort food. PLUS it cooks in the crockpot while you're busy during the day. Come home and it's ready to pack up and deliver. I usually send a loaf of nice crusty bread and a crisp green salad along with this one. Awwyeah.

5. Red Thai Curry Sauce

Thai Curry Sauce in a bowl over noodles and broccoli.

Not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind for new parent meal deliveries, but the reason this works great for sharing is because you can double or triple the sauce, cook some rice, veggies, and protein, and deliver them all in their own containers so that your recipients can make their own curry rice bowls. And this sauce is SERIOUSLY SO GOOD.

6. Skinny Spinach Lasagna

Skinny Spinach Lasagna.

It's the classic new baby meal: a big old pan of homemade, ooey-gooey, saucy lasagna. This one is great for any friends who can appreciate the meatless things in life. Or even not - add some chicken, sausage, or whatever suits your fancy to make it fit. Pack up a little green salad with it and BAM. Giftable meal of the year.

7. Quick and Easy Pizza Breads

Quick and Easy Pizza Bread on a plate with greens.

The beauty of these is that they freeze (and then reheat) individually, so you can toss them all in a big freezer bag and send them on their merry way for ultra homemade convenience.

8. Crockpot Red Lentil Curry

Crockpot Red Lentil Curry on a wooden spoon.

Recipe highlights: easy for you, delicious for them, healthy and good-smelling and kind of addictive. Also, a personal tip from personal experience: keep a little for yourself since it makes  a huge batch.

9. Healthy Mexican Casserole with Roasted Corn and Peppers

Healthy Mexican Casserole in a white baking dish.

Mexican meets vegetarian meets one-pan easy transport wonderfulness. Add some homemade jalapeno corn bread and a handful of limes, avocados, and cilantro if you're feeling extra awesome.

10. Sticky Bourbon Chicken

Sticky Bourbon Chicken with Rice in a grey bowl.

You could deliver this sticky chicken already baked, with sauce; unbaked, with sauce separate; or marinated in pan and ready for your friends to just pop in oven. There are so many ways to make it work. There's a reason they call these things one-pan wonders.

How To Be a Bestest Ever Friend: Add a Treat Or Snack Or Muff To Your Meal Delivery To Sweeten The Deal.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies on white plates.

I've made an obscene amount of these in the last two weeks. For “other people.” Not even complaining.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Cookie brownies.

One pan = easy packing and transport. Also, one easy serving size. Just pack a spoon and go.

Healthy Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

Healthy Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins on a piece of parchment paper.

These are my best muffins ever ever everrr. I love them, other people love them, and they're sort healthified with olive oil and whole wheat flour. Perfect for a one-handed breakfast on the go. Er, on the baby feed. Or whatever.

Lemon Chia Muffins

Lemon Muffins with Chia Seeds and Honey Glaze.

Eating this bright, lemony freshness is basically the same as showering. If I were a new mom, I would need that at least 10x day.

Homemade Crunchy Pecan Granola

Granola in a bowl.

Snack attack-able. The major clusters in this one make for easy walk-by handfuls.

Bakery Style Blueberry Scones

Bakery Style Blueberry Scones.

Why go to a bakery? Bring it to their house so they can wear sweats and you can stay for coffee and scones and baby snuggles. And double the recipe because it's sad to give all of these away.

Raisin Bran Muffins

raisin bran muffins with honey and butter.

This is the best muffin batter for keeping in the fridge and baking individually each morning - so don't even worry about baking these! Just deliver the batter. A person could bake them into individual muffins each morning, but why would you when you could also bake it in a mug until slightly underbaked and then add honey and butter and enjoy a warm, buttery Raisin Bran mug muffin? My point exactly.

Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread

Homemade Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread with glaze.

If you can find the time to make this for a friend in need, you are a saintly foodie. This is a labor of love, but your friend just went through real labor. So there. Guilted.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites

dark chocolate coconut bites.

Sometimes all you need to stop the fussing and crying is one bite of something sweet. For the adults, I mean.

Golden Grahams S'mores Bars

Golden-Grahams-Smores-Bar on a white plate.

These are super easy to make and surprisingly so very retro-liciously good. The crunch on these babies is some serious food therapy.

Your Ideas

Ohhhh how I would love to hear from you! What are your favorite meals that you make for friends who have babies or are going through hard times? Links welcome!

I would also love to hear from you if you are a new mom or dad. First, upload a photo and tell me the name and weight and sleeping patterns of your sweet baby child. Just kidding a little bit. More like tell me what is helpful. What do you like? What works or doesn't work? Frozen or unfrozen, baked or unbaked, healthy or not even anything veggie-like? I need all the ideas I can get because the baby train is coming through town and there are more friends' chilluns on the way. CHOO CHOO.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Your nephew is the cutest little thing! I could just eat him.
    I won’t though…don’t worry!
    I also am not a mom…and I don’t know anyone with babies. So…I guess i’ll eat all the things myself.
    But, this is going to be a great list for a lot of folks…great post Lindsay! Pinned 🙂

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay, I’m new to your blog and thought I’d drop a comment to say hello!
    I became a mother to Elsie last May and both my sisters delivered meals to us in the first few days after Elsie arrived. It was such a lovely gift! They made lasagne, cottage pie and sausage casserole among others, all were cooked and just needed heating through. They were also DELICIOUS! I’m stealing some of these recipes for myself though (hello chicken, quinoa and broccoli casserole!) x

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Did u make any for the freezer? I’m also due soon and would like to know which ones froze well! Thanks!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I am due in a month and wondering the same thing, do any of these freeze well? Can they all be made ahead of time and frozen?

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    My sister is new mum and I love to make her a big plateful of crick pot, sticky honey soy chicken wings wings; sides of green veg and rice. For the sweet treat we both indulge in spooning ice cream straight from the tub ^_^.
    I have got to try some of these baked dishes at home; they look phenomenal and I want to eat them even though i do not have kids.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    you nailed this post right on the head! (1) with the adorable baby picture and (2) i definitely wish someone would have made me each and every one of these things when i had my baby! perfect!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Anyone is so lucky to have you as a friend or a family member! This was refreshing to read this morning b/c I live in Chicago. Sometimes I think these things are lost (and maybe they are in the “city life”, apartment living culture) so it’s refreshing to see that people still do this! Happy Friday – thanks for your wonderful posts & delish recipes all.the.time.

    PS Frozen is out on redbox! =^.^=

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    You made us the spicy sausage posole from your blog after I had my first kiddo and it was awesome (as were the baked goods :)).

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I always make Chicken Tamale Pie for everyone who has a new baby! 🙂 (and it’s on the menu for us next week, haha!)

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    My “baby” is 2 now, so those meals from friends are long gone, but still remembered fondly. We enjoyed everything everyone brought. So much so, my husband said, “You should have a baby every month!” Um, yeah, not happening.

    One suggestion I have is to consider bringing something a few weeks after baby is born. So many people bring meals in the first few days, but it’s nice to get something a few weeks later too. The parents are still tired, but the shiny newness has worn off and all those initial meals are eaten.

    My favorite meal to bring is Ina Garten’s Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast.


    And, if I’m really close with the family, I’ll prep it at home, bring it over in a disposable roasting pan in the early afternoon, and throw it in their oven. That way, they can eat a fresh hot meal and their house gets the benefit of the yummy roasting aroma. (And, I don’t have to deal with the potential of cooked food leaking all over my car, which it inevitably does.) I add in a salad, some prepped veggies to throw in a steaming pot, bread and dessert.

    One last tip – those meals that come with dessert were always my favorites!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for this post! It looks like it must have taken forever to put together…I had totally forgotten about some of these recipes (Healthy Mexican Casserole, mostly), and they’d be perfect to make for another chilly weekend.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    No, but really, there are babies EVERYWHERE lately! (I know 3 people who had babies this week alone!) Most recently I brought green chile/chicken enchiladas to a friend with a new baby. I brought them unbaked and she just popped them in the oven.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love this list! Same thing in my world – babies, babies, babies. It’s nice to have new ideas of meals to bring friends!
    I often also like to bring a couple healthy snack type items for moms who are nursing…something easy for them to snack on since they tend to be hungry more often! My go-to’s are chocolate almond date balls and 3-ingredient banana oatmeal cookies.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Elsa’s coming up on three months old, so we’re just coming out of the meal-receiving! We were so blessed after her births and Owen’s to have people bring us some fabulous home-cooked meals. Some thoughts:
    1. dessert. always bring dessert. that new mama wants to inhale the entire pan of brownies.
    2. I always loved when people brought us anything non-casseroley too. One of my very favorite meals was when someone brought us deconstructed smoked pork wrap fixins’ – there were tons of fresh veggies. One time someone brought us a fruit salad and I ate the whole thing in about 5 minutes while Eric looked on. So now one of my go-to meals is to bring the ingredients for a deconstructed salad – everything in individual baggies – usually with some marinated, grilled chicken for some protein, bread, and of course, some cookies.
    3. disposable cookware is awesome. To not have to keep track of whose dish is whose – to have no dishes to do – love disposable cookware in the first weeks post-baby.
    4. Finally, if you want to win meal-giver of the year, I think the best gift to a new mom is granola bars. Homemade or a couple boxes of storebought. I feel like the first few weeks after I have a baby, I’m starving, and I usually only have one hand to work with – so I eat granola bars like they’re going out of style.
    Great post, Lindsay! Your baby-having friends are blessed to have you in their lives! (Also, I hope I can bring you a meal in the event that there’s ever a Skillful Cooklette 🙂 )

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hmm, someone has babies on the brain, or maybe it just because of that adorable nephew.

    Man your friends and family are lucky. Really, when it comes right down to it, it really is the thought that counts. But for new parents specifically I would add a fruit salad. You wind up with a lot of quick and unhealthy meals at first (pizza) so healthy stuff is awesome. Your muffins are perfect, because sadly sometimes you don’t have time to heat anything up. And you wind up dropping food on the baby’s head so it is better if it isn’t hot:)

    If the parents have an older child, you will really be awesome if you bring some kid-friendly food. Especially because people aren’t as excited after the first child.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    These are also great ideas for someone who is sick. I just brought a meal to a sick friend (my minestrone soup). I love your idea of adding some sweets – nice touch!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is so perfect! I just started a meal ministry board in Pinterest and I’m trying to get more involved with bringing meals to people who need them, so this is AWESOME!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Is Charlie wearing a Duke hat? It looks like a Duke hat. I have a special place in my heart for Duke because three of my nephews were all treated at Duke Children’s. Amazing place if you’re talking kids and saving their lives! 🙂
    For taking friends meals, takethemameal.com is the coolest. You can set up a schedule for drop offs and see what meals others have provided so the poor family doesn’t end up with 15 lasagnas. Love it!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just awww! Your nephew! So cute!

    All these meals would be perfect to bring to a new mommy! What a wonderful, thoughtful post! I’m visiting my bestie who is having a baby next month and I decided that, since she isn’t too mobile, I’ll just make her a ton of meal and stock her freezer!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is SO fabulous, Lindsay! You are the sweetest, most thoughtful, incredibly generous person every to make so many meals to give away. Everybody loves you already, but now 1000x as much! We haven’t had any babies in our family for a while (thank goodness, seeing as I’m the eldest and SO not ready to have kids anytime soon!), but we have had plenty of grandparents in and out of the hospital this year, and it’s been a godsend when their friends have made food for my grandparents to eat during their recoveries. The world needs more wonderful people like you!