Different dinner ideas for new parents
December 19, 2010 8:51 AM   Subscribe

My friends are having a baby, and I would like to cook some things for them. There are some special considerations.

A couple good friends of mine are about to have their first baby, and I want to do some cooking for them in the first few weeks. I want to make them some nice, tasty, healthy things that are easy to eat while dealing with a brand new baby. But there are special considerations that I would like to take into account:

* They are foodie-types and love eating foods from other countries. We live in New York City and have done this together often. I am curious what people in countries that aren't America would bring new parents. Bonus points if it is of a Russian and/or Jewish nature, but I'm interested in other options too.

* They try to eat carefully in terms of not overdoing it on saturated fat, and they are concerned with overall nutritional value. I would like what I make for them to not go against this. This means no dishes that have loads of cheese melted throughout, which is what I tend to find on parent-to-be food recommendation pages. Some cheese is fine, just probably not stuff like traditional lasagna, baked ziti, and cheesy enchiladas.

* The reading I have done about this already has made me afraid to use any garlic, onion, spiciness, or cruciferous vegetables in anything I give them, to avoid making the baby gassy. Is a little OK? Is it less of a problem if the gas-causing items are cooked thoroughly?

I do have some salad and snack ideas already. But they need hot food too. What are some hot dinner options that contain meat and take the above criteria into account?
posted by wondermouse to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Cook onions long and slow and shouldn't be a problem. Traditional Jewish brisket and chicken soup come instantly to mind as does a roast chicken w/veggies - comfort food, easy to reheat. If you make a brisket and refrigerate it overnight it's easy to skim the fat off.
posted by leslies at 9:10 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

It sounds like Cooking Light would be a good starting place for recipes. The linked search page lets you specify ethnic cuisines of interest, as well as any ingredients to eliminate. Be sure to check off "Cooking Light" under Publications so you aren't inundated with results that don't meet your criteria.
posted by DrGail at 9:26 AM on December 19, 2010

I think the biggest reason most of the food recommendation pages talk about cheesy enchiladas, lasagna, etc. is that these dishes can be easily separated and reheated in small chunks. If your friends will be breastfeeding, they may not eat at the same time and they may need to leave their heated dinner for a half hour before heating it again.

Also, I'm not sure about the garlic, onions and spices giving the baby gas. I think that if the mom has been eating this stuff regularly, the baby will be fine with it.

I have a one-week old right now, and things that I would love someone to bring over include:
1) chili -- real, meaty chili
2) sushi, or any food with oily fish
3) South Indian food
4) French onion soup
5) pasties
6) a pastrami sandwich
7) fruit salad -- fruit really seems to help wake us up after a sleepless night or sleepless day

My wife just loves any foods that she couldn't eat while pregnant. Like feta cheese. And wine!
posted by hammurderer at 10:11 AM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

> The reading I have done about this already has made me afraid to use any garlic, onion, spiciness, or cruciferous vegetables in anything I give them, to avoid making the baby gassy

Don't worry about it. Some babies might get gassy from it but most won't. If it is a problem the dad could always eat it after making something else for the mom.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:23 AM on December 19, 2010

What a nice thing to do for your friends! I did this for my niece recently and it was much appreciated. I find lots of good healthy things at 101 Cookbooks.
posted by Gusaroo at 10:31 AM on December 19, 2010

A friend brought us a version of this Sweet Potato & Black Bean Hash and a bowl of cooked quinoa to serve with it. It was great - tasty, could be eaten hot or cold depending how busy we were, & healthy. I imagine you could add some roasted chicken to it if you really need meat, but it's quite filling as-is.

I ate plenty of onions, garlic, spices, etc. while nursing both my kids & never had any problems.
posted by belladonna at 10:32 AM on December 19, 2010

Stuff about onions (or anything else) = old wives' tales. Summary

I froze a lot of crepes in baby preparation; that worked out great. Various other foods can be chucked in and a crepe can look like any meal of the day (perhaps give them with some fruit preserves?), and reheating is nearly instant. Freeze each between a circle of waxed paper and put the piles in zip-lock bags and they'll keep for quite a while. Julia Child's recipe is foolproof.
posted by kmennie at 11:48 AM on December 19, 2010

what about stuffed cabbage with ground turkey? i think that this dish is originally and traditionally russian/eastern european.

It looks generally pretty healthy, it freezes well, and you could cut out the very small amount of onion that is in the recipe. anecdotal advice: my little person reacted strongly to the onion, garlic, and wasabi in my diet. she nursed more when i eliminated these things. maybe shallots are a better alternative, i don't know.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 1:05 PM on December 19, 2010

One of the best food things someone brought us in the first crazy baby week was a big taco salad in a tupperware- we kept it in the fridge for a few days and shoveled some into bowls as needed. We also had a big pasta salad the next week. Someone also brought us a big pot of spaghetti with a veggies & meat sauce, divvied up into tupperwares it provided a few easy dinners. Things I have brought to friends with babies: big bag of homemade Cooking Light meatballs (easy to freeze & grab as many as you need at once), lasagna (I have a Weight Watchers recipe that I add some extra veggies into, even with cheese it's not that terrible nutrition-wise), and a Cooking Light provencal chickpea salad.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 6:48 PM on December 19, 2010

Things that could be eaten with one hand were awesome - a friend made a bunch of mini pies as part of stocking our post-baby freezer and they were awesome. Lasagne was great because I was so insanely hungry in those early days - fat was so goooooooood and so was protein. Muesli/granola with yogurt was great too. We also had containers of basic meat bolognese which we could eat with pasta, as our own lasagne, pasta bake, stew, whatever! We simply added fresh or frozen vegies.

I also ate with abandon and the only thing I ended up having to ditch was caffeine.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:01 AM on December 20, 2010

If you have the ability, I would also offer to come over at dinner time to Hold The Baby while Mom and Dad both eat at the Same Time at least once. And cook the meal freshly for them! That was what I loved when our daughter was a newborn. The freezer stuff is great, but having new freshly prepared food was always appreciated.
posted by stefnet at 6:10 AM on December 20, 2010

Make something freezable, just in case they've get a lot of food given to them all at once. Don't worry overly much about making it "foodie" since they will be tired and will likely appreciate anything you make, no matter how pedestrian.

Before my baby was born, I did a search for freezable casseroles (so it would be all in one dish) and made those for us. You could start such recipes as a jumping-off point, but instead of the ingredients called for, substitute in some more exotic versions. Stews and soups are great for winter and generally freeze well.

On behalf of new parents everywhere - what a thoughtful friend you are!
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:54 AM on December 20, 2010

« Older Instrumental music for rainy days?   |   Northeast Xmas and New Year's Plans Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.