Cooking for New Parents
January 21, 2004 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Best dish to take new parents? More inside...

Friends just had Kid #2. Folks are just lining up to bring them food, and we're on the list. I'm looking for insightful, thoughtful, yummy, and nourishing dishes to bring that aren't:
  • Tuna Casserole (or variants there of)
  • Outlandish (sushi is out)
  • Non-meat intensive ('White meat' is OK, Beefy things are right out)
  • Kid-repulsing (as in Kid #1, who's almost 3)
I'm an adventurous and capable cook, but right now I'm stuck with lasagna through the brain and wondered if you might have a suggestion...
posted by daver to Food & Drink (17 answers total)
 
finger food stuff--chicken strips (homemade) or little wraps or something like that--so the older kid feels like someone's thinking of him/her : >
posted by amberglow at 7:57 PM on January 21, 2004


Something they can freeze. If everyone's giving them stuff, they'll need to freeze some of it.

You might try baking them bread or muffins.
posted by orange swan at 8:20 PM on January 21, 2004


As a former new parent, a couple of times over, I'd like to place a little more emphasis on the "freezable" aspect of your gift. Your friends are now officially too exhausted to cook interesting meals.

Perhaps you can offer more than single dishes, but whole meals which can be pulled directly from freezer to oven? A tub of mashed potatoes, a hunk of salmon in foil, and a bag full of frozen green beans can be desperately collided into an actual sit down dinner in no time.
posted by majick at 8:50 PM on January 21, 2004


Pasta with walnuts.

If you have The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian (or whatever the right title is), it's in there.

If not, it goes kinda like this:

Cut an onion in half and slice each half thinly (ie, you want half-onio-rings).

Cook in about a half-cup of olive oil with salt, pepper, and a little bit of red pepper flakes until the onions are clear. It doesn't need garlic, AFAIC.

While this is happening, chop up a cup, cup and a half or so of walnuts. I like it so that some of it goes to coarse walnut "flour" but there are still chunks.

Dump the walnuts in the onions. Stir. Add some parsley. Put on a back burner to keep warm while...

You boil a box of penne. Rigate, lisce, whatever. Leave it pretty al dente though.

Drain penne, dump back in pot. Dump walnut goop on pasta, stir.

Put engooperized pasta in baking dish / foil thingy. In a wee bowl, mix up some breadcrumbs and (good) parmesan cheese. Parmagiano reggiano is just heavenly in this role. Season if ya want. Sprinkle liberally on top of the pasta -- you want a good coating -- and bake until toasty brown.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:01 PM on January 21, 2004


NO CHICKEN CASSEROLES.

Seriously.

My mother's church group brought us dinner for a week after my wife had surgery some years ago, and EVERY SINGLE NIGHT it was some sort of chicken casserole variation.

We ordered pizza the last night. The thought of more chicken was just unbearable.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:26 PM on January 21, 2004


After my wife's elbow-crushing incident with a truck, we had the usual outpouring of pre-prepared meals (which I'm not going to interpret as a criticism of my ability to care for her).

The best of all was a chicken enchilada. My god, was it good.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 PM on January 21, 2004


Great suggestions, Keep 'em coming. Hear ya re: Chicken Casserole, Crash, similar experience with the tuna variety myself.
posted by daver at 10:29 PM on January 21, 2004


Anything that can be frozen, then thawed, put on a plate and eaten standing up with one hand while half-asleep and bouncing an almost sleeping baby on the other arm. Seriously.
posted by dg at 5:01 AM on January 22, 2004


As a father of four kids, my suggestion would be....

Luchables for the 3yo, and for the parents something you would enjoy eating but easy to prepare, because Dad should be able to cook. For shame if he can't!

Although, I do remember the second being the biggest change...oh, nevermind. Anything you do will be appreciated.
posted by grefo at 5:36 AM on January 22, 2004


If everyone is giving them food they might have plenty to eat and little room left in their freezer. Give them a gift certificate for a good restaurant and a hand-made coupon for a night of babysitting.
posted by bondcliff at 6:30 AM on January 22, 2004


Sweet potato and black bean burritos.

Unreasonably good, freezable, super healthy, and simple enough to not put off the three year old. (I think, unless it's a "chicken fingers and fries or nothing" kind of kid.)

They are portable, hand-held, and when we make them, I eat them for breakfast, too. If some one were to bring me a big dish of these babies, I'd cry with grattitude.
posted by jennyb at 6:32 AM on January 22, 2004 [1 favorite]


Every month we make a huge batch of rebaked potatoes and freeze them, two potatoes to a sandwich ziploc baggie. A couple minutes to reheat in the microwave - my husband takes them with him for lunch. Total comfort food.

We also freeze soup. Make a pot up and freeze in the cheapo 4-serving size plastic containers. Cauliflower/broccoli cheese, minestrone, and veggie/bean soups work fine.

Calzones or pizza pockets work great for freezing and kids like them since they're hand food. Just use pizza dough, make small rounds, put a filling in each (sauce, cheese, veggies), fold in half and bake.

Unbaked cookie dough, packed in a tupperware bowl or shaped into cylinders and wrapped in waxed paper, is a treat to have on hand in the freezer - thaw, scoop or slice, and bake.
posted by Melinika at 7:21 AM on January 22, 2004


A really great macaroni and cheese casserole - kids love it as well as adults. The kind with a crust of browned, buttery breadcrumbs on top...
posted by iconomy at 7:27 AM on January 22, 2004


How about hash brownies?



Joking! (Mostly)
posted by five fresh fish at 8:28 AM on January 22, 2004


As someone who has been on the giving and receiving end, I'd recommend;

* Pasta casseroles: lasagne, stuffed shells, manicotti, baked cheese ravioli, eggplant parmesan -- all can be made with meat or marinara sauce and with or without whatever veggies float your (and the recepients') boat.
* Stew. If they're not red meat eaters, a poultry based stew is still infinitely better than some kind of chicken casserole, and easier to eat. (There are also great vegetarian stews.)
* Quiche or a cheesy vegetable pie
* Pot pie - made in a 9x13 pan
* Felafel - freezes well, reheats well, tastes yummy, is unusual but only if they dig chickpeas
* Enchiladas
* Chili

Since breakfast has to be eaten too, some French toast (cut into strips to appease Kid #1) or pancakes would also be great, they're both freezable if wrapped correctly (look online for directions) and reheat reasonably well. Take syrup too, just in case.
posted by Dreama at 9:47 AM on January 22, 2004


Definitely lasagna. After you cook it, slice it up into small 2 person portions, and put each one in its own container, and freeze. That way, they'll have meals for awhile.
posted by jasper411 at 10:47 AM on January 22, 2004


FFF -- what, are you from Canada or something? (also mostly joking, I work with about 200 canadians who all regularly expound on the virtues of the land to the North...)
posted by daver at 10:56 AM on January 22, 2004


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