Rest-Easy Recipes for New Parents
From that soft, fuzzy head to those sweet little feet, a new baby is a warm bundle of blessings. And let’s face it, a total game changer, too. Those uninterrupted nights of sleep? Gone. Long showers? Kaput. A hot meal? Forget about…wait!
With make-ahead meals, not all creature comforts have to be put on the back burner. That’s where you come in. Be the hungry parents’ hero by bringing them a little home-cooked happiness when they need it most.
DINNERS TO DELIVER
Ready to get started? We have 3 recipes that are a cinch to make, popular with most tastes and bake wonderfully in Corningware® bakeware. All your friends have to do is pop the dish in the fridge until dinnertime, then bake as directed. (Be sure to include instructions!) And please recommend that they bake and eat within 1-2 days of assembly.
- Our Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole offers south-of-the-border flavor for nights when tired new parents need a little pick-me-up.
- Family-friendly and flavorful, BBQ sauce and corn chips give a little kick to our Crunchy-Topped Meat Loaf.
- A warm ’n gooey piece of Creamy Chicken-Spinach Lasagna insists on being enjoyed while seated, no infant in arms. (Yes, it can be done! That’s where swings, bouncy seats or you come in…)
ROUND IT OUT
Although the aforementioned ideas are hearty options all on their own, adding items to create a complete meal will take your gesture from good start to great finish. Think chips, salsa and a salad for the enchilada casserole, a potato and/or veggie side (like our easy and healthful Baked Zucchini-Tomato Blossoms) for the meat loaf, and leafy green salad and baguette for the lasagna.
END IT SWEET
Sometimes it takes a little sugar to power through the fatigue, so consider including a ready-to-eat treat like cookies, brownies, pie or a pint of their favorite ice cream.
SOMETHING FOR LATER
From casseroles to cookies, there are tons of meals and treats than can be made and stored for later use. However, if you’re thinking about making a batch for now and another one for your friends to store in the freezer, be aware that some ingredients are okay to freeze and others aren’t. Here’s a quick-hit list:
For Fridge Only
- Casseroles or soups made with potatoes
- Raw vegetables and fruits with a high water content, such as lettuce, cabbage, celery, cucumber and melon
- Recipes made with low-fat cream cheese, milk, mayo, sour cream or yogurt
- Dishes containing cooked eggs or egg whites
Fine to Freeze
- Casseroles, pot pies and pasta bakes
- Baked products and doughs, such as biscuits, waffles, muffins, brownies and quick breads
- Most stews, chilis and soups, and sauces like bolognese or sloppy joe
Whether you give a store-for-later meal or bring one to be eaten tonight, follow these guidelines to make things easier for everyone:
- If you don’t have enough bakeware to go around, line yours with foil when making your meal. Once baked and cooled, simply lift the meal from the dish and transfer to a foil pan to give away.
- Dividing into smaller portions (enough for one dinner) when possible means less food waste.
- Cool food quickly for safety and freshness.
- Always mark containers with their contents and the date they were made, and include reheating instructions.
- If you make something for your friends to keep frozen until later, be sure to use containers, bags and wraps especially designed for freezer use. They’ll protect meals from freezer burn and taste degradation, giving the recipients the flavor and texture they were meant to enjoy!
You could even go one better and organize a group effort. Rally family members, friends or coworkers to each take a night, and before you know it, the new parents will have a couple of weeks’ worth of dinners at their fingertips. Too much on your plate to be the coordinator? Even one ready-to-inhale meal will make a huge difference!
YOUR TURN: What dish do you like to bring to new parents? Or, if you’ve been on the receiving end, which one did you most enjoy?