What do you make when you have to bring someone a meal?

A friend of mine just had a baby - three weeks early! He’s doing great and they’ll be home in a day or so. A group of us are arranging to bring them dinners for the next few weeks, while they get settled in. I’m trying to come up with a new idea for something to bring. I usually make people meatloaf/potatoes/salad or lasagna/salad/garlic bread or quiche/salad/rolls (for my vegetarian friends), but I’m a bit bored with those ideas.

What is your go-to meal to bring to someone?

My first thought was risotto. It’s not complicated to eat, it’s easy to heat up, and it’s delicious. (Not to mention fun to make.)

In my (kosher-keeping) community, almost everybody makes roast chicken with sides, spaghetti and meatballs, or lasagna. I tend to make a hearty vegetable or vegetable/bean soup and a loaf of homemade bread, just to mix things up. Occasionally it’s a fritatta with homemade bread, bread, soup/salmon/salad, or whatever it is we’re having for dinner if it seems like it won’t scare people off. (I’m mostly vegetarian except on Shabbos, and lean heavily on vegetables and legumes.)

Take some boneless chicken parts, cook them however you please (I usually roast) then cut it up into small pieces. Mix with a can or two of condensed cream of [your choice] soup. Fold spoonfuls of mixture into Pillsbury crescent rolls and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Dutch split pea soup is our national dish in the winter. I usually make a large pot and freeze it all in one-person portions. Healthy and delicious with or without (black rye) bread. Not kosher, but can be made in a vegetarian version, although the original version is reasonably meaty.

Mmmmmm. Soup sounds good. I have a really good bean/vegetable soup. It’s just starting to get cold here, too.

DCinDC - my sister-in-law made us something like that once. She had some cream cheese in the filling and used the cream of chicken as a sauce to top the whole thing with. That stuff was awesome, but I think I gained 10 lbs just sitting down to dinner.

They probably won’t be sitting down to many meals together, so take them individual portions or something that can be easily split into individual servings and microwaved later. For something different I’ve sent enchiladas, instead of the standard lasagna. Include a jar of salsa, tub of sour creme, and a bag of tortilla chips.

I’d definitely do some slow cooker things-- aside from the fact that it’ll be easy for you and they travel well (in the crock itself), they also tend to freeze and refrigerate better, too.

This Strogonoff is quite yummy, if you know they like mushrooms.

This crockpot roast is great, too.
Some non slow cooker stuff
What about switching up to a nice baked ziti, instead of the lasagna? It’s always a big hit whenever I make it.

Maybe get all the fixins pre-set up (in their own containers) for tacos/ fajitas and bring those over?

One thing to keep in mind is that a woman who has just had a baby is a woman who is lactating… which means she needs 500-600 extra calories per day. So don’t hold back on the rich, cheesy goodness.

I’d do things that come in soup pots or casserole dishes. Chili, chicken tetrazinni, and mac & cheese come to mind in addition to what’s already been mentioned.

And she needs extra calcium, too, which is another reason to think of rich, cheesy goodness.

Lasagna freezes nicely, and you can pack it in single-serving containers.

Oh: what about a nice chicken parmesan or something? That tends to reheat really well.

For something different, how about tsatsiki or some home-made fudge? Snacking food, basically.

Also a great idea. Hummus, seven-layer taco dip, guacamole, oatmeal cookies, seedy fruity grainy cake, grain and bean salads… all great ideas and exactly what the mom, at least, wants.

I can get behind extra cheese and fudge.

She has another little boy (and a husband), so I’m trying to consider him, too. He’s a pretty adventurous eater, but I bet he wouldn’t say no a big vat of mac & cheese.

I’m sorry, but lasagna/garlic bread/salad is amazing. Why change it up? They won’t be in any state of mind to enjoy it, but damn will they appreciate the comfort food aspect.

I loved the person who brought me sliced-up veggies and dip.

My go-to is the chicken and dumplings recipe from the Texas cooking website.

My wife just had a baby a month ago and has been staying home. While she appreciates all the food her friends have brought her, I suspect her favorite has been the multiple containers of tortellini & black bean soup.

You should ASK them what they’d like. First step is to check whether there are allergies, whether they are vegetarians/vegans or keep kosher, etc etc. We just made meat loaf and grilled vegetables for a friend who’s recovering from surgery, with fresh sliced fruit for dessert.

I agree that you should ask what they’d like…and especially if there are any medical issues (some antibiotics shouldn’t be taken with dairy, etc.). Usually, though, if I know someone well enough to bring them a meal, I’ve had meals with them and know what they choose to eat. My best friend, for instance, loves chicken, and will almost always get something with chicken in it when we go out to eat. So when I need to make her a meal, I make something like this.

I hate to be a party-pooper, because some of these dishes sound amazingly good, but…
As a currently-lactating mom, who has nursed my two older children also, I’ve found that none of the three reacts/ed well to a lot of legumes in my diet. I’m currently dying for black bean soup or black-eyed peas with ham and rice, but that has to wait until Little Miss is weaned, unless I just want to stay up with a colicky baby…

That said, though, I would certainly have appreciated meals that are easy to heat and serve individually, like soups, pasta dishes, etc., since it can be so hard to eat as a family during those first few days with new baby.