After I had my first baby, I had a half-serious rule that visitors had to bring over food in order to see the baby. In those early days, neither my husband nor I had the energy or desire to make a home cooked meal, but, at the same time, we were craving healthy, hearty meals. I had a grand plan to make and freeze a bunch of meals ahead of my baby’s arrival, but she had a different plan and made her debut twelve days early. So, our Bring Us Food if You Want to Hold the Baby rule was born.
Some busy friends picked up food on the way to our house and others made us homemade meals, mainly various forms of casseroles. I was truly happy and grateful for anything they brought us, especially the homemade meals. Noodles, rice and tender meats smothered in delicious sauces and cheeses is comfort food at its best, but now that I’m on the other side of the door, as a visitor, I try to mix up my offerings a little bit. Sometimes that means I’m sending them a gift card to one of their favorite take-out spots or to Pocket Chefs because I’m too tired to cook myself. Other times, I try to bring over one of these meals.
This version is healthy and carb-free, but it is so hearty and yummy. Plus, it’s still a one pot meal making transport and clean up easy. It also freezes really well, if you’re not going to eat it during your visit. Some might argue that this is technically a casserole, but, since this recipe is cooked on the stove top instead of the oven and doesn’t contain any starches, I’m making an exception.
This is a versatile option if you’re trying to be sensitive to various dietary restrictions. People can pick and choose what to add to their tacos. Bring beans and/or tofu for vegetarians. Chop and cook everything ahead of time and pack it in disposable food storage containers. Take even more help from the store by buying a taco kit that includes the taco shells, seasoning pack and taco sauce.
This is a similar idea to bringing tacos, and it’s just as much fun. Make the filling, prep the lettuce, put it in transportable containers, and you’re ready to go. To make a quicker (and, admittedly, less authentic version) of the filling, I add Soy Vey Veri Veri Teriyaki to browned ground chicken, pre-shredded carrots, diced red bell pepper, minced garlic, chopped green onions, shredded basil and grated ginger. It saves me time in measuring the ingredients to make the sauce, and I usually have most of these things on hand for other meals. We top it with a Thai cucumber salad, and Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice is the perfect, quick and easy side dish.
I grew up in an Italian family, so chicken parmesan is a big time comfort food for me. It’s also easy to make ahead of time and freezes well. A side of spaghetti and a bag of pre-made salad rounds out this easy crowd-pleasing meal.
There are so many ways to make chicken soup and all of them are delicious. Plus, scientists have concluded that chicken soup is good for us. It’s effective in relieving symptoms of the common cold because the combination of chicken, vegetables and broth provides cold sufferers with vital nutrients and hydration. New mothers can use these things, too, to replenish what they’ve lost during birth (if they gave birth) and to keep up their energy in those round the clock weeks (months?) of the newborn phase.
There you have it. Even if you’re not visiting a newborn baby anytime soon, make one of these meals for your family tonight, and share your favorite meals below!