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Friday, January 4, 2008

Having a Baby = Paper Plate Week

When I had Cate, a friend who gave us dinner also brought a big stack of paper plates, which ended up being one of the best baby presents we received! We made sure this time around we had some paper plates and plastic cups in stock. This is a must for any family with a new baby…it is SO NICE not having to worry about dishes, especially when people are bringing you food and you don’t have to cook either!

I went out to the playground the other day and was talking with my friend Emily, who was bringing us dinner that night. We were talking about meals that we make for people. She said I should do a post about the topic, so here we are!

What’s your “go-to” meal when you have to take dinner to someone? Here’s mine…and I’ve gotta say, it’s pretty awesome for the giver AND the givee.

Jane’s Dinner That She “Makes” When Someone Has a Baby:
– Costco Chicken (at $4.99, it’s a it’s delicious)
– Mashed potatoes – I make these myself – it’s the only thing I have to cook on the menu!
– Gravy – I either make gravy using juice in the Costco chicken container and some broth, or I swing by Boston Market and buy a container of gravy
– Bag of microwaveable veggies from Trader Joe’s
– French bread/Rolls from Trader Joe’s
– Bucket of Trader Joe’s mini chocolate chip cookies

For those of you who don’t have Trader Joe’s, you could easily substitute similar products from another gorcery store. Here’s why this meal is awesome for taking to people.

1) No dishes to return. The potatoes are the only item that need a container. I just put them in a disposable ziploc tupperware thingy.

Good food. Most people like this assortment of food, it tastes pretty homemade and it isn’t spicy for nursing mothers.

Low cost. It’s not expensive for the giver.

4) Easy.
Not much cooking involved, and it’s easy to double up to have dinner for yourself the same night.

Leftover potential is another thing to consider…this is one aspect that my meal plan falls a bit short on. When Cate was born we received a homemade lasagna that was not only delicious, but froze well into individual servings…it was so nice to have that yummy lasagna waiting for us in the freezer when we needed it!

Now it’s time for you to share your great ideas!


  1. 1

    I always make a store-bought lasagna and include bread, salad mix, and a plastic zip lock bag of cookies. I also always include paper plates, napkins and cups so there are zero dishes and nothing to have to return to me.

    A friend did this for me when I had Dylan, and I have copied her ever since. I wish people were as thoughtful when I had Tyler. I think I had like 10 dishes to wash, keep track of, and return!

    By the way, this is a great idea for a post-pregnancy food post!

  2. 2

    I have been a lurker on your blog for a few weeks. I can’t even tell you how I happened upon it. But in the winter, my favorite go to meal is a homemade soup, rolls, and a fresh green yummy salad. I love my comfort food and nothing taste better than a warm bowl of soup after having a baby.

  3. 3
    kim & co.

    I’m so glad you did this–I am always looking for easy meals to take to people!

    I also like soup for winter time, with rolls or french bread (which I make, but that’s because bread is my specialty and I like to send something that I know they’ll probably really like) and vege.

    In the warmer months, I have a simple chicken and vege pasta salad that just uses italian salad dressing (Our favorite is Ken’s Lite Northern Italian)–easy to do a big batch so you can have the same dinner and its eaten cold, so you don’t have to worry about keeping their meal warm until they are ready to eat it and you can make it ahead of time, even drop it off earlier in the day.

  4. 4

    I save containers from yogurt (the large ones) or sour cream to have something semidisposable to give away. I usually invest in a few disposable casserole pans too. Lately one of my favorite meals is a meatless one: cheesy broccoli casserole (google Bisquick “light and cheesy broccoli casserole”), pumpkin muffins or baked sweet potatoes, green salad. I often throw in some cookies too, if I’m feeling like it. Sometimes if it works out well I will actually take the casserole over uncooked and give them instructions for cooking, since then it will be fresh and ready when they want it.

  5. 5
    Jane Maynard

    great ideas! keep ’em coming! kim – what veggies do you put in your pasta salad?

    funny thing…my friend jenn brought us dinner tonight. after she’d gotten it together she checked the blog…and she does the same thing!! so, we had costco chicken, mashed potatoes in a throw away container, TJ’s little choc chip cookies, rolls (yummy ones from costco)…it was exactly the same! great minds think alike! 🙂 she added on yummy salad, blackberries, clementines and Naked mango juice…so good. It was just so funny…at least she knew we’d like the food! we just can’t ever take dinner to the same families… 🙂

  6. 6

    The week before Christmas I doubled up on all my cooking for my sister-in-law who had her little boy on the 18th. I made:

    Veggie Enchiladas
    Spinach Lasagna
    Bolognese Sauce
    Rosemary Meatballs
    Southwestern Turkey Burgers
    Wheat Pancake Mix

    I also gave them a package of spaghetti for the bolognese sauce, and a can of tomato sauce for the meatballs. The wheat pancake mix is your recipe Jane, just combined all the dry ingredients and jotted down the wet ones to add. I also added a note about freezing leftover pancakes so that the one batch can stretch to 2 or 3 breakfasts. I was going to make a tuna noodle casserole, but there were a few kitchen hiccups and it didn’t happen.

  7. 7

    Great idea for a post, Jane. I usually do some sort of meat, starch, grain, vegie and possibly salad too. Of course you have to throw in cookies or brownies to top it off!

    I usually ask them ahead of time if they have allergies or if they have had lots of similar menu items from other people. Nothing worse than italian or mexican for 7 days straight! 🙂 Another thing to think about is if they have other young kids at home who may not be so into adventurous food (in other words picky).
    Some of my favorite things to take: *baked ziti (super easy, very yummy) with bread,salad, fresh green beans, and some fun dessert.
    *crock pot chicken, rice and vegies.
    *Stuff for taco salad (lettuce, taco meat, kidney beans, tomatoes, cheese, chips and salsa. If there are kids, I make some quesadillas to take as well.
    My mom always goes all out for people now that she is an empty nester…she makes pot roast, potatoes, carrots, homemade rolls, and some delicious dessert..for the recipient, it’s heaven sent for 2-3 days.
    Thanks for all the other suggestions from everyone…I love the costco chicken idea. It’s a keeper for sure!

  8. 8

    I’m glad to hear other ideas. I usually take creamy chicken noodle soup, breadsticks or rhodes rolls, fruit and always homemade chocolate chip cookies. For families with kids, sometimes I’ve done homemade mac and cheese, which has been a hit as well.

    I never thought about the costco chicken– good idea..

  9. 9
    Tuesday Girl

    I usually make a lasagna or baked ziti and then send some rolls or french bread with it.

  10. 10

    baked ziti in a throwaway casserole dish, salad in a ziploc bag, a loaf of homemade wheat bread and then cookies or brownies for a treat. Because what family doesn’t need a nice comforting treat after a new babe?

  11. 11
    Jane Maynard

    what great ideas!!!!!!!!

    kathy – I wish your mom was my neighbor. 🙂 although, I can’t complain…I was treated well this week!

  12. 12

    Jane, I too have happened to find this blog in a round about fashion. I appreciate this post as we are expecting our third boy in March and, due to crazy soy allergies, we are not having dinner brought in. Loads of cooking for me now means a healthy, hospital-free mom when the new baby arrives.

    Okay, for friends who have babies we take an assortment of foods. The list includes:

    Lasagna (my husband lived in Italy and he loves to make this)
    Meatloaf (Betty Crocker’s tweaked a bit)
    Chicken Enchiladas
    Chicken or Eggplant Parmesean
    Baked Potato
    Green Salad (usually a bag mix)
    French/Garlic Bread
    Apple Crisp
    Strawberry Pie

    As I mentioned, food allergies require me to do the cooking. However, all of these dishes are super easy. Even better, the food can be made in advance, delivered to the home early, and then the family can just pop it in the oven 1 hour before THEY are ready to eat.

    Thanks for the blog. I enjoy the ideas!


  13. 13

    One of my favorite meals to receive was a Papa Murphy’s pizza because we could cook it at our leisure. They also included a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Simple & Yummy.
    I love to take people Chicken Broccoli Casserole, made with Rice b/c it’s an all-in-one meal! Never forget the dessert, though!

  14. 14

    Has anyone else seen this website for organizing dinners for others? I was intoduced to it by women in my school who were doing meals for ill parents and babies. It’s so easy to use and so simple:

    My go-to is soup, which I make alot of (and freeze) over teh winter, with salad and bread. In the summer, I’ve done slow-cooked brisket and baked beans.

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