This week we contributed to an article in San Jose Mercury News about homemade meals to bring to new parents. The article, “Taco boxes and dinner delivery ideas for new moms” includes some great suggestions including the how-to on a fun taco box from Apartment Therapy’s “The Kitchn” blog. (We’re stealing this idea for sure!)
Speaking from personal experience, the gift of a fuss free meal made with love is one of the most welcome things you can receive when you’re stressed out and sleep deprived. For that matter it’s a wonderful gift for anyone you know who could use a little TLC.
Here are a few meal delivery basics and a collection of some of our favorite resources and recipes to make and take.
- Venture beyond the expected. Lasagna always comes to mind in these situations, and that’s why Simran suggests going for something like curries, spiced lentils or tandoori chicken.
- Call in advance to find out a good time to drop your meal off and if you’re unsure, to find about any food restrictions.
- Minimum effort for the recipients is the key. Choose things that can be eaten straight from the refrigerator, at room temperature or with just a quick reheating. Think about portioning and packing food into servings that can be eaten right away or stashed in the freezer. Include information about the dish as well as reheating or cooking directions on each package.
- Dinner is great but breakfast, lunch and snack care packages are fantastic too.
- Delivering food in containers that don’t need to be returned is a big “yes” and if you have leftover party plates, napkins and utensils, consider throwing some in to make things really quick and easy.
- Make it fun and festive by tucking in flowers, music, a magazine, or a little special something for an older sibling. And you can never go wrong going the extra mile with cookies or an interesting beverage including beer or wine if appropriate.
- Invite the kids to help assemble, decorate and deliver the care package to let them share in the experience of giving.
- If you don’t have time to go homemade…. semi-homemade or store bought is just as thoughtful.
Ideas for Complete Meals
- Homemade dan dan mien sauce (garnishes packed separately) + package of thin spaghetti + vegetables to steam or reheat
- Fake bake tandoori chicken or dhal or chana masala + basmati rice or store bought naan + carrot raita + spiced spinach
- Tofu-vegetable coconut curry + coconut rice
- Mom’s Biryani + vegetables to steam or reheat + store bought naan
- Stir fried minced chicken with basil + rice + vegetables to steam or reheat — you could also pair this chicken with a stack of lettuce leaves, sliced cucumbers and a small container of hoisin for making lettuce wraps
- Tomato soup + grilled cheese sandwich fixins (sliced bread, a mix of shredded cheeses, add ons like avocado or sliced turkey) + ready to toss salad ingredients (pack the dressing on the side)
- Flaky, Tomato & Gruyere Tart + ready to toss salad ingredients (pack the dressing on the side)
- Roast a chicken (or pick up a rotisserie chicken from the store) and assemble a few sides
Breakfast, Lunch, Anytime Snacks and Treats
- Banana bread or banana-avocado bread
- Raw apple muffins, Becky’s carrot zucchini pineapple muffins, or farmhouse cheddar muffins
- Waffles to reheat in the toaster or freeze, maple syrup and fresh fruit
- Granola, yogurt and fruit
- A selection of your favorite antipasti from the deli counter and a loaf of good bread
- Pita, crackers, crudite and an assortment of awesome dips
- Dad’s Italian frittata or Jamie Oliver’s mini egg cupcakes
- Really refreshing lime soda or apple-mint tea (make the drink base and pack a bottle of sparkling water)
- White chocolate pink popcorn
- Hot fudge sundae kit: hot fudge sauce, ice cream, toasted nuts, fruit, etc.
Other care package recipe round-ups to check out: