A few years ago when I had my fourth baby boy, my friend, Lesli, brought me dinner. When she walked in my first thought was, “Who else is she taking dinner to tonight?” She had an armful of food and goodies. When it was all unloaded, I realized it was all for me and my family. I can’t tell you what a blessing it was that night (and days after as we used the things she brought). Since then, I’ve taken Lesli’s example and used it for when I need to take dinner to a new mother. This idea could be extrapolated to any type of situation that requires a meal being brought to a person or family in need.
Enter the New Momma Take-In Tray. What you see here is what I always include on my list to take to a new mother. I thought I’d share the information since I know many of you are bustling around taking dinner to friends and neighbors and family, too.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
1. Main Dish: In this case it was Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli and Smoked Mozz. Here is a category filled with other great ideas for take-in meals.
2. Side #1: I usually like to include a bread of sorts, since you never know how other people’s kids eat (assuming the new mother has other children at home besides the new babe). In the event these so-called children want to gag at the thought of what the main dish is (perhaps the parents are gagging too), a bread is sure to fill up their bellies. Pictured here is my favorite french bread recipe, this time made with 100% whole wheat flour and 1 cup of ground flax meal in place of the all-purpose flour. Other great ideas for a bread are cornbread, rolls, breadsticks, etc.
3. Side #2: Usually I keep this pretty boring. In this case, it was a salad with homemade croutons and a tupperware of dressing from my fridge. Other times it is just a bag of frozen peas, broccoli, fresh cut up veggies, something like that.
4. Dessert: What we’ve got here is a simple stack of chocolate chip cookies tied up with a pipe cleaner because I’m classy like that. Cookies or brownies make a great take-in dessert, mostly because I usually have them in my freezer already baked and ready to go so it means I don’t have to fuss about it while assembling the other parts of dinner.
5. Oatmeal Pancake Mix: I like to throw a bag of my go-to whole wheat oatmeal pancake mix on the tray for the family to enjoy later (maybe even for another dinner!).
6. Buttermilk: Because not everyone has buttermilk on hand for the aforementioned pancake mix, I’ll usually add a small carton of buttermilk to the tray to make life easier.
7. Playdough: If the new mom has other children at home besides the new baby, I always whip up some of this homemade playdough. I can’t tell you what a great diversion playdough is for my kids – worth every minute it takes to sweep up the mess. Hopefully the moms aren’t cursing me for this addition…I should pin a coupon on it to say I’ll come clean up the mess after their kids get done playing with it.
8. Paper Plates/Utensils: To minimize work for the new mom, I always try to include paper plates, napkins and utensils. And I try to give everything to the family in disposable type containers that they don’t need to worry about returning to me. As if they don’t have enough things to worry about with a new baby, right?
I hope this list will help you as you prepare to take dinner into someone near you.
As for me, now I’ve just got to work on convincing my friends here to have more babies so I can put a tray together for them. And seriously, while I’m at it, I should probably look into getting some real hobbies.