In my opinion, one of the most helpful things you can do for a friend with a new baby, is take them a meal. It has been over six years since my last baby and I still appreciate every meal I got those first couple weeks after we brought a new baby home. It takes one important, have to do everyday, item off the to do list. I like to go all out, main dish, sides and dessert. Depending on the situation, I like to add a small gift for baby, siblings, and maybe even mom. Keeping it easy is a requirement though.
My go to recipe, is Chicken Tetrazzini. My mom has made this meal for as long as I can remember and it has always been a favorite. I think once upon a time she had a written recipe but now she doesn’t need one. Over the years I have taken tetrazzini to friends for multiple reasons. Its, also, perfect for potlucks. People ask me for the recipe all the time. Since I don’t have it written down, I have to throw together an ingredient list and directions. Well, in this post I’m including the recipe!
Mushrooms and onions seem to be on a lot of peoples don’t like list. An extra plus with this recipe is that both are big enough to be picked out or can be left out of the recipe completely. You can easily double the recipe and make a pan for your family at the same time.
To make sure the recipients have the night off from dinner, I like to bring the entire meal, not just the main dish. Bread and salad are perfect sides to pair with the chicken tetrazzini. A loaf of fresh French bread or a box of frozen Texas Toast work perfect and can easily be thrown into the shopping cart with no other effort needed before delivery.
To make the salad easy, I buy the bagged salad with the extra veggies. Just taking the bag of salad as is, is totally acceptable. Add grape or cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers if you want to be a little more fancy. Throwing in a bottle of Ranch or Italian salad dressing isn’t a bad idea, your friend might be out or not eat salad at home often. If they don’t need it, they can throw it in the next bag of non-perishable foods to send to school for a food drive. You want to make the meal great for your friend but you don’t want it to be so much work that you don’t enjoy doing it.
Dessert is not a must have after a meal but having something sweet to treat yourself to is nice. I have a go to dessert recipe too. I like to make cookie bars. Most cookie recipes can be turned into bars, if you have a favorite, use it. Instead of rolling the dough into individual cookies, you just spread it all over the pan and then bake. I normally use this Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from Better Homes and Garden Cook Book. It gives you the baking directions for the bars too. I don’t use shortening, instead I make them with a cup of Country Crook spreadable butter. I never add the nuts and usually add M&M’s instead of chocolate chips.
If I’m running short on time, I have a store bought dessert alternative. Marie Callender’s Dutch Apple Pie, it is AMAZING! Pick one up for your family the next time you are in the freezer aisle.
Since I have all boys, I have always loved any reason to buy an adorable girly outfit for a baby girl. And now that my boys are bigger, any time I get to look through the cute little baby one piece sleepers, I will take it. So really it is kinda for selfish reasons that I like to add little gifts to my meal delivery. I don’t always do this. If I recently attended the baby shower, I might only grab a little sibling gift or nothing at all. Grabbing the new mom some bath bubbles or a new pair of PJ’s is always a great option too. Bringing a gift, also, depends on how well I know the person.
My last suggestion, is try to use throw away cooking pans and/or containers whenever possible. It saves you from trying to get your pan back and makes it so your friend doesn’t have to keep track of which pan belongs to who. For the chicken tetrazzini, I like to use the Giant All Purpose Pan & Lid. There are even foil cookie sheets you can use to make the cookie bars on.
Here it is in a easy printable for you, Chicken Tetrazzini-Recipe
Do you have a favorite go to recipe when taking a meal to a friend? I would love for you to share it with me in the comments below!