The Best Meals to Make for a New Mom
The easiest and most effective way to help a new mom is to cook her and her family delicious meals they can easily dig into when their energy levels are low. Any dish that is ready to eat with little preparation is ideal, and comfort foods are always welcome. Your dishes should be both delicious and nutritious, as you don’t want your consumers to slip into food comas. And you want to satiate and energize them the healthy way.
Check out 10 of the best meals you can make for a new mom.
1. Healthy Mexican Casserole with Corn and Peppers
This first recipe from Pinch of Yum proves you can easily make healthy, homemade Mexican food that still tastes great. The Mexican casserole is stuffed with corn, peppers, cheese, beans, and enchilada sauce. The key to a meal made for a new mom is the ability to prepare the dish ahead of time and bake it later, and this recipe fits that bill.
You can assemble your casserole for the new mom, and then when it is ready to be eaten, it gets baked for 15 to 20 minutes. The receiving family will get their fill of healthy Mexican casserole and will even be able to enjoy leftovers.
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 green bell peppers
- 1 jalapeño or 2 chipotle peppers
- ½ red onion
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups Mexican cheese
- 18 to 20 corn tortillas
- 1 can refried beans
- 2 cups red enchilada sauce
- Cilantro, guacamole, or sour cream for topping
See recipe directions from Pinch of Yum.
2. Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
If you know a new mom who loves Italian food, make her and her family this baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes from Martha Stewart. The receiving family will get two for the price of one with this gift, as the recipe makes one baking dish that can be eaten immediately and one to freeze for later. For all that, your prep time is still capped at 35 minutes, and the penne bakes for 25 minutes.
The creamy pasta dish stars chicken, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and two types of cheese, and it’ll be just what a new mom is craving when she hasn’t slept in days.
- 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 pound penne rigate
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups whole milk
- 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
- ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
- 1½ cups shredded provolone
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
See recipe directions from Martha Stewart.
3. Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
No matter what time of year it is, chicken noodle soup always fulfills a comfort-food craving. With this recipe from Chowhound, you can make the homemade variety for a new mom. She’ll love spooning the familiar flavors into her mouth.
This food formula enlists chicken, veggies, thyme, chicken broth, a bay leaf, and instant ramen noodles. You can substitute dried short pasta for the ramen noodles, but you might find the salty stringy noodles are actually exactly what your homemade chicken noodle soup needs. Gift this chicken noodle soup to a new mother, and she’ll slurp it right down.
- 1 bone-in chicken breast (about 1 pound)
- 1 whole chicken leg (thigh and drumstick, about ¾ pound)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, medium dice
- 2 medium celery stalks, medium dice
- ½ medium yellow onion, medium dice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 cups (1½ quarts) low-sodium chicken broth or stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (2- to 3-ounce) package instant ramen noodles, flavor packet removed
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
See recipe directions from Chowhound.
4. Veggie Black Bean Enchiladas
Back to the Mexican game, we come to these veggie black bean enchiladas from Cookie & Kate, another dish you can make for meat-eaters and vegetarians, alike. You can easily prepare and assemble these enchiladas ahead of time. And then when the new mother and her family are ready to dig in, all they need to do is bake their dinner for 20 minutes.
Not many people can resist homemade enchiladas. And when they’re stuffed with good-for-you ingredients, such as black beans, broccoli, bell peppers, and spinach, there’s no reason they should have to. With this recipe, you’ll even be making homemade enchilada sauce for the new mom, ensuring she isn’t eating anything that simply came out of a jar.
- 2 cups homemade enchilada sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped red onion (about 1 small red onion)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 bunch of broccoli or 1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound), florets removed and sliced into small, bite-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 to 6 ounces baby spinach (about 5 cups, packed)
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1½ cups cooked black beans
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 whole wheat tortillas (about 8 inches in diameter)
- Handful of chopped cilantro, for garnishing
See recipe directions from Cookie & Kate.
5. Sesame Noodle Salad
Salads might not seem like the obvious choice to serve new mothers, but when we’re talking about a homemade sesame noodle salad, you’re likely to get a green light. This recipe comes from What’s Gaby Cooking, and it feeds a crowd. It’s all about the dressing made from soy sauce, olive oil, sugar, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and lime juice that coats vegetables, cabbage, pea pods, and linguine.
The new mother and her family can enjoy the sesame noodle salad hot or cold, and you can always throw in chicken for added protein. But even without the poultry, this noodle salad is satisfying. And when you eat it cold, it makes the perfect refreshing midday meal that energizes its eaters without weighing them down.
- 2 limes, juiced
- ⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons grated ginger
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
- ½ head red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 6 green onions, thinly cut on the bias
- 3 Persian cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 cup pea pods, halved
- Fresh basil
- Fresh cilantro
- 1 pound linguini, cooked according to package directions and cooled to room temp
See recipe directions from What’s Gaby Cooking.
6. Cowboy Quiche
Next up is a quiche. And it’s not just any quiche, it’s a deep-dish cowboy quiche from The Pioneer Woman. When you make your quiches in a regular pie pan, you get more cheesy custard filling and less crust. A quiche is a great dish to bring a new mom because she can enjoy it hot or cold, and leftovers can easily go back in the fridge.
The ingredients list for this cowboy quiche is short, as is the prep time. Once your bacon and onions are fried, you’ll pour everything — including the whipped eggs, cheese, onions, and bacon — into the pie crust, bake for an hour, and you’re ready to go.
- 1 whole unbaked pie crust
- 2 whole yellow onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 slices bacon
- 8 eggs
- 1½ cups heavy cream or half-and-half
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
See recipe directions from The Pioneer Woman.
7. Broccoli Cheddar Brown Rice Casserole
If you’ve ever had broccoli cheddar soup, then you know the greens and cheese are a match made in comfort-food heaven. You can take things up a notch for a new mom by enlisting the flavor combination in this brown rice casserole from Oh My Veggies. It’s a dish that tastes decadent but is still nutritious, thanks to the broccoli, carrots, and brown rice on its ingredients list.
You’ll get to work steaming your vegetables and making a homemade cheese sauce. And then all you have to do is layer the cooked rice in a bowl with the broccoli, carrots, and cheese sauce. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and panko on your rice mixture, and then bake for 25 minutes before broiling for three minutes. After that, your broccoli cheddar brown rice casserole is ready to be delivered to a deserving new mom.
Serves: 6 to 8
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1¼ cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package instructions
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
See recipe directions from Oh My Veggies.
8. Turkey Burgers with Zucchini
Prepare these turkey burgers from Skinny Taste, and put them in a new mom’s freezer. When she and her family are ready to eat, they can thaw the burgers right on the grill or even cook them indoors. The turkey burgers are studded with zucchini, and they’re also made with ground turkey, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. From this food formula, you can deliver five 4.5-ounce patties to a new mom’s family, and you can easily double the recipe.
- 5 ounces grated zucchini (when squeezed 4.25 ounces)
- 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
- ¼ cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon grated red onion
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh pepper
- Oil spray
See recipe directions from Skinny Taste.
9. Cashew Chicken Salad Wraps
Arming new moms with dinners they can eat with only one hand is key, and that’s why these cashew chicken salad wraps from The Kitchn are a good idea. You can prepare the cashew chicken salad ahead of time, and then a new mom and her family can enjoy it however they like, even if they want to eat it plain.
Chicken salad might seem like a simple dish, but this variety has a crunch thanks to cashews and fried noodles, a sweetness thanks to mandarin oranges, and a nuttiness thanks to sesame oil. The cashew chicken salad is a nice break from heavy comfort foods, and the light dish still hits the spot when craving a quick and easy chicken dinner.
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cashews or peanuts
- ¼ cup sliced green onions (white part only)
- ½ cup sliced mandarin oranges or clementines, divided
- 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped red cabbage
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 large wraps or tortillas
- 1 cup fried lo mein noodles, for serving
See recipe directions from The Kitchn.
10. Spaghetti and Meatballs
Last but not least is spaghetti and meatballs. You can’t go wrong with this dish. Almost all meat-eating moms will welcome this dinner with open arms, no matter what the season. Make the classic spaghetti and meatballs recipe from Epicurious, and don’t skimp on the cheese. A new mom and her family will enjoy the slow-simmered meatballs that pair with homemade sauce, spaghetti, and a lot of cheese. And you can even deliver each component separately.
If you’re filling a new mom’s freezer rather than feeding her immediately, the sauce can stay frozen in her freezer for up to three months, as can the meatballs. Once they have their first bite, you’re guaranteed to become their favorite friend.
- ½ cup olive oil
- 12 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ⅔ cup (packed) basil leaves
- 1 cup roughly torn day-old Italian bread
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces ground beef
- 8 ounces ground pork
- 8 ounces ground veal
- 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1¼ cups grated Parmesan, divided
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 pound spaghetti
See recipe directions from Epicurious.