Wednesday, October 22

Cooking for New Moms {the easy way}

Being a new mom is hard. So much to learn, so many tiny snuggles, so little sleep... those first few weeks can be a doozy. And on top of it all, your body has some major recovery to do! I have become a firm believer that moms need six weeks of REST (more about that here and here) after birth, but how are you supposed to do that (especially if you have older kids) when there are floors to mop and mouths to feed??? One of the most thoughtful things my friends did for me after the brothers were born was bringing hot, ready-to-eat meals right to my door. It was a life saver. One less thing to think about so I could enjoy my newborn and get some much-needed rest. I never realized before what a gift a meal can be. And so I've made a decision. I'm going to make a meal for every new mom I know. Every time. Even when it's hard or I'm busy or the kids are crabby (which basically happens every time I do it. thanks kids.). But I believe this is important and it's not something I want to brush off. So today I'm sharing my favorite new-mom meal that is fast, super easy, and even very affordable. We're talking 15 minutes of prep, an hour in the oven, and you're done! We've all got time for that, right?

I get all my ingredients at Aldi because I know the main dish is pretty cheap, then I add in whatever fruit or vegetable is on sale that week. Here's what you need (I double it for a larger family, like in the picture above):
  • 1 package frozen cheese ravioli ($2.50)
  • 1 can spaghetti sauce ($1.00)
  • 1/2 bag shredded mozarella (optional, $3.00)
  • 1 box grapes ($2.50)
  • 1 package broccoli ($1.50)
So the total for a single meal is just $10.50, and even less if you skip the extra cheese or get a cheaper fruit! And you can totally make the night easier for yourself by making a second batch of everything for your family to have for dinner tonight!

To make the dinner start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Then combine the ravioli and sauce in a baking dish (I buy a big pack of foil pans at Costco so no one has to worry about getting dishes back to me). Top it with shredded cheese and cover it with foil

I always pick an easy-bake vegetable for the side. Something I can just wash, cut up, and throw on a cookie sheet by the ravioli. Whichever vegetable I choose, I like to toss them with olive oil, salt & pepper, and sometimes parmesan cheese before baking. The cooking times vary a little but here are a few of my favorites:

Broccoli or Cauliflower - 45 - 55 minues
Green Beans - 20 - 30 minutes

Got that all ready? Put both pans in the preheated oven for 45 minutes (if you're doing green beans remember to pull them out sooner or add them toward the end instead). When the timer beeps, remove the foil from the pan and let it cook 10 more minutes. Check the vegetables to see if they are ready to come out or need the extra 10 minutes (I usually just leave mine in the whole time).

While it's cooking go ahead and wash your fruit and cut it up if you need to. Some of my favorites to do are grapes, watermelon, and apples. I try to keep it pretty kid friendly if there are older siblings at home.

When everything is ready I package it up (using disposable containers for everything so there is nothing to return) and pile it in a cardboard box so it's easier to transport. When I can I put in some disposable plates, too, so they don't have to do dishes. 

If I'm feeling super ambitious I'll make a taggie teething ring for the baby too. Which I've done exactly once. ;)

And no matter what you make, the important thing is being there for your friend in such a big, life changing moment. So please, make a meal for the new mom you know. And when you drop it off, offer to do the dishes, or vacuum, or play with the kids while she takes a nap. Anything you can do to make life a little easier for her tired-self. And no, I am absolutely not talking about offering to hold the baby so she can do those things. Please, please don't do that. Let the momma rest. Take some of the burden. Maybe she'll do the same for you some day? And maybe not. Let's not let that be our reason, friends. Let's just remember to always be kind. Always be generous. Always be the best we can be.

So, what is your favorite, easy meal for a new mom?


  1. Where I live there isn't anything like this tradition to bring new mommies dinner to help them out a bit. But one friend blessed us with it nonetheless. And it was marvelous. It was amazing. I LOVE that friend to death because of it haha! She brought 4 meals (!!) to put in the freezer for when we got home and it was the best thing ever!
    Other friends came to visit us to see the baby and they offered to come around dinner time and bring something like a quiche (we had a lot of those!) because it is easy to make beforehand.
    But I do try to bring new mommy's a meal now because I know what a blessing it is! We should start a tradition in Belgium too :-)

    1. What a thoughtful friend! And freezer meals are a GREAT idea. Don't forget every tradition has to start with someone. :) Thanks for looking out for those momma's!