The Bun is Out of the Oven. Who Wants to Cook?!


Whether it’s your first child or your fifth, welcoming a new baby into your family is an amazing roller coaster of emotions. Happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, uncertainty and all the tears you could possibly cry, are just a few things you’ll have going on.
(Not to mention more tiny, dirty, diapers than you’d ever dreamed of.)

Preparing meals for their family is the absolute LAST thing most parents of newborns want to think about. Some moms like to prepare then freeze meals in advance, during their nesting phase of pregnancy. Others may have friends and family who create a schedule then volunteer to make and drop off meals to the family, as they are settling in, at home with their newest little bundle.

Delivering meals is a fantastic gift idea for the family, especially if this isn’t their first rodeo er … I mean baby. The last thing you want as the “deliver-er” is to impose on the exhausted, preoccupied parents.

SO, when should you drop the food off?

How do you ensure that someone else doesn’t bring food for the same meal you do? You don’t want to wake the baby, where should you leave the food? What is it that their oldest child is allergic to?

Fear no more friends – there’s an app for that!! OK, OK – it’s a website, not an app but – close enough.11225449_715994195358_8058564564095232653_nI just had baby #3 in May and was lucky enough to have some fantastic friends and family sign up to bring our family meals, once we returned from the hospital. A schedule was set up on a website called Take Them a Meal where people can sign up to make and bring a meal OR if they’re not local, folks can choose a delicious meal from the site that will be sent to the family with easy, reheating instructions.

A similar site I’ve used in the past called Meal Train is also a popular tool for this same concept. Any allergies, food preferences, delivery times and instructions can be listed so everyone is aware. These services are free, very convenient and easy to use, not to mention that the new parents will be forever thankful for your thoughtfulness and organization.

A favorite meal that was delivered to us after our daughter was born was a baked ziti. It was so good and the fabulous friend who brought it claimed it was “so easy to make.” I asked for the recipe and now I’ll share it with you.

Baked Ziti:                                                                                     

*This recipe makes enough for two pans of ziti – one for you and one for the freezer or a friend!

– 1 lb Ziti Pasta
– 1 lb Ground Beef
– 2 – 26 oz jars of Spaghetti sauce
– 6 oz Provolone Cheese
– 1 1/2 cups sour cream + Ricotta Cheese (mixed)
– 6 oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
– 2-3 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
– 1 Medium Onion
– 1 Clove Garlic (minced)

Step 1 – Cook Pasta
Step 2 – In skillet cook ground beef, Onion, and garlic until browned
Step 3 – Add sauce to meat mixture and simmer for 15 minutes (approx.)

Preheat Oven 350 degrees. In a greased 9 x 13 pan layer in the following order:

    1. 1/3 of the sauce mixture
    2. 1/2 Ziti pasta
    3. Provolone Cheese
    4. Sour cream + Ricotta Cheese mixture
    5. 1/2 of the remaining sauce
    6. Remaining Ziti pasta
    7. Mozzarella Cheese
    8. Remaining sauce
    9. Top with Parmesan Cheese
    10. Cover with tin foil and bake for approx. 30 minutes or until Cheese is melted. Take off the tin foil and let bake for a few more minutes just to brown the top a little.

Do you have a favorite, easy to make and take recipe you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it!