The 8 Best Recipes to Make for New Parents

published Feb 14, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

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If you, like me, get a rush from holding the newborn humans of your closest friends, you know that the meal train is the ticket to getting in early, when the baby-head smell is still fresh. I take bringing food to new parents very seriously and have amassed a collection of go-to recipes that I look forward to making again and again. 

What makes a great dish for new parents? Comfort, convenience, and care. Think through what those early days as a growing family might look like, and tend to the smallest details to make your new parent friends feel loved and supported. If the family already has little ones, keep them in mind, too. Include some un-dressed protein or plain pasta for an easy option for siblings. One rule I live by is this: Don’t expect your pan back. These people have just made a new life, and they don’t need to be chasing you around town to deliver your Corningware. Instead, invest in some cute, affordable serving dishes that you can include as a gift with the food you share.

Love & Lemons’ Chopped Salad

When I had my second child, I was extremely fortunate to have lots of friends dropping by with home-cooked meals and all my favorite takeout, but the dish that stands out to me the most from that time is this chopped salad. It felt like such a treat to have something so fresh and lively. My friend Elliott packaged up each component separately in little deli containers so that I could assemble the salad when and how I liked it, which made it easy to share with the rest of my family, which I only somewhat begrudgingly did.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Broccoli and Cheese Spaghetti Squash Casserole

This one-pan wonder is my favorite way to eat spaghetti squash. Combined with broccoli and melty cheese, the stringy squash really comes into its own. Leftovers from this dish, should you have any, only seem to improve over time, perfect for slicing off a slab and eating by the light of the refrigerator after a late-night feeding.

Enchiladas Verdes De Pollo from Mama Maggie’s Kitchen 

My go-to recipe for new parents, enchiladas verdes pack up easily and hold well over time, making them great for a drop and go scenario. I like to bundle them up with some chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, and a little extra tomatillo salsa on the side. 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Grandbaby Cakes

When I asked my 3-year-old what food we should bring for our new friend, Baby Arthur, she immediately and emphatically responded: “Cookies!” And she’s not wrong. These oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Grandbaby Cakes are soft, chewy, and highly scarfable; and oatmeal is believed to boost milk supply, making this recipe perfect for new moms.

Tofu Tikka Masala from Rainbow Plant Life

There is something so indulgently comforting about a big batch of tikka masala, one of the all-time best takeout foods. In this homemade version, tofu is the starring protein, which means this Rainbow Plant Life recipe is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and downright perfect. Throw in some store-bought naan and a container of basmati rice for a complete meal.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

You’re busy! They’re busy! This slow-cooked ziti practically makes itself in the slow cooker, which means you can make a big ol’ batch and then share half and enjoy half. Win-win!

Credit: Suech and Beck

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake from Christine Flynn

My friend and fellow Cubby contributor Christine Flynn literally wrote the book on cooking for new parents, and her recipe for chocolate chip banana cake is nothing short of magic. This snacking cake will get eaten for breakfast, for snack, and maybe even for dinner because new parenthood is just like that sometimes, and that’s ok. It’s very ok.

Black Forest Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

This is a real pro move when it comes to cooking for new parents: Throw in breakfast! They’re expecting dinner and maybe some dessert, but breakfast will be a welcome surprise and, likely, a much appreciated departure from burnt toast and cold coffee. This black forest ham and cheese breakfast casserole can be assembled in advance and delivered ready to pop in the oven, or you can bake off the whole thing ahead of time and cut pre-portioned squares for easy morning deployment.