When I was pregnant, people used to ask us all the time what they could do to help when the babies came. I had no idea! They’d ask us again in the first few weeks of the babies’ lives….and by then, in my sleep-deprived state, I at least knew one answer….food! Bring food! Lots of it, yummy food, easy to prepare food, hopefully semi-healthy food….I really don’t care, as long as I can eat it.
The best help we got those first few weeks, besides my mom, who moved in for two weeks—LOVE moms—, was friends and family bringing by dinners for us. Fruit salad from my mother-in-law, pesto and pasta from Seth’s aunt, meatloaf from my sister-in-law, mac and cheese and a salad from a friend. One friend who doesn’t cook much just brought by pizza, making sure there was enough for plenty of leftovers. The best meals were meals that lasted for several days. One friend, whom I had just recently met, brought over barbequed chicken, green beans and a tomato salad. It was very tasty…and there were at least two more meals in there. Real meals, that felt like you were eating home-cooked, reasonablly healthy food were fantastic. (The local take-out places started to really like us in those days).
Now that we have (somewhat) recovered from being new parents of multiples (do you ever fully recover, really?), we try to pay it forward. When friends have a new baby or two, we show up with a meal or two with plenty of food for leftovers. We aim for weeks 4-12 somewhere, when much of the family help has disappeared, but the babies are awake more and needier and moms and dads more tired. Adrenaline gets you through those first few weeks, but I remember week 6 or 7, realizing we’d been doing this for weeks and weeks (and by this I mean no sleep) and there was no end in site. Boy, was I tired.
Our favorite go-to meal to take to new parents is pesto & chicken tortellini. (See recipe below). Another favorite is meatloaf and mashed sweet potatoes, which is good for those with any dairy or nut issues. In the summer, we like to add a big fruit salad. And any new mom, especially those who are breastfeeding, need a nice dessert, so we usually include a pan of brownies (Giadelli’s double chocolate brownies are really the only ones to bother buying) or a pan of rice krispie treats. We see it as paying it forward—-sharing the good karma from all those meals we ate and appreciated so much. If you’re pregnant with multiples (or just one), start prepping friends and family for this food delivery now. If you’ve “survived”, like us, think about paying it forward to another new family or signing up to deliver meals to new moms in your MOT club.
And now for pesto chicken tortellini. Not a fancy recipe but very flexible. Add as much cheese or as little as you want or leave out the chicken for those non-meat eaters.
Pesto chicken tortellini
Chicken breasts, grilled or cooked in the oven, then chopped into small pieces
Block of mozz cheese, chopped into small pieces
Frozen tortellini (I recommend the BJ’s bag—it’ll feed a family of 10!)
Pesto (homemade and frozen in the summer or from the store)
Cook tortellini. Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish. Sprinkled a bit of grated mozz on top. Bake until cheese is melted.