I take my job as meal train conductor very seriously. But despite my vigilant efforts, my friend and her new baby ended up in a bit of a saucy situation. Without any regard to what others were already bringing, her friends and family each signed up to feed her family 2 straight weeks of pasta. I’m talking lasagna, fettuccine alfredo, baked ziti, spaghetti pie, stuffed shells, etc.
I did my due diligence as train conductor and asked if any participants would change their meal so that the new family wouldn’t be drowning in marinara, and two lovely souls did change their meals…both of them to cheese enchiladas.
Classic meal train staples have always been the following: pasta, casseroles, enchiladas, and soups. And I get why! A good meal for a new mom travels well, can be reheated, is easy to make, and is kid-approved for siblings. I have also heard that a meal for a new mom “should be able to be eaten with one hand”; well, let me tell you, I would set my baby down to use two hands on a good ribeye.
Please don’t misunderstand. When I was on the receiving end of a meal train, I LOVED the classic dishes delivered to my doorstep. The pastas, soups, and enchiladas we were gifted were delicious and very much appreciated, but if you are looking to add a little variety to a mom’s meal train line-up, I’ve got you covered with some scrumptious meal train ideas that are a little off the well-worn track.
15 Meal Train Recipes That Aren’t Casseroles, Pasta Bakes, or Soups
2. Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Side suggestions: coleslaw, baked beans, cornbread, green beans
3. Roast Beef Sliders
Side suggestions: roasted tiny potatoes, corn on the cob, potato Salad
4. Bruschetta Chicken
Side suggestions: rice, asparagus, pasta in garlic olive oil
Side suggestion: warm rolls and honey butter
6. Store-bought Rotisserie Chicken
Side suggestions: rolls, steamed veggies, twice baked potatoes, Little Potato Company quick potatoes
7. Pre-seasoned Pork Loin or Ribs
Side suggestions: mac’n cheese, potato salad, cheesy corn
Side suggestions: fried rice, egg rolls, dumplings (all can be found in the frozen aisle)
9. Sausage Sheet Pan Meal
Photo and Recipe from Mackenzi Pitman at Zinnia Lane
1 chopped apple
3 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
1/2 sautéed yellow onion
Two sprigs of rosemary for garnish
Chop + Dice
Drizzle + coat with olive oil
Add salt and pepper to taste
Top with Rosemary
Bake @425 degrees for 45 minutes
10. Baked Potato Bar
Toppings: cheese, sour cream, butter, bacon, chives, olives, beans, bbq pork, etc.
Side suggestions: roasted broccoli or Brussel sprouts
11. Chicken Caesar Wraps
Side suggestions: roasted sweet potatoes, roasted squash
12. Breakfast For Dinner
Meal suggestions: pancakes/waffles, sausage, eggs, hash browns, etc.
13. Zucchini Pizza Boats
Side suggestions: French baguette with dipping oil and spices
Toppings: pineapple corn salsa, Mexican cabbage slaw, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, onions, lime
Side suggestions: beans, rice, chips and salsa, Mexican corn
15. Paprika Chicken
Side suggestions: Spanish rice, Spanish mushrooms
Bonus Food Items to Bring a New Mom:
Final Meal Train Tips
- Always check out the current meal train line-up so you don’t bring them their fourth night of lasagna.
- Know your audience. Are they looking for easy meals? Healthy meals? Dairy-free? Vegetarian? Kid-friendly? Picky or adventurous eaters?
- Pack it in disposable containers that they don’t have to return. Not a waste-conscious choice, unfortunately, but definitely a sanity-conscious choice for the new mom and a stress-saver so she won’t have to think about returning anything to you. Paper plates and silverware aren’t a bad idea either!
- I’ve read that you should just drop a meal off and leave immediately. I personally would have hated this. I was craving social interaction! Again, know your audience. Do they want you to hang around or head out? We’re also still in a pandemic, so making sure everyone is and feels safe is important, too.
- When all else fails, get them a gift card for takeout from their favorite restaurant!
Whether you bring a classic meal train dish or try out something new, any parent in the trenches of new-kid-land will be grateful for the love and support of their friends and family, even if it is their fourth lasagna!