This week Henry will turn 11 weeks old (HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?) and it marks a very important milestone in our lives. No, it’s not the first time I forced him and James into matching outfits, though that did indeed happen over the weekend. This week marks the official end of the dinners people have brought for us. Tonight we will eat the Last Supper of Covered Dinners, and then I will have to officially re-enter the kitchen and start cooking.
Y’all, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that having people bring us food was one of the things that I was looking forward to most about having a baby, and it did not disappoint. For 10 glorious weeks I have not cooked. I have made the occasional grilled cheese sandwich, or tossed in some canned green beans to go alongside leftover pot-roast, and once or twice I got ambitious and boiled water for pasta. But I haven’t really cooked much beyond that, haven’t had to meal plan or prepare, because people kept on bringing us dinner. As I mentioned in my last post, this element of support was one of the most appreciated. It meant that I could focus on James and Henry without worrying about us all being well fed. It meant that we were well fed without James having to cook, as he has many gifts, but that is not one of them. It meant very little time spent on dishes and lots of time spent cuddling. I am now officially a missionary for convincing people to shower new moms in weeks of delicious meals. For years I have cooked meals for friends, but it is only after being on the receiving end that I really understand how much it is valued. Furthermore, it is only in being on the receiving end that I really understand now what makes excellent carry-in meals. And so, if you have ever faced the what-do-I-bring-a-new-mom quandry before, let me give you some quick tips, gleaned from the trenches of those early post-partum weeks.
Some classic carry-in dinners that are always a hit: chicken pot pie, bbq and sides, soup, lasagna-type pasta bakes, meat-and-veggie casseroles, pot roast.
Unexpected dishes that we loved: fajitas, chicken with quinoa and veggies, grilled flank steak (heats up surprisingly well!), cold salad samplers.
Bring lots, especially of the meat. Did we have a different person bringing us a meal every night since Henry’s birth? Obviously not. But most people bring enough for several meals, and we dined for days on each contribution. What was most appreciated in terms of leftovers were the people who brought big quantities of cooked meat, like pulled pork for BBQ or a friend who just cooked a bunch chicken breasts and brought them along with some sides. We froze the meat in portion sized bags, which reappeared throughout the summer with the addition of quick sides or salads that involved little to no hands-on prep.
Vegetables are amazing. Yes, we all love the sinfully good casserole. But 10 weeks of eating those is rough on the old digestion system and waistline, and no, nursing doesn’t burn that many more calories. I really appreciated that most people brought some healthy veggies or salads along with protein and some decadent desserts so that we had a semblance of nutrition.
Disposable dishes are everyone’s favorite. Let’s be honest – returning people’s casserole dishes might be the single hardest task ever. They sit on the end of your kitchen counter for weeks until you finally forget who they belonged to and adopt them back into your own already crowded cabinets. If possible, take food in containers you don’t want back.
Be organized. Using a digital system like this allowed us to know who was bringing what and when, helping us to plan out our days. It also avoids the “we got 16 lasagnas situation.” We also had someone send us a meal, and it was really delicious- a great option if you wanted to support friends who lived far away.
Stock on snacks. Several people brought granola bars, coffee, crackers, and other little snacks with their dinners, allowing me to further procrastinate on grocery shopping while keeping munchies handy for those nursing hunger moments.
Do not forget breakfast. And so we finally arrive at the real point of today’s post. Those early weeks are a blur of exhaustion, nursing, and hunger. You sleep until the last possible moment, waking as the baby starts crying, and knowing that you have approximately 42 seconds until that cry becomes a FEED ME NOW wail, and all the while you are screaming inside FEED ME NOW TOO. You need something that is substantial, fast, and can be eaten with one hand. Several people brought us quiches or breakfast casseroles along with dinner, and I initially didn’t think much about them. But over the weeks, they became my favorite thing. I was able to jump out of bad and microwave a slice of quiche quickly, allowing me some much-needed nourishment before nursing. When my mother-in-law was visiting in early July, she restocked the depleted stores of my freezer that my own mother had likewise stocked right after Henry’s birth. She made up two crust-less quiches packed with kale, one cooked to eat over the next week, and the other frozen and ready to bake the following weekend. When I finished both, I immediately begged for the recipe, because this quiche is delicious. It is hearty, with one slice filling me up and giving me a full serving of veggies. Without the crust it feels just a little bit healthier, absolving me of any guilt. And it is SO EASY TO MAKE, with just a handful of ingredients. And so, I invite you to make this “New Mother Kale Quiche” (as I am dubbing it, since my MIL told me she always takes it to new Mothers). Take it to the overwhelmed new Mothers in your life who don’t even think of making breakfast until they are already strapped to a nursing baby and ravenously considering ordering Chinese takeout at 6:30 am. Take it to the new Fathers who are still a little clueless about how to help their wives and who usually scoff at quiche, but who will be won over by this hearty pie. Take it to anyone who is experiencing new life changes and who needs something to look forward to when that “good night’s sleep” that the doctor ordered is in short supply.
Or just make it and eat it yourself. No judgement.
New Mother Kale Quiche
- Large bunch of Kale – cleaned and rough cut. Usually making 2-3 cups (I added a couple extra cups because I just really love kale!)
- 1 large Onion – diced
- 6 Eggs
- 16 oz Cottage Cheese – whatever your preference: large of small curd
- 16 oz Shredded Cheese – again whatever your preference: Colby, cheddar, etc (I made it with less in these photos to offset my crazy amounts of kale and it worked fine!)
- Saute kale and onion until onion transparent and kale is soft. Allow to cool.
- Whip together eggs, then add cottage cheese and shredded cheeses.
- Add cooled kale and onion mixture.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour this mixture into a prepared pie pan.
- From this point you can either wrap the quiche for future use and freeze it – or you can bake for 1 hour in a 325 degree oven. Do NOT rush this slow bake. It is the slow bake that draws the flavors together and insures a lovely texture to the eggs.
- If frozen, thaw overnight in refrigerator and bake as instructed.