making food for a new mum
I wholeheartedly believe that the best gift you can give a new mum is home cooked food.
There is never a better time for comfort food – in the form of a hot meal, a delicious snack or simply a bowl of cut-up fresh fruit – than when a baby has just arrived earthside. Anything that doesn’t require thought, time or effort on the new mum’s behalf is welcomed with open arms and remembered for a long while afterward.
But what to cook? And, if you already have a family of your own to feed, what can you make in double that will make your time in the kitchen most productive?
As I begin to fill my own freezer with ready-made meals (in the hope that they’ll help ease us gently into life with four children) I’ve been thinking about food that’s both easy to make and nutritionally fulfilling. A dear friend of mine recently had her first baby so last week I spent half-a-day in the kitchen and whipped up a few things that fed two families. With a little pre-planning and a bit of juggling (of the toddler variety), it turned out perfectly: Muesli Slice, Banana Bread, Mini Quiches and Chicken + Mushroom Pie with a side salad (vegies were cut into sticks so they could easily be eaten with one hand).
For dinner I made two Chicken + Mushroom Pies. Because the recipe calls for stock I thought it best to buy a whole chook and put it in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours. I then removed the meat and put it in the fridge till it was time to make the pie filling. The carcass stayed in the slow cooker and I added a few vegies, herbs and peppercorns so a rich broth formed over the next 12 hours. In the early evening I cooked the pie filling which included two big soup ladles of broth straight from the slow cooker.
In the morning I whipped up Fruit Muesli Slice which is just about the quickest, easiest, can-do-it-with-your-eyes-closed snack you can make (recipe below). It also freezes really well and is perfect for the lunchbox if you omit the walnuts. I also made Bill’s Melt + Mix Banana Bread which makes two loaves (always a good thing) and, because of the sour cream, stays moist and delicious for an entire week (although it rarely lasts that long). For a touch of added sweetness I’ll often add white chocolate chips in at the end (you won’t regret it).
Finally, mini quiches are a nutritious snack just right for a new mum with babe in arms. I make mine with bacon, grated zucchini, a slice of cherry tomato and cheese on top. If I’ve got capsicums in the fridge I’ll finely dice them and add to the egg mixture. Basically, anything goes with mini quiches! Full recipe here…and if you’re going to make them I highly recommend silicone muffin tins – so, so easy!
Fruit Muesli Slice (from The Thrifty Kitchen)
125g unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 + 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 cup sultanas or dried cranberries
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and butter + line a 20cm x 30cm slice tin.
- Melt the butter with the sugar and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir, without letting it boil, until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
- Press the mixture firmly into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tin before lifting out and cutting into squares.