Right now, it’s a strange time for many of us, including new parents. Without most of us able to see family members, new parents are left without the extra guidance or help a lot of us need when navigating a newborn. One thing we can do for new parents, or anyone who might need a little extra help these days, is preparing some meals that can be pulled from the freezer. When the day gets away from them and they’re suddenly hungry, or need to feed the rest of the family, making a meal is not always easy.
We like the idea of offering something practical, but also something that might feel like a special treat, or in other words, something they aren’t likely to put together for themselves. This could include, but certainly isn’t limited to:
- Pasta casseroles
- Containers of hearty soup
- Salad fixings with homemade dressing and a fresh baguette
- Taco meat, nacho chips, homemade guacamole, salsa & grated cheese
- Rice pilaf with plenty of fresh veggies and herbs
A few things to consider when planning these edible gifts is an emphasis on freezable foods that can be delivered in recyclable/disposable containers. If you’re delivering any fresh foods, just make sure they can eat it before it expires.
Also important to keep in mind when making any kind of edible gift:
- Don’t hesitate to ask about any particular dietary restrictions or likes and dislikes of other family members.
- Write heating/cooking instructions on packages in case someone who is unfamiliar with cooking ends up making the meal.
- If you plan on cooking a large quantity of food, package it into smaller portions based on the number of eaters in the house.
Regardless of the season, our personal favourite care package to make for new parents is pulled pork, fresh buns, salad, and a big baggie of homemade cookie dough balls. This meal never fails to please everyone; the pork and buns can be frozen until needed, the salad (dressing on the side) has a reasonably long shelf life in the fridge, and the cookies can be baked whenever the mood strikes. This grouping of food works well for the summer, fall/winter, and even spring, because it’s hearty, flavourful, and adored by almost everyone.
Although new parents always appreciate a dinner delivery, there are plenty of other people who would enjoy a meal, too. It could be someone who is bereaved or ill, moving, or getting a divorce. It might also be someone elderly, caring for the ill or elderly, on bed rest, overworked or depressed. Ultimately, don’t hesitate to double your dinner one night and drop off a basket of homemade love to a person in need. They, and you, will be so glad you did.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
1 pork shoulder or butt (about 3lbs.), trimmed of any excess fat
1 cup ketchup
1 cup apple juice
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Put the pork in the slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Pour it over the pork, rubbing it in. Cover and cook on low heat for about 8 hours.
Remove the meat from the slow cooker and pour the liquid into a medium saucepan. Set it over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Then turn it down slightly (so it’s still bubbling) and reduce the liquid by half.
While the sauce is thickening, shred the pork with two forks (remove the bone if there is one). Pour the thickened sauce over the meat and stir to combine.