Thursday, April 26, 2012

Baby Dinner Drop

Chicken Enchiladas from Cooking Light
(recipe below)
Yesterday I took dinner to a friend who recently had a baby- her third precious baby girl.  I signed up probably two months ago, had my phone alert me two prior, then one day prior... and still, when I left my house to make the delivery, you would have thought a bomb went off in my kitchen.

It's just dinner.  I make dinner almost every night.  So what makes this dinner so different?

A scary window inside my head:

- keep it simple, nothing too crazy, too spicy, nothing too "fishy", no red meat
(I think that leaves chicken and pork)

- make it comforting but not too bland, they may have received lots of "typical" already
(no lasagna, no mac and cheese)

- be sure it's colorful
(add a salad)

- roast the chicken breasts the day before so it has time to cool before you shred it

- better make the cookies the day before, too, so they're ready to go

- be sure it packs well, travels well, stays well, and looks somewhat appetizing when they open it

- and don't forget to buy disposable containers at the store so she doesn't have to worry with returning dishes

- and don't forget a little baby gift

- and get a little something for the older siblings so they don't feel overlooked

- oh, and make sure everything is wrapped up really cute
(better just go by the baby store that wraps things for you)

No wonder the kitchen is a wreck!  My thoughts are a wreck!  Why am I so concerned with all of these details?  I think I want to appear like everything is organized and under control.  So why am I writing about it???  Because I want to be honest that it usually is not.  (In my defense, I think I want to appear this way to bring some sense of calm to a probably overwhelmed new mom of 3... but still...)

After I had Davis, my wonderful friends brought us dinners and I was flabbergasted at how beautiful everything was!   Gourmet, interesting meals, packaged up all tidy,... and my favorite (because I refer to it all the time) homemade salad dressings!  I know it isn't hard to make salad dressings at home but for some reason that just stuck in my mind as the ultimate glimpse inside their family homes.  Some of my favorite recipes have come from these wonderful girls.  And I think of them each and every time I make their dishes.

These girls must have had their homes so well-organized that they were able not only to make a gorgeous, unique salad, but also make their own salad dressings!  This meant they had to know what they were going to make before they went to the store, buy the ingredients, prepare the food, and put everything together- packaged well... all before 5pm!  They all had young children... how did they do it???  Oh, and they also arrived at my house showered, dressed, and with their sparkling children buckled in their carseats.

I cringe to think about what they saw when they arrived at my house.  Probably a sleep-deprived, oily-haired, disheveled new mom with nothing to wear post-baby except big ol' maxi pad-holding bottoms and tops with hints of newborn spit up and  yellow poop.  The house probably looked like a disaster zone because I'm sure every toy we owned was pulled out for my three year old.

It became a passion of mine.  How do they do it?  How do they do it all and make it look effortless.  One of my friends said that if her kids nap, they have a nice dinner.  If they don't nap, it's PB&J that night.
Good advice.
Another said that she makes double of whatever her family is having that night.
Still another said that she always makes the same thing for every new mom.
Like it.

I found that when I asked, and when we all got honest, we were all thinking and wondering the same thing.

So, when I dropped off dinner last night with my showered, dressed self and my sparkling Mary Fowler (eager to hold a newborn) I made sure I told her that by the looks of my kitchen she'd think I'd never made dinner in my life!  When is it actually going to be effortless??  I'll keep trying, but for now (as my friend Boyd says) we are all just doing the best we can.

Chicken Enchiladas

from Cooking Light

  • Preparation

    2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast 
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 2/3 cups plain low-fat yogurt 
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion 
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup (such as Healthy Request), undiluted
  • (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. 2. Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Remove 1 cup chicken mixture; set mixture aside.
  3. 3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working with 1 tortilla at a time, brush oil over both sides of tortilla. Add tortilla to pan; cook 5 seconds on each side or until toasted and soft. Remove from pan; arrange 1/2 cup chicken mixture down center of tortilla. Roll jelly-roll style; place filled tortilla, seam side down, in a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining 7 tortillas, remaining oil, and remaining chicken mixture. Spread reserved 1 cup chicken mixture evenly over enchiladas. Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese and green onions; bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.


  1. Yay! I really needed a new baby meal recipe! Thank you! So glad your blog is back-- I love it!

  2. Just dawned on me-- are you the one who posted a pesto/tomato/gouda strata a few years ago? If so, I've gotten a lot of mileage out of that recipe! :)

  3. Hi Betsey! Yes, that's me! I'm so glad you liked it! I'll have to re-post some of my favorites!

  4. Just in time for 2 meal deliveries from me, the Queen of kitchen disasters and last minute planning. So would you bring this over baked or with instructions on how to bake? Thinking about making this on Sunday. thanks.

  5. Kate, you think like me, girl! I took it with instructions because I was afraid it would get gooey and gross. But I also did not pan-heat the tortillas;)

  6. Yes, I am still just doing my best. What a timely post as I was dropping a baby dinner today- it was a chicken pot pie, dessert, and salad from the Fresh Market. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!
    Thanks so much for the link! When I read your blog, I still feel like you are just around the corner- and that makes me happy!


  7. Boyd, it sounds divine! I am SO doing that next time!

  8. Speaking of books and recipes, one of my favorite "cozy murder" authors is Joanne Fluke who's main character is a bakery owner who solves non-violent murder mysteries. Every chapter includes a recipe for the delicacy she is currently baking. Her friends & family are always dropping in for coffee or tea and comforting cookies, cake or bars. I love it although not too good for losing wt! Anyway, YOU could write a book - you are so funny and interesting and entertaining - a cookbook maybe offering recipes that gift well or comfort or entertain well. You are so good at that and with your blog following and family and friends, you'd sell millions! Call the first bk "Comfort & Joy" or "Livi's Southern Comfort" or maybe something less cheesy....Just a thought! Love you!!

  9. It is always a show , a major production. Everyone really is the same;) but I did get great advice for those dinners that just can't take 3 days of planning. I haven't heard any complaints . Roast chicken, bag salad , bottled dressing from produce section( Maria's) keeping it classy, a baguette , and a bag of pepperidge Farm cookies . Everyone likes it young and old, and there is nothing to return:) throw in a bunch of flowers and bubbles and Voila'

  10. Lizziefitz- I love it! Always keepin' it classy! Another fabulous menu suggestion! The flowers and bubbles, too... love!

  11. OOh, I love these ideas for dinners for new baby, or anyone needing a lift, due to long-term illness, surgery, etc.

    I also love this post! I had a little 'fitness fiesta' party for girlfriends the other day, where we went hiking and then had brunch at my house. The amount of stuff I had to do to make my life presentable made me laugh (mopping my kitchen floor, decluttering my fridge door, vacuuming out my car as my daughter had dropped cheerios everywhere, closing the cluttered office door). Guess I'm watching too much HGTV or reading too many blogs! :)

    I want to do a follow-up post on my blog on this very topic. The work we do to look effortless!