The night before my oldest was born, my friend Krista showed up at my front door with several shiny foil packages. In them were chicken, vegetables and homemade bread that she put in my freezer. I remember eating that meal with my baby boy in his bouncy chair on top of the dining room table about a week later. It was so good and such a relief to eat real food that I didn’t have to cook.

Bringing meals to a couple or a family when a new baby is born is always appreciated. People often bring pasta casseroles like lasagna or baked ziti because everyone tends to like them and they provide plenty of leftovers. I always assume that at least one other person is giving the new mom a pasta casserole. I like to provide the Spiced Baked Chicken dish that Krista gave us.


  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon slat
  • pinch pepper
  • 4 or 5 chicken legs with skin on
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  1. Grease or use non-stick spray on a 9 x 13 baking dish or foil dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Combine the first 10 ingredients in a shallow dish and dredge both sides of the chicken in the flour mixture.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken on both sides. Don’t overcrowd the pan, do it two legs at a time if you have to.
  5. Combine ketchup, water and brown sugar and pour over chicken.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for one hour or until chicken is cooked through.
  7. Allow to cool, cover, and tape a card on the top with the name of the dish, reheating instructions (reheat at 350 degrees until heated through), and the recipe in case they want to make it again and also to identify all the ingredients.
  8. Refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to deliver the meal.
My notes
  • Try this recipe out yourself before you go making it for someone else. If you don’t like it, you probably won’t want to be giving it as a gift.
  • When bringing a dish to new parents, it’s considerate to bring it in dishes that they won’t need to return. Using a reusable foil pan with a foil lid that can be bought at most grocery stores for this chicken dish is perfect. Make sure you let the recipient know you don't need it back.
  • Provide side dishes like mashed potatoes and fresh cooked vegetables that can easily be reheated with the chicken. You can put these in washed out containers from foods like deli salads or sour cream. Again, let the recipient know you don't need them back.
  • Include something sweet. It can be fresh fruit, a baked treat, or even a good bar of chocolate. If it’s just mom and dad (or just mom), don’t give an entire cake, pie, or batch of chocolate chip cookies. Include just enough for one after dinner treat – a couple of cupcakes or a dozen cookies. If there are older children already in the picture, go ahead and provide a nice sized treat. 
  • Use the best ingredients that you can afford, but remember that the new parents will be grateful even if the entire meal isn't totally local and organic. 
Do you have a standard dish that you take when a new baby is born or a great dish that someone brought to you? Share it with us in the comments.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

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