A Downpour of Dinners

A Downpour of Dinners

It's no secret that most new moms feel overwhelmed when bringing a baby home. Carrie Carney of North Tonawanda, NY, knew her friend, Lori Randles, would be no different. And considering Lori has multiple sclerosis, Carrie figured her friend might face challenges other new moms don't.

To help Lori in those first few weeks, Carrie organized a dinner shower. Lori's friends and ­mother arrived with casseroles, lasagna, soup and more to freeze and have on hand for the hectic days ahead. Carrie contributed a favorite Taste of Home dish, Meatball Sub Casserole.

"I have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, and I knew how difficult those first weeks with a baby can be," says Carrie. "I would have loved to have had a freezer full of meals to pull out for dinner. Many of the shower guests said they wished someone had thrown them a dinner shower when they were expecting."

Lori was a very happy recipient of Carrie's kindness. "It helped me relax knowing I'd have one less thing to worry about after the baby was born," says Lori, who welcomed son Jackson in January of last year. "What mother doesn't want the gift of time?"

Lori, who has lived with MS since 2005, says fatigue brings on flare-ups, and taking care of a newborn definitely creates fatigue. "Having the meals was such a relief to my daily routine and allowed me more rest, so I never encountered any physical side effects," she says. "The dinner shower was a real lifesaver."

Carrie's Tip

"Here's how I modify this casserole for freezing: I spread the cream cheese mixture over the bread, top with store-bought meatballs and the 1/2 cup cheese, then pop in the freezer. I also freeze the reserved 1-1/2 cups mozzarella in a resealable freezer bag. When ready to use, I thaw the casserole in the fridge all day. Then I pour the jar of sauce over the casserole (omitting the water and garlic), sprinkle with reserved cheese and bake as directed."