When all three of my babies were born, friends brought food. It was an amazing blessing every time. I love to reciprocate and to take a meal to families with new babies (or friends who are newly pregnant and feeling horrible, or families where there is a surgery or other challenging situation, and so forth). There is something about food they don’t have to cook that makes people (and especially mothers, I believe) feel loved and cared for. Cue the traditional family meal, delivered to a friend in need.
I still remember when my first baby was three or four days old and one of our pastors dropped off two Panera sandwiches and a brownie. To this day, that was the tastiest food I’ve ever consumed. Another time, a friend brought some casserole about which I remember no details, but she also brought a huge pan of fresh fruit, and I swear to you, I ate the equivalent of half of a watermelon from that container in one sitting. It was just a watermelon, but I remember it (and the dear friend who provided it) six years later.
If you catch me during the summer delivering a meal to a friend, it’s usually homemade and has lots of fresh fruits and/or veggies (because of the watermelon story above). But during the school year, barring a miracle, you’re not getting homemade from me (sorry, friends!). However, I firmly believe that it doesn’t matter so much what the food is but that thought and time was taken to provide it.
Moms Love Meals
Since this is a mom’s blog, it’s likely most readers are mothers, and we probably all have friends in this stage of life and can encourage each other by providing food. Or, we need to feed our own families, and cooking every night is a chore from which an occasional reprieve is always welcomed. So, I have crowd sourced and scoured the internet too, and I believe these, in no particular order, are Birmingham’s best “Family Meals.” These are ready-to-eat meals, mostly designed for a family of four, and can be ordered ahead of time, picked up in a hurry, and eaten at home (or the park, ball field, backseat of the van, and so on!) or delivered to a friend. Also, please note these are restaurant meals, not from the grocery store. There are great options at various grocery stores around town, but those are not included here.
Family Meals in Birmingham
Zoe’s has delicious, fresh Mediterranean food and their family meals are the real deal. They come in two sizes (small and large), but both provide lots of food. For the main dish, choose from kabobs, Mediterranean or Moroccan chicken, a chicken ravioli dish, or roll-ups. You can’t go wrong with any. Then choose two family-sized sides (our faves are the roasted vegetables and the potato salad — it has no mayo or mustard and is amazing!). The “small” family meal feeds three to five and runs $32.99. If you choose the large ($42.99), you also get a Greek salad and either pita chips or cucumbers and hummus. Once when my parents came to town, we ordered the large family meal and ate it on our deck one night; that was several years ago and they’re still talking about it and how great that dinner was!
Taziki’s Dinners for 4 are a great option too. Choose from grilled chicken ($26.99), pork ($28.99) or lamb ($31.99), all of which come with rice or potatoes and a Greek salad and pitas. If you’re feeding a crowd, add a side of roasted veggies for just $5 more.
I think Taco Mama’s Happy Family Takeout Meal ($32) may be the best deal in town as far as family meals go. Plus the food is delicious, of course. This meal comes with 4 soft shell beef and 4 soft shell chicken tacos, plus (a giant bag of) chips and salsa, queso, rice, beans, slaw, and sour cream. Just call ahead and let them know your pickup time and it’ll be ready to go when you arrive. I once ordered two of these for a group of college students, and we all stuffed ourselves and there were leftovers for DAYS. So much (yummy) food.
Real & Rosemary offers Feasting Thyme meals which feed four. Each comes with a protein (chicken, turkey, flounder cakes, or braised beef) and two fresh and delicious sides. Choices include succotash, corn polenta cakes, and zucchini with avocado pesto, and prices range from $27.99 to $31.99. Healthy AND tasty!
Miss Dot’s is known for their tasty chicken bites, and their Family Meal Deal, priced at $34.50, includes a whole chicken, fried chicken, roasted chicken, or 30 chicken bites. Choose two sides (mac-n-cheese, collard greens, rice and gravy, and squash casserole, to name a few). A southern mama’s dream!
Everyone loves Jim ‘n Nicks, right?! The good news is they have family meals that you can pick up in the drive-thru line (not every location has drive-thru, but they do all have family meals). Prices range from $27.99 for the BBQ chicken, pork, or turkey to $31.99 for ribs, and all include two pints of sides and either six buns or a dozen cheddar biscuits. Now my mouth is watering.
Ashley Mac’s is known for their fantastic take-and-bake casseroles and entrees, but did you know that they also have fresh, hot, ready-to-go meals? That’s good news, mamas. Each Family Dinner comes with your choice of poppyseed chicken, bistro steak, or lemon rosemary chicken as well as a salad of your choice and either rolls or biscuits. Prices range from $28.99-$33.99.
If you’re in the Hoover area (Lorna Road, specifically), Costa’s is a great choice. They specialize in Greek and Italian food and have a variety of family takeout meals to choose from. Options range from lasagna or baked spaghetti ($18.99 for a meal for two or $34.95 for a meal for four) to pork or chicken kabobs ($20.99 for meal for two and $34.95 for four). Both include sides and bread, and apparently the portion sizes are huge! This is a new one for me and I can’t wait to check it out soon.
Full Moon BBQ has delicious Value Meals To Go that can be picked up in the drive-thru. Choose from BBQ pork, chicken, turkey, or brisket, or chicken tenders or ribs. Each comes with two sides (choose from beans, potato salad, or slaw), bread, their famous chow-chow, and cookies! Yum! Prices range from $26.99 to $31.99.
Urban Cookhouse is known for its fresh, locally-sourced foods, and their Take it to the House meals are not any different. Choose a main dish (pineapple ham, smoked turkey, lime-marinated steak, wood fired shrimp, and more) and two sides (one of which is their famous hot cheddar pasta, though other — probably healthier — options are available too). Plus, each meal includes those irresistible orange rolls.
Did we miss your favorite? Let us know your in the comments. We would love to hear from you!
And if you haven’t seen our list of top family-friendly restaurants in Birmingham, check it out here for more ideas when you need to treat another family, or your own family, to a dinner out!