Brunch wins the bulk of Mother’s Day attention, but this year, why not try something different? To really celebrate mom, take her off dinner duty and make a meal she will love. The following eight recipes are sure to win over mom with their taste, presentation, and the thought that goes into giving her the night off. Just make sure you go all the way by cleaning up the kitchen, too.
1. Fettuccine with Asparagus and Lemon Cream Sauce
Take advantage of the spring season when creating your Mother’s Day meal. This recipe, from Boston.com, takes citrusy lemon, pairing it with in-season asparagus for a fresh, easy fettuccine. Need protein? Add cooked bacon or chicken to the pasta at the end.
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pound dried fettuccine
- 2 bunches fresh asparagus, ends snapped and stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 shallots, chopped
- ½ cup heavy cream
- grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- extra grated Parmesan (for serving)
Directions: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook 2 minutes more, or until asparagus and pasta are tender but still have some bite. Dip a heatproof measuring cup into the pasta water and remove 1 cup. Drain the pasta mixture into a colander and return to the pot.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the cream, lemon rind, and juice, 1 cup Parmesan, ½ cup pasta cooking water, salt, and pepper.
Pour the sauce over the pasta mixture and cook, tossing gently, for 2 minutes or until the mixture is hot. Add more pasta cooking water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to make a saucier dish. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Divide among four deep bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan.
2. Garlic Lime Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa
You’ll need to do a little planning ahead to get Food.com’s recipe on the table for Mother’s Day. The chicken can marinate overnight or for as few as two hours. Serve the chicken with rice or a salad.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 large lime
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped
- 3 very ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 sweet red pepper or 1 yellow sweet pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 serrano pepper (only use as much as the amount of heat you can take)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- 1-2 tablespoon sugar (if your mangoes aren’t very sweet)
- salt and pepper
- 4 cups steamed short grain cooked brown rice
Directions: Marinate the chicken with the juice of one lime and the oil and garlic in a Ziploc bag in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. For the salsa, mix all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside for the flavors to blend. Meanwhile, grill the chicken breasts on low heat until no longer pink. Cook rice according to instructions. Place 1 cup of rice on each plate, cover with a chicken breast, and then divide the salsa among the four plates and serve.
3. Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach
The wow factor will be in full force when mom is met at the table with Giada de Laurentiis’s stuffed pork chops from Food Network.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
- 1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed, with excess water squeezed out
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) goat cheese
- ⅓ cup reduced-fat cream cheese
- 4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops
- 1½ cups chicken broth
- ½ lemon, zested
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Directions: Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.
Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop. Stuff each pocket with ¼ of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.
Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the pork. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes. Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.
4. Seafood-Stuffed Avocados
Avocados are not only tasty, but they make great serving dishes, too. For an avocado-sized appetizer or side dish, make AllRecipes’s seafood-filled avocados.
- ½ cup flaked cooked crabmeat
- ½ cup cooked small shrimp
- 2 tablespoons peeled and diced cucumber
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1 pinch paprika
- 1 avocado
Directions: In a bowl, mix the crab, shrimp, cucumber, mayonnaise, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until serving. Slice the avocados lengthwise and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh of the avocado, leaving about ½ inch on the peel. Spoon the seafood mixture into the hollowed centers of the avocado halves. Sprinkle the tops with paprika.
5. Grilled Steak Salad with Italian Salsa Verde
With a salsa verde that will knock your socks off, this salad from Food 52 is a perfect fresh and flavorful Mother’s Day dish. Ideal for a light meal after a heavy brunch in the morning, it serves four with the measurements below.
- 1 cup Italian parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons tarragon leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ½ medium shallot, roughly chopped
- 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- red pepper flakes
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Steak and salad
- 2 New York strip steaks (10-12 ounces)
- kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- baby arugula
- extra-virgin olive oil
- fresh lemon juice
- Parmesan cheese
Directions: Light the grill and create a very hot zone so you’ll be able to get a good sear on the meat. While you wait for the grill to heat up, make the salsa verde. Place all of the salsa verde ingredients except the vinegar and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a thick paste forms. Stir in the vinegar to taste and stir in the olive oil to make it a more fluid sauce. Season, as needed, with salt and black pepper.
Season the steak with salt and pepper and grill over hot coals, 4-5 minutes per side for a medium-rare steak. Remove steak from grill, place on cutting board, and tent for 5 minutes while you dress the salad. Just barely dress the arugula with olive oil, lemon, and a touch of salt and pepper. Divide between plates. Slice the steak against the grain and fan it out over the salad. Spoon the salsa verde over the top of the steaks and use a vegetable peeler to shave Parmesan over the plate.
6. Balsamic Glazed Carrots
Glazed carrots are the side dish you need, whether you’re planning a menu that involves pork, chicken, or steak. Easy to prepare and absolutely delicious are these carrots with a brown sugar and balsamic glaze from Kraft; the recipe makes 8 half-cup servings.
- 10 carrots (1¼ pounds), peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
Directions: Cook carrots in boiling water in large saucepan on medium heat for 4-6 minutes. Meanwhile, cook dressing, sugar, and butter in small saucepan on low heat for 3-5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Drain the carrots and return to saucepan. Add sauce; stir. Cook 2-3 minutes or until carrots are heated through and evenly coated with sauce. Sprinkle with parsley.
7. Chocolate Chip Cookie Tart
In the baking department, call in the reserves and get help from the kids in preparing Cooking With My Kids’ chocolate chip cookie tart. Kids can help with mixing. If you serve this recipe with ice cream and hot fudge, you can create a dessert plate for mom from the sliced wedges.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- ice cream
- hot fudge sauce
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. Using a mixer, combine the melted butter and sugars together. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients a bit at a time and mix on low, until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Bake cookie bars for 25-30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Let cool for 30 minutes and cut into triangles while still warm. Serve with one scoop of ice cream and drizzle with hot fudge sauce.
8. Meringue Roses
With the help of a pastry bag fitted with the star tip, you’ll have the mom of your house thinking there is a resident pastry chef. Beautiful rose-shaped meringues from Teacher Chef will be a lovely accompaniment to dinner and the perfect way to end Mother’s Day.
- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- ½ tablespoon vinegar
- ½ tablespoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sugar (caster sugar will be even smoother, but granulated works fine)
Directions: In mixing bowl that is completely clean and dry, beat egg whites on medium-high until foamy, about 30 seconds. Dissolve your corn starch in the vinegar in a small bowl. Add vinegar and corn starch and continue to beat for another minute or so, until soft peaks form. Add your vanilla. In a slow stream, add sugar. Beat for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Slipmats. Fill pastry bags with meringue (one color in each bag). To make roses, be sure to use a large star tip. Start in the center and make one full circle around to make the rose. You can also just make dollops with the star tip, or even use a spoon.
Place baking sheets in 200 degree Fahrenheit oven for 90 minutes. Turn oven off and leave in oven as the oven naturally cools for six hours or overnight. The easiest way to do this is to make them in the evening and then, after the 90 minutes, let them set there overnight. You can even package them up the morning that you need them then and be good to go. Package in airtight containers (or Ziploc bags) and enjoy!