Mother’s Day is fast approaching, so it’s time to start preparing all the different ways you are going to show mom just how much you care. Instead of the standard Mother’s Day brunch, why not switch it up and create a custom, three-course meal for her this evening? Spend a little time cooking up an elegant, yet deceptively simple culinary creation that includes an appetizer, main course and dessert that will wow Mom, Dad and anyone else coming to celebrate the special occasion.
You don’t need to spend a fortune or spend years in culinary school to come up with a simple and delicious meal that won’t keep you in the kitchen for hours. Here are three recipes that will be perfect to celebrate mom on her special day.
Vegetables with Pistachio Dip
When your special Mother’s Day dinner begins, you’ll want a light and tasty appetizer to keep everyone happy until the main course arrives. A vegetable tray is always a great option, but why not spice it up a bit? Instead of the usual store-bought ranch style dip, try this fantastic pistachio dip. Inspired by the team at Food and Wine, this treat is perfect for any special occasion and it can be made a day in advance. That way you can have this at the ready, without eating up more of your time in the kitchen on the big day.
- 1 ½ cups unsalted, raw pistachios (shelled)
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 large shallot (minced)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 large clove of garlic (minced)
- The juice of ½ a lemon (about two tablespoons)
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
- salt and pepper
- Veggies for dipping
- Crackers for dipping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a small bowl, soak the shallot in the vinegar for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spread the pistachios on a large baking sheet. Toast for five to eight minutes. Watch carefully so the pistachios don’t burn. Let cool.
- Put the cooled, toasted pistachios in a food processor and pulse until you get a coarse grind.
- In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice until well blended.
- Slowly add the olive oil into the mayonnaise mixture while whisking constantly.
- Drain the shallots and fold into the mayonnaise mixture.
- Add the sour cream, tarragon and parsley.
- Add the ground pistachios and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with fresh vegetables or crackers for dipping.
Sautéed Shrimp with Arugula
When it comes to cooking on any holiday, you want recipes that can be easily prepared without pulling you away from your guests. This delicious shrimp sauté is very easy to do, doesn’t take very long to make and can be served on its own or over rice or your favorite pasta. Add in your own touches with a few of your favorite veggies and you can easily personalize this simple dish. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, however, because it’s packed with flavor.Ingredients
- 1 pound large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Fresh Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- Heat oil over a medium-high heat in a large skillet.
- Add the tomatoes and sauté until they blister, stirring often.
- Add garlic and cook for another 30 second to a minute, being sure not to let the garlic burn.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet, stirring well, until cooked thoroughly. Remember, shrimp cooks very fast, so be sure not to over-cook.
- Toss in the arugula and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook until the arugula is wilted.
- Pull from heat.
- Add fresh lemon juice and toss well so everything is combined.
- Grate fresh Parmesan cheese on top
- Serve over fresh pasta or rice.
With the warmer temperatures and fresh fruits that ripen this time of year, a fruit dessert is the perfect way to complete your special Mother’s Day meal. Here is another recipe that can be made ahead of time and chilled until you are ready to serve. It’s described here with strawberries, but a blend of other seasonal berries or your mom’s own favorite fruits would work equally well. Or try layering strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, each on a different layer for an even fancier treat. Make sure to use a large, clear bowl to serve, or create in individual glass serving cups, as it’s the best way to show off the many layers of this surprisingly easy dessert.Ingredients
- 4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced (or 4 cups of your favorite seasonal fruit)
- 1 cup cold milk
- 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, whipped and unsweetened.
- 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 cup sour cream (you can use low-fat if you like)
- 8 cups angel food cake, cubed
- Fresh mint leaves
- In a large bowl, combine the milk, pudding mix, orange peel and sour cream. Beat until thickened.
- Fold in the whipped cream.
- Place about four cups of the cubed cake in the bottom of your serving dish.
- Arrange one layer of strawberries around the sides of the dish and on top of the cake.
- Top with half of the cream mixture.
- Add the rest of the cake cubes, then another layer of strawberries and the rest of the cream.
- Top with a few more berries and mint leaves for garnish.
- Chill for at least two hours before serving.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.