Special recipes help make Mother’s Day complete

Children can make these delicious yogurt parfaits and serve them to Mom. | Jodie Mirosovsky photo

As a child, I loved giving my mom handmade gifts I had made at school and carefully brought home to present on Sunday morning for Mother’s Day.

I was lucky enough to grow up with two grandmothers and a great grandmother nearby and I have some precious memories.

I once collected what we call “stink weed” for my Grandma Foster. I thought they were so pretty in flower, and she was kind enough to accept them and suggest that they be placed on the front step so everyone could see them. I was thrilled.

As I journeyed through life and became a parent myself, some of my favourite Mother’s Day memories are the special gifts that my children gave to me.

Along with the beautiful handpicked tulips, dandelion bouquets and even a hand-drawn portrait of myself, I would not have wished for anything else.

One year I even received a mood ring so that I could recognize when I was mad — very thoughtful. Here are some food offerings that come to mind as we enter Mother’s Day weekend. Enjoy

Slow cooker snappy chicken

A convenient and simple dish that is loaded with tangy flavor.

  • 1 c. sliced onion 250 mL
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 c. cranberry sauce 250 mL
  • 1 tbsp. beef bouillon 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. vinegar (regular or balsamic) 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. mustard 5 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt 7 mL
  • pepper to taste

Place onion in slow cooker. Arrange chicken over the onion. Combine cranberry sauce, bouillon powder, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.

Spoon over chicken. Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours or high for three to four. You can also roast the chicken in the oven at 350 F (180 C) for approximately one hour. Enjoy this chicken with a potato dish or steamed rice. Add some seasonal green, with roasted fresh asparagus on the side.

Roast fresh asparagus

Each year we savour the flavour of the fresh asparagus that we snap from our own patch.

  • 20 asparagus spears, rinsed (if picking fresh, remember to just snap off the spears by hand, in order to get only the tender part of the plant)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil 45 mL
  • 2 tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional but worth the flavour) 30 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 2 mL
  • 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice 15 mL

Preheat an oven to 350 F (180 C).

Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (if desired), salt, and pepper. Arrange the asparagus on a prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake in the oven until just tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.

Here are three dessert choices to go with the menu. The tart and chocolate sauce must be made together ahead of time. And the parfait could be assembled and served by kids who want to make something for Mom without worrying about safety. So many options.

Yogurt parfaits

This easy dessert is great for kids who want to make something for Mom.

Fill a small serving bowl or parfait dish with a yogurt of your choice, preferably a high protein variety such as Greek, which is also a low or no sugar variety (check the label but do not use any artificially sweetened yogurt).

I prefer plain, vanilla or honey flavoured. Oikos, Liberte and Kirkland are my favourites because they are less runny.

Sprinkle fresh fruit over the yogurt. You can do a few layers if desired. Boost nutrients and fibre by topping the fruit with some hemp seed or ground flax seed or maybe some grated dark chocolate over the fruit. Try the Co-op Pure Dark Chocolate Bar, my new favourite. Get creative.

Next are some options that could be made and given away as gifts or served to your special guests.

Fresh fruit tart

Crust:

  • 1/2 c. butter, softened 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. sugar 60 mL
  • 1 c. flour 250 mL

Filling:

  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese 250 g
  • 1/4 c. white sugar 60 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL

Topping:

  • 4 c. fresh prepared fruit (I use seasonal berries, such as sliced strawberries and blueberries that are dry so the crust does not get soggy. Halved grapes would be good also) 1 L

Glaze:

  • 2 tbsp. corn starch 30 mL
  • 1 c. orange or pineapple juice 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

Mix the butter, icing sugar and flour together and press onto an ungreased pizza pan. Bake for eight to 10 minutes. Cool.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together and gently spread over the cooled crust. Place the prepared fruit on the filling. Get creative for presentation. Kids would love to do this.

In a small sauce pan, combine the cornstarch, juice, and sugar. Heat on medium, stirring often until thickened. Cool for a few minutes and carefully pour over fruit. Chill and slice just before serving.

Homemade chocolate sauce

This is a standby dessert that can be made in a hurry. It was my Aunt Alma’s recipe and I always loved it when she served it to me. Ah, fond memories.

  • 2 tbsp. butter 30 mL
  • 2 c. white sugar 500 mL
  • 1/4 c. flour 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa (heaping) 30 mL
  • 2 c. water 500 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. salt .5 mL
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla 15 mL

Mix all of the ingredients together in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring often until bubbles form on top.

Once bubbled, simmer to let the sauce thicken and serve when cool enough. Perfect over rich vanilla ice cream. Add some sliced bananas and/or fresh berries if desired.

Lemon bars

These bars must be done ahead of time. A great springtime treat.

Crust:

  • 1 c. butter, melted 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 10 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 2 c. plus
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour 530 mL

Lemon Filling:

  • 2 c. granulated sugar 500 mL
  • 1/4 c. plus
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour 90 mL
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 c. lemon juice (about 4 lemons) 250 mL
  • icing sugar for dusting, optional but pretty

Preheat the oven to 325 F (160 C).

Line the bottom and sides of a 9 × 13 (22 X 33 cm) baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift out the finished bars.

For the crust, mix the melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir to combine.

This dough is quite thick. Press firmly into the prepared pan until the dough is spread evenly. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

Remove from the oven. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the warm crust (not all the way through the crust, however).

Next, in a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until completely combined.

Pour filling over the crust. Bake the bars for 22-26 minutes or until the centre is set and no longer moves. Remove bars from the oven and cool completely. This will take a few hours. Then refrigerate another hour before removing from the pan. Once chilled, lift out of the pan using the paper, dust with icing sugar if desired and cut. Refrigerate leftovers.

Once cool, lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares before serving. Cover and store leftover lemon bars in the refrigerator for up to one week.

For best results, bake in a glass or ceramic baking dish. Source: www.sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chocolate Filled Chip Cookies

The decadent chocolate ganache centre takes this cookie to a whole new level. The recipe takes more time than a regular chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate centre:

  • 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. milk (not skim for best results) 60 mL

For the cookies:

  • 1 1/4 c. flour 300 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1 mL
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. white sugar 60 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 1 c. chocolate chips 250 mL

For the chocolate centre:

In a double boiler or microwave safe dish melt the chocolate and milk together, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.

Allow ganache to cool until set then roll into balls about the size of a nickel.

Freeze until firm.

For the cookies:

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and add in brown and white sugars.

Add in egg and vanilla and mix well.

Mix in flour mixture and chocolate chips until fully combined, but do not overmix.

Set dough in fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 300 F (150 C).

Scoop dough into about 1/2 tbsp. balls.

Gently push frozen chocolate ball into the centre of the dough and pinch dough closed to seal it. Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20-22 minutes. Makes one dozen cookies. Source: www.cookcraftlove.com

Ginger sprinkles

I cannot pass up these cookies at Mother’s Day. Each year I made them for my grandmother because she always loved ginger. We loved sharing them over a cup of tea.

  • 3/4 c. butter 175 mL
  • 1 c. brown sugar 250 mL
  • 1/4 c. molasses 60 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c. flour 500 mL
  • 2 tsp. baking soda 10 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 5 mL
  • dash each nutmeg and cloves

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and prepare a baking sheet.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, molasses and egg until combined and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, measure the flour, soda, salt and spices into a bowl and blend.

Stir into the creamed mixture and shape the dough into balls of about 1 inch (2.5 cm).

Roll the dough in white sugar and place about two inches (five cm) on the baking sheet. Bake for eight minutes.

Cool. Serve with a cool glass of milk or hot tea or coffee. Makes one dozen cookies. Easily doubled if necessary.

Peanut butter cookie bars

This is an alternative way to make a batch of cookies — a non-flour sweet treat, great for on the go.

  • 1/2 c. butter 125 mL
  • 1 c. white sugar 250 mL
  • 1 c. brown sugar 250 mL
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. peanut butter 375 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 2 tsp. baking soda 10 mL
  • 4 1/2 c. oatmeal 1.125 L
  • 3 tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional but nutritious) 45 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips 375 mL

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

Cream the butter and sugars together. Add eggs and peanut butter and mix. Stir in vanilla, baking soda, oatmeal and flaxseed if desired. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread it in a lightly greased 10 x 15 inch pan bake for 25 minutes. Don’t over bake or it will be too dry.

One more thought: Relaxation bath mix

A warm bath is a great way to pamper yourself. Adding this mix will help you to detoxify, while moisturizing your skin. Don’t have time for a long bath, just soak your feet. This mix in a beautiful jar makes a great gift. My daughter gave me a manicure and pedicure one year that started with this soaking mix. It was heaven.

  • 1 c. Epson salts 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. baking soda 125 mL

Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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