Not too late to plan a perfect Mother’s Day

Tips and recipe ideas to make Mother's Day special for the whole family.

Cheerful Mother's Day Display at Von's Grocery, Glendale, California - Image by Chef Mary Moran -
Cheerful Mother's Day Display at Von's Grocery, Glendale, California - Image by Chef Mary Moran -

LOS ANGELES, May 9th, 2015 – Mother’s Day is on Sunday, are you ready? Flowers, gifts, a great meal and lot’s of attention is needed this weekend.

Everyday the women in our lives have cooked for us, cleaned after us, listened to us, guided us, been there for us and more importantly loved us over the years. Whether they ask for attention or not please still give it to them. Our mother’s have been there for us we asked for it or not.

Here is a guide to help the woman in your life feel loved and appreciated.

A mother with newborns or babies:

Start their day by taking the morning shift, the mid morning shift and the late morning shift. Have the bathtub cleaned out and let her soak until she is ready to get out. Then fix her a hot breakfast, it doesn’t have to be elaborate, it just has to be good. Try making scrambled eggs, juice, a fresh bagel and sweet fruit with tea or coffee.
Have a gift for mom. It does not have to be elaborate. A book by a favorite author, a decadent favorite treat or a bright bouquet. Whatever the gift is, make sure it reflects her and says “I know you and what you like.”

Gift her with her favorite robe, or college sweats, and point her to a chair, the back yard, wherever she likes to be.

The rest of the day do what ever you can to help her with normal chores; laundry, cleaning and making sure all of the meals are planned. Don’t forget a sweet card from you and your baby.

Lastly, make a feel good dinner like: chicken and dumplings, roast chicken and vegetables or pasta with a light Bolognese sauce and a green salad.

A mother with children under 5:

Wake up with the children, letting your wife sleep until she wakes up. Take care of the children, including breakfast, brushed teeth, make the beds together. If you’re planning a big breakfast, or lunch depending on when she wakes up, for everyone you should still give your kids something to tied them over.

Plan a family outing planned that works for everyone – from a simple walk with a stop at the park to a journey to the zoo. Whatever it is, its about being with the family, no where you go or what you do. Just that you go and do.
Now is a great age to start teaching our children that the greatest gift is of themselves and guide them to doing a chore they see mom doing all the time – from picking up toys to helping you clean the kitchen.

Hopefully you thought ahead a little and have helped in the creation of a card and flowers for mom.
An idea for dad is to try give mom a gift card to somewhere she loves, the movies, a nail appointment or hair appointment, with a date on the card.

It will allow her to know you have planned to give her some quiet time and you’ve made time for her to actually go.

Lastly don’t forget dinner, make something delicious that’s just for grown ups. Mother’s eat a lot of leftover chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, so give them something that’s more sophisticated like: sage prosciutto chicken, seared steaks or salmon tacos with mango salsa.

A mother with children under 10:

Wake up before everyone, make breakfast and set the table. Bring your wife coffee or tea in bed and just relax until everyone is up or you’re ready for them to wake up.

After breakfast plan an outing that the kids will tolerate but is really for mom, like visiting a museum, going shopping or whatever else you can all do as a family. Grab lunch someplace that will entertain the kids, so the adults can have a moment alone.

The gift: give something pretty like jewelry, a new outfit or something for the house. Don’t forget to have your children give a gift as well. Try giving them an amount to spend and let them pick something out themselves.

Dinner, should be delicious, but something the kids help create like homemade pizza, chicken tacos or burritos that can be made plain to suit the kids needs and sophisticated to meet your needs.

A mother with teenagers:

Wake up before everyone and get things ready for breakfast by setting the table, putting the juice out, placing pastries on a covered plate. A favorite cup filled with coffee or tea, served in bed, will start the day off perfect. Sit, relax, maybe read through the Sunday paper.

After breakfast plan an outing that the kids will tolerate, but it’s really for mom, like visiting a museum, going shopping or whatever else you can all do as a family. The gift is important, so don’t forget flowers, cards and something special.

An idea is to try giving a gift card to somewhere she loves (the movies, a nail appointment or hair appointment) with a date on the card. It will allow her to know you have planned to give her some quiet time and you’ve made time for her to actually go.

For diner make something delicious that’s just for grown ups. If the kids have not developed a gourmet palate, plan a simple dinner for your teenage kids and then plan something special for your wife like lobsters, filets or rack of lamb paired with a delicious bottle of wine.

Remember stores like Whole Foods, or even call a local restaurant she likes, can create great meals or the sides and salads if you are not a general in the kitchen

Mother’s in general:

Mother’s love to be appreciated, so if you can’t afford much just remember to remember and everything else is bonus.
Here are a few more great recipes Chef Mary has created:
There are some great recipes like: Strawberry glazed ham and thyme biscuit, poached salmon with raita sauce and don’t forget dessert lemon curd, strawberries and vanilla cake on the Traditional Homes site and don’t forget to check out the video where Chef Mary shows some great tips for Mother’s day on how to make a trifle three ways.

We don’t always need to get out the grill to create the perfect steak.  Making seared steak allows you to also handle the tossing of salads or the plating of your ready made sides, keeping you in the house and watching the kids – and keeping mom out of the kitchen.

Pan Seared Steak - Image by Chef Mary
Pan Seared Steak – Image by Chef Mary

Pan Seared Steak

1.1 pounds grass fed strip steak
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Allow your steak to come to room temperature.
  2. Heat a cast iron grill pan (Lodge-makes a great cast iron pan) on your stovetop. (a heavy pan will work, but it must be one that can take high heat)
  3. While the pan is heating coat your steak with salt and pepper on both sides and massage it into the steaking adding olive oil and red wine vinegar to the steak massage. Let the steak sit to room temperature but still cool to the touch.
  4. When your pan is heated place your steak onto the grill pan and cook it 4 minutes and then flip it and cook the steak another 4 minutes.

Place the steak and grill pan (make sure your pan is over resistant – many plastic handles may melt at higher heats) in the oven and cook it for 8 more minutes.

Medium rare steak is 130 degrees. Medium, which is considered “safe” cooked is 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Taking the steak on an instant thermometer to 135 and letting it sit, during which it will continue to “cook” for ten minutes will result in a juicy medium rare steak that is browned on the rim but pink (not translucent red) in the middle.

Remove your steak from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.

Sage chicken makes an elegant presentation dish for mom, and gives you the ingredients (chicken breast) that you can make without all the extras for more picky eaters.

Saged Chicken - Image by Chef Mary
Saged Chicken – Image by Chef Mary

Sage chicken

Serves 4
4 chicken breasts boneless and skinless
4 – 6 slices Swiss cheese
8 sage leaves
4 thin slices of prosciutto
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

  1. Remove the prosciutto from the refrigerator to bring it up to room temperature.
  2. Pick out small perfect sage leaves and remove it as close to the stem as possible. Set aside.
  3. Cut the Swiss cheese to the same size as the chicken (you may have two pieces but they need to rest on top of and covering the breast without drooping over.
  4. Remove the chicken from the package and rinse it off with cold water. Pat it dry with a paper towel and season it with salt and pepper.
  5. Set the chicken on a baking sheet that can withstand over temperatures.
  6. Lay the chicken breasts flat and use your knife to make a cut on the side of the chicken almost to the other side of the chicken breast. Open the chicken and lay the Swiss cheese inside the chicken.
    Fold the chicken closed and place a sage leaf on top of each chicken breast presentation side up.
  7. Wrap the prosciutto around the chicken securing the sage leaf and Swiss cheese.
  8. The seam of the chicken should be on the opposite side of the presentation side.
  9. Salt and pepper each chicken breast and set them aside on the cookie sheet. .
  10. Heat a large sauté pan with olive oil, and lay the chicken breast presentation side down.
  11. Once both sides of the chicken and prosciutto are nice and crispy (this can take 6-8 minutes) remove the chicken and place them on the baking sheet or in a baking dish.
  12. Next continue to the rest of the chicken breasts. After they are all seared put them into a 325-degree oven for 10 minutes.
  13. The sage chicken is pretty just as it is, but if you want to add a touch of elegance pick small bundles of sage and leave it to one side of the plate.
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Mary Moran
Upon graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts in 2002, Chef Mary Payne Moran began her professional career shelling crabs at the world-renowned restaurant, Michael's in Santa Monica. Simultaneously, she launched her own company, Hail Mary’s, founded upon the belief that good food nurtures the soul, and began catering weddings, parties and large corporate events. In the fall of 2008, Mary began teaching her culinary skills to others. Currently she can be found at Hollywood School House teaching her after school cooking class, and teaching her popular "Vegetables or Not Here I Come" assembly. Most recently, Mary has launched another division in her company as well as a chef she is now also a Certified Nutritionist for high profile clients. She helps her clients discover their healthy way of eating. Mary has recently been published in the Los Angeles Magazine, & The New Jersey Star Ledger. Daily she addresses cooking aficionados through her blog - Cooking with Chef Mary as well as her how-to webisodes on You Tube.