Mother’s Day Dinner
Mother’s Day Dinner calls for something more special than everyday weeknight recipes. You need something that’s not only make-ahead, but also festive and celebrates spring. That means lots of gorgeous, colorful, fresh sides. But don’t go underestimating mom’s ability to dig into a delectable, hearty main dish, too. We love the idea of serving up elegant Spicy Steamed Mussels or Chard-Stuffed Pork Chops with Green Beans. Consider serving some sort of nice bread and olive oil to snack on while dinner is being prepared (may we suggest our Garlic-Rosemary Monkey Bread?). And don’t forget a homemade dessert—there’s nothing quite like a gorgeous cake, even if it’s a simple one like our Brown Sugar Banana Cake. Finally, a festive bubbly cocktail will take your feast over the top. Citrus and Mint Champagne punch serves a crowd and can be made-ahead, so you can assemble much of it the day before. If you do need to cut down on prep time, it’s totally okay to skip the cocktail and pick up a bottle of wine (or hey, some nice craft beer if that’s mom’s thing) to stand in. At the end of the day, if you cook up a bountiful, gorgeous spread and set it out on the dinner table, you won’t need many decorations in addition. Even on everyday serving dishes, this menu creates a spread that’s so full of different colors and textures no one will notice if you don’t roll out a tablecloth.
Fregola With Charred Onions and Dill
This light but satisfying dish falls somewhere in between a side and a salad. Fregola is a variety of small toasted pasta that originally hails from Sardinia. Compared to normal couscous, it’s heavier and nuttier. Find it next to the other pastas in the supermarket; a great substitute is Israeli couscous. You can make this dish completely ahead of time, and just before serving, melt the dill butter and toss with the cooked fregola and charred onions. Spread out the salad on a large platter if you have one, and top it with pretty frilly fresh dill.
Get the recipe: Fregola With Charred Onions and Dill
Crispy New Potatoes With Oregano and Garlic
There’s no beating these first of the season spuds, which arrive in the spring and stick around through early summer. They have a delicate, slightly sweet flavor and creamy texture. If you don’t spot them, fingerling potatoes, baby red potatoes, or baby Yukon Gold potatoes will do. We love this recipe because it makes for some of the crispiest potatoes we’ve ever tasted. If you want to work ahead, you can boil the potatoes and make the mustard vinaigrette in advance. However, you’ll want to fry them right before serving so they’re hot and crackling.
Get the recipe: Crispy New Potatoes With Oregano and Garlic
English Pea and Radish Salad With Celery and Miso
This dish is all pretty pastels. Thinly sliced radishes add that pop of pink color against a background of green English peas, sliced celery, celery leaves, and mint leaves. It’s an incredibly quick and simple recipe to make, clocking in at just 15 minutes total time. Most of the work you’ll need to do is select gorgeous produce, so be sure to carefully inspect all of the ingredients when you’re buying them to make sure they’re fresh, vibrant, and blemish-free. You can slice the vegetables a day ahead of time and store them in ice water and make the dressing ahead, too.
Get the recipe: English Pea and Radish Salad With Celery and Miso
Garlic-Rosemary Monkey Bread
Thanks to a genius shortcut, store bought refrigerated buttermilk biscuits, this buttery pull-apart bread is made with only 6 ingredients (you’d never guess). You can make the bread in the morning—it takes less than an hour—leave it in the bundt pan, and gently reheat right before serving. Drizzle it with olive oil and finish with flaky salt for a final ta-da. Everyone will enjoy pulling apart the results, which are crispy on the outside and tender and airy on the inside. You might want to make a double batch, because this “loaf” will be devoured in minutes.
Get the recipe: Garlic-Rosemary Monkey Bread
Spicy Steamed Mussels
The best thing about mussels is that they’re inexpensive, easy to cook, and totally impressive. These steamed mussels are tender and juicy, and get dished up in a spicy buttery sauce. Serve heaping bowls with toasted craggy bread to soak up the extra broth, but don’t forget an extra bowl for discarding the shells. When you’re shopping, seek out mussels with no cracked or chipped shells. Tap each shell on the counter before cooking and if it doesn’t close, discard it. Be careful when you’re cleaning them, you’ll want to rinse them, scrubbing if necessary, under cool running water to remove any sand. There’s nothing worse than getting a big bite of grit.
Get the recipe: Spicy Steamed Mussels
Chard-Stuffed Pork Chops with Green Beans
Pork chops are a brilliant addition to Mother’s Day dinner because they’re hearty and satisfying, but still elegant. It might seem easy to cook a pork chop but it can be tough to get a great sear and keep it tender and juicy on the inside. This recipe helps you achieve those results because the pork chops are stuffed with slices of provolone cheese that infuse the meat with extra juiciness as it cooks. Cut a slit in the side of each pork chop by placing your hand flat on top of it and cutting into it with a chef’s knife. Press down gently on the chop as it cooks so it browns evenly.
Get the recipe: Chard-Stuffed Pork Chops with Green Beans
Citrus and Mint Champagne Punch
Dazzle party guests with this big batch cocktail that’s topped off with a sparkly splash. The cocktail only has six ingredients but is totally tasty. Floral, tart champagne pairs delightfully with lime, mint, and lemon, and the gin adds a piney juniper punch. One of our favorite parts about this recipe? Its make ahead components. You can make the mint simple syrup up to a week in advance and refrigerate it in an airtight container. And you can stir the entire cocktail together, minus the champagne and garnishes, a few hours before dinner.
Get the recipe: Citrus and Mint Champagne Punch
Brown Sugar Banana Cake
We love this cake because it’s the best of a sheet cake and a classic loaf of banana bread. In other words, it has a tender cake-like crumb, but isn’t overly sweet. The flavor is intensely banana-y, in fact there are whole bananas that you lay right across the batter so they sink into the cake. Right before baking you top the whole cake with brown sugar, which turns into a crispy caramelized layer in the oven. The cake is an ideal way to finish a big, filling dinner: it’s something sweet and festive but it’s not too heavy (especially because it’s not laden with piles of rich frosting).
Get the recipe: Brown Sugar Banana Cake