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easy meals to make when entertaining on mother's day

Make-Ahead Menus for Easy Entertaining on Mother’s Day

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On Mother’s Day I host a brunch or lunch for my mother and mother-in-law. My sister usually pops by as well, and occasionally my sisters-in-law also stop in for a bite. The idea of entertaining on a day that’s supposed to be ‘just for me’ seems crazy to some, but the way I see it is that I get to spend time cooking, which I love, and instead of dragging my family around the city to visit our loved ones all day, they come to us, stay for a few hours, and then we have the remainder of the day to do something fun on our own. I think it’s a win-win situation for all involved and we look forward to it each year.

The secret to putting together a stress-free meal on Mother’s Day is to do most of the work ahead of time so you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen. No matter how much you love to cook, you don’t want to be stuck by the stove for hours on a (hopefully) sunny Sunday.

Should you have plans to entertain, or want to leave some guidance for those who may be cooking for you, here are a few make-ahead menus for this coming Sunday.

Brunch:

Round out the meal with fresh fruit and a berry punch, both of which can be prepared in advance.

Lunch:

  • Picnic chicken salad: Feel free to use rotisserie chicken in this recipe and make the sandwich filling up to a day in advance.
  • Fruity spinach salad: Spinach is best served immediately but it can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. The salad dressing can be made up to five days in advance.
  • Cold-Pressed Iced Coffee: Can be made up to one week in advance. Serve with milk, cream and liquid sweetener.
  • Whole grain chocolate chip cookies: Prepare the dough and form the cookie dough balls up several days in advance and place in the freezer. Pop in the oven and bake just before serving. You may need to add 1-2 minutes to the baking time.

Dinner:

  • No-knead bread: Not only can this bread be made a day in advance, it’s also a completely hands-off recipe requiring very little time and attention.
  • Roasted asparagus with crunchy lemon topping: Make the breadcrumb topping and allow it to cool completely. It can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 8 hours.
  • Rigatoni with pork ragu: The sauce can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge until needed. Reheat gently in a covered pot set over medium-low heat.
  • Pavlova nests with lemon curd and berries: The lemon curd can be made up to three days in advance and the pavlova nests can be prepared a day before they’re needed.

If you want to serve an appetizer to go with your dinner, a simple platter filled with veggies and a fresh dip will be just enough to go with this hearty meal.

What are your plans for Mother’s Day this year? Are you cooking for anyone or hoping your family cooks for you?

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