My Mother’s Day brunch menu

7 05 2009
Mother's Day Brunch '05 with homemade goodies served on Grandma's china, and flowers picked from the garden

Mother's Day Brunch '05 with homemade goodies served on Grandma's china, and flowers picked from the garden

I am among those fortunate “almost-50” daughters who still have their moms around to hug this Mother’s Day. As an added bonus, my Mom happens to live nearby. So this Sunday, I’ll be in the kitchen cooking up a delicious brunch in her honor.

Lucky for me, I have a few go-to recipes for brunch, thanks to the cookbook Desperation Entertaining by Alicia Ross and Beverly Mills, an old friend of mine from my days at The Miami Herald. Coincidentally, Beverly and Alicia just this week launched a new website, Kitchen Scoop, where you can find a lot of their fast-and-easy, without-sacrificing-taste recipes.

So without much heavy mixing, I’ll be able to treat my Mom (and myself) to a great brunch. And considering that most restaurant Mother’s Day brunches start at $15 and skyrocket from there, my homemade brunch is the frugal choice as well.

To make it extra special, I will pull out the china and sterling silver flatware. Rimmed in silver and with a delicate pink flower in the center, the china was my grandmother’s. My antique silver was a gift from my Mom. I plan to add flowers from my garden and homemade place cards, the handiwork of my little girl. So four generations of women will be represented on my Mother’s Day table, making the occasion extra special. And have I mentioned frugal?

With six people at my table, we are easily saving more than $100, with a minimum of work for me. Oh, did I forget to mention…. my husband and two boys back from college will be on dishwashing duty.

In case you’re in need of inspiration, or scrambling for a last-minute recipe to fill out your Mother’s Day brunch menu, here’s my menu and a few recipes:

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole        ****        Baked Hash Browns        ****        Coffee cake        ****        Fruit salad     ****     Chocolate-dipped Strawberries   ****      Cranberry-Orange Cake   ****

Mother’s Brunch Casserole

8 slices white loaf bread

1 pound thinly sliced deli ham

6 large eggs                                        

2 cups milk

1/2 tsp. onion salt

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

cooking oil spray

3 cups (12 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

4 Tbsp. butter

3 cups cornflakes

The day before, cut the bread and ham into bite-size pieces. Break eggs into a medium-size mixing bowl and whisk well. Whisk in milk, onion salt and mustard. Spray 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Scatter bread pieces evenly in dish, then scatter ham and cheese over bread. Pour egg mixture over contents of baking dish and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

On Mother’s Day, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place butter in a large glass measuring cup, cover and microwave about 45 seconds. Place cornflakes in large freezer-weight zip-top bag and crush with your hands or a rolling pin. Add melted butter and shake vigorously. Sprinkle cornflakes over casserole. Bake uncovered about 45 minutes, until lightly browned and eggs are set. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes.

This recipe is from Desperation Entertaining and I kid you not, I have made it at least 25 times, if not more. It is delicious. Of course, being the frugal person I am, I am known to make-do in the kitchen, tinkering with the recipe as need be. (My apologies to Beverly and Alicia!) I have used Egg Beaters in place of eggs; a little squeeze of mustard out of the bottle instead of dry mustard. I’ve also used any type of bread and cheese I’ve had on hand. Each time, the casserole has turned out fabulously.

Fastest Fruit Salad

1 15 1/4-ounce can pineapple tidbits

1 15-ounce can mandarin oranges

2 medium Granny Smith apples, chopped

2 medium Red Delicious apples, chopped

2 kiwi fruit

Put pineapple tidbits and juice in large serving bowl. Drain mandarin oranges and add them to pineapple. Rinse, core and cut apples into bite-size pieces. Leave skin on for color. Stir apples into orange-pineapple mixture to prevent discoloring. Peel and slice kiwi and mix in.

This fruit salad looks festive on the table and is delicious — and it can be made any time of year. In a pinch, I’ve made this without the kiwi but it’s much better with it. I’ve also used different types of apples, but I’ve always had some red and some green for presentation. The recipe also comes from Desperation Entertaining.

Cinnamon-Swirl Sour Cream Coffee Cake

4 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sugar

8 ounces sour cream

1 yellow cake mix

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

cooking oil spray

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp. cold butter

Beat eggs in large mixing bowl for 1 minute. Add oil, sugar, sour cream and cake mix. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Stir together 1/3 cup of the brown sugar with 2 tsp. of the cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Spray 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray.

Pour about half of cake batter into baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over batter. Pour remaining batter over the cinnamon-sugar and spread it out evenly.

Make a topping with the remaining brown sugar and cinnamon, and the flour. Stir to blend. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives. Sprinkle evenly over bake batter.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes at 325 degrees in a glass baking pan or 350 degrees in a metal pan.

This coffee cake, also from Desperation Entertaining, can be assembled and refrigerated a day in advance of baking. It is so easy to make and tastes homemade. No one ever needs to know it started with a cake mix — unless, of course, you’re like me and want to brag that you got the cake mix for free with a coupon.

To lighten it up a bit, I have used Egg Beaters, applesauce and light sour cream. And once again, it has always turned out delicious.

I would love to hear what’s on your menu for Mother’s Day. Leave a comment and please include your favorite brunch recipe.









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