Chef's Hat: Cook for Mom to show your appreciation
The Mother's Day holiday has been celebrated for more than 100 years.
An interesting fact about this holiday is that Anna Jarvis (the lady who came up with the idea for Mother's Day) later criticized it and wanted the holiday recalled. Jarvis felt the greeting card companies and flower shops were commercializing this day that was supposed to be a time when individuals showed their appreciation to their mothers.
So if you're looking for a non-commercial way to show your mom how important she is in your life, you can't go wrong by cooking her a great breakfast.
Almost anyone can make French toast, but to make really good French toast you need to start with the "right" bread. The bread has to be robust or more simply put - some type of thick, crunchy bread that can absorb the egg custard without falling apart.
The best types of bread - brioche, challah, French or Italian (or slightly stale and crisp sandwich bread) are best for French toast. These breads work best because they can soak up the egg mixture without becoming soggy. After cooking they will end up with a moist inside, and a crispy, slightly crunchy exterior.
Not in the mood for French toast? There's nothing better than a tater tot hotdish. The Smoky Tater Tot Hotdish recipe is ideal for any special occasion, especially Mother's Day. It is an easy dish to prepare.
The original recipe came with the suggestion of putting a fried egg on top. That step can be left out and the dish can be served alone, or alongside your choice of eggs.
Trying to avoid the commercialism this Mother's Day? Instead of shopping, cook Mom a great homestyle breakfast that the whole family will enjoy. Happy Eating!
Smoky Tater Tot Hotdish
Adapted from gooddhousekeeping.com
½ pound frozen tater tots
4 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced (can use canned if you don't have fresh)
¼ cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
½ of a medium red onion, finely chopped
½ cup ham, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Fried egg, for serving (if desired)
Nonstick cooking spray
In a large bowl, toss together tater tots, mushrooms, red peppers, onion, ham, olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper.
Lightly spray a large-rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the tater tot mixture onto the baking sheet. Spread out so there is just a single layer of potatoes on the sheet.
Bake at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. About halfway through the cooking time, remove from the oven and turn the mixture so it cooks evenly. When done, the potatoes will be lightly browned.
Place onto individual serving dishes. If desired, place a fried egg on top of each serving.
Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast
Adapted from goodhousekeeping.com
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons strawberry jam
1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon cinnamon
8 ½-inch-thick sliced brioche, French bread, Italian bread or stale bread
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Nonstick cooking spray
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Place cream cheese and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. With mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese with vanilla until smooth. Stir in strawberry jam.
In a large, shallow dish, whisk milk, eggs and cinnamon.
Spread the cheese mixture on one side of the bread slices. Divide the strawberries among 4 slices; top with another bread slice. Press the bread lightly together forming a sandwich. It will make 4 sandwiches.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet on medium; spray lightly with cooking spray. Dip sandwiches into egg mixture, turning to soak both sides. Place two sandwiches in skillet; cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown.
Transfer to a plate; keep warm in oven at 200 degree while cooking remaining sandwiches. Dust with confectioners' sugar; serve with maple syrup and more strawberries.