Serious Eats

Serious Entertaining: What To Make For Your Mother on Mother's Day

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Every year on Mother's Day, I remember the wise words of Calvin who wakes his mom up extra early to deliver a card that starts by lamenting the fact that his meager allowance won't allow him to get her the flowers she deserves, and concludes with:

Happy Mother's Day to you.
There, I said it. Now I'm done.
So how 'bout getting out of bed,
and cooking breakfast for your son?

I remember those words, but I don't act on them (mostly because I was never really a fan of my mom's breakfast anyway). Instead, it's a far better idea to get off your butt, order some flowers, and pamper your mother or perhaps the mother of your children or even the mother of your puppies like she deserves.

Here's one way it can go down.

Breakfast: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

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[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

Let's face it. You're probably not going to impress mom, who has been feeding you before you were even born, by whipping out the big guns like eggs Benedict or steak and eggs with freshly squeezed mango juice. That's morning-after-first-real-date material. For Mother's Day, better to keep it simple, light, and delicious. Something so easy you can't possibly mess it up. Something like these lemon ricotta pancakes.

Lunch: Asparagus and Ramp Soup with Yogurt

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Mother's Day falls right in the middle of spring this year, just like it does every year, which makes planning a seasonally-based dish a snap. This easy Asparagus and Ramp Soup with Yogurt is one of my favorite light ways to enjoy the spring. Asparagus is at its sweetest and most flavorful, and yogurt is a great way to add creaminess and tang without weighing things down.

Oh, and if you aren't lucky enough to live in the Northeast, the recipe will work quite well with young spring onions or scallions.

Dinner: Roast Chicken with Asparagus and Leeks

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Another dish that falls into the ultra-simple-but-ultra-delicious category. Six ingredients total, including salt and olive oil. 20 minutes of active prep time. An hour start to finish, and it's a main course and side dish all built into one.

Easy Roast Chicken with Asparagus and Leeks is the ultimate overachiever in the world of easy dinners. Didn't your mom always want an overachiever?

Dessert: Berry Trifle

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[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

After a long day of cooking for the woman responsible for bringing you into this world, the last thing you want to do is get back up to slave over dessert. Make-ahead is the way to go, and if there is a king of the made-ahead-but-still-impressive desserts category, it's the trifle. Layers of cream, sponge cake, berries, and booze (you need to get poor ol' mama to nod off somehow, right?) stacked inside a pretty glass trifle dish (or if you want to be extra fancy, you can build 'em up individually inside sundae cups or wine glasses).

This Berry Trifle should do you nicely.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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