In anticipation of Mother’s Day, we asked staffers in Food Network Kitchen to share favorite recipes from their mothers (and grandmothers, too). Their personal picks ranged from classic Chocolate Pudding and creamy Cheesecake to bright Vietnamese Chicken Salad and hearty Pasta e Fagioli, all of which prompted us to clean our plates and politely ask for more during tastings in the test kitchen. One thing’s for sure: These moms raised some amazing cooks. Share one of their recipes with your mom this Mother’s Day, or get inspired by the staffers’ stories and treat her to a favorite dish from your own childhood.
Mom’s Chocolate Pudding
This pudding, made with a mix of cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate, was a favorite childhood treat of Food Network test kitchen manager Claudia Sidoti, who says the dessert “makes me remember my mom and all the fun and nostalgia of my childhood in the 1960s and ’70s.”
While it may be a Monday, it’s also Cinco de Mayo, which means that as you’re indulging in a platter of tacos or a bowl of creamy, cool guacamole, it’s only fitting to mix up a refreshing cocktail to pair with it. Margaritas often steal the show come Cinco de Mayo — and for good reason, given that they’re endlessly versatile — but there are surely other sippers to celebrate the day. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite adults-only cocktails worthy of Cinco de Mayo below; each is easy to prepare and guaranteed to impress your friends at tonight’s fiesta.
Whether you like it on the rocks or chilled and frosty, the margarita with a base of tequila is a Mexican must-have. Most traditional recipes, including that for the Classic Margaritas featured above from Food Network Magazine, showcase a base of tequila and plenty of fresh lime juice, but the cocktail can be dressed up with other fruit juices or blended to become a frozen concoction. Browse photos of 10 Cinco de Mayo Margaritas to find more inspiration and get the how-tos for making them at home.
While you could indeed drink your margarita, there’s also the option of eating it — in the form of a gelatin shot. Made with just a handful of ingredients, Lime-Shaped Margarita Gelatin Shots are bright-green party bites that use hollowed-out limes as a mold for an extra-special presentation.
While Mexican-inspired meals, like tacos, quesadillas and tortilla soup, may be in frequent dinner rotation in your home, there’s perhaps no better day of the year to cook them up than today, Cinco de Mayo. Celebrate the event with an impromptu fiesta complete with an inspired spread featuring rich refried beans, Rachael’s fresh guacamole and Alton’s tres leches cake for dessert. As a main course, skip such meaty dishes as fajitas and burritos and instead focus on chiles rellenos; showcasing peppers and cheese, these over-the-top indulgences are often naturally vegetarian.
Food Network Kitchen’s top-rated Chiles Rellenos (pictured above) is a fan-favorite recipe packed with the bold flavors of poblano peppers and tomato sauce spiced with a serrano chile. After charring the poblanos, stuff them with Mexican string cheese and dunk them in flour and a cumin beer batter to create the light coating ideal for deep-frying. The key to making these chiles lies in the stuffing process; after filling them with cheese, it’s important to seal the openings shut with a toothpick so the cheese doesn’t seep out into the oil. Serve these crispy, golden-brown beauties atop the smooth tomato sauce for an impressive plate worthy of Cinco de Mayo.
This morning’s episode of The Kitchen was largely dedicated to Cinco de Mayo — plus mayonnaise at times — so the co-hosts came together to host a celebratory fiesta complete with warm, sweet churros, more than 50 types of tacos and a colorful pinata. While on the set of the show recently, FN Dish caught up with Marcela Valladolid to get her take on Cinco ahead of Monday’s holiday. Read on below to learn her tips for pulling off a Mexican-themed bash at home, and find out how she puts her signature spin on traditional eats and drinks, then check out her top-rated recipe for Tres Leches Cake (pictured above).
How do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo in your home?
Marcela Valladolid: I don’t. … Nobody in all of Mexico celebrates Cinco de Mayo. … Many folks on this side of the border confuse it with Mexican independence day, which is actually Sept. 16. … I didn’t really start getting into the holiday until I moved to the U.S. about five years ago, to San Diego. ‘Cause in downtown San Diego, it’s huge. It’s margaritas all over the place. Growing up in Mexico, I was like, it’s so crazy that they’re even celebrating, but now I like to embrace the fact that they’re just celebrating Mexican culture, and there’s such wonderful beauty about that.
We have friends who host an annual Cinco de Mayo party. Because of my book tour schedule, we’re not going to be able to make the hour plus drive out for the festivities this year. I’m sad to miss the chance to catch up with them and to dig in to the exceptionally good spread of food they always cook up.
Since we’re missing out on carne asada and the largest bowl of guacamole I’ve ever seen, I’ve been plotting a substitute meal. It won’t be as festive and community-oriented as our gathering of friends, but it will calm the worst of the Tex Mex cravings.
As my starting place, I’m using Ree Drummond’s recipe for Brisket Tostadas. She has you marinate and then braise a large hunk of brisket until it’s tender and shred-able. Once the meat is ready, layer it on toasted corn tortillas with cheese, black beans, salsa and cubed avocado. Perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration and your very next Weekender.
It’s one of the few meals out there associated with a sound. The gratifying sizzzzle of a piping-hot skillet loaded with tortilla-ready add-ins signifies the arrival of one of our favorite hands-on dishes: fajitas. Lay out grilled veggies, cheese, pico de gallo and more on the table, and let your guests assemble the taco of their dreams. Along with salt-rimmed margaritas, bowls of guac and more, there is no better headliner for your Cinco de Mayo menu.
Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away, and if you haven’t yet decided on a gift for Mom, there’s still time to commit to making her an extra-special meal at home. While holiday dinners carry with them a certain level of pressure, daytime get-togethers can be casual and relaxing, which makes Sunday brunch an ideal time to celebrate Mom. For a go-to brunch option that can feed a crowd, try making hearty quiche; it’s an egg-based main that’s often baked, so there’s no need to cook guests’ scrambles or over-easy eggs to order. Plus, quiche is endlessly versatile, as you can add nearly any cheese, vegetable or meat you happen to have on hand. Check out Food Network’s top-five quiche picks below to find deliciously satisfying recipes from Alton, Trisha, Bobby and more of your favorite chefs.
5. Mini Chorizo Quiches — Start with buttery crusts and fill them with a bold mixture of chorizo, Manchego, potatoes and eggs to create individual servings of Marcela’s Mexican-inspired quiche.
4. Crepe Quiche Lorraine — Instead of baking his bacon-and-cheddar-laced quiches inside a tart crust, Alton builds them inside herb-studded crepes, which support the egg-based center when assembled in a muffin tin.
Easter is tomorrow, and for my family that means one thing: lots of hard-boiled eggs. We love to decorate them (see some of my fun ideas here), hunt for them and, of course, eat them. We always have a ton leftover, and over the years I’ve developed a number of strategies for breezing through even the most copious of hard-boiled-egg inventories. As Monday morning rolls around, take that basket full of colorful hard-boiled eggs sitting in your fridge and try these recipe ideas ranging from classic to never-before-seen.
Traditional Ideas, with a Twist:
— Deviled Eggs: Try some new flavor profiles such as an all-time favorite, Barbecue Ranch, or top deviled eggs with an upscale ingredient like a dab of caviar or some tuna tartare.
Think outside the Easter basket this holiday and make a sugar-cookie bunny hutch to hold all your favorite candies and chocolates (thanks to a detachable roof). These step-by-step photo how-tos will make baking and building this cookie creation a fun activity for the whole family. Kids can help mix the dough, hold the paper templates on the dough while adults cut, and cut out the cookies with cookie cutters.