Mother's Day dinner delivers on demand

I. L(O)VE. U.

May 08, 1991|By Sherrie Clinton | Sherrie Clinton,Evening Sun Staff

SAY "I LOVE you" on Mother's Day with an I.O.U. good for on dinner any night your mom chooses.

Pamper your mom with one of the most valuable gifts of all -- extra time. Perhaps your mother could use a special dinner one busy evening after work or maybe she'd like to relax on Saturday, knowing she won't have to worry about dinner that night.

This luxurious menu, featuring chicken Cordon Bleu and rice pilaf, is also easy on the gift-giver because each dish can be made at least 24 hours in advance.

Deliver the meal to your mom, preferably in a picnic hamper or other decorative container, with fresh, store-bought rolls, a bouquet of fresh flowers and a good bottle of wine.

All your mom has to do is reheat two dishes in the microwave and enjoy the rest straight out of the refrigerator or at room temperature.

A simple, elegant appetizer would be shrimp sauteed in a little olive oil or white wine until translucent. Allow about one-quarter pound of shrimp per person. Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails on, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance. Be sure to include a bottle of good quality cocktail sauce in your Mother's Day basket.

A generous supply of chocolate truffles, delicately flavored with orange liqueur, will conclude the meal with style. These rich, creamy truffles rival any store-bought candy you can find -- including the $50-a-pound stuff.

This menu serves four which means your mom could have leftovers for another night -- a nice bonus -- or, if you play your cards right, you might get invited to dinner.

Green Bean Vinaigrette

1 to 1 1/2 pounds green beans, tipped and tailed, cooked tender-crisp

1 bottle good quality oil and vinegar salad dressing

Additional vinegar, if desired

Fresh herbs, such as oregano, chives or mint, washed and torn into tiny pieces

Add all ingredients, except additional vinegar, to a covered bowl, shake and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.

Add additional vinegar to taste (raspberry or a white wine vinegar are nice) if necessary. Serve at room temperature.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned, halved

2 ounces ( 1/2 cup) shredded Swiss cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped boiled ham

Salt if desired

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup dry bread crumbs

Oil for frying

Place one chicken breast-half, boned side up, between two pieces of plastic wrap. Working from the center, lightly pound breast with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about one-eighth to one-quarter-inch thick; remove wrap. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

In small bowl, combine cheese and ham. Sprinkle chicken breast lightly with salt; spread with mustard. Place scant one-quarter cup of cheese mixture on center of each breast. Bring one end of breast over cheese mixture. Fold in sides; roll up jelly roll fashion, pressing ends to seal. Cover; refrigerate at least one hour. In medium bowl, combine egg and water. In shallow pan, combine flour and one-quarter teaspoon salt. Coat chicken with flour mixture; dip in egg mixture. Roll in crumbs. Cover; refrigerate at least one hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In small skillet, heat one-inch oil over medium heat. Fry each chicken roll about two minutes or until golden brown. Place in ungreased eight-inch (two-quart) square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Make up to 24 hours in advance.

Makes four servings. Reheating instructions: place chicken cordon bleu, two at a time, in a microwave safe container. Cover with microwave safe plastic wrap, folding back one corner to vent. Heat on medium power for two to three minutes at a time, rotating container frequently until chicken is warm. Actual reheating time depends on individual microwave ovens.

-- Adapted from "The Pillsbury Cookbook" -- Doubleday; 1989, $12.95

Confetti Rice Pilaf

2 cups water

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

1 chicken-flavored bouillon cube

3/4 uncooked regular long grain rice

1/2 cup coarsely grated carrot

1/2 cup sliced celery

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

In medium saucepan, heat water, margarine and bouillon cube to boiling. Stir to dissolve bouillon cube. Add rice, carrot, celery and onion, mix well. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Add peas; cook an additional five minutes. Makes four servings. Rice can be made up to 48 hours in advance.

Reheating directions: Place rice in microwave-safe casserole and cover. Cook on high allowing about one minute per cup.

-- Adapted from "The Pillsbury Cookbook" -- Doubleday; 1989, $12.95

Orange Truffles

1/2 pound good quality semisweet chocolate (chopped if in bars)

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 tablespoons Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur)

2 teaspoons grated orange rind

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Ground nuts, about 1/2 cup

Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring frequently. Add the heavy cream and whisk until completely smooth. Add the Cointreau and orange rind and whisk again until smooth. Refrigerate for half an hour, until thickened and completely cool.

With a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, stir and mash the butter into the chocolate mixture, bit by bit, until the butter is completely incorporated. The mixture will thicken. Return it to the refrigerator to chill until firm but not hard; the idea is to bring the chocolate to the point at which it is chilled enough to hold a shape but still soft enough to mold easily.

Roll the truffles in the ground nuts, making one-inch balls.

Set aside on waxed paper or place in individual paper candy cups. The truffles may be kept in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.

Makes about 36 pieces.

Adapted from "The Christmas Kitchen" by Lorraine Bodger -- Doubleday; 1989.

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