Cooked at home just for Mom

Preparation: Youngsters can lend a hand in fixing a brunch or dinner featuring garlic-flavored chicken, a salad and muffins.

May 10, 2000|By Lauren Beale | Lauren Beale,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

It may be a tradition to take Mom out for brunch or dinner on Mother's Day, but if she'd really prefer a quiet meal at home to the hassles of a crowded restaurant, you'll have to get into the kitchen.

Serving Garlic-Roasted Chicken as the entree will keep the meal preparation manageable. Accompany it with Strawberry-Spinach Salad, Whole-Wheat Muffins and, if desired, a steamed vegetable. For dessert, indulge in her favorite gourmet ice cream.

Sharing the work can make the task seem less daunting. A teen-ager can make the salad, and even elementary-school-age children can help by assembling the ingredients for the muffins and setting the table. Save on labor by purchasing packaged pre-washed spinach for the salad, and buy a bottle of minced garlic to use in the chicken recipe.

Allow 1 1/2 hours to fix this meal, if you're cooking solo or aren't used to finding your way around the kitchen.

The salad can be prepared first and held in the refrigerator, but wait until just before the meal to add the dressing.

Next, prepare the muffins. While they are baking, assemble the chicken so it will be ready to go into the hot oven when the muffins come out. The muffins can be wrapped in foil to keep them warm until mealtime. Don't forget to adjust the oven temperature setting when you put the chicken in. If you're serving a steamed vegetable, prepare it while the chicken is cooking.

Note that this salad recipe makes enough for a small army, so depending on how many you are serving, you may want to halve or third the recipe. Paring down the recipe by half or by two-thirds can be another good use of kid-power, if you have any budding math geniuses in the household.

Strawberry-Spinach Salad

Serves 12

ORANGE-HONEY DRESSING:

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

SALAD:

12 cups bite-size pieces spinach

1 pint (2 cups) strawberries, diced

2/3 cup sliced green onions

2 (11-ounce) cans mandarin- orange segments, drained

1/4 cup pine nuts

To prepare orange-honey dressing, combine orange juice, honey, oil and mustard in tightly covered container and shake until well mixed.

To prepare salad, in large bowl, combine spinach, strawberries, onions and mandarin-orange segments. Toss with dressing. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

-- Adapted from "Betty Crocker's on the Grill"

Garlic-Roasted Chicken

Serves 4

4 large chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds total)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon olive oil or vegetable oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

lemon slices and sage leaves for garnish, optional

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place chicken, skin side up, in lightly greased roasting pan.

In small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, seasoned salt and ground sage. Brush mixture on chicken breast halves.

Bake at 425 degrees until chicken is tender and no longer pink, about 35 minutes. Garnish with lemon slices and sage leaves, if desired.

-- From "Minutes to Mealtime: Chicken and Turkey Recipes" (Better Homes and Gardens Books, out of print)

Whole-Wheat Muffins

Makes 12

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Grease bottom of 12 medium muffin cups.

Beat egg and stir in milk and oil. Mix in flours, sugar, baking powder and salt just until flour is moistened. (Batter will be lumpy.) Fill muffin cups , full.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot.

-- Adapted from "Betty Crocker's All-Time Favorites" (Golden Press)

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