by Jolene Adams
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14, so don’t panic, you have time to buy a gift, or after reading this article, make an edible gift!
I have to admit, I’ve given my fair share of flowers, knick knacks, soaps and bubble bath to my mom over the years. As a mother, I have also received my fair share. I of course appreciate all the gifts from year to year as all mothers do; however, I thoroughly enjoy the gift of not cooking. I absolutely love waking up on my special Sunday to find my family making breakfast. Recently it has become popular to take mom out for Sunday brunch. Obviously food is a great gift, so make mom breakfast, take her out for brunch or impress her with these delicious edible gifts.
One of my favorite food gifts to give is a play on the traditional gift of chocolate covered strawberries.
Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
* 1 pint large strawberries
* 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
* 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
* ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
* ¼ cup dark chocolate (melted)
Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of each strawberry. Remove the top and clean out with a paring knife, if necessary (some may already be hollow inside). Prep all strawberries and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or Ziploc with the corner snipped off. Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture.Once strawberries are filled, dip the top in graham cracker crumbs. Arrange strawberries on a plate and drizzle with melted chocolate. Refrigerate until serving.
Mini tarts are easy to make and the flavors of berries and lemon are refreshing in the spring. Save time by using pre-made tart shells found in the freezer section at most grocery stores.
Mini Tarts with Lemon Curd and Fresh Berries
Yield: 20-24 mini tarts
*1 cup Fresh Berries (Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries)
*1 cup Lemon Juice
*2 tablespoons lemon zest
*½ cup butter
*6 eggs + 2 yolks
*⅓-1/2 cup honey (depending on desired sweetness)
To make the Lemon Curd
Fill a pot ⅓ full of water and place on medium low heat on the stove. Adjust the heat so the water is gently simmering and not more.
In a heatproof bowl combine the eggs, butter, honey, lemon juice and zest. Place the bowl on the pot ensuring that the bottom does not touch the water
Regularly stir with a spoon for approximately 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened and become custard like in consistency.
Remove the bowl from the stove and allow to cool. It can be stored in a jar in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a few months.
To Assemble the Tarts
Make sure the tart shells have cooled before assembling.
Fill each tart shell with a spoonful of chilled lemon curd and then top with fruit of your choice. I would recommend assembling the tarts right before serving to ensure freshness.
If you’re not much of a baker, you can always put together freezer meals for mom to make at a later time, saving her prep time in the kitchen. Mom will appreciate pulling out a homemade meal and just popping it in the oven.
Tomato-Basil Lasagna Rolls
Yield: 10 servings
*10 uncooked lasagna noodles
*1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
*2 teaspoons olive oil
*3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
*24 ounce jar tomato-and-basil pasta sauce
*1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
*1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
*1 cup ricotta cheese
*2 ounces cream cheese, softened
*14 ounce can baby artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
*1 large egg white, lightly beaten
*1/4 cup torn fresh basil
*1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
*Toppings: fresh basil, Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta (do not rinse); arrange in a single layer on a piece of lightly greased aluminum foil or wax paper.
Sauté onion in hot oil in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat 7 to 8 minutes or until caramelized. Add two-thirds of minced garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce and next 2 ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring often, 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir together ricotta and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in artichoke hearts, next 3 ingredients, and remaining minced garlic. Spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture on 1 noodle. Roll up firmly, and place, seam side down, into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles and cheese. Spoon tomato sauce over lasagna rolls.
Bake, covered, at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes or until thoroughly heated and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with desired toppings.
Or freeze in covered pan. Thaw before cooking or to cook from frozen, lower temp to 325 degrees and increase cooking time 15-20 minutes.
Is mom health conscious? Try making a week’s worth of smoothies. Mom can just grab and go on a busy morning. Pick a few good smoothie recipes, put them together in mason jars and label.
Overnight Oatmeal Smoothie
*1/3 cup milk
*1/4 cup rolled oats
*1/4 cup Greek yogurt
*2 teaspoons chia seeds
*2 teaspoons honey
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/4 cup fresh blueberries
Combine milk, oats, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, honey and cinnamon in a 1/2-pint jar with a lid; cover and shake until combined. Remove lid and fold in blueberries. Cover jar with lid.
Refrigerate oatmeal, 8 hours to overnight.
Lincoln Land Community College offers credit programs in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Baking/Pastry, and Value Added Local Food, and non-credit cooking and food classes through our Community Learning Culinary Institute. For more information, visit our website at www.llcc.edu.