With Mother's Day knocking at the door, it's time to plan the perfect Mother's Day brunch. Whether the lady of the house loves to cook or not, Mother's Day should be a day off for mom.
Dad and the kids can set a beautiful brunch table with an extravagant menu or serve scrambled eggs in bed. Either way, mom will appreciate being treated as queen of the day.
Pineapple-Mango Smoked Salmon and Salsa
2 lbs. salmon
1 cup pineapple nectar
1 cup mango nectar (I find this in the Hispanic section of the grocery
1/4 cup ginger infused vinegar (found in the Asian section)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into small cubes
1 cup mango, cut into small cubes or use frozen chunks
1 cup sweet peppers, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
First, remove the skin from the salmon. Do this when smoking to keep the oils down.
Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Place the marinade and the salmon together in a plastic bag. Seal it up and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Prepare the Salsa
Mix all the salsa ingredients together and set aside in the refrigerator.
Smoking the Salmon
Get your smoker stabilized at about 225 to 250° F. I used mesquite wood for this, but of course, you can use any wood of your choice. Optional: Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on the salmon while cooking.
Place the salmon fillets on the smoker rack using a screen with smaller holes. Purchase at most stores in the grilling department.
Maintain the 225° to 250° temperature. I generally flip them once after about 15 minutes for more even smoking, but it's not necessary for the cooking process. I cooked the salmon for 40 minutes and removed them at an internal temperature of 135° F.
Smoked Maple-Chili Glazed Pork Tenderloin
5 - 6 lb. pork tenderloin
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 Tablespoon salt
Combine all the glaze ingredients. Mix together thoroughly. Remove as much of the fat cap as you can from the tenderloin. (Not needed since you're only cooking long enough for slicing, and not for pulled pork).
Get your smoker stabilized at about 225 to 250° F. I used mesquite wood for this, but of course, you can use any wood of your choice. Place the pork tenderloin directly on the smoker rack. Brush a liberal amount of the glaze on all the exposed surfaces.
Maintain the 225° to 250° temperature. About every 30 to 40 minutes, flip the roast over and brush the exposed surfaces with glaze. (If you're quick, the smoker will return to temperature fairly quickly!)
Continue for about 5 hours and remove at an internal temperature of 160° to 165° F. The tenderloin will be sweet and sticky on the outside, and tender on the inside.
Mesquite Honey Pineapple Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
Mix the marinade ingredients together and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Put the chicken breasts and marinade into a plastic bag. Place the bag into the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Get your grill going for a low heat fire and place mesquite wood chips directly on your coals. Note: mesquite is a strong flavor, so don't get carried away with the chips.
If you're using a gas grill, you can soak the chips and place them in aluminum foil, making a pouch. Then puncture it with a knife in several places. Put the punctured aluminum pouch directly on the rocks.
Grill on low heat to keep the honey from burning. Move it away from direct heat if necessary. This should take approximately 20 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken at it's thickest part should be about 150° F to be fully cooked.
Grilled Lemon & Herb Chicken Skewers
6 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 cup lemon juice (concentrate)
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 Tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
Cut the chicken breasts up into 1 to 2 inch square pieces and place into a sealable plastic baggie. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour this into the same baggie with the chicken pieces. Seal it up and place into the refrigerator and marinate for 3 to 4 hours.
After the chicken is thoroughly marinated, drain off the excess marinade and discard. Put the chicken pieces onto either metal or wooden skewers.If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for a half an hour before using so they don't burn. You can also use metal skewers.
Get your grill going. You'll want a medium hot fire. Place the skewers on the grill, turning every now and then so they don't burn. The chicken should be done in about 8 to 10 minutes.
Sweet & Savory Steak Marinade
This recipe will marinade one medium to large steak. When doing more steaks, multiply the ingredients as needed.
1/2 can frozen concentrate apple juice (6 oz.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a microwave safe bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Microwave on high for 15 seconds to allow the cinnamon to dissolve. Put the steak into a sealable container and pour the marinade over it. Marinade for at least 8 hours.
On a medium hot grill, quickly sear the steak. Flip it over and cook until done. You can flip it one more time if the second side is over cooking. Cook to medium rare in about 5 to 8 minutes. The center of the steak should be about 160° F with a digital meat thermometer.
Add a salad, loaf of garlic bread and your favorite microwave vegetable sides or choose the side dishes below for a unique and delicious Mother's Day brunch.
Cumin & Lime Corn Pasta with Beans
Corn pasta or your favorite shaped pasta (6 cups cooked)
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 bell pepper, color of your choice, diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 green onions, sliced
1 lime, zest and juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp olive oil
pinch of ground pepper
In a large bowl mix lime, cumin, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the cooked pasta and let it sit, stirring occasionally over a space of 20 minutes.
Dice the peppers and add to a pan with olive oil and pepper. Cook on medium heat for no more than 5 minutes, don't let them go soft. Add peppers, beans, cherry tomatoes and green onions to the pasta and mix well. Serve as is or let it cool in the refrigerator.
Overnight Marshmallow Fruit Salad
15 1/2 oz. (2 cups) pineapple chunks, drained (reserve liquid)
1 3/4 cups liquid (reserved liquid plus water)
3 oz. package of lemon flavored gelatin
1 cup whipped cream
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/4 cups halved grapes
11 oz. can (1 1/4 cups) mandarin oranges, drained
Heat 1 cup liquid to boiling. In large bowl, add boiling liquid to gelatin; stir to dissolve. Add remaining liquid, chill until thickened but not set. Fold in whipped cream. Add remaining ingredients; blend well. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Don't forget dessert. These Double Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies will be a big hit with mom and the kids. They taste like peppermint patties in cookie form.
Double Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package peppermint crunch baking chips
1 cup chocolate chips
Cream together butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture. Stir in peppermint and chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350° F for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen.
Make mom's Mother's Day a perfect day from start to finish. Plan a day filled with family fun. Add kids, toss with laughter and joy and don't forget the camera as you make happy Mother's Day memories.