Family Meals Matter: Make-ahead meals give Mom a break from cooking


Mother's Day is a perfect time to show Mom how much you care. You can also show her how much she means to you by giving her a well-deserved break from cooking. Instead of opting for reservations at a local restaurant, make it a learning experience for the whole family. Let mom put up her feet and have kids roll up their sleeves to help prepare these make-ahead breakfast and brunch dishes everyone is sure to love.

What better way to pamper mom than serving her breakfast in bed? Treat her to a Mother's Day Delight of Orange Polentina, plus Mini Frittatas and Mango and Melon Salad with Strawberry Sauce. Since all of these recipes can be prepared ahead of time and finished right before serving, you won't lose too much sleep showing her she's special. Sweep her off her feet all week long by enlisting the kids to help prepare other make-ahead breakfast recipes including Ham and Cheese Omelet Rolls, Artichoke Nibbles, Homemade Yogurt and Homemade Granola.

"Family Meals Matter" features registered dietitian-approved recipes with foods from all the food groups that reflect Dairy Council of California's nutrition philosophy to elevate the health of children and parents. For more information, nutrition tools and additional family meal recipes, please visit our website, Healthy Eating Made Easier.

Featured family meals include at least four servings of each featured recipe.



Number of servings: 4

Total preparation time: 15 to 30 minutes

Actual cooking time: 15 to 30 minutes


1 medium orange

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups low-fat milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup instant polenta or fine cornmeal

1/4 cup mascarpone (Italian cream cheese)

1/4 cup fat-free Greek-style yogurt

4 tablespoons honey, divided

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon (optional)


1. Zest the orange to get 1 1/2 teaspoons; set the zest aside. Remove the rest of the peel and white pith with a sharp knife. Working over a bowl, cut the segments from their surrounding membranes. Set aside for garnish.

2. Combine water, milk and salt in a large heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta (or cornmeal) and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain an even bubble and whisk until the polentina thickens, 1 to 5 minutes (depending on what type you're using). Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine mascarpone, yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey and one-half teaspoon of the orange zest in a small bowl.

4. Whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons honey and the remaining 1 teaspoon zest into the polentina. Divide among 4 bowls and top with a dollop of the mascarpone topping. Garnish with the reserved orange segments and sprinkle with tarragon, if desired. Serve immediately.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the topping (step 3) for up to 2 days.

Use fat-free milk to reduce the fat in this dish.

Source: EatingWell


MINI FRITTATAS of servings: 6

Total preparation time: 15 to 30 minutes

Actual cooking time: 15 to 30 minutes


2 pounds sweet potato

4 leeks, white part only, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

8 ounces fat-free feta cheese

6 servings of liquid egg whites (equivalent of six eggs)

1/2 cup fat-free milk

Spray for muffin tins

1/4 cup water for steaming

Pinch pepper or sodium-free seasoning mix


1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.

2. Cut sweet potato into small cubes and boil, steam, or microwave until tender. Drain well and set aside.

3. Spray or line muffin tins.

4. Pan-steam the leeks and garlic in water over medium heat, until soft, about 10 minutes. Cool.

5. Stir into leeks the feta and sweet potato. Divide among the muffin tins.

6. Whisk the liquid egg whites and fat-free milk together and season with pepper or seasoning mix. Pour the egg mixture into each muffin tin until 1/2 filled, then press the vegetables down gently.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and set. Leave in tins for 5 minutes, then ease out with a knife.


Delicious either hot or at room temperature.

Makes 12 Muffins. Just have one muffin for a lighter meal or if part of a larger breakfast.

Source: MM User



Number of servings: 4

Total preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Actual cooking time: No cooking required


1 mango, peeled and sliced into bite-size pieces

1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and sliced into bite-size pieces

1/2 honeydew, peeled and sliced into bite-size pieces


1 1/2cups fresh or partially thawed frozen strawberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar


Place mango, cantaloupe, and honeydew pieces in a large serving bowl. In a blender, blend strawberries, lemon juice and sugar until smooth. Drizzle sauce over fruit salad and serve.


1 tablespoon chopped mint adds a nice touch.

Source: Meals Matter







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