Instead of waiting in line at a restaurant this Mother's Day, treat mom or grandmother to a laid-back, home-cooked meal. This type of present is not too difficult, and she's guaranteed to love it. What mom or grandmother doesn't like quality time with their family?
Breakfast in bed sounds mighty nice, but so does a brunch all the family can enjoy. A leek-gruyere quiche, with monkey bread for dessert, would be brunch for the honorees.
If easy is required, then fire up the grill with these suggestions from readers sent in for our Biloxi reader who wanted grill recipes.
"The Biloxi man looking for some simple grilling recipes, a favorite of mine are skinless, boneless chicken thighs," said James King of Biloxi. "They can take the heat without getting dried out and are forgiving if you overcook them a bit."
GRILLED CHICKEN THIGHS
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Your favorite marinade or rub. I like a simple sweet and spicy marinade as follows:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoons hot sauce such as Frank's
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
Trim chicken of excess fat. Place in a gallon plastic zip-top bag, add marinade and put in fridge for at least 4 hours.
Prepare grill for direct, medium-hot heat. Remove chicken from marinade and put on a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess liquid. Discard marinade. (If you wish a more intense flavor, bring marinade to a boil, remove from heat and use to baste chicken a few times while cooking.)
Grill chicken 4-5 minutes per side, turning once. Temperature should be at least 165 degrees. Serve with baked beans and coleslaw or potato salad.
-- Submitted by James King
"Reading the April 20 column, I was reminded we have a favorite recipe that crosses the categories of fresh veggies, pasta and grilling," said Nancy Holderer of Gulfport. "It is from a Pillsbury booklet "All New Chicken Cookbook, July 1993."
This is one of Holderer's family favor
ITALIAN CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE GRILL
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 medium red bell pepper, quartered
1 cup Italian salad dressing, divided
6 ounces uncooked linguine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Place chicken, zucchini and bell pepper in 12-by-8-inch baking dish or heavy duty zip-top plastic bag. Add 1/2 cup salad dressing; turn to coat. Cover dish or seal bag; refrigerate at least 1 hour, turning chicken once.
When ready to barbecue, oil grill rack. Drain chicken and vegetable, reserving marinade. Place chicken on grill over medium heat, or on charcoal grill 4-6 inches from medium coals. Cook 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is fork tender and juices run clear, turning once and brushing frequently with reserved marinade.
While chicken is cooking, place vegetables, cut side down, next to chicken on grill. Cook 14-18 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning once and brushing frequently with reserved marinade.
Meanwhile, cook linguine to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain; toss with remaining 1/2 cup salad dressing. Remove chicken and vegetables from grill. Slice vegetables; toss with linguine mixture. Slice chicken breasts into crosswise slices; do not separate slices. Fan chicken slices and arrange over pasta and vegetables, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Note: "This is the recipe as it appears in the booklet," Holderer said. "I am leery of using marinade which has soaked raw meat. I discard the marinade and use additional Italian dressing to baste."
-- Submitted by Nancy Holderer
Moms and grandmothers love gifts, but more than that they love attention. Breakfast in bed or a family brunch says "I love you."
Here are three unusual recipes that make use of cereal for just a different twist on old favorites, a triple berry crunch made with raspberries, blueberries and strawberries; crunchy monkey bread; and leek and Gruyere quiche, where eggs and cereal come together in a decadent dish.
TRIPLE BERRY CRISP
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 65 minutes
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 cups Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal Honey Roasted
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries
1 pint (2 cups) raspberries
1 pint (2 cups) strawberries, sliced
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons tapioca
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cereal.
Mix berries in 2-quart shallow baking dish.
Mix 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and tapioca in large saucepan. Cook on medium heat until mixture comes to full boil, stirring constantly. Pour over berries; toss lightly. Sprinkle with cereal mixture.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve warm.
CRUNCHY MONKEY BREAD
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans (16.3-ounces each) refrigerated biscuits
1/3 cup Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted cereal
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 12-cup Bundt pan.
In a large plastic food storage bag, combine sugar and cinnamon. Separate dough into 16 biscuits and cut each biscuit into quarters. Place in the food storage bag and shake the bag to coat.
In a small bowl, combine cereal, pecans and raisins. Arrange biscuit pieces in pan, layering the cereal mixture among the biscuits.
In small bowl, mix brown sugar, melted butter and vanilla.
Pour over biscuit pieces. Bake 28 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate and place in the center of table. Allow guests to pull apart the pieces of monkey bread to serve. Enjoy warm.
LEEK AND GRUYERE BREAKFAST QUICHE
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted cereal
2 tablespoons jarred bacon bits
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
3-4 tablespoons ice water
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
21/4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups sliced leeks
2 cups peeled potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
In a food processor, grind cereal into a fine powder. Mix ground cereal, flour and bacon bits in mixing bowl. Cut in shortening and blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle with ice water and toss gently just until dough forms a ball. Wrap ball in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Refrigerate while oven is heating to 425 degrees.
On floured board, roll dough into an 11-inch circle. Ease crust into a 9-inch quiche pan or pie pan. Flute edges. Poke crust all over with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush bottom and sides with egg yolk; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, half-and-half, cheese, salt, nutmeg, and pepper; set aside. Add olive oil to skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and potatoes and cook for 10 minutes, then spoon into pie shell. Pour in the egg mixture and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake another 40 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.
Biff, not Whata burger
Addie Whitman asked for a barbecue sauce a couple of weeks ago, but thought it was from Whataburger. Actually, the recipe Whitman wants is for the old Biff-Burger sauce. Biff-Burger was in the Hardy Court Shopping Center in Gulfport during the '60s and early '70s. Burgers were 15 cents.
Doris Mahalak, one of the Biff-Burger owners, shared this recipe with me in 2004.
3 large cans ketchup (No. 10 can, contains 115 ounces per can)
2 cup prepared mustard (start with 2 cups and maybe increase to 3)
3 cups sweet pickle relish (start with 3, then maybe 4)
1/2 cup salt
1/8 cup ground ginger
6 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
Mix all ingredient together. Mahalak remembered workers at the restaurant mixing it in a 5-gallon container.
I have made this sauce recipe, and we love it. I cut the recipe down to:
1 large can ketchup (No. 10 can)
2/3 to 1 cup prepared mustard
1 cup sweet pickle relish
1/6 cup or 1 1/3 ounces salt
Pinch of ground ginger
2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
Mix ingredients and store in airtight container in refrigerator.
Wanted: Phoenicia veggie recipe
"I'm hoping either you or one of your readers might be able to help me out," said Lynn Tuite of Ocean Springs. "The vegetable medley that is served with entrees at Phoenicia in downtown Ocean Springs is absolutely delicious. Seasoned well but gently, and the veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, onion and red pepper, maybe something else) are always crisp, even as leftovers the next day. But I can't figure out how to copycat the recipe, especially how they get the veggies 'al dente.' They do not seem to be sautéed. Could you please help?"
Perhaps the chefs at Phoenicia will share the recipe, or maybe readers know or have a similar recipe. If so, please send it to me.
Andrea Yeager can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi MS 39535-4567.