Spice up Your Mother's Day Menu

A Mother's Day dinner with a nod to Cinco de Mayo.

On Sunday, mothers everywhere will awaken to breakfast in bed, colorful cards with adorable scrawls and hand-picked flowers yanked from the yard. To help celebrate the hero of many homes, here's a menu as dynamic as mom.

In our house, I pretty much run the kitchen. But when it comes to grilling, my husband steps in much of the time. There's just something about fire and meat that beckons to men. So here's a perfect recipe for dad to help put together.

This spice-rubbed pork tenderloin is flavorful and lean, making a nice presentation sliced on a platter. Tenderloin usually comes two to a package. I used a store-bought rub, but you can make your own. Cover the meat with the rub, cover with wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight. After getting the grill very hot, turn it to medium and cook the meat for eight minutes, then flip it over and do another eight minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees.

Serve the meat with whatever fixings your family enjoys. Kids will love arranging the colorful platter with goodies, such as thinly sliced purple onions, cubed avocado, diced red pepper, lime wedges and bunches of cilantro.

For a splash of sweetness and vibrant yellow, try this mango salsa. The salsa's heat can be adjusted by using pickled jalapenos for medium heat, freshly diced jalapenos for a strong heat or no hot peppers.

Part of the beauty of this meal, besides the bright spring colors, is that most of it can be made ahead of time. To keep avocado fresh but ready to serve, cut it in half and remove the pit, score the halves while in the peel, then replace the pit and wrap them in foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate. When needed, cut into wedges and serve with a spoon to remove the chunks.

This array of meat and fixings can be served with warm corn or flour tortillas so everyone can include their preferred ingredients.

While the family is whipping up dinner, let mom sit back with one of these refreshing drinks: a classic mojito, margarita or good old-fashioned sweet tea.

Dessert can also be made the day before and assembled after the meal. Meringues were a special occasion cookie that I remember baking with my mom. We would stud the white blobs with chocolate chips, and every time I'd be amazed how that goopy egg mixture would harden into a crispy cookie with just the slightest bit of chewiness as I bit into the middle.

These Cinnamon Cocoa Meringues with Vanilla Ice Cream and Cinnamon Chocolate Sauce are easy to make. Little hands love cracking the eggs (a little shell never hurt anyone) and squeezing the meringue into cups or other shapes. The meringue itself has just a hint of cocoa and cinnamon, a favorite Mexican combination, which is echoed in the delicious and thick chocolate sauce.

Do you show your mom some love with food? Let us know in the comments if you have any Mother's Day traditions, food or otherwise.


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