Giveaway: Le Creuset Stainless Steel Roasting Pan [Closed]

To win this LeCreuset Stainless Steel Roasting Pan, read on and comment below!

We’ve begun the countdown to Mother’s Day a little on the early side this year with our Virtual Bake Sale for Pediatric Cancer. And while we hope your gift to mom will include one of our Peanut M&M Blondies, it got us wondering about our readers’ Mother’s Day traditions and about how good old Mom factors into your cooking today.

We often feature recipes From Our Mother’s Kitchen. Thanks to Sarah, Phoebe has an unhealthy love of mayonnaise and knows how to pan-fry a fillet of fish perfectly. And because of Joanne, who doesn’t like Mother’s Day that much because she thinks everyday is Mother’s Day, Cara has a love of spaghetti for breakfast, and can bake one of the most decadent chocolate birthday cakes in existence.

It just so happens that many of these mother-daughter cooking traditions involve Thanksgiving, and watching our mothers hoist huge turkeys into large roasting pans, like this one we are giving away today courtesy of LeCreuset. We love LeCreuset’s enamel-covered cast iron pan (Phoebe even uses her grandmother’s), and their stainless steel line lives up to expectations.

To win this gorgeous pan for yourself (or for Mom), answer one of the questions in the comments section below:

*What’s your favorite meal that your mother used to make? What dish do you cook yourself that reminds you most of your mom?

*What’s the best kitchen technique or trick that you ever learned from your mother?

We look forward to hearing your answers, and we’ll announce the winner next week on the blog!

From our kitchen, where we’re influenced by our mothers every day, to yours,

Phoebe and Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOKS

Posted in: Giveaway
  • http://belleonheels.blogspot.com belle on heels

    ohmigod my mom’s lemon meringue pie!! she stills makes it for me in the summer when i come home. her secret is an extra tablespoon of butter at the very end of cooking the lemon curd.

    learning to make homemade bread, pizza dough, and pie crusts. i don’t understand why people get so nervous with recipes involving yeast, or kneading, or crusts because my mom has been showing me how since i was 4 :)

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      You lucky girl!! I (Phoebe) still get nervous–if I only had Cara instead of mom showing me how since I was 4!

  • Kate Bakka

    My favorite meal that my mom used to make is her Spaghetti and Meatballs which so happens to be one of my favorite dishes- every time I make the sauce and roll the meatballs to fry it takes me back to when I would watch and help my mom mix up the sauce and roll each meatball with loving care.

  • Anonymous

    The best skill I ever learned from my other was to not be afraid to stray from a recipe; it’s treated me well as I’ve grown as a cook over the years. Or when I realize I’m missing a key ingredient.

  • http://www.mmmcheese.com Anna

    My favorite meal is something she just kind of made up on the spot one night. It’s ground beef, white rice, tomatoes and spinach. A super fast meal she would put together on the fly after a long day of work, it just reminds me of her (I guess because I’ve never had it anywhere else).

    Best tip would have to be: clean as you go! I’m still learning this, but I would always be amazed at how clean the kitchen would right as she would be serving dinner, she never let stuff pile up and be a big chore after dinner (again, I STILL need to learn this better!)

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      ground beef and tomatoes is shockingly delicious. but it’s not something i would ever serve to company! I guess once I have kids, I can make it for them!!

  • Anonymous

    My favorite meal my mom makes is her lasagna…always so comforting and makes me think of her when I make it.

  • Becca

    Because of my parents’ busy schedules, cooking was a relatively rare event in our house (which has turned out to be a blessing, because it made cooking a treat and I believe that’s why I still enjoy doing it so much!). Although my mother is a great cook (and even better baker), my favorite meal of hers is almost comically simple: pastina and egg for breakfast. Every so often, Mom and I would break our normal morning routine – which was very efficient and therefore included a quick bowl of cereal – and take some time before the boys got up to cook some tiny pasta, scramble a couple eggs into it, and (in my case) eat it from a bowl that had been cooled in the freezer so that I wouldn’t burn my tongue in my impatience to eat my breakfast. This is still my number-one comfort food, and it’s great as a late-night snack, too. Of course, by now I’ve learned enough patience that I can let the pasta cool off enough to eat without the aid of a frozen bowl.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Yum! Cara also grew up eating pasta for breakfast with her mother. Love the idea of pastina and eggs! xx Phoebe

  • Michelle

    Mom taught me how to crack an egg in one hand so you can do two at once…it makes you look like you know what you’re doing!

    • Frankie

      Um…how DO you do that? Always wanted to know.

  • Allyson A.

    My mother makes the most fantastic spaghetti with meat sauce. Growing up, we all had incredibly busy schedules, but we made sure to come together every Sunday night for dinner as a family. We each got to request a dish each week, and, without fail, I’d always request spaghetti. It’s just a few simple ingredients, but I can never make mine taste like Mom’s!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=27206790 Sarah VanBeek

    My favorite meal is always one that my mom makes the day after Thanksgiving – turkey soup! She uses the carcass to make the base, then adds just a few veggies and some of the leftover turkey to it. My sisters and I always fought over who got to take some home. Even now that we can make it ourselves, we still want mom’s!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      My mother does the same! But she makes the turkey into Garlic Soup–that is one of her classic dishes. check out the recipe! xx Phoebe

  • Lily W.

    My Mom would make this roasted chicken and potatoes that would fill the house with such an aroma. Still to this day, making this dish in my own kitchen brings me right back home!! She passed away a few months ago, I’ve not made this dish since then but soon, I hope I will and smile thinking about her…

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      So sorry to hear that, Lily. I hope you make the chicken soon, and that it is comforting and cathartic in some way. xx Phoebe

  • Anonymous

    Being from the south my Mom made many casseroles as I was growing up, and my favorite one, that I still make to this day is Cheesey Chicken and Rice. It is a delicious mix of roasted shredded chicken, wild rice, mushrooms, and cheesey gooey deliciousness…The ingredient list is simple (as are most casseroles) and includes a can of condensed soup, but it is comfort food at its best. These days when I make it, I cook half and freeze half as it is way to much for one person, and you get 2 meals only doing the work once. Which leads into the best thing my Mom ever taught me about cooking, if you are making something that will freeze well go ahead and double it and freeze the second half. That way you get to eat twice with half the dirty dishes! Oh man…I think I see casserole making in my future this weekend, the craving just hit me…

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      so funny–that is my Dad’s favorite dish of HIS mom’s! my mom was horrified when he asked her to make it for him and she refused to put the can of soup in it. xx Phoebe

      • Anonymous

        She must not be from the south, so many things have a can of soup in them, or worse mayo. I will never forget when I asked her for the recipe and she said: 1rotisserie chicken from the grocery meat shredded, 2 boxes of rice, 1 pint of mushrooms or 1 can of peas (or both), 1 can of cream of mushroom, 1 can of cream of chicken soup and 1 cup shreeded cheese, mix and bake. I was like really all you do is cook rice and open packages and mix it together? But OMG…it is so good! Whenever I am semi broke or lazy or need some comfort it is the go to!

  • http://www.everythingelsea.blogspot.com Rachel E.

    My mom made the best potato soup. I haven’t been able to replicate it (probably b/c she doesn’t have a written recipe). But I have been able to remake her spoon roast which always reminds me of being at home.

  • Caitlyn

    My mom is an amazing cook, so it’s hard to just pick one dish. But I would have to say her berry crisp — the crispy crust on top is to die for. She still makes it for me every time I come home for a visit.

    And along the same vein, the best tip I ever learned from my mom is that “a good piece of pie should never look good” (a tip passed down through many generations of bakers).

  • Anonymous

    Of the many things my mom taught me (she was an outstanding cook), I think the advice that still rings the most true was to not be afraid to season well. As a Caucasian, middle-aged housewife, she was grinding toasted ancho chiles back in the 1960s, long before most of suburbia could even pronounce “ancho.”

  • Anonymous

    my mom was the one who taught me my way around the kitchen and i think the most important thing she taught me was to clean up as i go. really, while your water is boiling, rinse off your chicken or start your rice and then sweep the kitchen. i guess it could also be multi-tasking while cooking! also, she was the first one i KNOW of who put her sea salt in a little dish. thanks mom!

  • Megan

    My favorite meal is mom’s tuna casserole. It’s actually my grandmother’s recipe and one of those totally easy casserole dishes that involves very few ingredients and a can of Campell’s cream of celery soup. When I was little I got in the habit of saying “It’s better than usual!” every time we had tuna casserole for dinner, until the time it turned out that my dad had made it. It seemed to risky after that, because I didn’t want one parent or the other to think that I was playing

  • http://mollykakes.blogspot.com Molly

    when i was little, my mom used to put my sisters and i to work in the kitchen when she came home. normally, we’d do the messy stuff that my mom hated to do. i always looked forward to chicken tender night. She would take out two paper bags, and after allowing us to smash up some kellogg’s corn flakes, we’d get to take the eggy chicken that she cut up, put it in our bags, and shake until we felt that they were crunchy and covered enough. and then she’d bake them, and normally it was served with peas, but it was always fun.
    whenever i attempt to cook red meat i think of my mom. i tend to never cook a london broil or a skirt steak to my liking – it’s always better when someone else does it for me. i almost always over cook it. my mom has the same problem. it’s hard for her in a house filled with people to perfect how well the steak is done. she likes medium – medium well, while everyone else prefers medium rare – medium. so on a big piece of meat, she’ll try to at least overcook the edges – but someone always ends up complaining that it’s too well done (that someone is always my dad, even though we save the rarest pieces for him).

  • Megan

    …favorites.

    (Sorry, I somehow cut off the last word of my post

  • Kristie

    The best trick I learned from my mum is to warm up dinner plates in the oven before serving. This way the food makes it to the table warm!

  • http://www.theunemployedlibrarian.blogspot.com Elizabeth L.

    My favorite mom-prepared meal is pancakes. In order to be perfect they need to be served at the most random time of the day and be complemented with bacon and mimosas. But whenever I cook, I think about my mom. She taught me how to cook and some of the best times are spent in the kitchen makings something yummy.

  • Anonymous

    The best kitchen tip I learned was to clean up as I go… to prep my foods and clean up whatever I used so that there wouldn’t be a mountain of stuff to wash and dry… as far as recipes, I remember how my mom would marinade her beef with garlic, soy, chopped green onions and oil… Her cucumber salad, I make from time to time which has soy,green onions, garlic , oil and toasted sesame seeds w/ paprika sprinkled on top…

  • Lisa

    My mom’s not much of a cook (growing up she liked to repeat Hilary Clinton’s “I’m not a cookie baking mother!” often and forcefully), but what she does, she does well and with panache: hard to pick between lentil salad (turns out she’s just heavy handed with the salt and the olive oil), flan (replace a little milk with OJ), and good old roast chicken (garlic and lemon). Tips? Keep a garbage bag/bowl on the counter! I think Rachel Ray stole that one from her. And don’t pile plates if you have to hand-wash: one less surface to worry about.

  • Karina

    My mother made the best chicken gyros. I make a spaghetti and meatball recipe that is close to hers!
    My mom taught me that it is ok to re-use plastic baggies!

  • Grace

    My mom isn’t really much of a cook – my dad holds that title in our family. But she is the undisputed master of how to load the dishwasher. I learned that skill from her well!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      If someone could teach me how to load the dishwasher efficiently, I think I would owe them a lifetime of home-cooked meals. –Cara

  • kari

    my favorite meal growing up was always beef stroganoff… my mom would always make it for me on my birthday. Whenever I bake cookies (or anything) I think of my mom and our piles and piles of Christmas cookies every year. And her best tip is that the dishes can wait a few hours – enjoy yourself and your family first, clean the kitchen later.

  • Christina

    My favorite meal was what my mom calls her shrimp creole–a wonderful saute of shrimp with a tomato-based sauce and peas, served over rice. it has the most exquisite flavor, and now that i’m allergic to shellfish, i miss it terribly! the runner-up would have to be a Guatemalan family recipe for hilachas–like the Cuban ropa vieja, but with a heartier sauce and potatoes.

    Making tortillas and refried black beans reminds me most of my mom–in particular Saturday mornings with her as a child. And as for tricks, i learned to clean up as i go (which somehow the husband is better at), and to really finely dice an onion the easy way–throw it in the food processor.

  • MJ

    I used to always roll my eyes at the way my mom would throw together meals using whatever she had in the kitchen and changing recipes to use up food. Now I tend to find myself doing the same things. (My boyfriend rolls his eyes at me now when I do things like hide chopped mushroom in the taco meat.) Her “waste not, want not” mentality has definitely helped me get me through living on my own and sticking to a budget.

  • Allison

    The best kitchen trick I learned from my mother, Beverly, was to microwave potatoes. Simple, but so time saving! A particular favorite is to microwave yukon gold potatoes, sour cream, cheese, and bacon. It’s delish, and no one knows that you didn’t bake it for an hour in the oven.

  • http://www.notderbypie.com Rivka

    Probably won’t shock you to hear that not derby pie is my most memorable mom-made dish! From brainchild to baked is about 1 hour and 5 minutes, 1 hour of which is baking time. It’s a perpetual crowd pleaser.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      So where is this recipe?! I searched your archives and can’t seem to actually find out how to make it. And I’d very much like to. -Cara

  • Greg Bacchetti

    I have been a professional cook/chef and enjoyed cooking ever since my mom taught me how to make sweet and sour pork when I was 11. Even until this day she still surprises me in the kitchen with tricks. As she tells me, “I can’t give you all my secrets.” Over the years I have too shown her a few tricks and throw the comment back at her. To this day there is no one I enjoy cooking with more than my my mom. My sister who is now a mom is a close second. Fearless we all are!

  • Emily Billotti

    I grew up on a farm in Connecticut. My father grew apples, peaches, pears and Christmas trees. That said, my entire family LOVES coming to the farm for Thanksgiving. We have upwards of 45 guests each Thanksgiving and my mother does 99% of the cooking. Years ago, when my grandmother was still living, she would come up days in advance and help mom cook. In addition to an amazing turkey, apple cider stuffing and crabapple pie, my mother and grandmother’s specialty was Apple and Butternut Squash Bake. The layered apples and butternut squash were baked in an amazing brown sugar sauce. For two years, my husband and I lived in Dubai, UAE. I tried to replicate the farm Thanksgiving in the desert for all of our friends. I used all of my mother’s (and grandmother’s) recipes, including the butternut squash and apple bake. Although it was tricky to find all of the ingredients in the UAE, we made do. For 2 years, our Thanksgiving meals were a hit! We are now home and I am looking forward to heading to Connecticut this Thanksgiving to help my mom cook for the entire family!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      My mom and I also make Thanksgiving for over 40! i think it’s more fun that way, 4 turkeys instead of one :)

  • Frankie

    My favorite dish of my mom’s was hollandaise on anything. She did it in a bowl over a pot of boiling water, and electric hand beater. And she always knew exactly when to snatch the bowl off before the sauce became scrambled eggs. She made it better than in any restaurant because it had more lemon juice. That’s how she got us to eat broccoli. She wasn’t much good at anything else except fish, creamed brussels sprouts, and sorrel soup.

    I think I should add that the vilest thing she ever served, with regrettable frequency, was boiled tongue. Feh.

    Best trick she ever showed me was holding down the pointy tip of the chef’s knife with the flat of your palm while chopping so the pieces didn’t fly all over. the place.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      weird, my mom taught me that knife trick too!!

  • Hazel

    My mum lives in Canada and is from Scotland originally but her mum was from Italy. Every Christmas my mum makes “Krish Bells” (I just realized I don’t know how to spell it — given that there is no written recipe and are simply made each year!). Essentially, they are Italian deep fried peppered dough – although they sound like not much at all, they epitomize home and family and Christmas to me. Every year my mum makes these on Christmas eve with my sisters and I idly trying to help but never succeeding in making them quite as well. I always think how novel it is that my Italian mother made them because she was homesick for Italy: my Scottish mother makes them largely because she is often homesick for Scotland around Christmas: and I anticipate I will bitter-sweetly make them one day when I am homesick for my mum.

  • amethyst

    Miso soup! She always made it for me when I was sick, like most moms would make chicken soup. Now, every time I am feeling down or feverish, I make a big bowl of simple miso soup with scallions and tofu cubes. It’s my ultimate comfort food!

  • rebecca

    My favorite meal my mom made was fresh scones and fried shrimp. She figured if the oil was out for scones, she might as well fry some shrimp. I have 3 picky siblings that didn’t like shrimp, so she, my dad and i would sit and eat the shrimp.
    The best ‘tip’ she ever shared was that homemade was cheaper, better for you, and usually tasted better than anything from a restaurant. she was right! Especially now that I have kids, with just a few skills, I can cook food that we all will eat and it is better for us, cheaper, and tastes great! There are only a few exceptions, sushi (yum!) being the main one!

  • Anonymous

    Roland. German goodness!

  • Kelsey Hester

    COSTCO has delicious roast beef…and that if you present store bought food the right way, no one can ever tell that you didn’t make it.

  • Lauren

    I inherited my Mom’s love for feeding people- friends, family, or anyone that will sit down at my table. Because of my mom, food is love. In happy times or sad, food is inevitably the outcome. It can be the simplest chicken and rice casserole for a sick friend, or the most decadent dinner party. As long as the recipe is shaken, stirred, whipped, baked orboiled with love– the result is always joy.

  • Anonymous

    There is nothing like the smell of sauteing garlic and onions, with the promise of meatballs and sauce, to remind me of my mother and my childhood home. Simmering away on the stovetop all day on Sundays. A weekly ritual that began late morning, and by the time it was dinner, we were ravenous for that spaghetti and meatballs. She has shared her secrets, shown me the way, but there is some combination of love and craft and experience that my attempts at meatballs and sauce do not live up to. I try though. Oh, I try.

  • http://twitter.com/lcinchicago Laura

    My mom made the best stroganoff growing up, it was my favorite meal! Now I make it for my friends and myself all the time–it’s a huge hit with everyone. I’ve even experimented with it to make it healthier, but keep the amazing flavor. Thanks mom for your inspiration…and original recipe :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-OMara/1586130323 Katie O’Mara

    My mom still makes lentil loaf whenever I go home. Modeled after meatloaf, she mixes together lentils, eggs, onions, cheese and whatever else she can find. Smooshes it all into a pan and covers it with break crumbs. YUM!

    To this day I haven’t had real meatloaf.

    As kids I think we felt like we ate really weird food. But, as I’ve grown up and introduced my friends to the stuff that our mom makes, I realize that she is simply unique and fabulous. I love that Mama-rama!

  • JDS

    My mom is Greek (which makes me half) and my favorite thing we make together is Avgolemono soup. So simple, but just so many wonderful memories have been created while making it together. We have some traditions that she learned from her mom, who learned from her mom that we still do every time. Like when you add the lemon juice you have to make a kissy sound (which cracks us up because it always makes your lips itch/tickle) and when you stir the soup you have to always stir in one direction (Yiayia D was strict on this one!). Whenever I make Greek food I can’t help but to think of my mom, but this dish is the most special to me.

  • Anonymous

    best kitchen technique: always start a pot of boiling water before you begin cooking. our stove was awful and took forever to heat up. mom always thought ahead!

  • Anonymous

    My mom had us try a little bit of everything. We had Jewish matza for Easter breakfast, we ate organic biodinamic food from a farm before anyone knew what it was. My Mom whipped up the classics and tried out exotic recipes. But the one thing that I remember fondly was her homemade pesto pasta with tomatoes. Everything was from the garden huge bunches of basil and fresh tomatoes. It was good warm or cold. My mom froze the basil in ice trays so we could have a small taste of summer even in Michigan’s harsh winter.
    Whenever I make Hungarian goulash I always use my Moms recipe. It’s sweet and spicy with nice big chunks of satisfying beef over a bed of egg noodles.
    The cast iron pans was something my Mom taught me to use and to wash. Cast iron adds iron to every meal (great for us women who are low on iron). The pans heat evenly and the seasoning on the pan only grows over time! Just remember never use soap or leave wet.

    • Frankie

      Yes, iron is the best! (Not the enamel-covered). People are afraid to use it because they can’t believe anything could be clean without soap. It has nothing to do with soap-clean and everything to do with flavor. And when it’s seasoned it’s totally non-stick so you’re not exposed to those chemicals leaching into your food. And it’s cheap!!!

  • Erin Whalen

    The best kitchen trick I ever learned from my Mom, if you can call it a trick, is to clean up as you work. This way, even if its an involved recipe, your kitchen isn’t a write off when you’re finished. I struggled with this for years, until I got my own place, and started cooking for myself everyday. Moms… they don’t give you advice for no reason – they give you advice because they know! :o)

  • Christine

    My mother used to make this delicious “hamburger pie.” It is so easy — just a meatloaf-like bottom, mashed potatoes, and then cheese on top. It’s like a midwesterners take on shepherd’s pie. Hamburger pie was always the best dinner (all of us kids actually liked it!), and I’m pretty sure that my mom still makes it for my dad! I’ve updated it a little for my own use — real mashed potatoes instead of fake, fun cheeses, different spice combos — but it still reminds me of my childhood. Yum.

    • Frankie

      I had a hoot when I saw that on Top Chef Masters they had one chef do a haute cuisine take on shepherd’s pie. It is just the best comfort food. You can even make it with fish instead of meat if you can figure out a way to make a little “gravy” for it.

  • http://otm-inthegalley.blogspot.com/ SeattleDee

    I inherited Mom’s love of people – and the urge to feed everyone I know. Her recipes have traveled with me on the boat, so people all along the PNW coast have enjoyed Dottie’s (mom) almond paste coffee cake, German potato salad, applesauce rum cake, rouladen… plus a bunch more favorites and an invitation to enjoy “just one more helping”.

  • http://www.measuringspoonsandmixingbowls.blogspot.com Jen

    I don’t know if I can say that I’ve mastered this, but my mother has a very unique skill in the kitchen. No matter what kind of food it is, she will know exactly what size tupperware it will fit in. And it will fit perfectly – there won’t be extra space at the top, and you won’t have an extra couple of spoonfuls that you eat since you don’t want to dirty another set. I hope that one day I will discover I have a unique talent such as this!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Cara has that talent too!

  • http://sweetandsweat.com Melinh @ Sweet and Sweat

    My mother used to make this fabulous tomatoey-ketchupy chicken. Although I’m vegetarian now I still try to recreate the recipe with tofu :)

  • Sarah

    One of the meals that I learned from my mom and now makes me think of her every time is chicken schnitzel. I’ve been helping with the messy (but oh-so-fun) steps of flour, egg, and breadcrumbs since before I can remember and it also taught me a few great techniques, like how to evenly pound out the meat and the knife skills to mince parsley. This is still my #1 comfort food. It’s also a really easy one that every guest loves!

    My favorite trick that I learned from my mother is to always use spinach or arugula at least as part of your salad to make your greens more interesting.

  • Anonymous

    Any time I make chocolate chip cookies, I automatically think of my mom. She taught me how to bake them perfectly, and to double the batch because eating the dough is almost better than the cookie itself.

  • Anonymous

    What’s your favorite meal that your mother used to make? Tuna Noodle Casserole! My mom is not a fan of the kitchen, but this is the one dish she mastered. I like to think of myself as a foodie, but I still crave it :)

  • Jessy

    As you two know, I come from a house where mommas dont cook, dads do – as Cara seems to still recall specifics of more than I! But my mom did cook one thing, as all good Jewish moms do, matzoh ball soup! She taught me that you gotta have the shmlatz in those balls. Which she also apparently taught Eulah, who by the way dubbed them “Master Balls.”

  • http://www.meganlaneisinyourears.blogspot.com Megan Lane

    ooo i really need a roasting pan!!answer to question one : it’s so hard to choose just one dish, but i really loved the summer pasta with sausage, peas & mushrooms. a dish i like to make that reminds me most of her is mediteranean pasta. yum!

  • http://ieatdc.blogspot.com iEatDC

    My mom’s a longtime fitness instructor and personal trainer, which means I’ve been eating weird health-food items for way longer than most people. When I was younger she would make whole wheat pizza dough, and then let me and my sister put whatever we wanted on it – my half would have NO sauce, spinach, broccoli, and lots of cheese. I still enjoy making my own pizza at home (which is handy when you don’t live in New York).

  • Kate

    Well, I don’t think I get to win because my sister is Cara…and I probably share many of her favorite recipes as well. Among my favorite of my mom’s dishes has to be linguine and clam sauce. The smell of onions, garlic, oil, and parsley brings back the best memories of growing up and cooking dinner with the family.

    And the absolute best trick I ever learned from my mom was how to make the world’s most perfect pancakes. My sisters and I used to stand on kitchen chairs to help my mom make pancakes, where we learned to absolutely never overbeat a batter (some lumps are better). And, the best part of all, was when my mom instructed us to duck so that we wouldn’t get burned as she poured the melted butter from the griddle into the pancake batter. Not only can I make pancakes from scratch that are better than any box, but they take about the same time, plus, I have yet to turn out a heavy, overly beaten cake! Plus, Cara, I think I’ll need a roasting pan for my new house next year :)

  • Anonymous

    When I was little, my Mom started a gift basket business (using longaberger basket of course) so that she could make a little extra cash for vacations, but still be able to stay home with me. She would sell baskets to companies around town for secretary’s day, mother’s day, etc.

    Some of my favorite memories were of stuffing baskets in the basement (she had long rows of shelves with Ghiradelli chocolates, spicy hot sauces, rafia, ribbons, mustard pretzels, chili pistachios… you get the idea) and coming up with “themes” for the basket (we had spicy cowboy baskets, death by chocolate baskets…etc.).

    ANYway… despite the theme, the common denominator was baked goods… that’s what the people really wanted. Some of my earliest cooking memories were sitting next to her at the kitchen aid slowly pouring in flour for her chocolate chip cookies — the recipe for which I only recently received, btw — which were nothing short of perfection.

    Cooking tip learned from my mother: if you’re going to make a perfect cookie… don’t even try if you don’t have 1) at LEAST one stick of butter (room temp, of course); 2) BUTTER FLAVORED CRISCO (I digitally shouted b/c it’s that important).

    Seriously, butter flavored Crisco makes THE BEST cookies — specifically chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin… my favorites.

    -Thanks Mom!

    • Frankie

      At first I gagged on the idea but maybe I’ll try this. Does anyone know if you use the same amount of Crisco as the butter the recipe calls for?

      • Anonymous

        Get ready to gag a little more. You actually use BOTH real butter and butter flavored crisco. The combo is what makes it both a little chewy and still have a crunch.

  • Irene

    My favorite meal that my mom ever made was a Chinese noodle soup with big chunks of beef and bok choy. So simple, but so comforting! Perfect for wintertime.

  • kara

    My mom is the greatest baker. She always taught me to be exacting in my measurements but creative with my concepts, and it’s never steered me wrong.

  • Anonymous

    My mom is a great cook and it is from her that I got my love of cooking. For dessert one of my favorite things that she makes is lemon mousse with raspberry sauce. It is light and refreshing and mixes my two favorite flavors. For savory she makes a delicious roast chicken and now whenever I make it I think of her and learning to make it with her in the kitchen. So many of my favorite memories come from learning to cook and bake with her in the kitchen.

  • http://www.loveandbistros.com/ Margarita

    My favourite meal that my mom makes is called Bigos in Polish, translated loosely as ‘Hunters Stew’. It is absolutely delicious and I’ve been learning to cook it so it reminds me of my moms :)

  • http://bostongirlontheverge.blogspot.com Jeanne

    I don’t remember a lot of my mom’s cooking, but there is a Norwegian Apple Pie that stands out. It’s great in the fall for breakfast or dessert… :)

  • http://ahntopoftheworld.blogspot.com/ ahnika johnson

    my favorite meal from mama: swedish pancakes. hands down the sweetest and most delicious breakfast you could ever serve your children. not to mention it literally took hours when you are cooking enough for 5 children (and often our friends).
    the dish i cook that reminds me most of my mama: eggplant parmesan. so tasty and fattening. http://ahntopoftheworld.blogspot.com/2010/04/whats-been-cooking-iv.html
    the best kitchen technique i learned from my mama: wash your hands before doing anything. so simple.

  • Stephanie

    Every year my Mom still goes shopping the week before Christmas, clears off the whole kitchen table and counter, and we spends an entire day making pies and cookies. We make as many kinds as we can think of, with 5 cookbooks opened and getting covered with flour and sugar and little bits of dough. The best part is sharing the cookies with all of our relatives for the whole holiday season (if we haven’t eaten all of the dough while he bake)!

  • Anonymous

    Making my Mom’s apple cake completely takes me back to being in her kitchen!

  • emily

    the christmas cookie process is always amazing and it’s a time when we are constantly in the kitchen together! :)

  • Amy

    My mom used to make a delicious chocolate chip walnut coffee cake and melt in your mouth mint chocolate chip meringue cookies. I have great memories of baking in our tiny kitchen in our matching red check aprons. Love you, Mom!

  • http://twitter.com/poiseinparma Alicia Hansen

    I just learned to make my mom’s chicken marsala, but her paprikash recipe means even more than gold!

  • Caitlin

    Growing up in southwest Virginia, I was the only kid who clamored for pooris, pooris, and more pooris. My mom taught me that to give chocolate chip cookies the perfect texture, you have to underbake them since they continue to cook on the sheet.

  • Anna

    Creamed Chipped Beef on toast is just the best dish! I don’t know exactly where this food comes from, but my mother brought me up eating it whenever the weather is cold and gross and you need something warm and delicious to keep you cozy inside. Yum.

  • http://spelledlikelatte-man.blogspot.com Lindsey

    This isn’t a dish, per se, but every year since I was little my mother and I would make apple butter in the fall. We’d buy a bushel of apples and spend a whole morning peeling and dicing them before letting them cook down with spices in a crockpot. The house would smell amazing all day (and the best part was when I got to peek inside and stir!) and then Mom would bake fresh bread for when the apple butter was ready. Our reward was always a slice of warm, moist bread and sweet-spicy apple butter later that evening. Just thinking about it makes me remember fall and home!

  • http://www.oceceo.wordpress.com Christi Charbonneau

    A recipe that my mother makes (who actually received the recipe from her mother) is an amazing vegetable beef barley soup. My mom makes this almost once every two weeks, and my grandma makes it every week, and in my 24 years, I have always had some everytime they both make it and have yet to get sick of it!
    For some reason my chocolate chip cookies always turned out crispy, no matter how short of a baking time they had. My mom told me to put in a small box of instant vanilla pudding with two tablespoons of milk, and WAH-LAH they’re ALWAYS soft and chewy and amazingly delicious.

    • Frankie

      I would love to have that soup recipe. Another one I never get sick of is Moroccan “harira” – with lentils and vermicelli and cilantro, cumin and tomato paste.

  • Anonymous

    The meal that I still make that reminds me of mom are Peppers and Egg sandwiches. We used to get the most delicious semolina rolls from a local italian bakery, and then she would sautee green peppers and eggs and stuff each perfect loaf with the concoction, melting mozzarella on top. the egg mixture would soak into the bread and it was truly divine.

  • Anonymous

    Sadly enough chicken fingers that are so popular, me, my two brothers and my father would request it for our birthday dinners every year.

    Now, my mother is coming to visit around her birthday and guess what she requested…..CHICKEN FINGERS!! :)

    Although the one that reminds me the most of her is when I am sick. Orzo in chicken broth with white buttered toast. Nothing really complicated, but soothes me everytime I don’t feel good

  • Jillian

    My mom is a great everyday cook. Despite having a full time job, we ate fresh homemade meals each night growing up. Needless to say, she taught me many great kitchen techniques, but the top 3: don’t over think things, don’t sweat it when things don’t go according to plan, and don’t follow a recipe blindly. This really has inspired me to experiment in the kitchen and to not be afraid of cooking for myself.

  • http://www.theshortandthesweetofit.com/ Kirby Brooks

    My family has amazing Christmas morning brunches and as I get older I even look forward to them more than opening gifts! My Mom makes this egg dish called “Tahoe Brunch” that is amazing …. it is basically sausage, onion, bread and cheddar cheese covered in an egg mixture sprinkled with nutmeg. Yum!

    One of my Mom’s “signature dishes” that I make for friends or my boyfriend is her Chili Rice. It is basically a mixture of cooked white rice and sour cream mixed layered with chilies and Monterrey Jack cheese. A hit every time!

    The best trick in the kitchen that Mom has taught me is to swap applesauce or pudding in baking recipes to make them lighter. I love to bake and these substitutions work so well!

  • Cheryl W.

    My mom passed when I was 11 but I still to this day remember how awesome of a cook she was. She always was making something new to push our taste buds. Be it seared share, stewed rabbit, leg of lamb, seafoods of all kinds or other exotic food. She taught us to bravely try new things. So today when I see a recipe that would totally be out of my element, I try it. It reminds me of my mom and her love of cooking.

  • Anonymous

    My mom makes the best lasagna!!! So whenever I make it I think of her. Ironically it’s just the recipe on the lasagna noodle box. We used to be able to pick a restaurant to go to on our birthday but as I got older I asked my mom to just make me her lasagna instead :)

  • Patricia Sahertian

    One of the best meals my mother makes is simply called by us “chicken and orzo”. She used to use a pan quite similar to the LeCreuset above. The recipe is an old Greek standard, whole chicken, lots of garlic, tomato sauce and a box of orzo. It all cooks together in the oven and creates a creamy, sticky pasta that absorbs all of the juice from the roasted chicken. A few years ago she thought her old pan (which she had used for over 40 years) had finally had enough and she threw it in the garbage. My sister saw it and immediately rescued it and brought it home to her house. Now I think she might be making the best chicken and orzo in town.

  • Kate Brennan

    My mom is Dolores Thomas in Drifton, PA. Never following a recipe, she can throw together a last minute party for 30, using a wrinkled carrot and a chicken wing; and everyone will push away from the table raving about the meal and taking home leftovers. How does she do it?! She is world renowned for her potato salad, meatballs and “city chicken”. But my all time favorite is her stuffed cabbage. She is Polish, so we call the stuffed cabbages Haluppki. Eating them since I cut my first tooth, it is my comfort food. When I was a kid, my girlfriends would have chicken soup and grilled cheese, when they were sick. Me, I had to have Haluppki. I swear it has medicinal properties!

  • Christine B.

    While the words ‘cold winter’ and ‘Los Angeles’ are not usually used together my mom always made sure my sister and I were toasty on those cold LA nights. When the temperature dipped below 60 she would treat my sister and I with our favorite snack — delicious homemade bread with warm, melted kashkaval cheese on top. While it’s a bit more difficult to come across kashkaval cheese where I live today (in New Hampshire) there is nothing that makes me feel warmer or cozier than a delicious, freshly baked slice of bread covered in melted cheese. It never fails to remind me of my dear mom and I look forward to passing the tradition on to my own children in the future.

  • Sharon

    Living in the deep south, making a roux is one of the first thing mamas teach their daughters. I learned at about age 5-6, and to this day my roux’s are superb.

  • Mary Ann

    My Scottish mom taught me to cook meat until it was truly dead and could double as shoe leather. She taught me to cook veggies until they were also truly dead. I didn’t know carrots could be crunchy until after I left home. She taught me the intricacies of spices… salt and pepper and the mysterious paprika which were the only 3 that existed in her kitchen.
    When I was a newlywed, I asked her for her stuffing recipe and she pulled a box of paxo stuffing mix from the cupboard.

    She was skilled in making you warm with laughter and love, you could have eaten from her kitchen floor because no one could touch her skills at cleaning but when it came to cooking, she was an example of what not to do. Her one cooking skill was rich, thick, stick to your ribs soups brimming with butter beans, barley, potatoes, turnip and chicken stock with carrots grated in to give it body and sweetness. There was always a pot of soup on the stove in winter and it’s the one cooking skill I’ve always tried to emulate. My boys usually start asking in August when we’re making granny’s winter soup.

    My mom-in-law was Ukrainian and cooking was breath to her. She taught me that food was meant to pleasure, not just sustain. She introduced me to herbs plucked from the garden or windowbox and she shared her pirogi and borscht recipes with me and didn’t leave out any vital ingredients. To try to pick one single recipe of hers is impossible, my boys called her nana num nums and she gave me my Le Creuset dutch oven as a wedding gift and then she gave me the confidence to use it.

  • Anonymous

    My mother isn’t what you’d call a good cook. Growing up, the hall pantry always yielded an endless supply of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese boxes, grape Jell-o, HamburgerHelper, a handful of Richard Simmons cookbooks (and really, his face is enough to deter me at least from breeching the cover to ever peruse the recipes), flanked on either side by “The Art of French Cooking” or the quintessential Gourmet magazine cookbook – both gifts from her mother. Most nights, dinner consisted of a piece of meat recently sprung from the freezer, mixed with a pre-made seasoning packet proclaiming one only need to add water to create a “homecooked meal” (cooked in a home, yes, but homecooked… not nearly), alongside canned vegetables and instant mashed potatoes.

    This never bothered me as a kid, but as my siblings and I grew up, we became increasingly critical of her cooking and scoffed at many a meal. My sister and I dabbled in vegetarianism, my brother became increasingly picky, and meals, more often than not, became the center of bratty teenage battles with our mother about improving her cooking to suit our needs. She never changed, and in retrospect, she never should have.

    I learned to cook for myself instead, and from age 12 became the new family chef. My shelf in the pantry now reflected my desire to be the mini Martha Stewart, stocked with canned organic tomatoes, cous-cous, and herbs I’d dried and grown myself, alongside apricots I’d collected from the orchard down the street (we’ll thank Alice Waters for that influence). And I cooked. I cooked coq au vin, spaghetti carbonara, risotto, sushi, and even once a whole pumpkin hollowed out and baked with sage and roasted squash stuffing, as part of a Halloween themed meal. Mind you, this is a tragically un-cool, time-consuming, and odd hobby for a teenage girl but, for whatever reason, and despite my more than occasional meal disasters and many complaints from my siblings, I continued.

    Looking back, the reason why is clear- learning to cook (and to cook well) taught me to take criticism, to take charge of my own life, and to appreciate every family meal in a new way. Cooking is tedious, time-consuming, and wonderful when done right, and more often than not, we cook out of love. For me, making a loving meal for my mom means a clever and handmade 5 course menu, but for her, the sentiment is just as succinctly served with a Betty Crocker cupcake or a glass of Crystal Lite lemonade at the end of a bad day. Regardless of the package it’s delivered in, the message is always the same: I love you, and I want you to enjoy this meal, this moment, with me.

    It’s a message it took me a few years past the teenage years to get (I’m 24 now), but if my mother has taught me any lesson about cooking, it’s to be absolutely grateful for the fact that someone has cooked for you – taken the time to create something to sustain you, because they care for you, and my mom indeed accomplishes this with every meal.

    • Frankie

      This post is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Marion

    My mom makes the best baklava, which she learned from my paternal grandmother, who learned from her Greek mother-in-law. I’ve had to adapt the recipe, as I’m allergic to walnuts, but the aroma of the lemon syrup on the stovetop and the delicate pastry in the over always reminds me of both my mom and my grandmother.

  • Kristina

    It is so hard to choose one favourite dish of my mom’s. She is such an amazing cook (well except for the Chicken a la “Ralph” fiasco) Since I have to choose one, I will say her amazing, comforting beef stew. It is amazing!!!!

  • Kate S

    *What’s your favorite meal that your mother used to make? What dish do you cook yourself that reminds you most of your mom?

    My favorite meal is actually one my mother made along with her mother, down the shore in the summers. My grandmother had a long standing tradition of assembling, negotiating and ruling the annual clambake, complete with fire pit, sea weed and pounds upon pounds of sea food. I remember watching my mother and her mother piling the delicacies into a large (understated) pot, strategically placing the potatoes on this tier and the clams on that one; seemingly sporadically incorporating sea weed for reasons I was unsure of. It all seems to mystical when I was a kid. As I got older, I joined in the process. Now we’re three generations of clam bakers.

  • ebbie

    My favorite meal of my mom’s is her biscuits and chocolate gravy. She makes the fluffiest biscuits, which I think a lot has to do with her making them every weekend for twenty plus years. Chocolate gravy is basically really thick hot cocoa, it sounds really weird but it is gooood. It is sort of lumpy sometimes and a horrible color (like bloomed chocolate color) but it has all of the flavor of dunking something into hot chocolate with the soggy biscuit part. Mom is the only person I know who makes it. On Sunday mornings all of the kids would line up next to the stove, and Mom would split open a biscuit, add two pats of butter on each half, and then top it off with rich chocolate gravy. We all turned into total sugar junkies, and I think this has a lot to do with our favorite breakfast.

  • http://katielouwho.typepad.com Katie

    Hello! The most useful/helpful/life saving tip my Mom ever told me was to never cut corners while baking…. Meaning that if it tells you to sift the flour, SIFT the flour. :)

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  • http://www.calvine.blogspot.com Calvine

    My mom makes the best zucchini bread! Growing up it was always a treat my siblings and I preferred over any cookie or cupcake, and recently she’s been growing her own zucchinis (and therefore makes enough during the season to last a whole year). I think the key to her recipe is a ton of cinnamon… and all the great memories we have of eating it with her!

    Though I haven’t been able to learn how to make her zucchini bread (or steal the recipe for that delicious mustard of hers…) one thing she did teach me was how she makes lasagna. It was a lot of fun to spend the day making it together, and now I love to make it too!

    Thanks for the great giveaway, so much fun to read all these stories about mothers!

  • Julia

    I learned to wear a ponytail when making cookies. When I was little, I leaned over the mixer with my hair down and my hair caught in the spokes of the beaters. I was terrified – and screaming! My mom unplugged it and brought me upstairs to the bathtub, where she untangled my hair from the cookie-dough beaters under water…and using scissors. Alas, the cookie dough was wasted – but I am so thankful my mom was there to rescue me from that disaster!

  • Suman Desaraju

    my favorite dish of my mom’s is her Tamarind Rice. just the sight the burnt yellow hue of the rice studded with roasted peanuts, curry leaves, mustard seeds and green and dried red chili peppers still makes my mouth water. as a child, i would watch in awe as mom would get out the “big” pot, and toast up the spices in oil. mounds of billowy white rice would get added and everything would be seasoned perfectly. i am still flabbergasted by the fact that there was never a measuring spoon or cup in sight….everything was done by look, by feel, by taste – a talent surely inherited from generations of the women in our family making this exact dish.
    the finished product was never meant to serve only the 4 of us, oh no….one magic pot would produce 30+ servings, enough for leftovers, enough for unexpected drop-ins for dinner, enough to send over to the under the weather neighbor down the street.
    i have yet to perfectly replicate the salty, sour, nutty taste of my mom’s Tamarind Rice, and i am still tranformed into an anxious, hungry 5 year old every time the “big pot” comes out onto the stove :)

  • http://blog.shaecation.com Shae

    Without a doubt, I have two favorite dishes of my mother’s that I like to make regularly for myself nowadays (she lives across the country). Her chocolate chip cookies and Caesar salad are just two of my all-time favorites. Neither one is particularly complicated, the cookies even call for golden Crisco (dating the recipe somewhat) but they both taste fantastic!

  • Anonymous

    Roast leg of lamb..prepared with lots of garlic on a bed of rosemary, surrounded by crispy potatoes. I try, but can never duplicate the flavor because her lamb came from the Basque herders whose sheep grazed our land, and we got a lamb in return…..

  • Jessie

    My mom taught me to relax and enjoy cooking — and always taste for seasoning as you go.

  • Randi

    My mom makes the best meatloaf! It’s my favorite homefood. I make my mom’s tater tot casserole – it’s fabulous. :)

  • Lisanne

    I know it may sound funny, but making a simple grilled cheese makes me think of my Mom more than anything else.

  • SamanthaB

    Nothing reminds me more of my mom (and maternal grandma) than matzoh ball soup. Its a staple for every major Jewish holiday, and every time I smell fresh, homemade chicken soup I immediately think of them. Both taught me that making homemade stock is work the extra time because the taste is second to none. Now, if only I could make matzoh balls as good as theirs…

  • Anonymous

    my mom and I have a tradition of making rack of lamb for easter. I always help her and it has become a very special tradition.

  • http://bite-sizedfoodie.blogspot.com Loraine

    My favorite meal of my mom’s is chicken adobo. It is a simple filipino dish largely made of garlic, bay leaves, soy sauce, vinegar and chicken. I always remember my mom making it and the smell that filled the house. She is such an amazing cook and I was always awed and inspired by her as she whipped up her own or remembered the recipes (by heart, of course <3) passed down from her own family and culture. This dish is very much the epitome of my mom and the love that she put into her cooking. When I make the dish now, very much a comfort food for me, I become very nostalgic as the same aroma fills the kitchen and my heart swells with love for my mom. <3

  • http://twitter.com/htisman Hillary Tisman

    Without a doubt, my mother’s tomato soup with pasta and chickpeas. Even in the middle of the summer, if I’m feeling sick, it’s the recipe I turn to.

  • Sara

    Best kitchen technique I learned from my mother was how to balance the baby while washing dishes. AND to clean up while you go…makes the meal so much more enjoyable when there isn’t a pile in the sink waiting for you!

  • Anna McVerry

    Gnocchi!!! My mamma makes these yummies from sratch!! She’s from Italy and has been making them the way her mamma taught her!! Anna

  • Carla

    I love my Mom, but I do not love her cooking! She did teach me one very useful trick, though: when cooking, keep the kitchen door closed. That way no one sees you when you drop the chicken on the floor or hears you when you curse the oven!

    PS. I love your blog! I’ve been following it since you posted on the Bitten site about your Red Pepper Risotto with Pimenton… sometime over the summer I think? I’ve shared the blog with many of my friends. Keep up the great cooking and writing!

  • http://www.katofalltrades.com Kat

    When I was growing up, we ALWAYS had homemade pasta sauce thanks to my mom. While I don’t follow her recipe, I always make my own sauce and think of my mom when I do!

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