Meal Planning Monday ~ A Tribute to Mom



This week’s blog post is by Christine Luken.

Mother’s Day is coming up in less than a week, so I thought it would be fun to talk about those favorite recipes that no one can make as good as mom. And for each of us, I’m sure the dishes will be very different.  My Nana – my Dad’s mom – was 100% Polish.  Even though my Nana is in heaven, my Dad magically brings her spirit back to earth when he recreates her polish sausage, kapusta, and pierogies. Our “food memories” can be very strong and make us feel connected to our moms, whether they live across town, across the country, or are keeping my Nana and Jesus company.

Now, I arguably have the BEST mom on the planet (yes, that’s the two of us pictured above, circa 1977).  We always ate dinner as a family every night, and many times my Mom would involve my brother and me in her cooking and baking activities.  I’m sure there were times when she may have regretted that decision, but my Mom was spending quality time with us while teaching us valuable cooking skills.  If my Mom hadn’t taken the time to do that, I don’t think I’d be writing this Meal Planning Monday blog – so THANKS MOM! :)

I remember a time in high school when I tried making a particular recipe in my brief vegetarian phase that turned out awful.  Back then I hated failing at anything, so I’m pretty sure I was crying as I threw my attempt at dinner in the trash.  Thankfully my Mom, being the wonderful encourager that she is, told me that being a good cook requires two things: good recipes and practice.  (Obviously, it was a horrible recipe to start with and therefore not my fault.)  So, I have become an avid collector of good recipes and now have years of practice under my belt.  Some of my Mom’s recipes I have successfully duplicated, but others just taste better when she makes them.  Here are some of my all-time favorites.

  • Chicken Cacciatore – My Mom would make this in the crock pot with bone-in chicken, tons of mushrooms and peppers, and serve it over pasta.  It’s pure heaven!  I haven’t perfected this recipe yet, but am going to try a clean-eating version my friend Julie Brawley created.  Fortunately, one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Pompellio’s, has a cacciatore dish that tastes almost exactly like Mom’s.

  • Split Pea Soup – I have tried to duplicate my Mom’s split pea soup on multiple occasions and missed the mark every time.  It’s just one of those recipes that no one makes as good as she does.  Must be all the extra love she adds!  I always request it as my birthday dinner, with warm corn muffins slathered in butter.

  • Turkey Slices & Gravy – This recipe is super easy and still a favorite for both me and my brother.  My Mom would buy a pound of turkey deli meat, slice it into bite-sized pieces, and heat it in a skillet with a jar or two of turkey gravy.  Most of the time she served it over white rice with a veggie on the side.  Now I make a grown-up version of the recipe.  I start by sautéing mushrooms in a little bit of butter to add to the turkey and gravy, and then serve it over wild rice.

  • Chicken Noodle Soup – Nothing makes me feel better when I’m feeling under the weather than a bowl of Mom’s homemade chicken soup.  I’ll make a huge pot of this soup and freeze the leftovers.  Let me tell you – there’s nothing better than realizing you have homemade chicken soup in the freezer when you start to feel sick.  If your mom can’t be there to take care of you, it’s the next best thing.

  • Sugar Cookies with Homemade Buttercream Frosting – Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around making Christmas cookies with my Mom.  It was – and still is – fun to bake and decorate those delicious treats.  Most years, my Mom and I still bake them together.  I’ve excited that my nephew and niece, Reid and Ayla, are going to be old enough to help us bake and decorate them this year.

To all the moms out there – Happy Early Mother’s Day!  I hope you have as many fond memories as I do of cooking and baking with your mom.  And be sure to start training up the next generation of young cooks and bakers!  So tell me – what recipes remind you most of your mom?


  1. Caudiamalik says:

    Love the article, can’t believe we ever were all that young!