Pasta, shrimp and a bit of greens meld together in a delicate, silky sauce to make an elegant Mother’s Day dinner. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

How did Mother’s Day sneak up on us so quickly?

Just in case you haven’t made a plan quite yet, here’s a menu with ingredients that are accessible, not too expensive and easy to prepare. There’s no hocus-pocus here and no huge time commitment, either. You can spend most of the day how you should – with your mom – then slip away to the kitchen. Even if you’ve never prepared a meal before, my bet is that you can pull this off with very little effort and end up feeling accomplished in your ability to create a pleasing repast that mom (and you) will love.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at

This pasta recipe is elegant, delicious and can be doubled or even tripled if you have invited a crowd over to celebrate mom. It’s also quite versatile. If you like, substitute scallops (sautéed for about 2 minutes on each side) or even lobster meat for the shrimp. Baby spinach can be used instead of arugula and any type of dense pasta, cooking it just before the al dente stage, will do. The flavor of the simple sauce will vary slightly depending on the wine you use, but it’s a delicate dish so you don’t want to serve any complements that will have strong flavors.

A beautiful side salad with a lemony vinaigrette works well, as does an artistically prepared platter of colorful crudité. Fresh broccoli florets sautéed in a hot skillet with olive oil and sea salt until the edges are slightly browned is another nice choice. Indulge in a warm, crusty loaf of artisan bread if you wish, but leave the addition of garlic butter for another time.

Making a whimsical dessert like Chocolate Pizza offers an opportunity to stretch your imagination. Sprinkles, toppings of all sorts and even edible glitter can be used, so have at it! Making a couple of these pizzas together as a family after the meal makes for a fun way to end the evening where your time, conversation and warm beverages can be shared. I’ve included just one example of the pizza to inspire you.

So go get the groceries, pick out a bright bouquet and choose a bottle of crisp white wine. On Sunday evening when the festivities come to an end, I hope you remember that the kitchen clean-up is part of the deal. Allow mom to stay in chillax mode for as long as possible.


Pasta with Shrimp and Arugula

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 ounces rotini
3 cups (packed) fresh arugula, torn into bite-size pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and white wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook just until pink, about 2 minutes.

Drain the pasta then add it to the skillet along with the arugula. Toss to combine. Turn off heat and cover for 1-2 minutes until greens are slightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper and more red pepper flakes if desired. Yield: 4 servings

Dessert Pizza

2 teaspoons butter, melted
1/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1 pound homemade or purchased pizza dough

Position the oven rack on the bottom of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

Line a large, heavy baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a 9-inch-round diameter and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Using your fingers, make indentations all over the dough. Brush with butter then bake until crisp and pale golden brown, about 20 minutes. Immediately spread Nutella over the pizza crust then sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Bake just until the chocolate begins to melt, about 1 minute. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top. Cool for 5-10 minutes then cut into wedges. Yield: 6 servings

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