Recipes from the Stars' Moms and Grandmas

Food Network stars' moms and grandmas share their favorite recipes and stories about their kids in celebration of Mother's Day.

April 11, 2022

A Delicious Ode to Mom

Though we're thankful for mom (and grandma!) all year long, Mother's Day is an extra-special time to take a moment and shower the most important woman (or women) in your life with some much-deserved love and attention. Whether you choose to do that by making your mom an Instagram-worthy breakfast spread or you spoil her with a tray full of made-with-love desserts, there’s no wrong way to show mom just how much you care. In fact, we asked a few Food Network stars to share the go-to dishes they always turn to when they want to celebrate their own mothers. For Valerie Bertinelli, who's pictured above with her mom, Nancy, that dish is Chicken Cacciatore. Turn to the next slide to see how Valerie makes the recipe, and to find out what her friends Guy Fieri, Sunny Anderson, Molly Yeh and more had to share!

Mom's Chicken Cacciatore

When Valerie Bertinelli was growing up, chicken cacciatore was a standard weeknight dinner. It’s one of many recipes she learned from her mom, Nancy, over the years. "I’ve been making it so long, I don’t remember when I started!" she says. Valerie and her mom use just one pot to make this ultra-comforting meal. It also makes cleanup an absolute breeze! Nancy originally incorporated a whole chicken in the dish, but Valerie’s version calls only for chicken thighs. "They’re more forgiving, especially for beginners," she says.

Get the Recipe: Mom’s Chicken Cacciatore

Guy Fieri and his mom, Penny

Unless he's on the road taping Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy has no problem making it to his mom's on Mother's Day: She lives right next door. The two have celebrated with countless pecan pies over the years, using a recipe handed down from Guy's grandfather, a Georgia native. This pie is special, Penny says, because it's not too sweet and has an extra layer of pecans on the bottom.

Southern Pecan Pie

Pecan pie was always a treat for the family when Guy was growing up because his mom rarely made dessert; she says she stuck to cooking "hippie food, like brown rice and steamed veggies." When Guy gave up chocolate as a 12-year-old, telling his mom, "It makes you hyper," Penny was relieved that he'd still indulge in this family favorite.

Get the Recipe: Southern Pecan Pie

Aarti Sequeira and her mom, Rose

The star of Aarti Party says that her mother was a stickler for keeping her three daughters' breakfasts as healthy as possible. Pooris, or puffy Indian fried breads, were a rare treat. But every now and then, Aarti would smell the telltale aroma of dough hitting hot oil and get so excited that she'd run around the house shrieking, "Poooooris!"

Shrikhand and Pooris

Aarti Sequeira's mom, Rose, serves Pooris with a vanilla yogurt pudding called shrikhand: A bite of the two together tastes like a cream-filled doughnut.

Get the Recipe: Shrikhand and Pooris

Molly Yeh and her grandmother, Mary

Molly Yeh’s dad was the one who persuaded her to make her grandmother’s braised pork for the first time. It was one of his favorite foods growing up, and when Molly got the recipe from her grandmother Mary, she understood why.

Grandma’s Tepong Pork

"I love how heavy it is on the sugar as well as the star anise, which I don’t use a lot in my cooking," Molly says about this family-favorite recipe. "It’s so comforting and has this warm, nostalgic quality."

Get the Recipe: Grandma’s Tepong Pork

Anne Burrell and her mom, Marlene

Anne grew up in her mom's garden. "When she was 5," Marlene says, "I'd pay her to pick herbs and flowers, two cents each." Marlene sells five varieties of rose geraniums in her upstate New York flower shop; she first started baking the dessert she's known for, a Rose Geranium Cake, based on a recipe from a friend.

Victorian Rose Geranium Cake

Lots of kids get their start baking cakes from boxed mixes, but Anne was making her mom's Rose Geranium Cake from scratch by age 13. To Anne, this cake tastes like home.

Get the Recipe: Victorian Rose Geranium Cake

Duff Goldman and his mom, Jackie

The Goldman family recipe is tucked away in a vintage cookbook written by Duff's grandmother, but it's certainly not sacred. "We adapt it to include whatever we happen to have in the house," Jackie says. "It's the kind of thing you can't screw up that badly." Jackie swaps in pecans when she's out of walnuts, switches between plain and pulpy orange juice, and has experimented with different types of wine for the sherry.

Cherry-Walnut Gelatin Mold

Duff remembers having the sweet, nutty Jell-o as a dessert, while Jackie prefers to eat it as a side with dinner, like cranberry sauce. Either way, there's no debate over the deliciousness. "It's definitely not something they're teaching in culinary school," Jackie says, "but every time Duff sees me, he asks me to make it for him."

Get the Recipe: Cherry-Walnut Gelatin Mold

Eddie Jackson and his grandmother, Geraldine

Eddie Jackson can pinpoint the moment he began falling in love with food: the first time he rolled out homemade biscuit dough with his grandmother Geraldine. She was the head chef at the high school in his hometown, Americus, GA, for more than 45 years, and as a kid Eddie spent mornings in the cafeteria, helping her prep.

Grandma Geraldine's Famous Biscuits

"Seeing how excited the kids would get as they came through the breakfast line to get my grandmother’s biscuits stuck with me," Eddie says about these golden and pillowy rounds. The women in his family have passed down the recipe for generations, and it works for drop biscuits or cutouts. "My grandmother would do both," Eddie adds.

Get the Recipe: Grandma Geraldine’s Famous Biscuits

Sunny Anderson and her mom, BJ

Growing up, Cooking for Real host Sunny Anderson and her family moved constantly 23 places in 29 years because her dad was in the military. But whether they were living in Virginia or Germany, one thing could make anywhere feel like home: Mom's funnel cake. Young Sunny loved this dessert because "you can usually only get it at a carnival or fair," Sunny's mom BJ says. "It's such a novelty at home."

Easy Classic Funnel Cake

Sunny's mom, BJ combined two recipes she snagged from a friend, and 9-year-old Sunny and her older brother, Tommy, started making the dessert once a month, no matter where they lived. Funnel cakes are great for older kids to help with, BJ says, "because even the ugly ones taste good." She served the sweet fried dough with a pick-your-own-toppings bar of canned pie filling, strawberry coulis, whipped cream and hot chocolate powder.

Get the Recipe: Easy Classic Funnel Cake

Geoffrey Zakarian and his mom, Viola

Geoffrey Zakarian ate his mother's famous Shepherd's Pie often as a kid, but he didn’t know it as shepherd’s pie, just as a tasty use of leftovers. "My mom, Viola, served it whenever there was extra meat," he says. "It’s the best comfort food."

My Mother's Shepherds Pie

Viola's Shepherds Pie recipe is easy to adjust based on what you have: You can substitute ground beef or turkey for the lamb or swap the potato for cauliflower or even turnip purée!

Get the Recipe: My Mother’s Shepherd’s Pie

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