Grapefruit Ginger Spritzers

Photo: Anna Williams

The Taste-Bud Reset

Wake up your mom's palate with a ginger and grapefruit spritzer, and she'll be ready for every flavor that follows. You can make the syrup ahead of time, by boiling grapefruit zest, sliced ginger, water and sugar; let it cool, and then mix a few spoonfuls with plain seltzer for a zippy and refreshing start to the meal.

Get the recipe: Grapefruit Ginger Spritzers
Country Ham-Wrapped Peaches with Goat Cheese Sauce

Photo: Alison Gootee

The Salty-Sweet 5-Minute Appetizer

Melon with prosciutto is a traditional Italian pairing; here, the pairing gets a southern makeover that's just as tasty. You wrap sliced peaches with ham and roast the pieces for a few minutes, so the ham starts to brown and the fruit warms slightly. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar heightens the flavors, and a goat cheese sauce (which comes together in a flash) is great for dipping.

Get the recipe: Country Ham-Wrapped Peaches with Goat Cheese Sauce
Arugula and Radish Salad

Photo: Christina Holmes

Proof That the Salad Course Can Be Amazing

"Impressive" may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of a plate of raw vegetables, but this one sure is—and it has nothing to do with any sort of fancy chopping or cooking technique. The wow factor here is based solely on the ingredients. The base consists of two peppery veggies—baby arugula and radishes—and the dressing is the perfect complement, made with fresh orange, lemon and lime juices, plus a dash of chili powder for a little kick.

Get the recipe: Arugula and Radish Salad
Baby Crab Cakes

Photo: Ricky Eisen

A Classic That's Easier Than You Might Think

It's true that frying crab cakes in oil will help them develop a beautiful, golden-brown crust—but there's no need to make them entirely on the stovetop. This smart recipe (which has a blessedly short ingredients list) has you start the cakes that way, but finish them in the oven, so you're only standing over the stove for about five minutes, leaving you more time to chat with Mom (or refill her drink). (Plus, this method can also help ensure you don't overcook the crab cakes.)

Get the recipe: Baby Crab Cakes
Raspberry Sauce

Photo: Alison Gootee/ Studio D.

The Gorgeous Cake for People Who Don't Do Decorations

Even if you can't work a pastry bag and wouldn't touch fondant with a 10-foot pole, you can make this design: You just dot raspberry sauce in the shape of a circle on top of a cheesecake (any kind will do, whether homemade or store-bought), and then run a toothpick through each dot, thus turning each into a heart.

Get the recipe: Raspberry Sauce