RRED Staff's Favorite Mom-Cooked Meals

This Mother’s Day, the Rachael Ray Every Day staff took a moment to share their favorite mom-cooked meals that give them allll the feels.
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"Growing up, for our birthday dinner, my twin sister and I usually requested my mom’s Veal Scallopine Alla Marsala, a Marcella Hazan dish Judie Iannotti improved with a few adjustments. Even though it was August, and she broke a sweat pounding out the veal with the prosciutto, and that oven blasted the entire un-airconditioned first floor of the house with bonus heat, she made it every year. When we were old enough to understand and feel bad for the baby cows, it became chicken, pounded even harder to get it thin and tender. Heaven. I order that dish at restaurants on occasion now and it just doesn’t compare. Her secret: Much heavy cream and good wine, ample mushrooms and a quantity of love the universe could barely contain, much less her measuring cups. Nobody can make it—make anything—like my mama." —Lauren Iannotti, editor-in-chief

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"Everything Mom made was delicious, but one of my faves was her pasta with piselli (peas). I always got a kick out of how the peas would nestle in the pasta shells like a pearl in an oyster, along with all the buttery, parmesan-y goodness. I even remember the sound of the pasta as she’d mix the ingredients together—I still love the sound of moving macaroni! This dish was instant comfort in a bowl (always served in a pasta bowl, never on a plate), warming up my belly like a hug from the inside." —Tara Cox, managing editor

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"My love of pie, which grew long ago into a love of pie baking, came directly from my mom. Her pies were all so delicious, it wasn’t cake I asked for my birthday, but pie. She was known especially for her apple pie. As soon as the apple orchards opened in the fall, you would find a bushel of apples in the basement, ready for peeling and slicing. Her preferred variety? Macintosh. She also kept a large jar of homemade pie crust mix in the fridge, so all she had to do was pour some in a bowl, sprinkle in some water, and roll away. She almost always made her apple pies topped with a sugary, crunchy, cinnamon streusel topping. I came from a family of seven—mom, dad, four brothers, and me—so there were NEVER leftovers. My mom is 89 now, and arthritis has kept her from keeping up with any pie baking. I am happy to carry on that torch. The best news? I’ve somehow managed to pass pie-making-joy on to my two lovely daughters. Not only are they fantastic bakers, their pies could win beauty contests." —Janet McCracken, food director

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"Growing up in the South gives 'comfort food' a whole different meaning. Cooking runs in the family but because it was just me and my mom, big southern meals only happened on special occasions. It wasn’t until I moved away when I was 19 did I realize how much I craved a comforting plate of smothered cubed steak and rice. Often when I find myself missing my mom the most, I also want cube steak, served warm and smothered in gravy like my moms hugs!" —Renae Wilson, test kitchen associate

mom and me GANS

"My mom makes the best challah bread. She’s kind of known in the community for it, and I’m spoiled enough to eat it by the fistful whenever I’m visiting for Shabbat. It’s family custom to grunt with approval when dad uncovers it. Bronzed, burnished, sesame speckled—it’s hard to be patient as he passes pieces of it down the table. It’s so soft that tufts of it practically melt into my soup like cotton candy. Soup and mom’s challah—that’s my soul meal right there." —Aliza Gans, associate food editor

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"I can’t live without my mother's butternut squash soup, which she makes from scratch and is an amalgam of all the recipes she’s tried—and tweaked—over the years. It’s the ultimate comfort food, especially on a cold or rainy day. I love when she makes a big batch and sends me home with the leftovers. It freezes well and always makes me think of home." —Danielle Blundell, lifestyle director

Hillary+Mom

"My favorite dish my mom makes is her lasagna. While that’s probably not the most original answer, because I’m sure most moms make lasagna for their families at some point, there is just nothing better that comes out of Suzie Maglin’s kitchen. My mom makes quite a few dishes with her famously tangy, garlicky tomato sauce (pasta, stuffed peppers, and Italian sausage to name a few), but with all that soft, melted cheese and spinach (yep, my mom adds the green stuff) between the pasta layers, it’s hard for any friends or relatives at the house to say no to dinner when that lasagna’s in the oven. My mom is Polish, yet all my Italian relatives on my dad’s side rave about her sauce!" —Hillary Maglin, editorial intern

Nina and mom

"Even though I asked for hot dogs (split lengthwise and griddled in a pan) and Kraft mac and cheese for my birthday, the grown-up me can recognize that I really should have been asking for my mom's chicken and dumplings, which were top-notch. She cooked the chicken in a pressure cooker (this was waaayyyyy before the Instant Pot), then boiled the dumplings in the stock that was left behind. Fluffy dumplings plus tender chicken = a hug from my mom in food form." —Nina Elder, executive food director

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"Instead of birthday cakes, I request my mom’s 'rice pudding.' It’s not the traditional cold dessert—it’s more like a savory rice soufflé, made of eggs, River rice (important, difficult-to-find brand of medium-grain rice that is essential), butter, salt, and a little bit of sugar. It is usually a dish we have at the holidays, but when I would come home from college or now, 11 years after I moved away from home, my mom would always have it made for me. It is comforting, like a warm hug, and fluffy and dense at the same time. There’s also a story behind it: my mom made it dozens of times for my dad when they were dating, because she was trying to figure out the exact recipe. Her grandmother never left her the recipe, but she memorized the flavor, and after a lot of tweaking, she ended up with this recipe, which was passed down to me. It transports me to my childhood kitchen, sneaking bites from the corner when it came out of the oven—mom’s official taste tester."—Alyse Whitney, senior food editor

Family O'Connell

"My mom was the best cook ever—she sadly passed away when I was 16 years old, but she inspired me with her amazing cooking, which led me to my career in food. She used to make this dish we called ‘Mummy’s (because we’re British!) Mince’—and it was ground beef, cooked with onions, celery and carrots, cooked down in a beefy gravy—and it was always served with creamy mashed potato; basically like a deconstructed Sheppard’s Pie. Her legacy lives on, and I still make Mummy’s Mince for my own family, 30 years on!" —Tara Holland, assistant food editor