Ask A Connecticut Chef: Top Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

May 8, 2013 8:00 AM

(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

Mother’s Day brunch need not involve a fancy restaurant, a Sunday drive and getting everyone, including the kids or even mom, all dressed up. For many moms, Mother’s Day is best celebrated by sleeping in, having a quiet day at home in comfy clothes and letting your children and significant other take care of the cooking. Here are some recipes from a top Connecticut chef who knows what moms want on their special day.

Cindy Hartog
Cindy’s Sous Chefs LLC
(203) 221-1177
Cindy Hartog is uniquely qualified to provide recipe ideas for Mother’s Day brunch, and not just because she is both a chef and a mom. Cindy is a special kind of chef, a “children’s chef” – and no, that does not mean she cooks children; Cindy caters parties where she teaches children how to cook. What better day than Mother’s Day for her students to put what they have learned to the test? Here are three “easy, festive and brunch-like” casseroles which Cindy says are sure to please even some very particular moms on their special day. (These dishes will serve eight, so there will be enough for the entire family). 

For The Vegetarian Mom:

Roasted Tomato Bread Pudding

  • 3 lbs plum tomatoes sliced lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons favorite dried herbs
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 head garlic
  • 8 cups cubed French baguette
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 extra large eggs
  • 2 cups coarsely grated Fontina (10 oz)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • A large casserole dish (about 13 by 9 inches)


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Use non-stick spray to coat the casserole dish.
  3. Toss tomatoes in a bowl with your herbs of choice.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon salt.
  5. Place tomatoes on a sheet pan with the seed side up.
  6. To the sheet pan, add the garlic head with the top cut off, drizzled with oil and wrapped in silver foil.
  7. Roast the tomatoes/garlic for 1 hour. Allow to cool and obtain the garlic puree by squeezing it out in the skin. Reserve the puree and dispose of the remaining garlic head.
  8. Toss bread cubes in a bowl with remaining oil until coated and pour onto another sheet pan to bake for 20 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. Allow to cool.
  9. Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, garlic purée and 2 teaspoons of salt. Mix in cheese with a spoon.
  10. In an extra large bowl, combine the bread and liquid mixtures. Pour this combination into a casserole. Add the tomatoes, making sure they are scattered equally throughout the pan, pressing each down gently into the mixture.
  11. Adjust oven temperature to 350° F. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until slightly browned.

Related: Cooking Ideas For Kids From A Connecticut Chef

For the Sweet-Toothed Mom:

White Chocolate Dried-Cherry Croissant Bread Pudding


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 croissants
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries (may be soaked ahead of time in a 1/2 cup of cherry liquor)
  • 3/4 cup good quality grated white chocolate
  • A large, deep casserole dish (about 13 by 9 inches)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Use non-stick spray to coat the casserole dish.
  3. In a mixer, combine butter and sugar until sugar is incorporated.
  4. Slowly add 5 eggs, one at a time, using a rubber spatula to clean the interior sides of the bowl between each egg.
  5. Add the heavy cream and continue mixing.
  6. Rip up the croissants into 1-inch pieces and put in an extra large bowl.
  7. Add the white chocolate and dried cherries (you can either drain them or add the liquor) and then pour the egg mixture over the contents.
  8. Mix together with a large spoon, and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Make sure the bread continues to sit in the liquid.
  9. Pour into a deep casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
  10. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more until slightly browned.
  11. Cool and enjoy! 

Related: Top Restaurants For Easter Brunch 2013 In Connecticut
For the Meat-Lover Mom:

Meat Lover’s Mom Strata


  • 1 lb sausage (can use pork, chicken, etc.), browned in a frying pan, drained and diced
  • 12 ounces bacon, browned and drained
  • 1/2 loaf stale French bread, cubed
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • A large casserole dish (about 13 by 9 inches)


  1. To cook the bacon, lay the strips out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and broil until crisp, but not burned. Once cooled, crumble them.
  2. If the bread is not stale, cube it and toast it in the oven until crisp.
  3. In a casserole dish, layer the bacon, sausage and bread.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with the half-and-half, salt and mustard. Pour over the layered ingredients and submerge all the dry ingredients, making sure they are covered with liquid.
  5. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours or more.
  6. When ready to bake, let the strata come to room temperature and then bake at 350° F for 1 hour. 

Related: Top Cookbook Pertaining To Connecticut

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at

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