Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easy Easter Meal Ideas

This coming Sunday is Easter--and for most of us, that means a big family dinner. This year we're eating out.

Even though there will be no ham gracing my table this year, I've made many, many Resurrection Sunday meals in the past. My favorite type of Easter meal is a simple one--a hot or room temperature meat dish surrounded by easy room-temperature and cold sides and desserts, pitchers of fruited ice water, people grazing at the buffet, and jovial conversation.

It's a wonderful thing to come together as a family over a meal--but there's no sense in making life unbearable in the process. Consider inviting friends and family members to bring a dish to share some of the burden. There's no shame in potluck, people!

I know that, for me, church is a big part of my Easter morning. There's not a lot of time once I get home to fuss over a big meal--it needs to be quick to put together. With that in mind, below is a list of dishes that I hope will make your upcoming holiday meal a bit easier.


  • Pitted dates stuffed with cream cheese are delicious, and it's a great way to get the kids to eat dried fruit instead of candy!

  • Make hard-boiled eggs into devilled eggs. Better yet, make egg chicks!

  • My list of New Year's Eve Party Appetizers is a great resource--but I especially love the Chevre-Mascarpone Spread with Blackberries for Easter.

  • Soup is a great beginning to any meal, and this lamb soup with chick peas would be just right for Easter. The broth can be made the day before, and the soup ready in a slow cooker.
  • A traditional ham is a perennial favorite--and especially easy if you buy a pre-cooked ham and just toss it in the slow cooker to be ready when you are!

  • Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy's Pomegranate-Glazed Pork Tenderloin is a quick and impressive dish.

  • If it's warm enough in your neck of the woods to grill, chicken, pork or lamb would make a fabulous Easter dinner. Try it with this Nectarine Salsa for something unusual.
  • And speaking of grilling, these lamb kabobs are to die for. Really. Even lamb-haters like this. If you dislike the smell of lamb cooking (many people do), don't worry! This one is for you--either on the grill or inside the oven. Don't be afraid of the ingredients list--prep the glaze and combine the spice mix in advance. Marinate the meat overnight--then all you have to do is thread the skewers and grill for 5-10 minutes.
Side Dishes
  • Curried Sweet Potato Pancakes would be delicious beside any ham or lamb dish.

  • My Carrot-Waldorf Salad recipe is from the early days of this blog--but sometimes oldies are goodies!

  • Pear-Bacon Salad is also high on the yum factor, makes you look like a rock star and if you've prepped the bacon in advance, takes minutes to put together.

  • Spicy Sweet Potato Salad is a great compliment to ham with curry zing. It's a nice change from regular old potato salad--my family loves this one!

  • A lentil salad with tomato and cucumber is also nice with ham, lamb, chicken and pork, can be made ahead and is especially good for diabetics. Lentils only take about 20 minutes to cook and should be made the day before--however I would not combine the salad the day before to avoid mushy cucumbers.
  • Sauteed Bananas in Coconut Creme are light, refreshing and simple to put together, though there is some last-minute attention required.

  • And because I love coconut so much, a coconut cheesecake is always high on my list. This one is made sugar-free, but you can adapt the recipe for full-sugar, if desired.

  • Poor Man's Peach Cobbler has got to be the best and most-requested recipe in my repertoire. Every good southern woman has this--even so, it never fails to impress. This is make-ahead at it's finest, folks.

We. Love. Brunch. And Easter is the perfect time to enjoy a family brunch. Keep it simple with some of these breakfast-and-lunch ideas:
  • A traditional roast ham is at home on the brunch buffet, too. Try this cola-basted ham recipe, or stick with a pre-cooked grocery ham in the crock pot so it's good and warm when you're ready to serve.

  • Breakfast Pizza is my sister-in-law's creation and loved by kids and adults alike. It's very simple: a pre-cooked pizza crust base topped with just undercooked scrambled eggs and shredded cheese. Top with any additional ingredients desired before popping in the oven to melt the cheese and set the eggs. Easy peasy!

  • Salads are always at home on the brunch buffet. Chopped fresh or dried fruit, crumbled blue cheese and a maple-balsamic vinaigrette elevates a humble green salad to something special. A simple potato salad or this curried sweet potato salad would be a nice addition, as would a homestyle macaroni salad.

  • There are tons of baked french toast recipes out there, but this one is straightforward, easy and looks delicious--perfect for Easter brunch!

  • Paula Deen's Piggy Pudding recipe really sounds perfect for a family brunch--pork sausage, apples and cornbread? Heck yeah!

  • How about a quiche? There are thousands of quiche recipes out there, but by far the easiest, most goof-proof recipes I've found are the impossible pie ones. You know what I mean--using bisquick baking mix you mix the eggs and everything all together, pour it in a pan and bake. Voila! The baking mix sinks to the bottom and makes its own crust. Some crazy kitchen alchemy going on there, but if quick and easy is what you're looking for, this is it. (And seriously, for holiday family meals, most people are looking for quick and easy!) I've personally made the broccoli & cheddar impossible pie and it's good.
Decorating Ideas


Sara said...

Great post with lots of good ideas! I especially love the sound of those desserts.

Dragon said...

Your egg chicks are darling! This is a wonderful post. Thank you.

Amanda said...

Sara--Thank you! I hope you'll try that peach cobbler. It's simple & old fashioned, but so, SO good! I can barely contain myself every time I make it.

Dragon--Thanks! I really like making those chicks, and my husband especially enjoys them. What can I say--we don't have kids, so do these silly things for each other!

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