Let's get planning! Whether you're hosting this year or you're the guest and have been asked to bring something I've got you covered with this crowd pleasing, fail proof Easter dinner menu! Take the entire menu or just one item to make life a little easier (and yummier) this Easter.
THE MAIN COURSE:
Ahhhh to Ham or not to Ham.... that is the question! Ham or Turkey? We grew up only ever having ham at Easter, it's a crazy idea to me that people would serve turkey! However; if you're someone who grew up eating turkey at Easter than you probably think the opposite! Or some people won't/don't eat pork so really turkey is the only option. Whichever you choose (maybe it's both!), there's no wrong or right - it's your dinner so YOU get to pick!
Growing up in Toronto, my Nana and my Mom would always serve ham hot! They would buy one from the grocery store, slather it in maple syrup, maybe a bit of brown sugar and add pineapple slices to the outside with toothpicks - stick it in the oven until hot and serve. The syrup and sugar would turn into a glaze as it cooked and the pineapple would turn golden brown around the edges. It was absolutely my favorite thing at the table!
Then we moved to the South 16 years ago and our first Easter here everyone told me I needed to get my ham from the Honeybaked Ham store. Off I went, picked the one I wanted and when the lady gave it to me I asked her how long I should put it in the oven? She looked at me like I had two heads. "You DO NOT put our ham in the oven, you will ruin it, it's meant to be served room temperature."
Well to me room temperature means cold so I was a bit taken a back but bought the ham anyways and tried my luck. If you've never tried a Honeybaked Ham they are really delicious and you can pick your flavor - you can actually buy your entire meal in there if you need to! Maybe it's because of how I was raised but I just prefer it warm... maple syrup, brown sugar, pineapple - done.
THE SUPPORTING CAST
Confession: I had never had nor heard of this dish until we moved to the South. Once I did I wondered how I had gone my whole life without eating it! It's almost a little cheat because you get a couple vegetables covered in one dish! I love it hot but I also like eating it cold the next day as a leftover. The bacon makes it divine but if you don't eat meat you can easily omit this ingredient and it would still be delicious!
5 Bacon slices, coarsely chopped
2 green onions, chopped
4 Cups Frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
3 1/2 Cups Frozen baby lima beans, thawed
3/4 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Pint Grape Tomatoes, halved
2 Tsp Chopped Fresh Basil (or 3/4 Tsp Dried Basil)
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp, remove bacon and lay on paper towel to drain
RESERVE 3 Tbsp ( I usually just use whatever is already in there, I don't measure it) of the bacon drippings in skillet
Immediately (so the drippings are still hot) add the green onion to skillet and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add green onions to skillet and sauté in the hot drippings
Add Corn, Lima Beans and Chicken Broth and stir
Cook, uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring often. You will want the beans to be tender and the broth to be mostly evaporated.
Stir in Bacon, Tomatoes, Basil, Salt and Pepper.
Cook 5 minutes more until throughly heated.
Transfer to a large serving dish and serve.
I don't know I've ever had scalloped potatoes other than at Easter! Not sure why!? Again, it's one of those dishes I would like to be left alone with! It's that amazing! The top bakes into a crunchy texture while the inside stays soft, guaranteed crowd pleaser!
8 Potatoes - peeled and sliced to make round slices
3 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
3 Cups Milk
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
1 white Onion - peeled and diced
option of Havarti cheese
layer a thin layer of potatoes, onion, flour and salt and pepper
repeat about 3 times ending with potatoes on top
cover entire dish in milk
* if using havarti cheese slices add them between layers!
Spread a thin coat of butter around inside top rim of 9 x 13 dish, this will prevent the milk from spilling over dish while cooking
Bake at 350 Degrees with LID ON (COVERED) for 1 Hour
Take Lid off (uncover) and cook for 30 minutes longer
Go a step further than regular mashed potatoes and give these a try! My Aunt gave me this recipe years ago and it's been a favorite on our table ever since!
6 large potatoes - peeled and then cut into square pieces
3/4 Cups Sour Cream
1 x 4 ounce package of Cream Cheese
1 1/2 Tsp Onion Salt
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp White Pepper
2 Tbsp Butter
Cook potatoes in salted, boiling water until tender
Drain potatoes and mash in large bowl
Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until light & fluffy (no lumps)
Put this mixture in a medium size casserole dish
Add a few slices of butter on top
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving
MAC & CHEESE
I listed this on my Super Bowl menu and it's a great side for Easter too! If you have picky eaters like my kids it's a great option for the kids table but don't be surprise if the adults are digging in as well, it's that good!
1 x 16 oz. package of macaroni noodles
2 lb. of sharp cheddar - grated ( I buy the already grated in the bag!)
1 lb. mozzarella cheese - grated
1 stick of butter - unsalted
2 cups of whole milk
1 x 12 oz.can of evaporated milk
Boil macaroni noodles until cooked - about 10 minutes. Rinse, drain and set aside in bowl.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and add whole milk and 1 lb. of the cheddar.
Stir and thicken with a bit of flour until creamy
Pour this over the macaroni and stir
Add the condensed milk and eggs and stir
Take a 2 QT casserole dish and spray with non-stick cooking oil
Place 1/4 of the macaroni mixture evenly along bottom of casserole dish
Follow by evenly adding 1/4 of both cheddar and mozzarella cheese (just dividing these into 4 layers - like making a lasagna)
Repeat this process of macaroni - and cheeses 3 times finishing with a layer of cheese on top.
Bake at 300 degrees, uncovered for one hour or until top starts to bubble and brown.
GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 Cup of Milk
1 Tsp Soy Sauce
1 Dash Black Pepper
4 Cups of Cut Cooked Green Beans
1 & 1/3 Cups of French's French Fried Onions
Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cups onions in a casserole dish
bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling
stir the bean mixture
sprinkle with the remaining onions in the center of dish
bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown
There are really only 2 options as far as I'm concerned! Pick one or really impress people and make both! Either will be a crowd pleaser!
THE VERY BEST CARROT CAKE
For real. I did not invent this recipe, let me be the first to say this - I would probably be a millionaire if I had. I can however; make it like a pro! It's the kind of dessert that you can't wait for everyone to go home so you can be left alone with it! It's ridiculously moist (so sorry for that word but Lord knows nothing describes it better) and it really is like eating something straight out of a famous bakery! The crushed pineapple is what really makes it I think so DO NOT omit this ingredient! You can choose to add chopped walnuts to the icing or leave them out, your call!
There are 3 parts to making this cake - Cake, Buttermilk Glaze and Cream Cheese Frosting
INGREDIENTS FOR CAKE:
2 Cups Flour
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Cinnamon
3 Large Eggs
2 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cups Vegetable Oil
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
2 Tsp Vanilla extract
2 Cups Grated Carrot
1 (8 ounce) Can of Crushed Pineapple, drained
1 (3 & 1/2 ounce) can Flaked Coconut
1 Cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts (optional)
DIRECTIONS FOR CAKE:
Spray 3 (9 inch) round cake pans with cooking spray
Stir together first 4 ingredients - set aside
Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed until smooth
Add flour mixture (that you had set aside) beating at low speed until blended
Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients
Pour even amounts of batter into pans
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until fork comes out clean
Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze (see below for recipe) evenly over layers while still hot
Cool in pans for 15 minutes
Remove from pans and cool completely
Spread cream cheese frosting (see recipe below) between layers and on top and sides of cake
INGREDIENTS FOR BUTTERMILK GLAZE:
1 Cup of Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cups of Buttermilk
1/2 Cup of Butter
1 Tbsp of Light Corn Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
* Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a large pot over medium - high heat. Boil, stirring often, 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla
INGREDIENTS FRO CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
3/4 Cups of Butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package of Cream Cheese, softened
1 (3 ounce) package of Cream Cheese, softened
3 Cups Sifted Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
* Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth
SOUR CREAM APPLE PIE
Again, it's almost like I make my way through the meal just to get to this dessert! It's that amazing! It was always on our table for Easter (every holiday for that matter) and the recipe has been passed down to me and now I pass it on to you!
WHAT YOU DO:
Spray pie dish with cooking spray to prevent sticking
Add 1 bottom pie shell (I like Pillsbury roll out ones from the refrigerator section)
FILLING: (mix together in one large bowl and spread out evenly in pie shell)
2/3 Cup of Brown Sugar
1/4 Tsp each of Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Salt
1 Tbsp of Cornstarch
5 Cups of Peeled, Sliced GRANNY SMITH apples (about 6 or 7)
Once the above ingredients have been mixed together and put into pie shell...
Cover the top with 1 & 1/2 cups of Sour Cream, try to spread out evenly
CRUMB TOPPING: - use fingers to crumble together
In medium bowl combine
1/2 Cup of Flour
3 Tbsp of White Sugar
3 Tbsp of Brown Sugar
1/2 Tsp of Salt
1/4 Cup of Soft Butter (not melted! - you need it to hold a form)
Using your hands, mix the above ingredients together until it forms "crumbles"
Sprinkle on top of filling, evenly covering the top of the pie - this replaces the need for a top pie crust
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, cover crust with foil or pie shields to prevent burning, reduce heat to 350 and continue to cook until apples start to bubble. Let stand at least 20-30 minutes.
What's a pie guard? You can buy disposable ones at places like Walmart or you can buy re-usable ones at kitchen stores or walmart.
Disposable - Found at Walmart
Reusable - Found on Amazon
Or you can trace the circle of your pie dish on tin foil before you start and cut out your own!
There is so much goodness to choose from here just be sure not to fill up on chocolate eggs before hand!
Enjoy and Happy Easter!