ANN BAILEY: Traditional Easter fareThough the landscape outside looks more like it should be Christmas, Easter Sunday is just a few days away. Cooking a big dinner on Easter is a tradition in our family. We either go to my in-laws or host. This year, it’s our turn to cook, and we expect to have about 15 to 20 family members.
Though the landscape outside looks more like it should be Christmas, Easter Sunday is just a few days away.
Cooking a big dinner on Easter is a tradition in our family. We either go to my in-laws or host. This year, it’s our turn to cook, and we expect to have about 15 to 20 family members.
After dinner, we traditionally have an Easter egg hunt. Because of where Easter falls this year, the weather varies. Sometimes, it’s 80 degrees, and the children hunt for eggs in the grass. Other years, we’ve worn coats and gloves and the children had to be careful they didn’t drop eggs on the frozen ground.
Where the egg hunt is held doesn’t seem to matter to the kids. Like the dinner, the egg hunt is about enjoying the time with family and friends.
We stick to traditional foods for Easter dinner. Over the years, I’ve read stories and recipes in women’s and cooking magazines for nontraditional holiday meals. While I occasionally try new recipes, I don’t deviate too much from the standard fare. Our Easter dinner includes, ham, potatoes, side dishes, salads and a dessert.
Here are few recipes that you might find on our table.
Ginger-Crusted Ham with Apricot-Mustard Sauce
1 8-pound 33-percent less-sodium smoked, fully cooked ham half
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup gingersnap crumbs (about 9 cookies, finely crushed)
1½ cups apricot preserves
½ cup Marsala wine
3 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon ground allspice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To prepare ham, line a broiler pan with foil. Trim ham fat and rind. Score outside of ham in diamond pattern. Place ham on prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Remove ham from oven, cool slightly. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. Whisk 2 tablespoons preserves and 2 tablespoons mustard. Combine sugar and crumbs. Brush preserves mixture over ham. Carefully press crumb mixture onto preserves mixture (crumbs will fall into pan). Bake for 45 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145 degrees. Place ham on a platter; let stand 15 minutes before slicing. To prepare sauce, combine 1½ cups preserves and the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook for five minutes. Serve sauce with ham. Yield: 24 servings (serving size about 3 ounces ham and 2 ounces sauce).
Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic-Shallot Butter
Melt butter. Add shallots and other flavorings ahead of time, if you like. Roast asparagus and toss it with butter just before serving.
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh thyme
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 pounds asparagus spears
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine shallots, butter, vinegar, thyme, salt and rind, whisk well. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Cover with foil; bake for 5 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Pour butter mixture over asparagus, toss gently to coat. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.
1 20-ounce can of pineapple chunks
½ stick butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup sugar
2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed into crumbs
Drain pineapple chunks, reserving 3 tablespoons juice. Mix flour and sugar together and add pineapple juice. Blend in pineapple and cheese, mixing well. Mix melted butter and cracker crumbs together and spread on top of the pineapple mixture. Bake in greased casserole dish 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Golden Mashed Potatoes
9 large potatoes (about 4 pounds) peeled and cubed
1 lb. carrots, cut into ½-inch chunks
8 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup sour cream
1½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¾ cup shredded cheese
In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, cook potatoes and carrots in boiling salted water until tender, drain. Place in a mixing bowl, mash and set aside. In a skillet, saute onions in butter until tender. Add sour cream, salt and pepper; mix until blended. Transfer to a greased 13-by-9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through. (I boil the carrots and potatoes separately because the carrots seem to take longer to get tender than the potatoes.)
Mandarin Cream Delight
9 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Add flour and salt to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well-blended. Pat dough into a 9-by-13 baking dish coated with cooking spray; pierce bottom of dough with a fork. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool crust on a wire rack.
2 11-ounce cans mandarin oranges in light syrup, undrained
¼ cup sugar
1 16-ounce carton fat-free sour cream
1 8-ounce carton low-fat sour cream
2 3.4 ounce packages vanilla instant pudding mix
1 8-ounce container frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
Drain mandarin oranges over a large bowl, reserving ½ cup of juice. Combine juice, sugar, sour creams and pudding mix. Fold in orange segments. Spoon mixture over crust, spreading evenly. Top with whipped topping. Chill one hour.