Happy Easter

 

Step by Step Guide to a perfect Easter Dinner

When I was a kid, my siblings and I had a newspaper route.  I remember on Easter Sunday that the newspapers had to be delivered especially early. We kids would crawl from our beds in the wee hours and fold our papers through sleepy eyes.  We would grab heavy coats and flashlights, harness our courage, and step out into the dark.  I remember how eerie everything looked in the darkness– houses that were familiar seemed to leer at me in the blackness, their windows suddenly becoming eyes that watched my every move.  Wait . . . was that a rustle in the bushes?  What if it was a kidnapper?  I remember finishing my route as quickly as I could so I could race back home and step back inside the warm light of the kitchen, closing the door against all the “bad guys” out there.

Then it was on to Easter Sunrise service.  I remember fighting off the sleepies as we sat down in the church pews, trying to clear the cobwebs from my tired brain as the choir got started with their singing at 6 AM.  But as the sun came up, a magical thing happened.  The small country church filled with light as the first, gentle glows of color began to radiate across the sky.  I remember listening to the music and watching everyone being slowly bathed in the golden sunlight that is so especially pure in the first light of dawn. After church we had a beautiful, church-wide breakfast, and then we kids raced home to open our Easter baskets– the holy grail of kid achievement– while Mom worked on the Easter meal.

Easter is a beautiful time of year– a time of family, friends, and renewal.  The most sacred days of the year occur at this time– times in which we are thankful for the blessings we have been given and for the new life that is sprouting all around us.  This year, enjoy your family and friends, instead of spending your time stressing out in the kitchen.  If you’re still freaking out wondering how you’re going to pull off an Easter menu (A ham takes HOW MANY hours, again?), you’ve come to the right place.  Here is a breakdown of an easy to pull off Easter menu, all set and ready to go, so you won’t be alone figuring out your Easter Brunch.

Tackle this quick guide to Easter entertaining, and don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for my new ebook, a complete guide to throwing a stress free brunch, slated for release around Mother’s Day.  Ooooh, it’s gonna’ be cool.  Soon, you’ll be throwing beautiful brunches left and right, without a scrap of stress in sight.

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Easter Brunch Menu

Copycat Honeybaked Ham

Classic Hot Cross Buns

Creamy White Macaroni and Cheese

Baby Greens Salad with Copycat Ruby Tuesday Croutons

Key Lime Bars with Pecan Shortbread Crust

Easter Brunch Timeline:

2 days ahead:

  1.  Get your holiday groceries.  The sooner you select your ham, the less likely you’ll be to find zero selection because the store’s hams have been picked through, already.
  2. Make sure that guests know the directions to your house.  There is nothing worse than missing a family get together because you get lost.
  3. Double check for any food allergies so that all guests can enjoy the meal.

1 day ahead:

1.  Set your Easter dinner table. Wait until the kiddos go to bed, if you have to. Having the table set and decorated will be a huge weight off your shoulders, Easter Sunday. Make sure that you have placed salt and pepper, utensils, and place cards, if desired, on the table as well.

2.  Check your ham and figure out how long it needs to roast (roasting times are generally on the back of the label– it averages 15-20 minutes per pound, depending on what type of ham you selected). Write down the time on a piece of paper so that you will have it, tomorrow, without having to figure roasting times out again. Write down the time the ham should go in the oven to be ready for the meal (ex: if the ham takes 3 hours, give yourself 3.5 hours, to be safe, and put it into the oven at 12:30 for a 4:00 meal).

3.  Prep your ham for the oven. Cover it with foil and store in the fridge until tomorrow.

4.  Make your Hot Cross Buns, but don’t ice them yet. After baking, place the bread in an airtight Ziploc bag to ensure freshness.

5.  Prepare your White Macaroni and Cheese. Do not bake, yet—just mix it up, cover it with foil, and place it in the fridge so it will be ready to bake, tomorrow.

6.  Prepare your Key Lime Bars. Ice the Bars, cover with foil, and store in the fridge until tomorrow.

7. Create your Copycat Ruby Tuesday Croutons and place finished croutons in an airtight Ziploc bag to keep them fresh.

Easter Morning:

  1. Place your ham in the oven at the designated time, allowing 30 minutes of extra time for resting and carving.
  2. Place your White Macaroni and Cheese into the oven at the designated time to ensure that it is ready for Brunch.
  3. Cut the Key Lime Bars and arrange on a plate, leaving in the fridge if you want them to be chilled (these can be taken out and served when the meal is over).
  4. Create your salad, but do not add dressing or croutons, yet. Leave salad in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap, until you are ready to serve it.  I like to make a bed of baby lettuce and spinach greens and mix the greens with fresh fruit, like red raspberries.  Add toasted pecans for an extra special salad.
  5. Ice your Hot Cross Buns and cover with plastic wrap when the glaze has dried slightly.

30 minutes before the Meal:

  1. Allow the ham to rest for 20 minutes before carving, and then carve and plate the meat (this is an excellent job for the spare hands of guests who ask “What can I do to help?”).
  2. Fill the glasses with ice and water for guests. If you prefer, you can have a drink cart nearby and instruct guests to fill their glasses and begin to take their seats.
  3. Place the carved ham and White Macaroni and Cheese on the table. Tent the dishes with foil to keep them hot until they are served. Place serving utensils beside the dishes so the food will be ready to serve.
  4. Place salad, croutons, and dressing on the table, along with a serving spoon.
  5. Make sure that the Hot Cross Buns are on the table and ready to go, with any desired condiments.
  6. Remember that your Key Lime Bars are ready for you in the fridge for a delightfully sweet end to the meal.

And then relax.  Because you did it! 🙂

Copycat Honeybaked Ham

 Copycat Honeybaked Ham (full recipe and photos here).

Step by Step Guide to a perfect Easter Dinner

Classic Hot Cross Buns (full recipe and photos here).

Step by Step Guide to a perfect Easter Dinner

Creamy White Macaroni and Cheese (full recipe and photos here).

Step by Step Guide to a perfect Easter Dinner

Copycat Ruby Tuesday Croutons (full recipe and photos here).

Step by Step Guide to a perfect Easter Dinner

Key Lime Bars with Pecan Shortbread Crust (full photos and recipe here).

And therein lies the magic of Easter.  It is a time when heart and home join together– an inexpressible time of faith, family, and friendship.  As we join hands around the Easter table, we are reminded of the blessings we enjoy and the love we share.  The excited squeals of laughter from the children as they discover Easter eggs in a dew-speckled yard remind us that love, like youth, is as beautiful and precious as gold.  Through the laughter of children, we see the world through new eyes– eyes of childlike faith.  Our hearts swell with the beauty around us.  And we thank God for precious life.

You did it.  And I’m just so proud of you.

 

 


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