February 7, 2023
Posted: April 16, 2022 10:48 am
As the first major holiday after Christmas approaches, your dinner table is waiting to be dressed in Easter finery. The time to plan an Easter dinner menu is now so the preparations can take place after the egg hunts and Sunday services.
Whether going with a traditional Easter menu with a showstopping glazed ham or rack or ribs with spring vegetable sides, something new and different, vegetarian Easter entrees, or a little of each, planning starts with recipes.
Scout through our collection of best Easter recipes for everything from an intimate dinner for a few to a crowd-pleasing springtime feast.
Let’s begin with a traditional Easter menu of glazed ham with a pineapple and cherry garnish so pretty it can pull double duty as a centerpiece.
Whether cooked in the oven or on the grill, the secret to a succulent, juicy ham is slow cooking and basting, basting, and more basting with a yummy glaze.
Baking a ham is easy and fool-proof with a few easy tips and a meat thermometer. Basically, you simply have to make sure it’s thoroughly heated without overcooking. Most hams you buy have been smoked which means cooked. If the package says “fully cooked,” it needs to be heated to 140°F. If the package says “cook before eating,” cook the ham until the meat thermometer reads 160°F.
The ham should be cooked in a moderately slow oven at around 325°F. Be sure to preheat the oven first. Use a roasting pan with a cup of water in the bottom to help keep it from drying out. Place the ham fat side up, cover with foil and crimp around the edges.
Some people like to score the ham with a diamond-shaped pattern. Do this about 20 minutes before it’s done. Either way, baste your ham with a tasty glaze every 15-20 minutes. Cook the ham for 14 minutes per pound.
There are about as many tasty ham glazes as there are Baskin Robbins ice-cream flavors. Give your baked or grilled ham a tropical twist with an orange mango glaze made with mango chutney and orange marmalade. Or try a savory glaze of cola, brown sugar, maple syrup, and spicy mustard.
For a traditional Easter menu, deviled eggs are a must. Why not try a healthier deviled egg recipe made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo? Dijon mustard is used for a creamier texture, and they are spiced with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.
A rack of lamb or grilled lamb chops is the perfect entree for a traditional Easter menu.
Cooking a rack of lambs is easier than you think if you use a recipe that eliminates messy searing.
A rub of garlic, honey, fresh rosemary, and Dijon mustard before oven roasting locks in robust flavor and replaces searing in a pan on the stove.
Fire up the grill and prepare your lamb chops with the fat on the bone for mouth-watering flavor. Wow your Easter dinner guests with Mint and Cumin-Spiced Lamb Chops using fresh herbs and spices like cilantro, mint, parsley, and a mix of savory spices.
Easter is the only holiday that comes on a different date each year and can even come in a different month. The date is calculated by determining the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Whether it falls on a chilly day in March or a balmy day in April, it’s time to stop thinking about hot soups and heavy casseroles and turn to lighter fare.
Add one of these delightful spring salads to your Easter dinner menu.
This spring salad recipe calls for fresh snow peas, sugar snap peas, and English peas. You can use fresh or frozen English peas. You only cook the peas in boiling water for two minutes or less, just until tender. Then they’re drained and plunged in ice water to cool.
Similar to bacon, pancetta is cured and unsmoked whereas bacon is cured and smoked. It’s fried up and drained just like bacon. Flour, chicken broth, and heavy cream are added to the drippings for this recipe. The drained peas are added to the skillet and cooked until heated through. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, transfer to a serving bowl, and top with the pancetta.
Sugar Snap Pea Salad is a colorful quick side dish that’s full of flavors and textures. The snap peas add a crispy sweetness complemented by refreshing cucumbers and spicy red peppers and red onions. You can use snow peas if desired for less sweetness. You can also get creative and substitute or add chopped purple cabbage, shredded carrots, and orange or yellow bell peppers. It’s served with a tangy soy sauce dressing.
A traditional Easter menu can add a bit of stress if you’re having guests that have elected to go the vegetarian route. Add variety to the Easter dinner table with some elegant and filing choices for guests to substitute ham or lamb chops with.
Spanakopita Pie is a Greek spinach pie with layers of flaky phyllo dough and a decadent spinach, ricotta, and feta cheese filling. Spinach and parsley are sauteed in olive oil and cooked until limp and added to an egg, ricotta, and feta cheese mixture. Then the mixture is layered with phyllo dough sheets similar to making lasagna and baked until golden brown.
This Easter recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You can also freeze the pie before baking.
This vegetarian Easter entree consists of mixed mushrooms such as shitake, oyster, and crimini, fresh thyme, and garlic and baked in tandem with polenta in the upper and lower racks of the oven. Parmesan cheese is added to the polenta.
The mushrooms are cooked until crisp around the edges. The polenta is divided among individual bowls and topped with the roasted mushrooms and more Parmesan and thyme.
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