Easter is a day to celebrate so many things: new life, hope, family. It’s a time to spend reflecting on where we’ve been and where we want to go. With every basket that’s filled and every tulip that blooms we feel the promise of fresh beginnings. This holiday, use our Easy Easter Menu to make most of your dishes the day before, leaving you more time to hunt for eggs instead of searching for recipes.
DRIVER'S DEVILED EGGS
No Easter dinner is complete without this classic appetizer. This version gives you a slight twist by incorporating chopped dill pickles to give each bite a little extra satisfying crunch. Boil your eggs ahead of time to cut down on your prep work the day of. Pro tips: Spoon your yolk mixture into a gallon-sized Ziplock bag. Once sealed, use scissors to cut off a small bottom corner of the Ziplock. Your makeshift pastry bag is perfect for piping the filling into your eggs. Overcooked your yolks? Add a few drops of yellow food coloring to brighten them up.
KNORR SPINACH DIP
This dip is a family favorite at our house and a staple item every Easter. It comes together easily and can be made the night before (store in refrigerator, covered). Pro tip: Before serving, hollow out a sourdough bread bowl to use as your serving dish. Tear the remainder of the bread bowl into pieces, and bake the bowl and pieces at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Fill the bowl with the dip, and serve on a tray with the bite sized sourdough.
PEAR, PECAN, AND PARMESAN SALAD
Start your meal with this beautiful, flavorful salad that marries warm pears with crunchy pecans. The shaved parmesan gives this dish a lovely depth that will fool your family into thinking you spent hours in the kitchen. Pro tip: Save yourself a few dollars and buy a wedge of parmesan instead of pre-shaved. Use a vegetable peeler to shave ribbons ahead of time and store in the refrigerator in a sealed container until it’s time to serve.
ROASTED PORK TENDERLOINS WTH MAPLE-MUSTARD SAUCE
This year, skip the big ham and opt for this impressive entrée that marries the sweet of maple with the savory of mustard. With only 10 minutes of prep time required, pour yourself a mimosa and relax. Pro tips: Pork tenderloin needs to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Use a good meat thermometer in the thickest part of the tenderloin to get an accurate reading. Once the roast is done, let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting into it to seal in the juices and the flavor. When it’s time to slice, save yourself time and energy by using an electric knife. I’ve had this model
for eight years and have cut countless roasts, loaves and even a cake or two. It’s quite possibly the best $11 you’ll ever spend on a kitchen appliance.
BALSAMIC ROASTED ASPARAGUS
This simple side dish takes only a few minutes to put together but tastes like it’s labor intensive. Even better, it’s cooked at the same temperature as the pork, making timing for your meal a breeze. Pro tip: Put your asparagus in the oven five minutes before your pork is done. Your pork should rest before slicing and by the time you’re done cutting the meat your asparagus will be cooked to perfection.
COUNTRY CROCK CREAMY MASHED POTATOES
This buttery whipped goodness is always a crowd pleaser. This does really well up to two days ahead of time, freeing up your Easter morning for more important things, like enjoying your family. Pro tip: If you make this early, freshen it up with a splash of milk and a small pat of butter on top. Pop it in the microwave for three minutes, stirring halfway through, and adding milk (and time) as required. So creamy, so easy, so good.
BEST EVER BUTTERMILK BISCUIT
No Easter dinner is complete without some sort of bread to dip into those potatoes or even to use for mini pork sandwiches. These biscuits are flaky, fabulous and most importantly, incredibly easy. You can make them the day of, or a day in advance and put in the oven before dinner for just a minute to heat. Pro tip: No biscuit cutter? No problem. Use the metal ring that secures a lid on a mason jar. No mason jar? Use a touch of non-stick cooking spray on the rim of a clean, dry drinking glass to shape your biscuits.
BUTTERY CARROT CAKE
It wouldn’t be Easter without a big finish. This delicious dessert will leave your guests both full and grateful. Make the cakes the day before, refrigerate (covered) overnight, and whip up the three minute frosting the day of. Pro tip: Using a vegetable peeler, create a few “ribbons” from fresh carrots to top your cake. This little touch will make your cake look as professionally done as it tastes.
Happy Easter from our Operation in Touch Family to yours. Use our menu to spend your Easter in the moment, not just in the kitchen.
T.T. Robinson is a proud Navy wife, writer, and crisis management consultant- a skill that proves useful every day as the mother of two young children. She currently writes the Deployment Diary for Motherlode, the New York Times parenting blog, and is also a regular contributor for SpouseBuzz.