Take it easy: ideas for a simpler Easter dinner

ICI-17-Dinner-is-servedGot a little too much on your plate? Metaphorically-speaking, of course? (We’d never suggest you had too much on your literal plate — isn’t that the whole point of food, enjoying as much of it as you like? Geez!)

Even if it is filled with only good things, a full to-do list around holiday time can be stressful! You do what you can: complete all the easy stuff first, and cross off the things that aren’t necessary (or can be postponed). But you’re still left with some more challenging must-do tasks — like making holiday dinner for a big group, or being put in charge of an important part of the feast.

We’d like to offer a bit of unsolicited advice. First and foremost: simplify, simplify, simplify. Do you have to make a bunch of side dishes, when just a couple will do?  You might choose to spend more time and attention on a fancier main dish, or to make a more complicated dessert, that will be accompanied on the table by more easily-prepared salads, sides, or appetizers.

CountryClubPlaza_scary_rabbitsWe’ve combed through some of our favorite recipes we’ve used at our own holiday dinners and picked out several that could make a fairly easy menu for your feasting day.  Take a look at these and see what you think:

For a main dish, we like to keep Easter dinner fairly traditional, with a Grilled Leg of Lamb (marinate lamb in yogurt-garlic-rosemary ahead of time, then grill for <30 minutes). If you favor ham for dinner, there’s Honey Ham with Riesling & Mustard or Overnight Pomegranate Ham. These take a little more time and care, but will be the star of your holiday dinner show.

For salads and side dishes, you might want to choose a few of these uncomplicated dishes –

One-a-penny, two-a-penny: If you love baking, you may want to go for a simple main dish, and spend your extra time making Hot Cross Buns, a traditional bread shared on Good Friday. Otherwise, (and this may sound like heresy) fresh rolls from the bakery are an easy (and perfectly delicious) addition to the buffet table. Break out some Balsamic Jelly, if you’ve got some on hand, for spreading on warm bread.

AllSpicer Anna, using the blowtorch to caramelize the sugar on the Lemon Bruleé Tart
AllSpicer Anna, using the blowtorch to caramelize the sugar on the Lemon Bruleé Tart

What about dessert? The children will have eaten half their body weight in jelly beans and egg-shaped chocolates by dinnertime, and may not care about dessert, so feel free to make a dessert that suits your grown-up tastes. Delicate and cloud-like sweets seem to be popular to conclude Easter dinner, like the Lemon Brulée Tart we made at our Easter Brunch class a few years ago (pictured), or the puffy meringue Berry Pavlova. If you can get your hands on some early strawberries, there’s this Herbed Strawberry Shortcake. We also love the more basic cakes to provide contrast to a fancier main course: Applesauce Spice Cake, or Carrot Cake with a hibiscus-colored cream cheese frosting.

We’ve compiled all our favorite Easter dishes in the AllSpice recipe database here at this link.

Whatever you decide to make for the feast, be sure to pick up your ingredients soon! We will be closed all day Sunday, April 16th, to observe the Easter holiday.