Try some of these Easter favorites

Published 2:38 pm Monday, March 25, 2024

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Today’s recipes include some traditional Easter favorites for a delicious holiday spread.

These crowd-pleasers feature a few easy, classic entrees, popular sides, and simple, delicious desserts that some special occasion foods folks love the most.

Easter at my grandparent’s home has always been a favorite memory. In all honesty, it wasn’t the formal sit-down supper with ham baked in fruit sauce or the roasted lamb with mint jelly that satisfied me. And it wasn’t the wedges of sweet pie or rich cake squares that followed, either.

As kids, my cousins and I anxiously waited for the adults to finish their meals.

We anticipated the fun part of the holiday – the hunt. We craved those decadently sweet, oval rounds of fine cocoa that followed our meal. What delighted me most was a basket filled with candies; more specifically, those high-quality, solid chocolate eggs. And I’m sure I was forever spoiled by the rich tastes of fine chocolate bunnies and not hollow chicks.

The egg hunt was held under a huge willow oak tree that dominated above a garden of large rocks and fronds of green ferns. Inside the crevices of the trees and under slabs of slate were the solid chocolates carefully wrapped in jewel-toned foils – and to me, they were like sparkly treasures. And no doubt, they were hidden by the gnomes who lived within those deep tree hollows – the setting captivating my imagination. And I can’t remember a single Sunday that it rained – more like pure sunshine every year on that day – the sweetest day of spring.

These same traditional egg hunts have tickled the fancy of children for years. This time of year, many civic organizations and churches schedule and meticulously plan for the perfect egg hunts on the Saturdays leading up to and on Easter Sunday.

But while holiday foods, chocolates, and special events are something to rave about, sometimes the weather is not. Last weekend, the day of my Rotary Club’s event began with a rainy forecast, but when the time came to hunt for eggs the sun was brightly shining. All’s well that ends well.

Speaking of control, sometimes we believe we have everything under control and expertly organized. But we’re not in control of anything – God is. The Bible teaches us that God’s sovereignty is an essential aspect of who He is. God has supreme authority and absolute power over all things. Scripture from Ephesians 1:11 (NIV) says God works “all things according to the counsel of his will.”

And the plan – God has that, also.

All of us who face difficult situations today can take comfort from Jeremiah 29:11. God promises to have a plan for our lives. That promise is not one to rescue us from all hardship or suffering – but one that will help us work through our days, prosper, and give us hope. Easter Sunday or Resurrection Day is a day of hope – for celebrating life over death and light over darkness

What a profound demonstration of God’s love for us.

HOMEMADE EASTER EGGS

½ cup creamy peanut butter

5 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. softened butter

1 cup crushed pretzels

5 oz. melted premium milk chocolate

In a bowl, stir tougher peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter, and crushed pretzels. Roll into 1 ½-inch oval-shaped balls. Freeze for 30 minutes or until firm. In a saucepan, over low heat, melt chocolate. Dip balls into melted milk chocolate and place on waxed paper. Refrigerate until set. This recipe is a good one to prepare with kids. You can double the recipe to make more.

PINEAPPLE MARINATED LAMB CHOPS

4-6 lamb chops

Pineapple juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Marinate chops for 12 hours in pineapple juice. Broil chops about 4 inches from heat source for 6-8 minutes for rare and 10-12 minutes for medium rare. Some chops might take longer if they are thicker. Use a meat thermometer. Rare will register 115-120 degrees and medium rare 125-130 degrees. Turn chops and salt and pepper.

LINGUINE WITH MATERS AND ARTICHOKES

2 Tbsp. olive oil

½ sliced onion

2 chopped garlic cloves

28 oz. canned tomatoes

2 tsp. each dried basil, oregano

1 can halve, artichoke hearts

16 oz. cooked, drained linguine

¾ cup parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Stir in tomatoes, basil, and oregano and bring to simmer while occasionally stirring until sauce slightly thickens. Stir in artichokes halves, and cook 2 minutes until heated through. Add pasta and cheese to the sauce and toss mixture until heated through. Serve.

AVOCADO WITH CELERY SEED DRESSING

2 peeled, halved, seeded, ripe avocado

romaine/other lettuce leaves

Celery Seed Dressing

¾ cup olive oil

¼ cup vinegar

2 Tbsp. plain yogurt

1 Tbsp. celery seed

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice each half avocado and arrange slices on salad greens. For the dressing, in a jar, combine the olive oil, vinegar, yogurt, celery seed, and mustard. Salt and pepper, to taste. Cover rightly and shake well. Chill at least 2 hours. Shake again before lightly coating avocado slices. Refrigerate any remaining dressing.

COCO-NUTTY AMBROSIA

20 oz. drained pineapple chunks

11 oz. drained mandarin oranges

1 ½ cup halved seedless red grapes

1 cup flaked coconut

½ cup chopped pecans

1 cup miniature marshmallows

¾ cup vanilla yogurt or sour cream

1 Tbsp. sugar

In a bowl, combine drained pineapple and oranges. Add grapes, coconut, pecans, and marshmallows. In a bowl, combine yogurt or sour cream with the sugar. Gently fold the mixture into the fruit. Mix well. Chill several hours and serve. Use leftover fruit juices in your iced tea.

SPICED CABBAGE AND APPLE SLAW

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup chopped apple

½ cup chopped celery

2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

2 Tbsp. raisins

½ cup nonfat yogurt

2 Tbsp. unsweet apple juice

1 Tbsp. honey

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

In a bowl, combine cabbage, apple, celery, walnuts, and raisins and toss. In a bowl, combine yogurt, apple juice, honey, and cinnamon and mix well. Pour yogurt mixture over cabbage mixture and toss well. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

GLAZED TURNIPS

2 lb. med, 2-inch turnips

1 ½ cups water, plus

2 Tbsp. salted butter

1 Tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. salt

Fresh flat-leaf parsley, garnish

Peel turnips, halve horizontally, and then cut into 2-inch chunks. In a heavy skillet, arrange turnips in one layer and add water to reach halfway up turnips. Add butter, sugar, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over moderate heat while occasionally stirring for 10 minutes. Add 3 Tbsp. more water if necessary. Then uncover and boil 8 minutes or until tender and water has evaporated. Stir to coat turnips with glaze. Garnish with chopped parsley.

CREAMY ORANGE SALAD

8 oz. crushed pineapple

3 oz. pkg. orange gelatin

3 oz. cream cheese

1 cup whipping cream

1 1/3 cup shredded carrot

Drain the pineapple and reserve the juice. Set the pineapple aside. Add enough water to juice to measure 1 cup. In a bowl, combine the gelatin with the cream cheese. In a saucepan, bring the juice/water mixture to a boil. Pour over the gelatin and cream cheese. Beat until smooth. Allow to cool while occasionally stirring. In a mixer bowl, whip the cream. Fold the whipped cream, shredded carrot, and reserved pineapple into the cooled gelatin mixture. Pour into individual molds or one serving dish. Refrigerate several hours until firm.

RITZ CRACKER PIE

3 egg whites

½ Tbsp. baking powder

1 cup sugar

20 finely crushed Ritz crackers

¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 pint whipped cream

In a mixer bowl, beat egg whites with baking powder until stiff. Add sugar. In a plastic bag, crush Ritz crackers with a rolling pin. Fold the crushed crackers into the egg-white mixture. Add walnuts and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into a butter-greased pie pan. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and stand 3-4 hours. Top with whipped cream topped with fruit.

LAMB OR BEEF KEBABS

1 ½ lb., 1-inch cubed, lamb or top sirloin

Chunked fresh onion and green pepper

½ cup tomato catsup

2 Tbsp. beef-steak sauce

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp. Wesson oil

¼ cup water

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

In a bowl, add cubed meat. In a saucepan, combine catsup, steak sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire, oil, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Pour over meat and allow to stand at least 4 hours or overnight in marinade. Parboil onions and green peppers for 5 minutes before putting on skewers. Remove meat from marinade, and slide the cubes on skewers with the onions and green peppers.  Broil over hot coals. Reheat marinating liquid for sauce.

BAKED ASPARAGUS

Bunch of fresh asparagus

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

Cut off tough ends of fresh asparagus. Arrange on foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 8 for thin spears and 10 for thicker spears. Halfway through, drizzle with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

PINEAPPLE PLUS CAKE

3 beaten eggs

2 cups sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. each baking soda, salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 ¼ cup Wesson vegetable oil

2 cups chopped carrots

8 ½ oz. crushed pineapple

½ cup flaked coconut

1 ½ cups chopped nuts

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon while alternating with oil. Mix well. Fold in carrots, pineapple, coconut, and nuts. Mix well. Bake in a greased and floured tube pan in a preheated 325-degree oven for 1 ½ hours. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Completely cool before frosting with cream cheese frosting, if desired.

VANILLA WAFER AND COCONUT CAKE

1 cup softened, salted butter

2 cups sugar

6 eggs

1 lb. crushed vanilla wafers

½ cup whole milk

7 oz. flaked coconut

2 cups chopped pecans

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the crushed wafers while alternating with milk. Mix well. Fold in coconut and pecans. Mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured tube pan in a preheated 300-degree oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until tests done. Allow to cool before removing from pan. Serve drizzled with a thickened vanilla custard and fresh fruit.