Easter menu—doesn't need to be traditional—some easy, prepare-ahead meat dish?

Suddenly I find myself hosting Easter, which I've never done before. (Or if I did it was really simple.)
We will not be around Saturday so I'll need to prepare a few things in advance of Friday.

The adults coming over are total meat and potato types, which is the opposite of me, so there won't be lamb or other beast in the oven...but I would like to have some meat. (They do not eat fish.)

What's easy? A ham? Any other easy options? I'll figure out side dishes, a nice salad and veggies, but other suggestions welcome. Maybe a crustless quiche?

I'll only have a few hours on Sunday to prepare.

(If I'm stuck I'm just throwing turkey meatballs and homemade sauce into the crockpot for the main dish...but that doesn't seem very Easter like at all.)

A ham is easy . Get a spiral cut ham and make a homemade glaze of Dijon mustard and maple syrup. Can do it on Sunday . No need to prep before.

Yes, a ham is very Easter-y. A spiral cut one would be very easy to serve. Honey Baked Hams even suggests room temperature. Of course they are pricey, so get one at Costco or Trader Joe's.

Ok, that's what I was thinking Costco!

What goes well with ham...not that they are so picky as long as there's meat. I'll get little rolls too. And room temp is perfect.

Should I make potato salad or other hot potato dish? I think it will be a late lunch time.

Easter isnt complete without some type of 1970's style Jello mold - easy to make ahead of time
agree on the ham ! and if you can find it the butter lamb its a must have

Large pork loin roast. Put some chopped garlic and rosemary and black pepper on top. Then lay a bunch of slices of prosciutto on top. Pour some wine in the pan.

Cut up red potatoes with the skin on and surround the roast with them. More rosemary and garlic on those. Roast at 325 until the pork hits 170 degrees on a meat thermometer.

The prosciutto will get crispy. Take it off and put it on the platter with the sliced pork.

Maybe broil the taters to crisp them up after you take out the roast.

Serve to general acclaim.

My standard Easter dinner is spiral cut ham served with little rolls and various mustards, au gratin potatoes, a spinach salad and blue cheese cole slaw. I like only having two things that require oven space.

Yes, ham is easy. I'm sure the pork loin is wonderful but it's way beyond what I need to do, and it's not that many people. (And my girls and I won't eat the meat...so there's a handful of meat eating adults and maybe two kids, not very sophisticated diners.)

I am not eating much cheese and I believe there is a dairy allergy so I don't want to do Au gratin potatoes.

@new207040... Jello mold?!

Where do you normally go food shopping? You may have already qualified for a free ham (and if you shop at ShopRite a ton of free matzoh as well)!

As for a quick and easy side you could try pineapple stuffing. Sounds weird I know but it is very good and very simple to make. Goes with any of your popular porks, especially ham.

8 tablespoons of butter (softened to room temperature)
1 cup of sugar
4 large eggs
1 - 20 oz can of crushed pineapple - drained well
5 slices of bread - cubed (I use white bread or even the Italian bread like Maier's)

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time and blend well. Fold in crushed pineapple (the better you drain it the better it will be as I've found the wetter it is the longer it takes to cook). Fold in bread cubes.

Butter a glass casserole dish (or make it easy on yourself and use a foil pan) and put the stuffing mixture in. Pop in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until done (a knife poked in should come out clean). It should have a nice golden top.

I rarely make one recipe of this and usually double and even triple (this Easter will be a triple batch) it as it has become a huge family favorite. We'll even eat it cold if there are any leftovers.

Good luck!

yes - it was a "contest" between all of my aunts- who could make the best jello mold


@aes that blue cheese cole slaw sounds interesting. Would you be interested in sharing that recipe? Thx!

I qualified for free matzoh from shop rite but not a free ham...oh well...
At least I don't think so, I should check the receipt.

I can't have gluten either so other than simple dishes like pasta I'm trying to avoid making too much with bread that I can't eat.

I may do a pasta because at least I know the kids will eat it. (Maybe Mac and cheese which I can prep in advance...my kids will love and I will make sure I have plain for dairy free kid, or lactaid pills on hand!)

shh said:

Yes, ham is easy. I'm sure the pork loin is wonderful but it's way beyond what I need to do, and it's not that many people. (And my girls and I won't eat the meat...so there's a handful of meat eating adults and maybe two kids, not very sophisticated diners.)

I am not eating much cheese and I believe there is a dairy allergy so I don't want to do Au gratin potatoes.

@new207040... Jello mold?!

Not to oversell the idea, but you can get a fairly small roast. Once you throw the seasonings on, it more or less cooks without much attention.

I know but I also think it's too much meat handling for me...I did a roast beef for Hanukkah and it went over very well, but I think a ham will be just fine for this occasion and leftovers will work well for lunch for my husband and father in law.

I may not win any culinary awards for this meal but I need simple and easy for the main dishes... Veggie side dishes I will get creative based on what's beautiful, fresh and green At the market.

@finnegan Here you go! I make a few modifications which I've noted

2 lbs cole slaw mix
8 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar*
2/3 cup,vegetable oil*
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp celery seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup minced onion

* I use 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup oil

Toss cabbage and blue cheese together and chill for at least an hour.

Whisk rest of ingredients but the oil together. Slowly add oil and whisk until emulsified.

Just before serving, toss cabbage and dressing together.

*** I also add toasted slivered almonds right before serving

Do you have a slow cooker? There are tons of things you can throw in there with little preparation that come out wonderful.

Yes, that's why initially I was thinking keeping it really simple with meatballs and sauce, but I think the ham will be fine and more seasonal? Plus I do like the fact that I can serve it room temp.

I'm a "Shop Rite" person, and I have a free ham/turkey I cannot use this holiday season. My parental units have asked if they can host us at an eating establishment, and I am not going to argue with them.

Normally, my holiday meals at home are to use said ham/turkey, in a basic way, and make the entertainment more about the sides.

However, if anyone wants my ham/turkey, you know where to find me. ;-)

That's nice! I know the food banks are accepting ham/turkey donations...and I agree with you.

I just need a substantial main dish for the meat eaters, a substantial side my kids will eat, (Mac and cheese) and then I'll do a creative salad and veggies depending on what looks best. And I am leaning towards potato salad because I know they often have that,

@aes Thank you! I will definitely give that a try!

Go to Trader Joes and pick up a spiral sliced ham and bag(s) of the "half-baked" dinner rolls. The rolls bake in 8 minutes and are really good. Get more than you think you'll need; they always disappear! The ham doesn't need glaze and can be served cold or at room temp. TJ also has a really good grainy mustard. Sauté some spinach in garlic and olive oil and buy dessert. Mac and cheese for the kids and you're all set.

We're going to my mom's for Easter and I suspect the menu will be similar. My mom may change it up by steaming asperagus in the microwave and possibly serving ice cream with the bakery pie. It's good and we enjoy it.

Best of luck!

Ham for sure. Au gratin potatoes maybe ? (Trader Joes in dairy section are really good ) we make twice baked potatoes which can be made a few days before. Bake red potatoes while, skin on, no foil. Cut in half when they come out , scoop potato out into a mixing bowl but retain shells. Add milk, butter, seasoning to potatoes and mash with a fork. Scoop mashed back into shells and re-bake them on Sunday until they get a little brown on top.

No to the meatballs and sauce on Easter.

And Mac and cheese goes great with gam- we always also make that.

This year we are either going to Boccone or McLoones, though. Still deciding.

Hoping shh and others can help me...I need a rice dish that is gluten, dairy, meat and garlic free. Did a wild rice at Xmas but it didn't go over well (though I loved it) so has to be white rice.

We are having ham, m&c, quiche, carrot casserole, green beans and rolls and hopefully a rice dish of some kind. Haven't decided on dessert, probably carrot cake and something chocolate.

Mark Bittman's cumin rice

I don't have the recipe in front of me but it's something like this:

2 cups white rice
3.5 cups stock
2 tb oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
Medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro for garnish

Sauté onions in oil until translucent. Add cumin seed and rice and sauté a little more. Add stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro.

A turkey breast is really easy and you can serve it at any temperature. For something fragrant, pretty and bright, maybe roasted chicken pieces over fennel and clementines. I have most of a bottle of arak if you want some.


NB: I enjoy cooking, I really do. And I have never, ever been successful with ham.

Can it be a rice salad or does it have to be hot?
I love to do a rice salad with chopped up peppers, capers, olives, red onion, currants (I just use craisins) and a bunch of other things. (I do it with quinoa too). It's the kind of thing that tastes better the longer it sits.

For my side dishes I got red potatoes and string beans, and I'm figuring out a potato/string bean vinaigrette, then I also got kale, spinach, asparagus, and I want to do a salad using whichever greens, hard boiled egg, asparagus and maybe hearts of Palm. To one of them I will add olives and capers...not sure which. (I also got lots of colorful peppers, quinoa, mushrooms...so I also may do a quinoa frittata or some other type of crustless quiche.)

How about roasted asparagus with a caper vinaigrette, and a plain bowl of baby greens? Or set out an array of DIY veggie salade niçoise ingredients.

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