Recipes For Easter Dinner

Easter Day and the Easter recipes we choose to cook play an important role in our lives.

Easter is about life; it's about springtime and welcoming back the flowers and birds; it's about a warmer sun on our backs and a renewed faith in all the good we want and believe in for everyone. Easter is a day to be with family. Easter is about love.

Yes, some people will think about new suits and new dresses and as a time for chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and colored eggs. Certainly a number of children will. But for me, Easter is about being with family and friends and enjoying a great meal with them.

I recently saw a statistic that says, despite the fact that the better restaurants seem packed with people on Easter, only 35 per cent of Americans go out for their meal. That means 65 per cent of us either stay at home and cook or we are the guests of relatives who are doing so.

I will be cooking and preparing Easter dinner at my house this year for the first time in 24 years! I finally have a fully trained, very competent staff at my restaurant. They will handle everything at the business, allowing me to cook for my family, relatives and friends. I consider this a great honor, not a burden. This is one of the things I do best, and I enjoy it!

One of the most interesting things about Easter is that it is somewhat of a "melting pot" holiday, with traditions from many cultures and religions. But there is no doubt about it, food plays a big part of celebrations in every culture.

Not sure what to serve for Easter dinner? Being a traditional American, the recipes on this page are traditional Easter recipes, or would make good components to an Easter dinner.

Ham is a traditional main course at this time of year, so I have included a wonderful ham recipe here, along with a secret restaurant appetizer recipe, a starch and vegetable to accompany the ham and a recipe for dessert - a fabulous Triple Chocolate And Vanilla Cheesecake.

But on my website I have many other Easter recipes from which to choose. Mix and match components of these menus or other recipes on the website to create your own perfect Easter dinner.

This Crab Artichoke Dip Appetizer is the all-time best selling appetizer at my restaurant, despite the fact that it is a bit pricey because of the crab. But it is so good my restaurant guests buy it frequently. They have asked me for this crab recipe many times and, until now, it has always been one of my secret restaurant recipes.

Hot Crab Artichoke Recipe For 8-10
Preparation time: 15 minutes

8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups of mayonnaise
3/4 pound of Dungeness crab
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts
1/2 cup white onions, diced
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons green onions, minced
2 tablespoons red pepper, minced
2 tablespoons celery, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese

In a mixer, whip the cream cheese until soft but not airy
While the cream cheese is mixing, prepare the crab, artichoke hearts, onions, garlic, red pepper, celery, parsley and cheeses
When the cream cheese is softened, fold in the remaining ingredients, adding the cheeses last
Refrigerate until ready to use
Bake in a baking dish in a pre-heated 375 degree F oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned on top and bubbly around the edges

Serve with thinly sliced French bread and/or artisan crackers

Apricot Glazed Ham Recipe
Preparation time: 1 1/2 hours. Serves 15.

One 5 pound old fashioned smoked, boneless ham
1 cup apricot nectar
1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F
Place the ham and apricot nectar in your roasting pan
In a small mixing bowl, combine the preserves, marmalade, cinnamon and nutmeg
Spread the mixture over the surface of the ham and loosely cover the ham with foil
Bake for 1 1/4 hours basting your ham with pan juices every 20 minutes
Using a thermometer, check the internal temperature of the ham and remove it from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F
Slice the ham and place slices on a serving platter and spoon the pan juice over the slices ham

Scalloped Potatoes
Basic, Easy Scallop Potato Recipe
Preparation time: 20 minutes. Serves 8-10.

1/2 cup butter, melted
8 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (I am fortunate to have a mandoline, otherwise slice the potatoes with your knife)
2 medium onions, diced
2 cups heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Ground Allspice, optional
Fresh parsley, minced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Grease a shallow baking pan with some melted butter
Place a layer of potato slices on the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with half the onion, salt and pepper to taste
Place a second layer of sliced potatoes over the first layer
Repeat the layering process until all the potato slices are gone
Pour the heavy cream over the potatoes, sprinkle again with salt and pepper and if you wish - AllSpice
Drizzle the remainder of the butter on top
Bake for one hour in the oven or until most of the cream is absorbed and the top is golden to golden brown
Sprinkle parsley on top to serve

Fresh Green Bean Recipe
Preparation time: 5 minutes (once your Dill Butter is prepared). Serves 4.

1 pound green beans
Dill Butter (or simply use regular butter and salt and pepper if you prefer)

Wash beans thoroughly in clear, cold water and trim the ends
If using baby green beans, you probably do not need to cut them into smaller pieces. Otherwise you may want to cut the green beans at least in half. You can cut them straight across or at an angle
Place green beans in a pot of boiling water and blanch them for 3-4 minutes (Some people add a bit of salt to the boiling water, but this is optional and there should be plenty of room in the pot but don't use more water than you have to. If you are cooking more beans than you have room for, it's okay to cook them in batches.)
Drain beans in a colander
Place your Dill Butter in a skillet or saute pan over medium-low heat to melt the butter
Put beans in the pan with the Dill Butter and heat thoroughly, making sure the beans are re-heated but not over-cooked
Plate beans and serve

Dill Butter Recipe
Preparation time: 15 minutes. Makes enough for using with bean recipe above.

1/4 pound soft butter
1 table spoon chopped or minced fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Coarsely chop the dill and process in a food processor with the butter, garlic and lemon juice (or mix thoroughly with a fork)
Shape the mixture into a roll and wrap in parchment paper or wax paper and twist the ends
Store in freezer until needed

Triple Chocolate And Vanilla Cheesecake
Favorite Restaurant Dessert Recipe For Home Cooks
Preparation time: 30 minutes. Serves 12.

Ingredients For Crust:
4 1/2 ounces Oreo cookie crumbs
1/2 ounce melted butter

Instructions For Crust:
Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs and the butter in a mixing bowl and pour into a springform pan
Spread the crumbs over the bottom and press down with your hands to firm it
Smooth the crust with the back of a spoon
Chill in the freezer while preparing the cheescake

Ingredients For Cheesecake:
2 pounds softened cream cheese
1/3 cup flour
14 ounces of Eagle Brand condensed milk (no substituting, this is an important ingredient)
7 whole eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 ounces chocolate chips, melted

Instructions For Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe:
In a Kitchenaid mixer, beat the cream cheese on low and then beat until fluffy
On low speed, add the flour and mix well
Gradually add the Eagle Brand condensed milk, mixing until smooth
Add eggs and vanilla and mix well
Pour half of the batter into the prepared crust in the springform pan
Add the melted chocolate chips into the remaining batter and mix well
Pour the chocolate batter evenly oven the white layer in the springform pan
Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree F oven for about 40 minutes
Cool the cheesecake out of the refrigerator until the cheesecake is room temperature, then refrigerate

Ingredients For Glaze:
4 ounces of chocolate chips
1/3 cup whipping cream (not whipped)

Instructions For Glaze:
Combine chocolate chips and cream in a sauce pan over low heat to melt chips and combine
Cool slightly, pour over the cheesecake and refrigerate

Enjoy your Easter recipes and the company of those you share them with! Cultivate the love!

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About The Author, Donna Hager