Does the thought of hosting your extended family for a holiday dinner freak you out? You’ve always been invited to another family member’s house, thankfully, and have been able to dodge hosting all this time. Well, now it’s time to bite the bullet and host.
Last week my husband suggested we host Easter dinner. Now, I have hosted many parties in my life, but honestly, I haven’t hosted an actual large family holiday. That said, I figured Easter is the best holiday to start with for one main reason – it’s not Thanksgiving. What does Thanksgiving have to do with Easter? Well, nothing really, but Thanksgiving is ALL about the dinner. Everyone has high expectations for Thanksgiving dinner and if you don’t deliver, people will not be happy! Easter does not have that same expectation.
While Easter is such an important holiday, its importance is based on religion. It is not based on the food! So, if you are concerned about creating a menu, making the food and serving it on time, Easter is the best day to try this out. So, why not call up your family and friends and invite them over for Easter dinner?
Let’s think about Easter dinner. Usually, for us, it consists of ham, potatoes and corn. Pretty simple. But don’t sell yourself short. There is room for additions to spice it up a little and have some fun with the menu.
Here’s a basic menu to get you started.
Ham – If you want to make a ham, my husband and I bought a ham from Costco to make sandwiches for a party recently. I had never made a ham before, mostly because for decades I haven’t even liked ham (too many ham sandwiches in my lunchbox growing up). Making the ham was pretty simple. You follow the directions on the package and it turns out great. We bought a honey glazed type of ham and everything I needed was included. People raved about it! I’m sure you can get great ham at any grocery store, follow the directions and have a great dinner. Remember though; check the cooking time before Easter so you can plan when it needs to go into the oven to eat at the time you plan.
Potatoes – You could make mashed potatoes. If you have never made mashed potatoes and are afraid to try for the big day, I’ll let you in on a little tip, Bob Evans makes awesome refrigerated potatoes. You can pick up the family size box or two, depending on the number of guests, and make them in the microwave. Once they come out of the microwave, scoop them into a bowl and it will look homemade. If you want to kick it up a little, you can make scalloped potatoes. This will be more labor intensive but a fancy treat on the table. I am going to try scalloped potatoes for my own table this year. I’ll start practicing soon and will give you an update.
Veggies – corn and mashed potatoes go great together, but again for a holiday dinner, maybe you want to make it look a little more special. For me, I will be making asparagus and roasted Brussels sprouts. Over the last few years these have become my favorite veggies. Brussel sprouts are so easy to roast. I promise. You can even buy already cleaned Brussels sprouts in a bag at the store. If you need to clean your own, simply trim off the brown on the bottoms, remove any yellow leaves then slice in half lengthwise. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the sprouts in a bowl with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper then place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes until crispy. Flip part way through so it crisps evenly. Then serve.
Bread – pick up your favorite bakery rolls that you can heat in the oven for 10-15 minutes or one of your favorite pop open cans of rolls from the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Or stop by your favorite bakery on Saturday and pick up rolls from them.
Family tradition item – This is up to you. Maybe there is always a special treat on your table for family gatherings that you can include in your menu too. Where we usually go for Easter, we have a Jell-O mold salad that is passed around. Some years it is orange Jell-O with oranges in it. There have also been times that it was lemon Jell-O with, well, I’m not exactly sure what was in it. Those years I passed on the Jell-O! There is also the tradition of Swedish meatballs on the menu for us. This is a great addition since there are at least 4 of us that don’t really eat much ham.
Deviled eggs – This is the one staple for most people on Easter Sunday. I am going to be completely honest, I have come a long way and now eat ham, but I cannot bring myself to eat any type of eggs other than scrambled or an omelet. Therefore, I cannot give you great tips on how to make these eggs. I do know that at the house we spend Easter most often, the couple that makes the deviled eggs use fresh horseradish in half the batch and those are always gone within 5 minutes of being set out. They are also served as part of the appetizer table and not during dinner. But this is up to you. And if you don’t have dozens of color eggs at your house to make into deviled eggs, you can purchase already made deviled eggs at the grocery store. Unless someone else offers to make them, we won’t be having them at our dinner. I can’t even stand the smell.
What else needs to be on the table?
Butter – some stores even sell bunny shaped butter. Just make sure the kids don’t flip out when you cut off the butter bunny’s head or tail.
Fresh horseradish, horseradish sauce and deli mustard are great additions for ham
Serve a nice fruity wine to pair with the ham and you are all set.
This year make Easter the holiday you host. Everyone will enjoy coming over to your house to gather together and you’ll feel confident about serving up a simple, yet elegant Easter dinner. Most of the items I mentioned above do not take a lot of effort to make. I know you can do this. If your guests offer to bring something you can always ask them to bring appetizers or desserts and you don’t have to worry about adding those items to your cooking plan. I’ll be back soon to help you set the table and create a beautiful centerpiece for your Easter dinner hosting debut.