April 20, 2011

Easter Menu

Putting a big holiday meal on the table the moment you get home from church can be challenging.  I have learned over the past couple of years to keep it simple.    Being in the kitchen and running around trying to get a lot of food on the table and getting all frazzled can spoil the day. 

Here is my Easter Menu:

Spiral Ham
Crockpot Cheesy potatoes
Steamed Mixed Vegetables
Tossed Greens Salad
Dinner Rolls and Hot Cross Buns
Bunny Cake

I will bake the hot cross buns Saturday afternoon.  The cheesy potatoes are made with cream of chicken soup, cheddar cheese and frozen southern hash brown potatoes.  They will go in the crockpot at 8 a.m. The spiral ham will go in the oven around 10:00 a.m. and will be in the oven while we are at church.  When I get home from church I will put the mixed vegetables on to cook and put the dinner rolls in the oven to brown. 

My FIL and MIL minister to a small congregation at a church 30 minutes south of us.  My MIL will be bringing the dinner rolls.  My DIL is baking the bunny cake that is a tradition in her family. 

As to the cost of this meal, I purchased the ham back in February when it was only 99 cents a lb.  That was a great deal.  I need to buy the hash browns for the cheesy potatoes and lucky for me a 32 oz bag is on sale this week for $1.50.  I have the cheese and the soup on hand.  The mixed vegetables are in the freezer and I have the ingredients for the hot cross buns.  The only other thing I need to buy are the fresh greens for the salad.  And that is it. 

Many years ago I would make two kinds of vegetable dishes along with two kinds of salads and even two desserts.  No more.  I enjoy a simpler menu that isn't hard to prepare.  A simpler menu also means I have more time to enjoy the company of my family on Easter Sunday.

Here is my recipe for Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes:

1 (2 lb.) package of frozen cubed hash brown potatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, melted and divided
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup crushed corn flakes

In a large bowl, combine the hash browns, soup, milk, cheese, 1/4 cup melted butter, onion, salt and pepper.  Pour into a greased 5 quart crockpot.  Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 to 5 hours or until potatoes are tender. 

Just before serving, combine the cornflake crumbs and remaining butter in a pie plate.  Bake at 350 degrees for 4 to 6 minutes or til golden brown.  Stir the potatoes and sprinkle on the crumb topping.

Hint:  Buttered crispy bread crumbs can be used in place of the cornflakes.  Also, I place two paper towels over the crockpot and then I put the lid on top of this holding the paper towels in place.  This will absorb the liquid that accumulates on the lid that will spill back onto the food.  You will need to change this every now and then.

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