For many families, Easter is a time to gather together with family and friends. If you're the one hosting Easter dinner, it can be a hectic, stressful day of cooking, baking and endless preparations. It's always a good idea to look for desserts and appetizers you can make ahead of time, and there are plenty of creative Easter-themed ideas that will satisfy hungry guests of all ages without forcing you to spend hours in the kitchen.
Deviled eggs make an appealing appetizer for any occasion, but for added Easter flair, plate a batch of deviled eggs amidst some decorated Easter eggs. Use your favorite recipe, or try new things that put a new spin on this venerable appetizer. For example, add cream cheese, sauteed onion and diced ham to deviled eggs, and top with bread crumbs. For a completely different take, whip the hard-boiled egg yolks with garlic and cheese, then sprinkle the deviled eggs lightly with paprika and parsley. Try mixing your favorite creamy dressing with mashed egg yolk for a quick and easy deviled egg stuffing.
Present your guests with a platter of raw veggies, such as carrot and celery sticks, broccoli florets and mushrooms, with a few different types of creamy salad dressing for dip. Decorate with colorfully dyed Easter eggs and tell the kids it's "bunny food." Serve a spinach or artichoke dip along bunny crackers for the kids, and with braided European-style Easter bread for the grownups, which is available in different cultural variations such as Greek, Russian and Italian. Another Easter tradition is hot cross buns. If you're too busy to bake your own, many bakeries offer braided Easter bread and hot cross buns prior to the holiday.
Cookies and Cupcakes
Desserts are another important component in an Easter dinner. Enlist your children to help you make special cookies, using cookie cutters in shapes such as bunnies and Easter eggs, and have them help decorate with different colors of icing. Another idea is to transform ordinary cupcakes into Easter basket cupcakes; top the cupcakes with white icing and add shredded coconut that you've turned green with food coloring. Arrange small candy eggs and jellybeans to create tiny cupcake Easter baskets.
Carrot cakes are an Easter-time favorite and there is no shortage of recipes, some containing nuts and raisins, others with pineapple to add moistness. Another idea is to bake a loaf-style cake and decorate with icing eyes, ears, whiskers and a cotton-ball tail to create an Easter bunny cake. With a little creative adjustments, your Easter bunny can become an Easter lamb cake. Creative bakers who are experienced in using a pastry bag may want to try to make their own marshmallow chicks from ingredients including vegetable shortening, sugar, gelatin and egg whites.