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Easy Easter Menu & Recipes

Easy Easter Menu & RecipesAt this time of year, an easy Easter menu and recipes is like manna from heaven. We’re still struggling to shake off the winter doldrums, and all of a sudden there is Easter staring us in the face.

Stress levels shoot up when it suddenly dawns that a whole lot of company is about to descend – and we’re nowhere near ready. An impromptu holiday somewhere exotic sounds just perfect…

And then we grab a hold of ourselves: time to face the music and dust off the slow cooker. Let it create some amazingly easy Easter meals this year!

Easter Brunch
Slow Cooker Rolled Oatmeal
Crockpot Egg Casserole
Braided Easter Egg Bread
Hot Cross Buns

Easter Appetizers
Deviled Eggs with Relish & Horseradish

Easter Dinner
Slow Cooker Easter Ham

Easter Side Dishes
Creamy mashed potatoes
Cheesy scalloped potatoes
Slow Cooker Baked Sweet Potatoes
Slow Cooker Mac ‘n Cheese
Easy Brussel Sprout Recipe
Fancy Green Beans
Broccoli Slaw Salad

Easter Brunch

Slow Cooker Rolled Oatmeal

2 cups dry oats
2 cups milk
2 cups water

Add sugar, honey or the sweetener of your choice and mix. Cook on low overnight (about 8 hours). Add toppings of your choice.

Crockpot Egg Casserole

1 pound bacon
small onion
12 eggs
32oz bag shredded hash browns
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
salt & pepper to taste

A little prep must be done the previous evening as this dish will be slow cooking overnight.

Chop up your bacon and fry. Add your diced onion. Add your eggs and whisk. Incorporate hash brown as well as shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.

When you think of traditional Easter food, Hot Cross buns and Braided Easter egg bread instantly come to mind. These two Easter dishes are also perfect for a make ahead brunch!

Braided Easter Egg Bread

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 25oz package active dry yeast
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoon butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoon butter, melted

Garnish:
5 whole eggs, uncooked (dyed if you wish)

Pour 1 cup of the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, salt and yeast; stir well.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk and butter till butter is softened but not melted. Slowly add to the flour mixture, stirring constantly.

Add the remaining flour and the two eggs. Mix well until the dough has come together and pulled away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 7 minutes.

Lightly spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place dough in the bowl. Lightly spray the dough to ensure all sides are coated. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. It should double in size.

Once it has properly risen, place dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide into two equal parts. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll each dough half into a log measuring roughly 1½” thick by 3’ long. With the two logs, form a loosely braided ring. Be sure to leave room for the five colored eggs.

Pinch the ends of the ring together and slide the colored eggs between the braids of dough.

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or lightly coat with melted butter. Place the ring on the sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel. Set aside in a warm place and let it rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the ring with melted butter and bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. The colored eggs will cook together with the bread.

Hot Cross Buns

Start this recipe a day in advance, as your dough will need to be refrigerated overnight.

1 cup milk
2 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
4 eggs
5 cups flour
1 1/3 cups currants or raisins
1 egg white

Glaze
1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1-2 tablespoons milk

Warm the milk in a small saucepan, making sure not to boil (it only needs to be warm enough to activate the yeast). Remove from heat, add yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.

Using the dough hook on your mixer, combine sugar, salt, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and eggs. Gradually add flour and continue to mix until dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover with a moist cloth and set in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface (or in the mixing bowl with the dough hook), knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 3 more minutes. Add currants or raisins and mix well.

Shape dough in a ball, place in a bowl that has been buttered or lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit for 30 minutes to bring to room temperature.

Lightly coat a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Divide dough into 24 equal parts. Shape each one into a ball and place it on the cookie sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch between each one. Cover and let rise in a warm location about an hour or until double in size.

When buns have risen, slash a cross in the top of each one and then brush them with egg white.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to a cooling rack or serving tray.

During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the glaze by simply whisking glaze ingredients together in a small bowl.

While the buns are still warm; spoon the glaze over the top of each one in a cross pattern.

Best when served warm.

Easter Appetizers

Deviled Eggs with Relish & Horseradish

1 dozen large boiled eggs, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 onion, chopped finely
1 1/2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
Paprika

Scoop out egg yolks into a large bowl and mash with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Spoon or pipe the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and sprinkle with paprika.

Easter Dinner

Easter Ham in Slow Cooker

5-7lb ham to fit into your slow cooker
1/2 cup of your favorite mustard
1 cup brown sugar
1 onion
Salt & pepper to taste

Cover ham in mustard and then rub with brown sugar, salt, pepper and add to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Here are some recipes using leftover ham you don’t want to miss.

Easter Side Dishes

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

2-3 pounds of your favorite potatoes, cubed
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup milk
3 Tbsp butter
Salt & pepper

Add the cubed potatoes to the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours or until soft. Once potatoes are soft and cooked through, add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Hand mash or whip with a hand mixer for a creamier consistency. For a different taste, think about adding a package of ranch dressing mix or garlic and spices. This dish is versatile enough to take almost any spices.

Slow Cooker Baked Sweet Potatoes

3-5 sweet potatoes, scrubbed

Wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil and add to the slow cooker. You can stack them but try not to over stuff your crock. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until your sweet potatoes are fork tender. Make them special and have some toppings ready for your guests to add to create their own masterpieces. Things like cinnamon, sugar, chocolate chips, whipped cream, brown sugar, nuts and butter make a delicious treat.

Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese

12 oz macaroni, shells, spirals or your favorite pasta
3-4 cups shredded cheddar
8 oz cream cheese
4 cups milk
1 can evaporated milk
Salt, pepper & nutmeg to taste

Add all the ingredients to your crock and cook on Low for 2 hours or until the pasta is done.

Easy Brussel Sprout Recipe

1 pound fresh Brussels Sprouts
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or rice vinegar (to give it a kick)
8 slices of bacon, cooked crisp
Salt to taste

Wash and cut your Brussels sprouts, removing the end and slicing in half lengthwise. Add to your slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients, reserving half of the bacon for topping. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours.

Fancy Green Bean Side Dish

1 pound Fresh Green Beans, cut into pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup bacon, chopped into pieces
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp minced garlic
Salt & pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to your slow cooker and mix well. Cook on High till simmering. Reduce heat to Low and cook for 2-3 hours till beans are still crisp.

Broccoli Slaw Salad

1 bag of broccoli slaw (supermarket produce section)
1/2 onion, chopped
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp

Optional:
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios)
and/or
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Add dressing ingredients to a large bowl and mix together well. Combine salad ingredients and stir well, making sure to coat everything evenly. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld together and enjoy!

I’m sure you realize that you will need more than one slow cooker if you want to take advantage of all of the above shortcuts. Slow cookers have proven themselves to be THE most useful small appliance you can turn to if you want to really save yourself time and energy, and truly enjoy stress-free entertaining.