Easter has arrived. If you’ll bake the ham and dessert, I have some wonderful side dishes and appetizers. A must-try is my Spinach Berry Salad with Strawberry Cranberry Dressing. The sweet dressing is incredible and will tempt even people who don’t like salad. If you want to give traditional deviled eggs a kick, try this recipe for curry deviled eggs. My easy shrimp salad makes a light and delicious appetizer. And baked carrots with smoked almonds and cranberries round out the meal. Happy Easter.
Curry Deviled Eggs
8 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons minced green onion (green part only)
2 teaspoons minced dried cranberries
1/3 cup Miracle Whip
1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon yellow mustard
Note: For this recipe, I only use six of the egg yolks but always make an extra two or three eggs because some just don’t turn out. If you are lucky and all eight work, you can still stuff the whites, as there will be leftover filling.
Curry powders range in flavor and strength, so start with ½ teaspoon, but you may add another ¼ teaspoon if yours is not very strong.
Place eggs in a large pot of water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a strong simmer/light boil. Cook for 14 minutes. Immediately remove the eggs, drain off the water and add eggs to an ice bath. Allow to cool completely before proceeding.
Peel eggs and cut them in half lengthwise. Take six of the egg yolks and mash them with a fork until they are fine crumbs.
Take a green onion and cut off the green part. Do not use the white part of the onion because it will be too strong. Finely mince the green onion and dried cranberries. You want these very fine.
Stir together the Miracle Whip, mayonnaise, curry powder, salt and yellow mustard. Then stir this mixture into the egg yolks. Add the onion and cranberries and stir until combined. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Fill the center of shells with mixture. Chill and serve.
These are best made 2 hours in advance so the curry flavor can permeate. If desired, sprinkle with a hint of curry powder before serving or garnish with additional cranberries or minced onion.
1 pound cooked cocktail shrimp, tails removed
1/3 cup minced celery
2-3 tablespoons minced red onion
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon dill weed
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper to taste
Crackers or French bread to serve
To make this easy, you can buy cocktail shrimp in the ring or two bags of large cooked shrimp.
Rinse shrimp, pat dry and peel off the tails. Place shrimp in a food processor and pulse to chop. Transfer to a bowl. Mince the celery and onion and stir into the shrimp.
In another bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill weed, celery seed, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over shrimp and stir to combine. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
This appetizer is great with crackers or toasted French bread.
Baked Carrots with Smoked Almonds and Dried Cranberries
1 pound baby carrots
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
Salt and pepper
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped smoked almonds
Heat oven to 400.
The smoked almonds are critical to this recipe. If you cannot find smoked almonds you can use other smoked nuts, but the smoky flavor helps balance the sweet/tart cranberries.
Spread carrots out in a pan. Drizzle with olive oil and then toss to coat. Drizzle with honey or brown sugar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pull the thyme leaves off the sprigs and distribute the leaves over carrots. Add cranberries and bake the carrots for 20-40 minutes. This is a very big range but it depends on how you like your carrots. I like them to still be crisp, so 20 is good for me, but some people prefer soft vegetables, so cook up to 40 minutes. I test after 20. When you remove the carrots from the oven, sprinkle the smoked almonds on top and serve.
Spinach Berry Salad with Strawberry Cranberry Dressing
1 (10-ounce) bag of spinach or arugula
2 cups sliced strawberries
½ cup candied pecans or pecan halves
3 tablespoons minced red onion
2 ounces feta or goat cheese crumbles
3 strips of fried bacon, chopped (optional)
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
½ cup boiling water
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup sliced strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ketchup
Half a medium garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt and pepper
Place dried cranberries in boiling water and set aside for 5 minutes. When the cranberries have plumped up, remove them with a spoon and place in a food processor with 3 tablespoons of the water. Place all the remaining salad dressing ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate leftovers.
You may need to add more sugar if the strawberries are not very sweet, so taste and adjust at the end.
To assemble the salad, empty a bag of spinach in a large bowl. Top with strawberries, pecans, onions, cheese, bacon and cucumber. Serve with dressing on the side as this dressing is thick; if it’s applied to the whole salad, you’ll have to toss leftovers because they will become soggy.