Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Every year, I try to come up with unique recipes to add to the table. This year, I invented deviled eggs with French onion flair. Another delicious appetizer is Spinach Artichoke Dip, fashioned into a festive bunny. A great accompaniment to ham is my Quinoa Salad with Coconut and Mandarin Oranges, which can also be made with rice. For dessert, try refreshing Lemon Bars with a hint of pretzel in the crust that gives a crunchy contrast. All dishes can be made a day in advance for a low-stress meal. Happy Easter!
French Onion Deviled Eggs
6 boiled eggs, chilled and peeled
1/4 cup prepared French onion dip
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
Slice eggs in half, and separate yolks from whites. Place yolks in a bowl, and smash with a fork. To yolks, stir in French onion dip, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and salt. Fill egg whites with yolk mixture. Dust with pepper, and garnish with green onions, if desired. Refrigerate until serving.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
10 ounces frozen spinach
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (see note)
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
Dash of oregano (optional)
Sun-dried tomatoes to decorate
1 baguette or round crackers
Heat oven to 375.
Microwave spinach for 3 minutes. When cool enough to handle, wrap spinach in several layers of paper towels. Using a strainer, press out as much water as possible; repeat as necessary until spinach is dry.
In a large bowl, stir together sour cream, mayonnaise and garlic salt. Stir in cream cheese until combined. Stir in spinach, artichokes and Parmesan cheese.
Place mixture in a shallow pie pan. Top with Italian blend cheese and a dash of oregano, if desired. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with toasted baguette or round crackers.
To decorate as an Easter bunny, carefully add a face of sliced sun-dried tomatoes (or experiment with other ingredients, such as olives and parsley) after baking. To make ears, use a baguette cut into thirds (keeping the corners for ears) or use a sleeve of round crackers.
Notes: If you cannot find shredded Parmesan, you can use the canned grated variety (which is stronger), but decrease to 1/2 cup, and increase the Italian blend cheese by 1/2 cup. Dip can be assembled a day in advance and baked immediately before serving.
Quinoa Salad with Coconut and Mandarins
1 cup quinoa or rice, uncooked
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 fresh mandarin oranges, peeled
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 cup dried cranberries, golden raisins or sliced apricots
1/2 cup pistachio nuts or pecans
Dash of cinnamon
Prepare quinoa or rice according to package directions, substituting chicken broth for water and adding salt. Once cooked, spoon into a serving dish and fluff.
Separate mandarin oranges into segments, and cut each segment into three pieces; add to serving dish. Toss in green onions, coconut, cranberries and nuts, taking care not to overstir. Sprinkle cinnamon on top, and refrigerate until time to serve.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons pretzel crumbs
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice, plus 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Heat oven to 350.
For the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and pretzel crumbs. Stir butter into the flour mixture until combined. Press mixture into a lightly greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
For the filling: In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour and baking powder. Beat in eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest. When crust is ready, add lemon mixture, and bake for 25 minutes or until set.
Allow to cool 2 hours before refrigerating. Cut into bars, and dust with powdered sugar before serving.