Three recipes for a simpler, smaller Easter dinner menu

A simple Easter dinner for 4 on simplebites.net

Buying potted yellow tulips, playing with bright flavors in the kitchen, and digging out my pair of summer Toms (even if only wearing them indoors) are a few of the motions I must go through during this time of the year to try and feign a feeling of spring.

It’s late March and the snowbanks on either side of our driveway tower over my head like steady ramparts, as if barring spring from ushering in wildflowers and fresh clover. It’s unfathomable to think that we will have a green Easter, although I can recall many an egg hunt in the past enjoyed in the grass, not to mention brunch on the patio. This year will be different and that’s okay.

Since we are barreling toward the Easter long weekend, it’s time to do a little menu planning. Mother Nature may not be on board, but perhaps that won’t matter, as we’ll be to busy tucking in to…this.

A simple Easter dinner for 4 on simplebites.net

I made this menu for a recent Sunday dinner (remember, I’m bringing back the tradition for our family) and while I was setting the table and whisking together the mustard vinaigrette, it struck me that the meal would make a lovely, small scale Easter dinner.

The whole meal came together in just under an hour and featured Sunday dinner classics: roast poultry, young potatoes and fresh asparagus. Each component was simply prepared, but packed a punch of flavor thanks to vibrant pairings with ingredients such as Meyer lemons, capers, mustard and blood oranges.

Perhaps you’ll only be joined by a friend or two for the holiday meal, or celebrating Easter with a few family members around the table. If you are, and don’t wish to spend half a day in the kitchen, then this menu for you.

I would suggest beginning the celebration with a pretty plate of Guacamole Deviled Eggs, and finishing with these Easter Pavlovas with Lemon Whipped Cream and Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote. Of course there’s always Mini Lemon Tea Cakes that are idea, too.

If you’re not hosting on the upcoming holiday, bookmark this post for your next Sunday dinner. Better yet, forward it to your husband and drop a hint about Mother’s Day. Either way, be sure to enjoy these recipes this spring.

Hit the jump for three recipes for a simpler, smaller Easter dinner menu.

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Winter Sangria with citrus & pomegranate

This year we have two parties leading up to New Year’s, then a blissful clear calendar on the 31st. I’m so looking forward to a non-hyped quiet night in, especially after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The visiting -and feasting- has been wonderful, and I’ve been thrilled to host out-of-town family for a week, but Danny and I are very ready to put our feet up and exhale in a quiet house.

Last year we organized to have baby sitter, then bundled up (why is NYE always freezing?) and had a great evening out with friends, but I’m hesitant to leave Clara this year – or maybe I’m just using her as an excuse to stay in! Either way, we’re staying cozy this New Year’s Eve.

Danny’s stashed a bottle of champagne for midnight and I’m planning fondue for two and mini tourtière hand pies. In the meantime, though, we’ll be sipping on a dark and fruity winter sangria and nibbling maple spiced nuts as the hours count down.

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A Christmas salad of winter greens & seasonal fruit

It’s funny how this salad came to be: a rough chop of leftover greens from the crisper drawer and a few odd bits of scrounged fruit. It wasn’t until I had everything assembled on my cutting board that I noticed the unmistakably festive red, white and green colors.

From there it was merely a matter of balancing the flavors – bitter versus sweet – and textures (the kale benefits from a five-minute marinade in the vinaigrette before the salad is tossed) before mounding it next to another holiday staple – tourtière.

One forkful into this plate and I realized it was the perfect match: rich, spiced pork pie with buttery pastry complemented by a slightly bitter, crunchy salad of winter greens.

Not only does this salad boast the colors of Christmas, but it offers a welcome burst of acidity at a time when foods tend to be so rich. I think you’re going to want to stock some kale and pomegranate in the refrigerator this week.

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Sweet & Sour Turkey Meatballs with Cranberries & Peppers (Slow-Cooker)

If I keep this one really short, you’ll forgive me, right? It’s been a long week, and I’m just ready to put my (puffy) feet up and sink a fork into a bowl of these comforting and totally satisfying sweet and sour turkey meatballs. I managed to freeze a meal’s worth of them for when the baby comes, which, apparently, could be any day now.

The days leading up to baby are both exciting and terrifying. Each evening as I go to bed the thought crosses my mind that this could be the last night of uninterrupted sleep for a while. So I pull the down comforter up to my chin, silence my iPhone, and close my eyes, searching for rest.

As circumstance would have it, the night is never without interruption though. I’m in my ninth month and there’s a string of delightful indicators to prove that, yes indeed, this is the most trying stretch.

At least there are turkey meatballs, studded with cranberries, flavored with orange zest, and served over a bed of rice. Meatballs which you should add to your menu soon. After all, everyone could use a bowl of comfort in February.

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Celebrating Our 2nd Anniversary with Lemon, Cornmeal & Almond Cake

It’s hard to believe that two years ago this little corner of the blogosphere was still in beta. It’s grown to be such a big part of me, a warm community of like-minded yet completly unique people, that I can’t remember what I did before I was editor.

Simple Bites celebrates its 2nd anniversary this week and I had to make a cake to commemorate the event. It’s been a fun and fantastic two years, plus, it was high time I shared a favorite cake recipe.

Fresh lemon zest, finely ground almonds and a sprinkling of cornmeal give this rustic cake a marvelous flavor and memorable texture. It is perfect with a cup of tea, requiring absolutely no garnish. Oh, and bonus, it’s gluten-free!

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