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Easter Menu Idea

In many ways I enjoy Easter more than Christmas. There are less or no gifts to buy and wrap, less expected baking and hectic activities to go to. All and all I find it less stressful and a very meaningful to me personally when I think of Gods great gift and sacrifice he made for us.
It is one of the most anticipated Christian Holidays that most of the world honors in one way or the other.
With Easter weekend coming up I am sure there will be plenty of gatherings to bring dishes too or preparing Easter dinner in your own home. Our family traditionally has a cold meal for Easter consisting of ham, potato salad, plumi mooss, coleslaw and of course paska with a cottage cheese spread.  May I also suggest a few alternative ideas.


How about starting with a platter of veggies and dip served in this cute Bunny Bread using either homemade French Bread or frozen bread dough as suggested by someone in the comments.  Good idea if you don't make your own bread. Enjoy this as your guests arrive in anticipation for Dinner.



You can never go wrong serving salads at your dinner. Try this lovely spinach salad by Judy  using colored Easter Eggs or this light and refreshing Grapes and greens salad by Marg.



















 
Or a serve buffet style including a lovely Glazed Ham by Anneliese with two sauces served on the side by Bev. 


A popular second meat that could be offered is Cabbage Rolls by Lovella.



No Ham dinner is complete without Scalloped Potatoes from Kathy or Baked Fanned Potatoes by Betty. 




A couple side dish ideas could be Asparagus with Seasame by  Marg served along side the scalloped potatoes, or if you are serving the baked potatoes how about Cheesy Scalopped Carrots.




We can't forget the Paska  regular and gluten free accompanied by this wonderful spread, or Betty's tradition of Spicy Peppernut Buns.  Who needs dessert when you have Paska.




That should give you a few ideas to make your Easter Celebrations Tasty.
Happy Easter!

Hot Cross Buns


 I first shared this recipe for Easter 2012 and am reposting them for Flashback Friday since Easter is only a week away!  My Mom made them every Easter  and we ate them still warm from the oven on Thursday before Good Friday.  If there were any left...they would be our breakfast on Good Friday.

These lightly spiced buns are soft and moist and perfect with a hot cup of tea.
This is a smaller batch.  It would make 24 buns in 2 9X13 pans...or  you can make part of the dough into small loaves which you can slice up.  It toasts up wonderfully.
  • 5 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups candied diced fruit and citrus peel (sometimes called Glace Cake Mix) found in the baking aisle
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups flour
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, sugar and warm water and allow to sit for 10 minutes until the yeast has puffed up.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the milk and butter until the butter begins to melt. 
  3. Add the sugar and the eggs to the yeast mixture and the milk and butter after.  (Be sure not to add very hot milk to the yeast and egg mixture.  It should be warm but not hot to touch.
  4. Mix 1 cup of the flour with the candied fruit and stir well.
  5. Add several cups of flour and the nutmeg and vanilla to the liquid ingredients and then add the fruit. 
  6. Knead until it forms a ball.  Don't over knead.  It should come together but it will still be sticky because of the fruit.  Knead using a bit of additional flour for a few minutes.
  7. Put into a large bowl where it can double in size.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise.
  8. Once it has doubled, form into buns and place them in greased pans.  Take a very sharp knife and cut an X across each bun. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled and very light.
  9. Preheat oven to 325 Convection or 350 F regular bake and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Mix honey glaze in microwave safe bowl: 
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. water
  1. Microwave for 1 minute.
  2. Brush over buns.
  3. Pipe your favorite butter icing across each bun in the X's. 
    


Paska
















There is no other recipe that has found me more friends than this one. Most of the girls who share this blog with me. ..found my personal blog by "googling Paska". The recipe originated with my husband's Grandmother .. .but I made it simpler by utilizing my blender and thin peeling my citrus.


The aroma just amazing .. from the time you blend the citrus until the last loaf has cooled.
You will need 4 or 5 loaf pans or you can free form little twists or use muffin tins just adjust your baking time, and watch the oven closely.


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. In a large bowl, put your yeast, sugar and warm water. Let sit 10 minutes. 
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 medium orange
  1. Take your citrus and peel it very thin. I use a vegetable peeler. You don't want to use any of the white parts of the peel. Put the thinly sliced peel in the blender.
  2. Once you have removed and discarded the white pith of the citrus. Chop your lemon and orange, removing all the seeds. Add the chopped lemon and orange to the blender.
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of real butter
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and milk until the butter melts or do it in a saucepan on the stove.
  2. Once it is melted add it to the blender. Start the blender .. and begin to puree.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Start the blender on high and allow the citrus, peel and milk, butter mixture to run for about 2 or 3 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs, sugar, and salt.
  3. Continue to run the blender for another minute or two until very smooth.
  4. Measure the milk/citrus and sugar mixture it should be about 4 1/2 cups. If you have a bit more or less that is fine. .you will just adjust the flour likewise.
  5. Pour the mixture, along with the yeast mixture into a large bowl .. or the bowl of your kitchen machine, which has a dough hook.
  6. Add flour one cup at a time until you have a smooth soft dough it will be sticky. I think about 7 cups of flour should be right. . but it will depend on the size of your eggs and the size of your lemon and orange. With a plastic bowl, it is easy to tell when the dough has enough flour because it will stop sticking to the side of the bowl but with a metal bowl you really do need to stop the mixer often and touch your dough before adding additional flour. It really is best to stop the machine once it is getting close. . and knead the last bit of flour by hand. . .a little at a time until it is smooth. Do not add more than 7 1/2 cups flour allow it to remain sticky. If you measured the milk mixture and had 4 1/2 cups 7 cups of flour will be enough sticky but enough.
  7. The amount of flour is a guide. .if your dough is still super sticky add a little more flour a dusting at a time. Look at the picture in the collage of my dough .. .that is how it should look. It should be able to hold its shape. There will be several factors in how your dough could be different than mine, the flour you purchase or how you fill your cup of flour.  (I scoop and shake to level). It could be that you have slightly more liquid. Don't despair if you think it is still too sticky, slowly add a dusting more, turn the dough on the counter and knead until you are out of flour again and then give it another dusting and continue this way until it looks silky and is elastic.  (like mine in the picture).
  8. After kneading it by hand or with the machine for about 8 - 10 minutes, transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled. This should take about an hour. .to an hour and a half.
  9. At this point, give it a bit of a punch down and let rest at least 10 minutes or up to another hour.
  10. During this time prepare your pans. I spray mine with Pam. Make loaves and let rise until doubled in bulk .. .or about an hour to an hour and a half.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 F. If you have a convection oven, set it at 325 F. Bake the loaves approximately 20 - 30 minutes depending on the size of your pans.
  12. Gently remove from pans and place on cooling racks.  Once they are completely cool,  put them in the freezer unless you are eating them the same day. 
Paska Icing
  • 1 cup of soft real butter
  • 4 pasteurized egg whites (young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should avoid raw egg whites)  I often use egg white powder and water.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • enough icing sugar to make a soft icing. It will harden again in the fridge.
  1. Beat all together until light and smooth....and spread on each slice .. .and sprinkle with colored sugar.

Baked Oatmeal with Apple and Cinnamon


I had no idea this tasted this good until I had it at my daughter's. It's one of those comfort foods that I could have for breakfast or for dessert. This can be prepared the night before; refrigerated and baked in the morning.

Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 cups oats or quick oats (not instant)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 apple, grated
  • 1 cup milk
Method:
  1. Mix ingredients in order given and pour into greased 8x8 inch pan.
  2. Bake at 350° F for about 30 minutes
  3. Serve warm with milk and brown sugar (optional).

It's a piece of cake to wrap up for breakfast on the go, or lunch.



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Berry Crumble (or Apple Crumble/Crisp)



I got this recipe from the Mennonite Treasury and usually make it with apples, but lately I’ve liked using a combination of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
I also like to make a larger batch of the crumble mix (times it by four) and freeze it for a quick dessert another day. Most times I add slivered almonds or chopped pecans.

Ingredients:
  • 3 - 4 cups berries or chopped apples (Granny Smith or Graffensteins are good)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cups rolled oats
Method:
  1. Place fruit in a pie size baking dish. 
  2. Blend the rest of the ingredients with a pastry blender until all the butter is blended in to make a crumb mix. 
  3. Squeeze to make larger chunks as you sprinkle it over the fruit. 
  4. Bake at 350 F about 30 min. Serve hot, with ice cream. Serves 4-6
PS The crisp in the photo is baked in individual serving dishes.

Schwartzies


This hash brown dish takes a few minutes to mix and is a good addition to a brunch or main meal. Last Sunday morning I added some peeled and cut farmer sausage in a separate dish with a little water. I covered both dishes, pre-set the oven and we came home to a ready meal.

Ingredients:
  • 1 bag (2 lb) frozen hash browns
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. fine onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt,
  • pepper
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • sprinkle Parmesan cheese
  • paprika

Method:
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then spread into 9x13 Pyrex dish. For four people I do half the recipe in a 1 quart casserole dish.
  2. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and paprika.
  3. Bake 1 hour at 375° F.

    Variation: Add cubed cooked ham or bacon bits.


Cottage Cheese Blintze

I'm bringing back these blintzes for Flashback Friday. They are an old favorite of ours. I know there are other ways of making them but this is how I make them. Sometimes I roll them up instead of these bundles..the taste is the same. I use the recipe for German pancakes to make the blintzes. I changed it up a wee bit.

German Pancakes:
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  1. Mix flour and salt, add eggs and milk. Beat until free of lumps, this makes a thin batter.
  2. Heat up a cast iron frying pan, works in other pans but I like my well seasoned cast iron pan the best and when 'almost smoking hot' brush with butter and pour approx 1/4 cup batter in the pan tilting the pan till a thin layer covers the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cook on med high until dough is set. Turn and cook until golden brown underneath. Watch carefully as these brown up fast.
  4. Pile up on a plate and keep warm in oven.
Cottage cheese mixture for the blintzes:
  • 1 375g tub dry cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix well and start making the blintzes.
  2. Place a spoonful of cottage cheese mixture in center of pancake, fold in the edges and place folded side down in well buttered cast iron frying pan.
  3. You may now just pile them all up in the pan as I did and bake them covered at 350 for 15 to 20 min OR brown the blintzes in the frying pan and serve immediately. They are delicious served with cream gravy.
Cream gravy:
  • Melt 3 tbsp butter in frying pan, add 1 cup whipping cream and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil over high heat. I also add a pinch of sugar.
  • Turn oven down to medium heat and cook until gravy thickens, stirring frequently. 
  • Pour over blintzes and enjoy. These are good served with farmer sausage and coleslaw.


Chicken Noodle Soup

When I make homemade Chicken Noodle Soup I use a whole fryer or broiler chicken. I don't use all the meat for the soup. Once the broth has simmered several hours I allow the broth to cool enough to handle the chicken. Remove the chicken using a small colander with a handle. Take off the two breasts and use them for another meal that needs chopped chicken. The options are endless. You could make a casserole or just use it for sandwiches or for wraps. Since the chicken had simmered in the seasoned broth. . .it will be flavorful for another use. With the rest of the chicken I remove from the bones from the meat and put the meat back into the broth. If we are not eating the soup that day .. .I refrigerate the broth and then before reheating .. .I remove all the solid fat at the top of the broth.

  • 1 chicken
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 5 cloves
  • a small handful chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Maggi seasoning ( optional )
  • salt to taste
  1. Put your chicken in a soup pot and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil and add the spices (not the parsley) which you have tied into a bit of cheesecloth.
  3. Simmer for 2 -3 hours.
  4. Remove from heat and take chicken off the bones when it is cool enough to handle.
  5. Remove the breasts and refrigerate for another use. Remove the rest of the meat from the bones and put back into the broth.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the Maggi seasoning and parsley.
  7. Simmer for 1/2 hour and taste and adjust the salt and Maggi seasoning if needed.
  8. Serve the broth over cooked fine egg noodles. (Do not store leftover soup with noodles. .keep them separate)

Baked Spaghetti




This is a good old-fashioned one-dish dinner, easy to prepare in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to bake.  It can also be frozen unbaked and partially thawed overnight in the refrigerator before baking.  If I am not cooking for a crowd, I split this recipe into two smaller 9" pans...one to serve and one for the freezer.  Baked spaghetti is a favorite of young and old alike!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
  • 4 cups prepared pasta sauce (use your favorite bottled variety or prepare your own)
  • 2 cups creamed cottage cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone. Drain and rinse. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook until meat is browned. (Use a potato masher to break up the lumps of meat while sautéing.) Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté another minute. Stir in the pasta sauce.
  3. Spray 9" x 13" deep-dish casserole with cooking spray.
  4. Cover bottom with a layer of meat sauce (about half).
  5. Spread cottage cheese over sauce.
  6. Add the pasta and spread evenly in pan.
  7. Spoon remaining sauce over entire dish.
  8. Sprinkle surface with Parmesan cheese and top with mozzarella
  9. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. 
  10. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted  and bubbly. 


Potato and Farmer Sausage Casserole

I remember how Lovella thought she might lose a “whack of readers” when she posted a recipe that called for farmer sausage.  Where it's readily available, this smoked pork sausage seems to find its way into all kinds of recipes. If you prefer, you can substitute it with smoked ham. This is really just a version of scalloped potatoes and adding the meat makes it an easy family meal. I got the recipe from a friend, Karen, a number of years ago, but have changed up the sauce amounts a bit over the years. If you use a few more potatoes, just double the first 5 ingredients of the sauce.

Ingredients:
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 - 3/4 link farmer sausage, peeled and sliced
Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • ½ - 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  1. Arrange potatoes and farmer sausage in layers in greased 8 cup casserole dish. If you use the slightly larger version of the recipe ( 8 potatoes, 3/4 - 1 link sausage, double milk and cheese) a 9x13 Pyrex pan is good. 
  2.  Melt butter; blend in flour, salt and milk gradually, stirring constantly. 
  3. Add cheese and soup, stirring until sauce cooks. 
  4. Pour over potatoes and sausage. I like to layer it with the sauce.
  5.  Bake at 375° F for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours. Serves 6 (8 with larger version) You can leave uncovered until it starts to brown (45 minutes) and then cover with foil, or the other way around.