I’m big on family. Always have been, always will be. So when I made the decision to spend Easter here in Pittsburgh, a part of me was sad… but there was also a small part of me that was excited to tackle an Easter meal all on my own.
In the spirit of making the most of our Easter away from home, we wanted to celebrate the holiday with some friends who have been like family to us. (Shoutout to yinz, Nate and Megan!) So, I made a list of my favorite family recipes, scoured Pinterest for a few more ideas, and came up with a menu for my first ever Easter lunch.
The ham turned out to be the easy part, although it was the one thing I had been dreading most. I woke up early in the morning to put our huge slab of meat in the crockpot with three cups of brown sugar and a can of chunked pineapple, turned the heat to high, and let it cook for five hours. Boom: done.
Next up: a simple seven layer salad. I used my mom’s classic recipe, where you literally just pile seven layers of ingredients (spinach, pees, red onion, a mayo/sugar dressing, cheeses, bacon and bread crumbs) on top of one another. Another Easter dish complete, check!
Then I moved on to a dish that was a little unconventional: Rosemary Quinoa Mac & Cheese. My grandma makes the best mac and cheese ever — something I’m fairly certain I’ll never be able to recreate. So, I tried my hand at a much healthier version of this Easter staple. It took me a little while to find my groove, but I’m pretty pleased with the end result.
Ingredients: 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets / .25c cashews / .25c milk / 1 tsp. dijon mustard / Paprika, salt + pepper / 4c cooked quinoa / 1.5c shredded cheese / .25c rosemary
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375, and grease a baking dish. / Steam the cauliflower florets until tender. / Place steamed cauliflower into a blender. Add the cashews, milk, mustard and spices. Blend until smooth, adding in milk until you’ve reached a think soupy consistency. / Place cooked quinoa into a large mixing bowl. Add cream mixture and 1c of cheese. Stir to combine. Fold in rosemary. / Transfer mixture to the greased baking dish. Top with cheese and rosemary. / Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
With the Rosemary Quinoa Mac & Cheese in the oven and looking scrumptious, I moved on to the Honey Mustard & Rosemary Glazed Carrots. (If you can’t tell, I’m all about rosemary these days.) These were super easy to throw together, and had the perfect sweet and salty ratio. Mmm mmm good.
Ingredients: Carrots — as many or as little as you’d like / EVOO / Unpasteurized honey / Dijon mustard / Rosemary / Garlic, minced / Salt + pepper / Parsley
Directions: Preheat the oven to 425. / Cut the carrots to your desired size. (I quartered mine – one cut across and one cut lengthwise.) / In a separate bowl, mix together the EVOO, honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. / Pour over carrots, and mix thoroughly. / Spread carrots in a single layer on a baking dish. / Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally. / Sprinkle with fresh parsley (or some pecorino romano) before serving.
We hunkered down in the living room, plates full of food, and hearts full of happiness. It’s rare to have friends that feel like your family, but on a day spent away from home, it’s something I’m extra thankful for.
And one last thing: Huge shoutout to Hailey for her bomb.com green bean casserole, potato casserole, chocolate mousse and homemade ice cream, and to Nate for his homemade bacon herb bread! Y’all are the best.