Getting Creative with Easter

For many, the thought of a huge Easter dinner that takes hours to prepare and minutes to devour is truly overwhelming. However, there's no rule that says you have to make a meal that has fussy dishes that test your patience and resolve. In fact, with Easter marking a major springtime feast, it's the perfect time to embrace cooking methods that are quick and easy. It's time to dust off the grill and pull out the steamer. This menu's so simple that you can even make a lot of things in advance. Now that's a Happy Easter!!!

Maple Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Using the grill to cook a lean cut of meat like pork tenderloin means easy work that's done in minutes, rather than hours. What a wonderful Easter present!
  • 2/3 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. minced chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (look for them in the Latin section of your grocery store) OR 1/4 c. grainy mustard
  • 2 T. minced shallots
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 2 lbs. pork tenderloin

Combine the maple syrup, chilies or mustard, shallots, salt and paprika in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the tenderloins and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours.

Prepare the grill and grill the meat directly over a medium flame for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 150 degrees. Remove the meat to a platter and cover tightly with foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus marinating time

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Shallots

Baby potatoes are tender and show a hint of the bounty to come in the months ahead. What a perfect way to celebrate spring.
  • 3 lbs. baby potatoes
  • 3 shallots
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed rosemary

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Wash the potatoes and slice in half. Mince the shallots. Combine them with the potatoes in a plastic resealable bag and add the remaining ingredients. Toss to coat evenly. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish and roast for 30 minutes, mixing once about halfway through.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Steamed Asparagus with Lemon Pepper Sprinkle

There are few ingredients as fresh and perfect as asparagus this time of the year. Enjoy it with abandon and make sure you include it in special menus like this one.
  • 2 lbs. fresh asparagus
  • 2 T. fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T. butter

Break the woody ends off the asparagus and slice it into 2-inch pieces. Place in a steamer basket and steam until crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place the steamed asparagus in a serving dish and dot with the butter. Sprinkle the lemon zest mixture over the top and serve.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb is just coming into season and it's always a treat in our home. Pairing it with its soul mate, strawberries, makes this simple dessert a true sign of spring.
  • 2 c. quartered fresh strawberries
  • 2 c. diced fresh rhubarb
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 3 T. quick cooking tapioca
  • 1/2 c. sweet red wine
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. flaked coconut
  • 1/2 c. canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the fruit with the sugar and tapioca and place it in a saucepan. Add the wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. When the mixture becomes thickened and bubbly, remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a deep baking dish.

Combine the remaining in a small bowl and sprinkle over the fruit. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the topping is crisp and light golden brown. Serve warm by itself or with vanilla ice cream.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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