This Easter, create your feast the easy way

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Spinach (for a salad with strawberries and a sweet, tangy homemade dressing),

Spinach (for a salad with strawberries and a sweet, tangy homemade dressing).

KEARNEYSVILLE – As we prepare for Easter, a celebration of spring and rebirth, our priorities are spending time with family and friends, going to church, hunting for Easter eggs, and of course eating special, delicious foods. To make all that happen, why not choose Easter dinner recipes that are easy to prepare?

potatoes (to be scalloped for a warm, cheesy side dish) and cu

potatoes (to be scalloped for a warm, cheesy side dish)

I prefer a menu that includes lamb, asparagus, potatoes and strawberries.

Start your meal with a Strawberry Spinach Salad. In just 15 minutes you can conjure up this dressing. In a small clean jar with tight-fitting lid, combine 1/3 cup oil, 2 tablespoons honey, a dash cinnamon, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and a pinch of salt. Shake well and refrigerate until serving time.

Combine 8 cups baby spinach leaves and 2 cups sliced strawberries and toss gently. Just before serving, drizzle with dressing and toss gently to coat. Use this dressing on other salads.

Don’t be afraid to use the boxed scalloped potatoes. You’ll save time and enjoy a side dish that’s just as delicious as from-scratch.

A well-seasoned leg of lamb can impress even the most finicky of guests with rich flavor and tenderness. A tender cut of lamb can be prepared using several different methods. Some cooks prefer to sear or brown the outside before roasting, while others prefer a low-temperature, slow-cook method.

To make a nice meat rub, take 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard and 3-6 crushed garlic cloves. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line the roasting pan with tin foil, place the leg of lamb into the pan, adding the rub. Set your timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F.

Now calculate your remaining cooking time at 18 minutes per pound of lamb. Reset the timer. When the time goes off again, open the oven door and allow the meat to sit 15 minutes. Place on a platter and carve slices for the meal.

An easy-to-prepare side dish of steamed asparagus completes your meal.

Make it a fun family event by decorating and creating unusual designs on your Easter eggs. You can purchase the color dyes or use regular food coloring with a dash of vinegar.

When my boys were young, we’d take rubber bands and put around the eggs before dipping in a color. When you take the egg out of cup, remove the rubber bands and see a creative design appear. You can also remove just one band and dip again for another color.

beets (for that Easter favorite, the pickled egg)

beets (for that Easter favorite, thepickled egg)

A pretty egg can be decorated by using ribbon. Take your egg and use two-sided tape on one side of ribbon and circle the egg. While an egg is still warm, hold with a paper towel and use a crayon and magic markers to add a design.

You can use stickers to decorate and if you want an Easter display you can use year after year, take ceramic eggs in various colors and add stickers and or hand-draw a design. One of the prettiest decorated eggs I saw was created by cutting a lace doily and gluing it around the egg’s center.

If you do not wait long to put your colored eggs back in the refrigerator, use them to make deviled eggs that your family can enjoy with your Easter meal.

One of my family favorites at Easter is pickled eggs. Hard boil as many eggs as you want. After peeling, place the eggs in a large vessel. Add beets (I use canned), bring to a boil and add sugar and vinegar to taste. Pour over eggs until covered and seal if possible. The more days you let them soak, the more time for the purple color to soak in the white of the eggs.

For dessert, cupcakes are fun for all. Ideas for decorating these miniature treats are endless: jelly beans, M&Ms, pastel-hued gum drops.

potatoes (to be scalloped for a warm, cheesy side dish) and cu

cupcakes (for a fun spring dessert) come together to create a memorable Easter meal.

You can even make an Easter bunny cupcake. Choose a white icing and use jellybeans to form the eyes and nose. Next, cut out two ears from a piece of construction paper and position on your cupcake. String licorice forms the bunny’s whiskers.

Once Easter is behind us, Mother’s Day will be just around the corner. Come May, I’d love to highlight moms’ recipes in this column – all the dishes, desserts and drinks you remember most fondly. Feel free to also share your stories about your mother’s best meals and any of your favorite kitchen-related memories. I always love to hear from readers.

— Email Patt Welsh at pwelsh@shepherd.edu or send a letter to her in care of the Spirit of Jefferson newsroom, 114 N. Charles St., Charles Town 25414.[/cleeng_content]

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