Friday, March 29, 2013

The Vocational Homemaker's Guide to Easter Dinner

A young friend asked me what I'm doing about Easter dinner.  She fears that her own efforts will be inadequate to the occasion as she has a particularly judgmental guest coming to dinner that day.

We've all been there--and if you haven't, you will be.  :)

Anyway, I was pleased to tell her that my menu will be insanely simple and easy and cheap and nothing like what my beloved Martha will be serving.

Here you go:

We are not having an Easter dinner.

We are going to have a very plain, simple Easter eve dinner that came from Aldi and consists of a spiral cut ham (served cold), some steamed broccoli with ranch dip, and some scalloped potatoes with a sprinkle of bacon because bacon.  Oh, and some drop biscuits made from homemade baking mix.  If I'm feeling especially sassy, I'll add some cheese and herbs to the biscuits before baking them.

We'll enjoy a pleasant, unrushed dinner, which is always filled with laughter and good company, and as we're clearing the table and getting the kitchen tidied up I'll put together a breakfast casserole for the slow cooker and I'll make some deviled eggs, because we'll have a standard American boatload of multi-colored hard-cooked eggs sitting around.  And on Easter Sunday, Ella can run around the house looking for eggs the Easter bunny hid, and Rudi and I can sit together with some fresh coffee, then we'll all have a good breakfast then get dressed and go to Mass.

It will be wonderful.  We'll all be well fed.  And I will not be mad at anybody for "making me" work all day on a holiday.

There.  I hope that helps you exhale.

And if by chance you happen to have a particularly judgmental guest coming to dinner this weekend, I recommend the following:

Do exactly as I am doing, but do it on Easter.  Don't talk about which store things came from or how much/little effort went into the meal.  Just add some orange juice or mimosas and thank your guests profusely for gracing your table.  If they have the audacity to critique your offering, tell them that you'd be honored to be their guest next time so you can learn from a master.  :)


Ok, for those who want an actual PLAN, here you go.  This is a modern twist on a traditional Spring menu, it is easy for a beginner to manage, and it is sufficiently impressive to keep nitpickers at bay.  For dessert offer fruit sherbet with a butter cookie perched on top, and a cup of fresh, hot coffee.  All of the ingredients in this menu are available at Aldi right now for very reasonable prices.  The only downside to this menu is:  no leftovers.

Smoked Pork Chops with Curried New Potatoes and Green Beans

  • 10-12 new potatoes
  • 1 pound green beans, ends removed
  • 6 tablespoons butter 
  • 6 smoked pork chops, 3/4" thick
  • 2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder

Steam the potatoes in a rack over boiling water for 15 minutes.  Add the beans to the rack, cover and steam until potatoes and beans are tender (about 10 more minutes).

While the potatoes are cooking, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the pork chops, three at a time, and cook, turning once, until lightly brown on both sides (about 10 minutes total).  Arrange pork chops on a platter and keep warm.

Melt the rest of the butter in the pan, then stir in mustard seeds and curry powder.  Cut the potatoes in half and add to the pan, cut side down.  Cook until lightly browned (about 5 minutes).  Arrange on the platter with the pork chops.  Add the beans to the pan, turn to coat in the butter until heated thru.  Arrange on the platter with the pork chops and potatoes.  Drizzle the rest of the butter over the vegetables on the platter.  Serve and enjoy!

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