Easter: Feast or Famine

By on April 2, 2015

By Jennifer Cote−

Making Real Food for the Holiday

Eating dinner around the table is still a tradition in our house. I went to the trouble of cooking it, so we’re going to sit down and take notice! Plus, it seems that we enjoy our food more, and we’re less likely to consume empty calories than by eating in front of the TV or computer screen. Also, I aim to use organic veggies and whole foods—it truly can be a feast. The modern world provides us with so many “convenient” prepared foods, but it can still be a famine of sorts, with a serious nutrient deficit.

Home-cooking can be convenient enough. It’s often just my husband and I these days; I can roast a chicken, bone it and portion the meat for the freezer, getting many meals out of that one chicken. Food prep’s not as intense as in the days when teenagers roamed the kitchen, consuming mass quantities of any given food.

Over the holidays, many family and friends might join us, and I really enjoy creating healthy dishes (and maybe a few not-so-healthy) for the occasion. I rejoice that our son’s wife shares my enthusiasm for real food, and many other friends have been encouraged to eat more wholesomely as well. Especially when I’m around!

For Easter dinner, we’ll prepare some lamb, as most of us enjoy it. It serves as a reminder of the most precious lamb of all, given just for us. (Thank you, Jesus.) I’ve included that recipe on Grateful Table. I might make a side of Tabbouleh, as the garden herbs are doing well this spring. I can add hearty handfuls of parsley and spearmint- refreshing to the palate.

In past years, we’ve had an Easter brunch, which can take the pressure off the hostess. Many egg dishes are easy to prepare, and can be made ahead. It can be helpful that such dishes are also easier on the pocketbook, too. I’ve shared a favorite frittata recipe here, in case you were thinking of going that route for your Easter festivities.

Frittata: Great Brunch! (Spinach, Artichoke or Green Chile)

This frittata can be made “omelet-style”, except open-faced (instead of folding it over). The flour and ricotta cheese can be omitted, and any number of fillings can be added to a hot, oiled skillet. Eggs get poured over the fillings, topped with the cheese and finished in the oven. Made “omelet-style”, or as directed below, frittatas are delicious!

Serves 4-6 as a main dish, or more as an appetizer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz. Jack cheese or other favorite, divided in half (about 2 c. grated)
  • 6 eggs
  • 12 oz. Ricotta cheese
  • One 8 oz. bag frozen spinach
  • 1 c. or so grated Jack cheese
  • 6 TBS. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powde
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 or 4 tomatoes, sliced

PREPARATION

  1. Prepare cheese by grating (or slicing/chopping): > 8 oz. Jack cheese, divided in half
  2. Reserve approx. half of grated cheese for the top layer. Mix well: > 6 eggs
  3. Add to eggs in bowl: > 12 oz. Ricotta cheese > One 8 oz. bag frozen spinach > approx. half of the grated cheese > 6 TBS. flour > 3/4 tsp. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. black pepper > 1/2 tsp. salt
  4. Mix well. Pour into buttered 13×9″ dish, and top with: > 3 or 4 tomatoes, sliced
  5. Last add: > Reserved grated cheese
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, until golden on top. Serve warm or at room-temperature. Cut into smaller pieces to serve as an appetizer.

VARIATIONS

Artichoke Frittata

Omit spinach and salt. Substitute: > Three 6.5oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained (or 1 bag frozen artichoke hearts plus 1/2 tsp. salt)

Green Chile Frittata

Omit spinach and Jack cheese. To serve, top w/cilantro. For frittata, substitute: > Two 7 oz. cans green chilis, drained > 8 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated > 1/2 c. flour

 

Jen offers simple strategies for preparing healthy, homemade meals for family and friends. She runs The New Deli café with husband Tom, developing recipes and gardening in her spare time. More can be found at gratefultable.com; email Jennifer at [email protected].

About Jennifer Cote

Jennifer's love of cooking with natural ingredients is inspired by the organic garden she's cultivated for over 25 years. A cutting garden provides flowers for The New Deli Cafe, an herb garden lends herbs for culinary creations, and twenty-some fruit and nut trees are scattered throughout her fairly urban back yard. New Deli compost keeps the garden flourishing, as Jen and her family carry on the family business, established in 1985. A blessed grandmother, mother, and wife, Jen gets much joy from sharing recipes (and perhaps an occasional basket of figs or platter of home-baked goodies).

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Easter: Feast or Famine