Easter Breakfast

By Michelle Plummer

Easter sunrise service, breakfast, brunch or dinner all celebrate Spring and the beginning of asparagus reaching out of the ground, spinach begging to be picked and eggs ready to be cracked and whipped or hardboiled to color.  April is a great way to celebrate the wakening of the earth for a new harvest season!  So today in this blog we will celebrate Spring and a few delicious ways to brighten your table after a long winters nap!

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April Appetizers

By DeDe Hausmann

It’s spring time and you’ve got friends coming over for Easter Dinner or maybe a cookout.  The big question is: what’s new and different for appetizers?   Anybody can put out a basket of chips along with a bowl of dip but YOU want to be creative and knock your guest’s socks off with something scrumptious but still nutritious.

Make the most of the abundance of fruits and veggies.   Grab some strawberries, grapes, and slice some pears. Serve them with an icy cold dip of vanilla fat-free yogurt (Greek yogurt is even thicker and has more protein than regular yogurt) that has cinnamon and nutmeg added to it.  Use toothpicks for dipping.  For a vegetable platter consider celery chunks, cherry or grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, baby carrots, and broccoli flowerets and serve them with plain, fat free yogurt that has been enhanced with dry vegetable soup mix as a flavoring.  Mix the dip well and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Again, use toothpicks for serving.  Are you salivating yet?!  Both suggestions encompass 2 food groups.

My daughter loves to serve mini rye bread slices spread with a dill/light cream cheese spread and topped with a thin slice of English Cucumber.  This needs to be assembled just before serving so the bread doesn’t get soggy.  You’ve got 3 food groups covered here!

Want something a little more substantial?  Take large whole grain tortillas, spread with a thin layer of light cream cheese sprinkled with some herbs (as in cilantro or dill), and top with thin slices of turkey, roast beef or pork, top with layers of thinly sliced veggies and cheese, as in cucumbers, spinach, and reduced fat cheese.  Roll up tight, trim off the 2 rounded ends, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill.  Just before serving cut in 1 ½ inch slices, place close together on a platter, and watch them disappear.  I serve this with salsa.

Ever make Hummus?  Sure you can buy it ready-made but it’s expensive.  Drain a 15 oz. can of Chick Peas and save at least ½ cup of the liquid.  Puree the peas and liquid,  3 T. lemon juice,  2 T. Tahini (Sesame Paste), 2 garlic cloves minced, ½ cup of plain yogurt and herbs to taste (love dill).  Serve with veggies.

All of these suggestions are light, nutritious and tasty so give them a try.  See what your family and guests say and know that you are serving HEALTHY appetizers.  ENJOY!

What Delectables are YOU Preparing for Easter?

By DeDe Hausmann

What are you doing for your Easter meals?  I’ve posed that question to many friends and have found an array of different agendas for the day.  Some do a brunch at home before or after church and then go to a restaurant for dinner, while others enjoy a quick breakfast after the young ones have had their Easter egg hunt, gather everyone in their Easter finery and head to church and then later in the day they enjoy a scrumptious Easter afternoon or eve meal at home.

No matter your plans, I bet you could use some appetizer and/or salad recipes made with delicious and nutritious dairy products.

  • You can’t beat a Breakfast Casserole (or Strata) that you’ve prepared the day before, refrigerated overnight and bake in the AM.   Strata’s are great for they usually call for dairy, grains, meats and veggies and then add a fruit salad and OJ, milk and coffee to go with it and you’ve got all FIVE food groups covered!!  Talk about an easy, nutritious meal and if you don’t have a recipe, google STRATA RECIPES on the internet!!!
  • Need scrumptious but healthy appetizers to snack on during the day?  Prepare a Vanilla Yogurt Dip (mix fat-free Vanilla yogurt with a little nutmeg and cinnamon) to serve with fresh fruits, such as strawberries, banana and pineapple chunks, and grapes.  For an easy veggie appetizer, mix fat-free PLAIN yogurt with dry vegetable soup mix.  Have a bounty of broccoli and/or cauliflower bits, mini carrots, grape or cherry tomatoes, or whatever you have in your veggie crisper as dippers. And don’t forget to provide chunks or slices of your favorite dairy cheeses to serve with wheat crackers.  NOTE: read CRACKER labels carefully re: dietary fiber.  Choose crackers with at least 1 or more grams of dietary fiber per serving and choose reduced fat crackers whenever possible.
  • Here’s a great recipe for a Cole Slaw Dressing.  Whisk together ½ C. reduced fat mayo, ¾ C. PLAIN non-fat yogurt, ¼ C.sugar, ¼ C. cider vinegar, ¼ t. celery seed, ½ t. dill weed, ¼ t. black pepper, and salt to taste.  For a Fruit Slaw (found recipe at Marzetti.com and altered it a little), add the dressing to 5 C. shredded red or green cabbage, 1 C. shredded carrots, 1 small can mandarin oranges (drained), 1 C. seed-less red grapes, 1 C. sliced strawberries, 2 peeled/chopped kiwi’s, and 1 T. poppy seed.   Toss and chill before serving.  For a Veggie Slaw, add the dressing to 5 C. shredded red or green cabbage, 1 C. shredded carrots, ¼ C. onion bits, ¼ C. diced radishes, ¼ C. celery bits, and/or whatever vegetables you want to use.  I like to add ½ cup of raisins to perk up the flavor and texture.  Chill well before serving. Both recipes serve 10 easily. 

Easy Easter Elegance – Week 3

The Lemon Tart!  Wow, what can I say, this is a great flavored tart with spunk!  It is classic Barefoot Contessa, great flavor, intense color, and EASY.  Be sure to read the tips on this page before going to this “Recipes” tab and making the tart. I have made many a task more difficult by not ready the ‘sidebar’ information. Use a microplan, a grater, or a thin sharp knife to scrape the zest off of the lemon, and do so before halving and squeezing the lemon. (Note: Thin, smooth skinned lemons at room temperature yield the most juice and thick, bumpy textured cold lemons give the maximum amount of zest.) Butter makes the crust more luscious but not too much, and adding butter to the curd makes the filling fool proof and creamy!

When you add the ingredients for the filling it will look like something curdled and gone bad. NO worries.  Just be sure to cook it on top of the stove, stirring constantly until thickened, but don’t let it boil.  Remove from the heat, pour it in a bowl, and cool.  I always make this part first, then the crust and meringue.

As for the crust, use a flat bottom measuring cup to flatten it out.  Then, cover it with a piece of parchment paper and place a pound of dry beans on top.  Bake, and then cool.

Grocery List for Entire Meal:

Produce: Dairy & Meats:
1 large onion 4 oz. crumbled feta
1 head of romaine hearts 3 sticks unsalted butter
¼ C dried apricots, diced 9 eggs
2 tbsp. garlic ½ cup Parmesan, grated
1 red pepper 1 pkg. Boursin cheese (any flavor)
3 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes 1 pint buttermilk
2 lbs Asparagus 2 cups Greek style plain yogurt
½ cup minced herbs 1 cup white cheddar cheese
½ cup minced red onion 5 lb. spiral sliced ham
Grains/Frozen: Misc.:
1 pkg. phyllo tart shells ¼ tsp. nutmeg
10 oz. pkg. spinach 2 tbsp olive oil
16 oz. frozen bread dough 4 cups sugar
  2 cup clover honey
  2/3 cup bourbon
  1/2 cup orange marmalade (100% fruit)
  1/3 cup molasses
  1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  ¼ teaspoon ground cloves,
  2 tsp pepper


The approximate cost of this meal is $10/person and it will feed 6-8 people.  So, I hope you have enjoyed my first holiday series along with the recipes, grocery list and approximate food cost.  Let me know what you think and what you want to see! I have lots of ideas, but I want to know what your next big event is and I’ll do my best to make it easier, festive and fun!  Have a wonderful holiday weekend, and I will meet you back at the table very soon to help your family use dairy creatively and tastefully in new and delicious recipes.

Easy Easter Elegance – Week 2

Last week I gave you the menu and first set of recipes to prepare for a great Easter meal.  This week we’ll work on the Stuffed Dinner Rolls, Chilled Asparagus, 3-D Mashed Potatoes, Bourbon Ham, and Stuffed Lamb Steaks.  All of these recipes are listed on the “Recipes” tab of this page, but if you keep reading here, you will find the recipe tips.  However, with all of this good food awaiting you and your family, I don’t see why we should waste any more time.  So, let’s begin by practicing the stuffing of the dinner rolls because they can be a bit tricky. If you’re like me, you’ll want to overfill them, but remember less is more. Also, be sure to brush melted butter with a little of onion, garlic, and oregano seasonings on them.

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