7 Easy Dishes to Bring to Easter Dinner

Like a better version of a buffet, a potluck might be the ultimate way to celebrate Easter dinner. The host doesn’t have to worry about timing 10 dishes to finish cooking at the same time, everyone will get to enjoy at least one food they love, and your money goes a lot further. Figuring out the perfect dish and finding the time to make it can be tricky, though.

Fortunately, cooking a fantastic potluck recipe is easier than you think. Spring produce shines with nothing more than a few helping ingredients, and even showstopping dishes can be simple. Any one of these seven easy recipes will be more than welcome at your upcoming feast.

1. Peas with Orange and Mint

peas with mint in a white plate

Peas with mint | iStock.com

Ok, so most of us don’t have access to fresh peas yet. No worries because this simple pea side from Saveur works just as well with the frozen kind. We particularly like the use of orange, which is an interesting change from the more typical lemon. If your group doesn’t include vegetarians, starting the pot with a little bit of pancetta is even better.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups frozen green peas
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • Peeled zest of 1 orange, julienned

Directions: Heat butter in a 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add peas and juice. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in mint and orange peel, and serve.

2. Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls

Garlic rolls with herbs

Garlic rolls | iStock.com

Baking bread is a tall order for those who don’t have lots of experience working with pastry. Instead of attempting such a feat for the big feast, opt for Ree Drummond’s buttery dinner rolls, featured on Food Network. The genius of this recipe is using store-bought dough. All you have to do is let the rolls rise, brush with a quick garlic butter, sprinkle with salt, and bake. They’ll taste every bit as good as homemade without the effort.

Ingredients:

  • 4 sticks unsalted butter
  • 24 frozen, unbaked dinner rolls
  • 16 garlic cloves, finely pressed or minced
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions: Melt half of one stick of butter and use it to grease two muffin tins. Place a roll in each muffin well, cover, and allow to rise for several hours.

Melt remaining butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes to infuse flavor, being careful not to let garlic brown.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. One rolls have risen, brush with garlic butter and season with salt. Transfer to oven and bake according to package directions, usually about 6 to 8 minutes, or until deeply golden on top.

Remove from oven, dab with more butter, and serve.

3. Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

roasted asparagus with pepper on a white plate

Roasted asparagus | iStock.com

Cooking butter until the milk solids brown has to be one of the easiest ways to make a sauce, yet it somehow seems impressive. The nutty butter tastes great on just about anything, including asparagus. Try it yourself by making Cooking Light’s spring side, which gets even more flavor from a touch of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. You might never prepare asparagus another way.

Ingredients:

  • 40 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Optional garnishes

  • Cracked black pepper
  • Grated lemon zest

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet and lightly coat with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and bake until tender, about 12 minutes.

Melt butter in a small skillet set over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, Swirling pan occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle butter over asparagus and toss to coat. Serve garnished with pepper and lemon zest.

4. Braised Fingerling Potatoes with Fennel, Olives, and Thyme

sliced fingerling potatoes with salt and pepper in a cast-iron skillet

Multi-colored fingerling potatoes | iStock.com

As much as we all love a creamy gratin, something a little lighter feels more appropriate for Easter. Go for Fine Cooking’s braised fingerlings because the dish is brimming with flavor and even easier to make than a cheese-laden casserole. If you can’t find fingerling potatoes at your store, any other type of small, waxy spud will work.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¾ pound fingerling potatoes, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 thyme sprigs plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup pitted Niçoise olives

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a 10-inch sided skillet  with a lid over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining oil along with fennel and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until starting to soften and lightly brown, about 2 minutes longer. Add broth and bring to a boil. Return potatoes to pan and nestle into fennel-onion mixture. Add thyme sprigs, cover pan, and transfer to oven. Cook until potatoes and fennel are tender, about 20 minutes.

Uncover pan, add olives, and continue to braise, uncovered, until most of liquid has evaporated and vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven, discard thyme sprigs, and season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with chopped thyme.

5. Marmalade-Glazed Ham

Glazed Ham with pineapple and orange

Glazed ham | iStock.com

For the overachiever, it doesn’t get much more impressive than a ham. The funny thing about this pork entrée is it’s actually a cinch to prepare. The meat is fully cooked, so you just need to score the exterior, brush on the glaze, then let the oven do the rest of the work. Bon Appétit’s version with a marmalade coating is one of the best options since you don’t even have to cook the glaze. Use any leftovers to make some fantastic sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup bitter orange marmalade
  • ¼ cup honey, maple syrup, or light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, Aleppo pepper, or spicy Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon, Cognac, or dark rum
  • 1 (12- to 14-pound) whole cured, smoked, bone-in ham

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk marmalade, honey, adobo, and bourbon in a medium bowl to combine.

Set ham in a large roasting pan and add 2 cups water. Using a sharp knife, score fat in a crosshatch pattern, cutting about ½ inch deep.

Brush ham with glaze and roast, basting with pan juices every 20 minutes and tenting with foil as needed, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the ham registers 135 degrees Fahrenheit, about 1½ to 2 hours.

Let rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve.

6. Classic Lemon Bars

homemade lemon bars dusted with powdered sugar on a plate

Lemon bars | iStock.com

Someone always gets stuck making dessert for potlucks, which can be intimidating. If baking isn’t your strong suit, go for Joy the Baker’s lemon bars. With just seven ingredients and a straightforward method, this recipe is perfect for kitchen novices. Add a dusting of powdered sugar to up the fancy factor.

Ingredients:

Crust

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

Filling

  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Directions: Arrange rack in the upper-third position of oven. Preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray, line with parchment paper, and grease parchment.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down sides using a rubber spatula, add flour and salt, then mix on low until just combined.

Transfer dough to prepared baking pan and press evenly into the bottom. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the edges have just begun to brown.

While crust bakes, whisk eggs and sugar in a medium bowl until thickened and well combined. Add flour, lemon juice, and zest. Whisk to combine.

Pour filling over warm, par-baked crust and return to oven. Bake until lightly browned and completely set, about 18 to 20 minutes longer.

Let bars cool completely in pan. Cut into bars and use parchment to help remove from pan. Serve or keep stored in an airtight container.

7. Super Moist Carrot Cake

Sliced carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and walnuts on a plate

Carrot cake | iStock.com

Those who aren’t afraid of a few extra steps will want to try this decadent carrot cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s perfect for Easter. And because there’s just one layer, you don’t have to worry about any fussy frosting techniques. Just sit back and wait for the compliments to roll in.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots
  • ¾ cup pecan pieces

Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 to 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9- to 10-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside..

Beat brown sugar and oil in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer to combine. Add yogurt and beat to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until well blended.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to combine. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until just incorporated. Fold in carrots and pecans, then pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely.

Combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl and beat until smooth and combined. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat to combine. Add cream, vanilla, and salt. Beat until completely smooth, adding more powdered sugar, if needed.

Frost cake, slice, and serve. If desired, keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec

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