On Sunday morning hubby and I took a walk into downtown Evanston to grab some coffee and a bite and while walking past the purple line hubby said ‘hey, do you want to get on and head downtown?’ It sounded like a lot of fun so we hopped on and the next thing we knew, we were at the Field Museum to check out the Horse and Whale exhibits.
This was my first year hosting Easter and I was definitely feeling up to the task. I was excited that so many people we invited RSVP’d that they were be joining our festivities. We had never had this many people in the house at one time (around 20!??) but what the heck. Bring on the ham!
I picked up this almost 9lb ham at Sam’s club for about $18. It was incredibly tasty and an economical choice for a big crowd. It comes fully cooked and you can serve it cold but I prefer it warm. Heat it up for about 10 minutes per pound in the oven. It came with a glaze packet that I used as well.
In addition to the ham, I roasted this big hunk of lamb. I picked this up on sale a little while ago and immediately put it in the deep freeze. I knew I would use it for something…
For them lamb, I made a simple marinade in the food processor of several garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, a couple tablespoons of softened butter, and salt and pepper. Smear all over the lamb and place in the oven for about 1.5 hours.
To go with all this meat, I roasted some fingerling potatoes. For a crowd this size, I checked out Sam’s club and picked up this 5 lb bag. I cut them in half, added some EVOO and salt and pepper. Roast at 450 degrees until they are tender (about 45 minutes).
Of course, it isn’t Easter without deviled eggs. I used this recipe from Cooking Light. I really liked the addition of smoked salmon and a little sprig of dill made them look pretty.
I picked up this pasta recipe from Ina Garten. It was easy to make, tasty, and served at room temperature, something to take into consideration for a buffet. I also liked that it made use of seasonal items, like peas.
Mixed green salad with tomato, red onion, gorgonzola, lemon vinaigrette.
In the crock pot, I made some meat balls using O’Mara grass-fed beef. I mixed up the ground beef with Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, garlic salt, peppers, and an egg and baked them in the oven. Then I placed them in the crock pot on low with a jar of Heinz chili sauce.
Our guests brought some pretty tasty items, too!
Desserts were abundant as well, brownies, cookies, Peep vs. Dinosaurs Easter cake…
And, these adorable little nests brought by our friends John and Ryan.
In an effort to conserve space, I set up this drink table. I used a narrow, shaky table from the basement and covered it with an inexpensive flat sheet from Walmart.
Fresh flowers add a lot. I set out several small arrangements of colorful flowers rather than a large dramatic centerpiece to get the most bang for my buck. These poms were $5 dollars from Sam’s and I picked up a couple bunches of daffodils for $2 a piece, placed in vases from the dollar store. The tablecloth was $5 at TJ Maxx. It was colorful and water resistant (perfect for clean ups). Candles from World Market.
Cooking for this many people is a lot of work and takes a great deal of planning but it was a wonderful day filled with friends and we had a blast. Looking forward to next year!
So tomorrow I am running the Race to Wrigley 5K. I registered for this race back in the beginning of January when I was running several days a week. Since then, things have become even more crazy busy and my workout schedule has been…sporadic. Here is a tasty recipe that offers some carbs and lean protein alongside some veggies.
Here is a quick, healthy weeknight dinner recipe. I am trying to incorporate more seafood/fish into my diet which can be expensive but this recipe uses a can of crab meat (cheap!) and just a few frozen shrimp.
Time saver- cook your pasta (I used spinach fettucine) until it is about 70 percent done, then add broccoli.
I whipped up tonight’s dinner in record time. It has been a long day and I wasn’t in the mood, nor did I have the energy to spend a ton of time cooking. I picked up some thin sliced chicken breasts from the market. I like the thin sliced breasts because they cook up really quickly.
Dredge them in some coating (Italian bread crumbs, herbs de Provence, garlic salt, pepper) then place them in a hot skillet that is coated well in non stick pan spray. Then I placed them in a 375 degree oven with some marinara sauce on top for about 10 minutes.
I had an acorn squash in the pantry that I wanted to use and I picked up these organic spinach fettuccine noodles at the market that looked interesting. They are made with wheat semolina, spinach powder (not sure what that is) and artichoke flour.
I roasted the squash in a 350 degree oven while I hopped on the treadmill. Then, I scraped out squash and mixed it with steamed broccoli, cooked noodles and added a little garlic that I sauteed in a tablespoon of EVOO and some fresh lemon juice.
Very creamy and delicious! I really like these noodles and I would definitely pick them up again when they are on sale. My next project is to make “traditional” fettuccine alfredo with Greek yogurt…