Thursday, March 8, 2018

Easter Dinner Planning

I am bound and determined to come in at our under my $400 budget for household and groceries. I have a game plan, sort of in my head. Today is DH's day off, so to head off a rogue shop, I have a pasta prima vera crock pot dish all ready for hi to just pull out of the refrigerator, put in the heating unit and plug in. Next week is no school and besides a two day college visit trip, I've got a hungry kid home, plus assorted friends. If M comes over, the junior chef and baker, I'll give her free reign to bake up cookies and other snacks as I am good with baking supplies. I'll make sure we have plenty of popcorn, pretzels, veggies and hummus.

Now, I woke up to this crazy idea that I can do Easter dinner included with this budget as well. There will only be six of us now and my mother-in-law and cousin -in-law want to bring something. I'll request a salad and desert, which most likely will be a pie. I'll have DD2 make some carrot cake cupcakes as well. My goal is to get the  whole meal for $50. My quest starts for a smallish, bone in ham at a good price. I also think I'll make a turkey breast to have two meats. Rounding out the meal will be cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, steamed mixed vegetables, deviled eggs, pickles, olives, celery and carrot sticks, and dinner rolls. If I can keep the meat to around $22-$25 this should be a doable. I have ample wine and coffee to serve and will try to squeeze some beer out of the March budget, or leftovers from having friends over (on my March goal list and counted in entertainment.) 

I've hosted a ton of informal birthday parties for my kids and big open house style events like graduation, confirmations, and their baptisms but don't have a ton of experience with sit down holiday meals. I'm glad we are a small group. I hosted a very difficult Easter 22 years ago after DH's sister was in her car accident and in a coma. She passed later that summer. For the kids and for DH's grandparents who were still alive at the time, we all didn't feel we could just skip, but we wanted to be fairly close to the hospital and other than my MIL, who was not in a mindset to do any hosting,we lived the closest. I threw something together. From what I remember, it went OK.

I write this to give you a preview of what could be a crap show, or a success or something in between. Experienced holiday hosters, weigh in. What advise do you have for a holiday meal hostess? What dishes do you always serve for Easter? For guests, what do you appreciate most about being a guest?  Thank you, and wish me luck.




13 comments:

  1. I cannot give you any advice as a holiday host, as I don't do it. I have been a guest at family holiday celebrations, though. I didn't enjoy the "command performances" and put a stop to them very early on. My parents taught me that it was important to start your own traditions with your family of choice. I intend to instill that in my kids too--love it if they want to join us, but no pressure.
    Six isn't so big. I do that every night. For Easter, I cook pork or roast beef (only DH really enjoys ham) strawberry pretzel salad, mashed or scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole and salad. Dessert is usually a cheesecake or Chantilly cake. I haven't decided yet this year. Actually, Easter dinner isn't a lot different from our regular Sunday lunch.
    Other than church, which we may or may not attend depending on how we feel, our observation includes dying eggs, and the kids getting Easter baskets.
    As for what I appreciate as a guest, the closest I get to being a guest is when a kid cooks. We all go out of our way to note the little considerations when that happens, like the table laid nicely, and will linger a tad longer over the meal when that happens. Maybe as they age, they will remember fondly, and want to continue these traditions, which happened almost by accident. "Because we've always done it," or "It's Easter," or "It's Christmas," just doesn't work for me. To me, stress and obligation on a holiday is the very antithesis of a holiday! If you start to feel stressed, I suggest you breathe, and remind yourself you love these people, they love you, and you have to eat, so you may as well enjoy it. Good luck.

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    1. You are a wise eomam, Meg! I'm pretty laid back, so not orchestrating any activities. Maybe we'll get a card game going or a nice walk.

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  2. Well since nobody ever invites us(since Hubs mother and my mother are dead and we live too far from my brother/sister in-law)we are never guests. And I am tired of ALWAYS being the one to host Hubs deadbeat relatives so I am done....hosting that is.

    You are lucky that your guests offer and bring stuff to your gatherings. If someone is bringing dessert why make cupcakes too? One should be sufficient and then you don't have leftovers whispering at you to eat them. lolz

    See if any grocery stores are offering a "deal" on a ham(free or cheap with points/rewards/store coupon/etc. Why two meats? Again, unless you have plans for all that leftover ham/turkey just get one. 5 adults and 1 teen won't eat that much.

    All that being said, I'll prolly get a cheap spiral ham or maybe I'll yank a turkey breast out of the freezer instead as that will not cost anything. I always do homemade rolls and deviled eggs(a Southern thing). Then either a nice salad or green beans. We don't splash out or do fancy much here, just basic home cooked.

    Don't stress out over it. It's only dinner for 6 and it's family. Set a nice table and do as much ahead to reheat or in crock pots and sit back with a bottle of wine and enjoy!

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    1. Hey slugs I would invite you here.

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    2. The leftover are my favorite bit to hosting-not cooking for days. It's just gotten to be the norm for to meats at holidays-variety, but I see what you mean. Great advice though on all fronts. We generally are, and I married into a family of helpers. No one would show up empty handed-even the youngish adults seem to brin along snacks or more drinks just our ways I guess. I never relaly thought about how nice it is to share the work that way until you hear people that always get stuck carrying the whole load. We do deviled eggs as ell so never thought of as a southern thing-love them!

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  3. I think your meal sounds wonderful. I bought a huge full ham on sale a month ago and I don't know if anyone is coming.

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    1. I'm sure it will be fine, but for hoidays, I want it to be special. Wiht a small group, I can set a nice table, but both sides of the family, consdering how nice paperware has become,have moved to paper plates when the crowd spills to two plus tables.

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    2. I'd come Kim if we lived closer.

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    3. Sluggy,

      I'm closer than Kim! (Still a few days drive but I'd set a place for you.)

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  4. I think your menu sounds yummy! Reminds me of what my mom usually makes for Easter. She usually does ham, turkey breast (due to my nieces pork allergy), cheesy potatoes, green beans, corn casserole, fruit salad, and rolls. She is also usually cooking for 18 people so lots of food with a ton leftover. I like the idea of carrot cake cupcakes.

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    1. OOh, fruit salad, I might add that as well. It sound slike most meals are pretty similar, but if done well, delicious.

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  5. I'm with Meg on not entertaining. We used to entertain quite a lot when I was married but my ex was such a drama queen/panicker that he spoiled it. Everything had to be PERFECT and I mean PERFECT. You wouldn't believe what got shoved into the hall closets either so that we had the PERFECT house (not). And I hated it. After he left I decided I wasn't entertaining anymore. I love spontaneously having people over but planned - nah - except for my kids of course. Oh and thanks for the idea for a strawberry pretzel salad. I have never made it and was looking for an idea for next week's board game evening. Anna

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    1. I keep reading strawberry pretzel sald and I think I need to give it a try. Oh, I've long been a closet and closed door hider. Not this year I hope-well, the older daughters olf room, and DD2's room may still be a tornado.

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