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Pat’s Pantry: Easter Dinner

By Pat Mills

Ham is always on our Easter dinner menu, but you may prefer lamb. You won’t have any finicky eaters with this vegetable bake, and how about treating your kids to homemade chocolate Easter eggs in their basket this year? – Pat

Rack of lamb

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or ¼ to ½ teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ to ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 French style rack of lamb (8 chops) about 1 pound
In a bowl, combine the oil, garlic, parsley, rosemary and thyme. Rub oil mixture over lamb. place meat side up on a rack in a greased 11 x 7 x 2-in baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 20-30 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness (for rare, a meat thermometer should read 140 degrees; medium, 160, well-done, 170 degrees). Yield: 2-4 servings.

Easter ham

¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup orange marmalade
½ cup Dijon mustard
½ fully cooked bone-in ham (6 to 8 pounds)
1-½ teaspoon whole cloves
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, marmalade and mustard; set aside. Score the surface of the ham, making diamond shapes ½ in. deep; insert a whole clove in the center of each diamond. Place ham cut side down on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 140 degrees. Brush ham with glaze. Bake 45 minutes longer, brushing with glaze every 15 minutes. Serve remaining glaze with sliced ham. Yield: 16-18 servings.

Vegetable bake

1 pkg. (16 oz) frozen cauliflower, thawed
1 can (15.25 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 pkg. (10 oz) broccoli florets, thawed
1 can (14.75 oz) cream-style corn
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1 jar (4 .5oz) sliced mushrooms, drained
1½ cups soft rye bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 x 2-in baking dish, combine breadcrumbs and butter; sprinkle over top. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Chocolate Easter eggs

2 pkg. (3.4 oz each) cook-and-serve chocolate pudding mix
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup milk
5 to 6 cups powdered sugar
4 cups (24 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons shortening
Assorted decorating icings and cake decorator candy flowers
In a saucepan, combine the pudding mixes, butter and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in sugar and peanut butter. Cool slightly. Shape ½ cupful into egg shape. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet; refrigerate until set. In a microwave or heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip eggs in chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Return eggs to waxed paper to dry. Decorate with icings and candies as desired. Yield: 10 eggs.

Sweet potato casserole

1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
½ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
dash lemon juice
Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly and mash. Add the sugar, butter, milk, eggs, cinnamon, cardamom and lemon juice. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2-qt baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until set. Yield: 4-6 servings.

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