I do love hosting holidays at our home and I especially love Easter because it’s such a simple meal preparation to satisfy family and friends without requiring hours of time in the kitchen.

The star of the show was a spiral sliced ham. It did require a little logistical maneuvering in the oven to heat the other side dishes, but we made out just fine. Do you glaze your ham or not? Add pineapple and cherries? Honestly, I just keep it simple, roasting it at 275 degrees in about an inch of water for 12 minutes a pound.

Confetti potatoes go perfectly with the ham and are easier to put together than scalloped potatoes.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
16 ounce package of frozen hash brown potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 small pepper, diced
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup plain breadcrumbs (divided)

In a Dutch oven, melt the butter and sauté the onions until tender. Stir in potatoes, soup and milk. Grind some pepper into the mixture. Add the cheese, pepper and 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs. Pour into a greased casserole dish and top with remaining breadcrumbs. Bake until bubbly (if you’re doing this as you’re roasting meat, it will take a good 90 minutes at that low an oven temperature)

We also have to have green bean casserole. I’ve never made the traditional green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup. My mom actually turned me on to this version, which is healthier and I think more flavorful.

Once you’ve cooked your green beans (and again, this can be an item for debate, as some of us like the beans a little more toothful than others), drain them, put them in a casserole dish, and toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of balsamic or red wine vinegar. Add garlic, paprika and oregano to taste and finish with fresh ground pepper.

In a small skillet, melt half a stick of butter then add breadcrumbs and grated parmesan until a nice topping has formed. Sprinkle the topping over the beans. Add some fried onions over the top of the casserole and heat until warmed.

Of course it wouldn’t be a holiday gathering without dessert. But I always worry about people being overstuffed and feeling compelled to eat dessert, so I converted my carrot cake with cream cheese frosting into cupcakes and sent them home with each family members. My phone has been filled with messages sharing how much they enjoyed them!

What are your favorite holiday time savers? No matter what they are, I hope you enjoy them in good health and surrounded by those you love. Eat well friends!

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