Easter dinner may get the lion's share of attention, but some of us gather for Easter brunch instead of, or in addition to, the traditional ham dinner. In my case, we celebrate Easter dinner with my husband's family and reserve the Saturday before Easter for an Easter brunch -- complete with an Easter egg hunt -- with my side of the family.
When you think of Easter brunch dishes, eggs and colorful spring salads come to mind. So I've included a Light Broccoli and Turkey Sausage Brunch Casserole and a Red Leaf, Pear, and Walnut Salad in the recipes below. Ovo-lacto vegetarians (those who eat dairy and eggs) can enjoy the casserole recipe, too, by using a soy-based sausage or by eliminating the sausage entirely.
You'll also find a recipe for a flavorful, higher-fiber brunch roll -- Roasted Garlic & Sage Pocket Rolls -- that even my preteen girls couldn't seem to get enough of. Each of the recipes includes journaling tips as well.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy Easter!
Red Leaf, Pear and Walnut Salad
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (rice vinegar can be substituted)
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
1/4 cup canola oil
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
10 cups rinsed and well-drained red leaf lettuce, coarsely chopped, packed
2/3 cup walnut pieces (or coarsely chopped), toasted* (sliced or slivered almonds can be substituted)
4 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- Add vinegar, apple juice, canola oil, Dijon mustard, and honey to food processor or blender and pulse until well combined. Stir in poppy seeds and add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Reserve 1/4 cup of the dressing and set aside.
- Add red leaf lettuce and walnuts to large bowl, drizzle the remaining dressing over the top, and toss to coat well. Divide the lettuce among 8 individual salad plates or bowls. Add pears to the large bowl and toss them with the reserved 1/4 cup dressing. Spoon pears evenly over the eight salads.
* To toast the walnut pieces, broil in toaster oven or oven, stirring often and watching carefully, until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes). Or toast them in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat.
Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 187 calories, 3.5 g protein, 16.5 g carbohydrate,12.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 5.5 g monounsaturated fat, 6 g polyunsaturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 68 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 60%.
Roasted Garlic & Sage Pocket Rolls
This roll recipe is easy to prepare using a bread machine.
1 head of garlic: slice 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic head, using a butcher knife
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground sage
5 tablespoons no-trans-fat margarine (with around 8 grams of fat per tablespoon), melted (divided)
1/2 cups + 3 tablespoons low-fat milk, warmed to around 110 degrees
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons egg substitute (or 1 egg white)
1 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 package active dry yeast
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic head (cut side up) on a piece of foil and drizzle olive oil over the top. Wrap the foil around it to seal well. Bake for 30-40 minutes. When garlic head is cool, squeeze the soft garlic from each clove into a custard cup. Stir in the sage and 2 tablespoons of melted margarine. Set mixture aside.
- While garlic is roasting, add warm milk, 3 tablespoons melted margarine, sugar, salt, egg and egg substitute, and whole wheat and white flours to bread machine pan (in that order, or in the order suggested by the manufacturer). Make a well in the flour and add the yeast into the well.
- Set the bread machine to DOUGH cycle (about 1 hour and 40 minutes) and press START.
- When dough is ready, roll it out onto a lightly floured, flat surface (a sheet of wax paper works well) into a rectangle about 10x15 inches. Spread the garlic mixture evenly over the top of the rectangle. Cut the rectangle lengthwise into seven 2-inch-long strips. Fold each piece over to make a pocket (the garlic mixture will be in the middle). Set the rolls in a 9x13-inch pan coated with canola cooking spray. Cover pan with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 30-40 minutes).
- Bake rolls until golden brown on top (about 18-20 minutes). Enjoy!
Makes 14 rolls.
Per serving (1 roll): 125 calories, 4.5 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat (0.6 g saturated fat, 1.1 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 186 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 21%.
Light Broccoli and Turkey Sausage Brunch Casserole
This brunch entrÃ©e almost has it all -- meat, vegetables, and dairy. Make it vegetarian by using a soy-based sausage or leaving the sausage out.
8 ounces light turkey sausage (such as Light Jimmy Dean)
5 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained (about 12-14 ounces); cut large florets in half
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 cups shredded, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
1 cup part-skim or low-fat ricotta cheese
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon garlic and herb salt-free seasoning (Mrs. Dash) or garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (add more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt (add more to taste -- optional)
2 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with canola cooking spray.
- Brown sausage in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks, using a potato masher or spatula.
- Add browned sausage bits, broccoli florets, green onions, and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese to a large bowl and toss to blend. Spoon into the prepared pan.
- Add 1/2 cup of the cheese, ricotta cheese, eggs and egg substitute, half-and-half, garlic seasoning, pepper, and salt to mixing bowl, and beat on medium until smooth. Pour mixture over the sausage and broccoli in pan.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top of mixture in pan and arrange tomato slices on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven. Uncover and bake until cooked throughout (about 15 minutes more.) Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 235 calories, 23 g protein, 9.5 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (5.5 g saturated fat, 4 g monounsaturated fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat) 150 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 500 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 46%.
Medically updated March 2005.