By Matthew Thompson, Associate Food Editor for EatingWell Magazine
My dad was a minister, so I'm not just bragging when I tell you I'm an old pro when it comes to Easter. Growing up, I'd go to the sunrise service (every kid's favorite…right?), the 10 o'clock service, the potluck brunch, the Easter egg hunt (even when I was WAY too old for it) and, of course, the big family dinner afterward. That's a lot of Easter!
But there's one aspect of this Easter ritual that I always genuinely loved: the post-service brunch. Whether we were eating at home, at a friend's house or in the church fellowship hall, the extra-special spread of eggy casseroles, honey-glazed ham (there HAS to be ham), baked goodies, delicious sides stuffed with fresh spring veggies and citrusy drinks always made my day. I loved it then and I still love it now.
Don't Miss: 20 Delicious Easter Brunch Recipes
Of course, not everybody has money to burn on a fancy spread. While the economy may have picked up a bit in the last few months, there are still a lot of people (myself included) smarting from the last few years of hard times. And while April 8th may be Easter, April 15th is tax day. So…this year, try planning an Easter brunch that lets you stick to your budget-it's not hard! Check out this menu I've put together: by skipping the expensive spiral ham and serving bits of it cut up in a delicious casserole, you can buy a smaller quantity (while still keeping that essential component in the meal). By keeping things simple, you can tighten your budget while still serving a delicious spread-I bet your guests won't even notice!
Here's the menu:
Ham & Cheese Breakfast Casserole
(Under $2 per serving)
This healthy update of a traditionally rich ham-and-cheese breakfast strata is made lighter primarily by losing a few egg yolks and using nonfat milk. Gruyère cheese has a delicious, nutty aroma and flavor, which means that with the relatively small amount in this recipe you still get a big impact.
Get the Recipe: Ham & Cheese Breakfast Casserole and More Brunch Casseroles
Greek Walnut Spice Cake
(Under $1 per serving)
A rich, flavorful syrup infuses this Mediterranean-inspired walnut coffee cake with the bright aroma of oranges and cloves. Heart-healthy olive oil and whole-grain barley flour add subtle complexity and texture to this nutty treat.
Get the Recipe: Greek Walnut Spice Cake and More Delicious Quick Breads & Muffins
(Under $1 per serving)
These prosciutto-wrapped bundles of grilled asparagus are a delicious addition to a spring brunch or elegant dinner.
Get the Recipe: Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus and More Asparagus Sides
Couscous, Lentil & Arugula Salad with Garlic-Dijon Vinaigrette
(Under $2.50 per serving)
This hearty combination of whole-wheat couscous and lentils perched atop a lightly dressed bed of arugula makes a tasty vegetarian main-course salad. The lemony vinaigrette is especially good for bringing out the spicy notes of the arugula.
Get the Recipe: Couscous, Lentil & Arugula Salad with Garlic-Dijon Vinaigrette and More Spring Salads
What are your favorite Easter brunch recipes?
By Matthew Thompson
Matthew Thompson is the associate food editor for EatingWell Magazine.
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