Stress Free Easter Hosting

 I always love the Easter season. Pastels are everywhere, Spring starts to make herself known, baby bunnies and chicks are everywhere you look  and another family gathering.

Family gatherings always seem to create some sort of stress for the Host in our family. It isn’t easy to wrangle in a large family like mine, and creating a menu can also adds to the stress. Everyone in my family has their favorites, and nailing down a menu to appease everyone can be difficult.

As we approach Easter Lunch or Brunch, I thought I would share a few tips on how to take the stress out of planning an Easter gathering so you have more time to spend with family {and friends}.

Tip #1 Pick easy recipes for the main dishes

Ham is always a huge staple for my family on Easter. There is something about the Easter meal that screams for ham.  To make brunch or lunch easier post church, one great way to have a perfectly delicious and ready ham is to pick up a HoneyBaked Ham from your local HoneyBaked store.

One of the fantastic and stress saving things about the HoneyBaked Ham, is it can go straight from refrigerator, to the table, without any additional prep. Simply follow the serving tips on their website, allow the ham to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, and you are ready to go.  The ham is perfectly smoked for 24 hours, has a signature HoneyBaked glaze and crunch on the outside, and is pre-sliced for easy serving.

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To please the non-ham eaters, {something I don’t understand, its almost like not liking bacon} you can also pick up a fully cooked and ready to serve sliced HoneyBaked Turkey Breast to serve along side your ham.  I find it nice to have 2 different meat options available when serving a large group.  I am obsessed with  smoked meat, so I was thrilled when I found out I could buy the turkey breast either roasted or smoked. Smoked of course.

The HoneyBaked Turkey Breast, just like the ham, need only be placed on a serving platter, and rest for 30 minutes prior to serving.  The turkey boasts the same sweet, crunchy glaze giving each bite, a nice burst of flavor. Main dish done!

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When I served these to our lunch guests I was surprised to hear all the stories of growing up eating HoneyBaked Ham. Learning that HoneyBaked has been doing great ham for over 50 years, and starting in Michigan, I knew why my Michigan friends where so familiar with the product.  They said it tasted just as delicious as they had remembered it from family gatherings as kids. Not having grown up on the brand, I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of serving it, and by the wonderful flavor. The crunchy glazed outside was all everyone could talk about.

Oh and the nicely pre-sliced ham, made The Hubby look like a pro ham carver. Which normally he is not.

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Tip #2 Buy a pre-made dessert and jazz it up 

While at the HoneyBaked store I also picked up one of their desserts.  A great hosting tip is to buy a pre-made dessert and jazz it up a little to make it look like it came right off your Pinterest page.

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I picked up this frozen cheesecake, thaw and ready to serve.  Adding these small edible birds nests to the top of each wedge of cheesecake and placing them on green cupcake liners, they just scream spring! And they took under 10 minutes to prepare.

Everyone raved about how cute these were and how good the cheesecake tasted. I eventually had to admit that the cheesecake was HoneyBaked, I just made it look a little more Spring.  Now, you could be less honest than me, and take all the credit, with a fraction of the time spent making a homemade cheesecake. Most people know how time consuming making a cheesecake is, so they will be super impressed when you bring these cuties out to the table.

{keep posted for the Birds Nest Cheesecake tutorial}

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Tip #3 Set your table the day before

Everyone wants the picture perfect table to impress their guests. Another great outcome of Pinterest.  By setting your table the day before you free up plenty of time in the morning for un-rushed food prep.  This also allows you more time to admire your pretty table.  I love waking up in the morning, and seeing the table set, makes me feel accomplished for the day before it even starts.  This might lead to an awkward breakfast eating situation, but you can get creative to keep your table looking pretty.  Donuts over the kitchen sink is prefect for catching crumbs.

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Tip #4 Pick recipes you can make the day before

Easter Day is normally a time crunch when you are the host.  The morning  starts with getting yourself {and family} to church on time. Then after church everyone is at your house for brunch or lunch, leaving little time for any food prep. Unless you want to be up at 5 am.  Many Easter staples can be made the night before and ready to either pop in the oven for a few minutes or served fresh out of the refrigerator.

On my menu was these Cauliflower Scalloped Potatoes {recipe coming}, Brussel Sprout Ramen Noodle Salad {recipe coming}, Rolls, and Corn. I was able to prep the Scalloped Potatoes the day before to pop in the oven to warm up. The salad was easily made and stored in 3 parts, crunchy, veggies and dressing , and then combined right before serving. Last, rolls can be either made at home with your favorite recipe, or from the store. Who doesn’t love Hawaiian Rolls with ham. And for the corn, well I have a severe soft spot for canned corn. That is pretty easy to make too.

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Tip #5 Map out your cooking time

After you have created your menu, create a timeline for your morning to ensure you don’t feel rushed and that you know exactly in which order to work through your food prep.

For example this is my prep timeline:

  • 7:00 am- Wake up, prepare for church and have a light breakfast
  • 9:00 am- Church
  • 10:30 am- Home from Church
  • 10:45 am- Take out pre-plated appetizers for guests arriving after church – Cheese and Meat tray, deviled eggs, cold dip and bread, veggie platter, etc.  {these are great ideas for guests to bring}
  • 11:00 am- Put potatoes in the oven 
  • 11:10 am- Plate rolls, add corn to oven safe serving dish, place salad veggies in serving bowl (without dressing)
  • 11:30 am- Take HoneyBaked ham and turkey breast out of Refrigerator and place on platters to rest
  • 11:45 am- Take potatoes out of the oven, and let rest. Place corn in oven until warm
  • 11: 50 am- Add dressing and crunchy toppings to salad. Bring all dishes to the table
  • 12:00 pm- Lunch is served

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Tip #6 Pull out all your serving dishes the day before.

This was a tip I learned from a co-worker a few years ago and it has worked wonders for hosting.  She told me that her mom always pulled out the serving dishes she planned to use the day before.  She knew all the dishes she was going to make, and the size of the dish she would need. Since many serving dishes sit in cabinets, in hutches or on display as decoration in our kitchens, they need to be given a quick wipe down. By picking these out the day before, you have time to make sure they are ready and clean. This will save time while preparing your meal in the morning.

The best part of the tip is to add a sticky note to each serving dish noting the purpose. Not only will you have clean serving platters, but it will also be easy when your sister or cousin comes into the kitchen and asks to help. You can just point her to the right dish to stack buns on with out breaking a step in your prep.

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Tip #7 Subtle statement go along way when decorating 

Your house doesn’t need to look like Pinterest threw up all over it for people to enjoy the day, or even give you some wonderful compliments.  It is really about less is more. Pinterest gives us a world of unlimited options to create the Better Homes and Gardens cover photo, but sometimes too much can make your Easter celebration look like you are trying too hard.  After you have pinned your 100 Easter Pins to your “Easter” board {because I know you will do that}, go back and pick 3 or 4 that you really want to try to execute and coordinate. Yup, only 3 or 4, because that is the most realistic for a stress free event. And think about ones that look fantastic but don’t take too much time.

I created a small Easter Board with a few ideas, and then narrowed them down.  I picked this pin to create a simple but crafty garland for my dinning room window. Then instead of following her exactly, you will notice I used my bunnies for napkin rings instead of garland. 20 minutes of cutting paper and a few staples, and I had not only my window decor done, but some fun festive napkin rings, for the cost of staples and 6 pieces of paper.

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I also picked a fun and simple center piece that made a big impact, conversation piece and was super easy to put together. Keep watching later this week for a step by step to make this perfect center piece. 

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Tip #8 Breath and enjoy the day with everyone 

This one should be easy.  Once everyone sits down to eat, stop thinking.  Your work is done, and now is your time to enjoy the day with your family {and friends}.   And hopefully you made it through your hosting duties stress free. Now go find some Easter eggs!

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This post was sponsored by HoneyBaked, but all opinions are my own.

In addition to helping support this post, HoneyBaked is offering a coupon to help you make your Easter stress free!

Offer valid 3.14.15 – 4.4.15. Must present coupon at time of purchase to receive offer. May not be combined with any other offer. One coupon per person at participating retail store locations. While supplies last. Find your Local HoneyBaked Store Here: http://locator.honeybaked.com/

 

About Rachel

Country girl turned urbanite. Finding ways to mess up my kitchen, keep my country roots and explore all that city living offers!

5 thoughts on “Stress Free Easter Hosting

  1. Hi Rachel! First of all, I LOVE Honeybaked Ham, and I agree with you … who doesn’t? My family has always purchased a ham for Easter dinner. My husband and I have had small Easter Feasters (that’s what we call it) by ourselves the last couple of years and cooked little meals, but I look forward to hosting one day when we live closer to family of course. Your table looks great. The tips are great. And I must say, I’m SUCH a fan of wearing pastel colors, eating a big meal in the middle of a Sunday and tying it back to a happy occasion. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    1. I feel like I was missing out my whole life never having a HoneyBaked Ham! Glad you liked the tips, hopefully you can use them the next time you host, even if it isn’t Easter. Have a great weekend too 🙂

  2. Great tips girly! I just love HoneyBaked Ham products!! Have you tried their beef pot roast??? Such a treat as well!! Yum! Have a Happy Resurrection Day!!!

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