Avocado Bacon-Ranch Deviled Eggs (1 - 1 1/2 Dozen Deviled Eggs)

Avocado Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs - as delicious as they sound. By bakeaholicmama.com

This recipe comes from “bakeaholicmama.com”, who came up with it while in a mood for Deviled Eggs but had no mayo. I love her solution:
9 hard boiled eggs
1 1/2 avocados peeled and pitted
2 tbs of ranch dressing (homemade or store bought)
1 tbs of sour cream (I used light)
2-3 scallions chopped
The juice of one lime
Pinch of salt
4 slices of cooked extra crispy bacon

Peal and slice eggs length wise.
Remove yolks and place in them in the bowl of your food processor.
Set egg whites aside.
Add your remaining ingredients except the bacon... set that aside.
Pulse the filling until it is smooth add more ranch dressing or sour cream if it is too dry.
Pipe filling into egg whites and top with bacon crumbles.

Spring Pea Hummus (via The Huffington Post, Taste)

Spring Pea Hummus - Healthy and Delicious!

     This is a simple dip with peas and mint, and some onion, sour cream, and tahini. “Hummus” implies that you are using chickpeas, so we are taking liberties with the name, by using regular peas as the base legume, instead of chickpeas. It’s fresh and spring-y with the peas and mint. Serve it with pita chips or toasted rounds of sliced baguette.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups shelled peas, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp tahini
3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint (spearmint)
2 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
1 Heat the olive oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until soft and translucent, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the peas and the water, cover and bring to a boil. Let this cook 5 minutes, then drain the peas and onions.
2 Put the peas and onions into the bowl of a food processor and add all the remaining ingredients. Pulse until you have a rough purée. Serve chilled.Simply Recipes http://www.simplyrecipes.com

Chile Brined Fresh Ham (Serves 6 - 8)

Chile-Brined Fresh Ham, via Food & Wine

    Directly from our friends at Food & Wine, via Huffington Post, Butcher Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats in San Francisco brings a heavenly recipe for ham - especially for those of us who spurn those pink hams! Here, Chef Ryan brines a fresh ham in a chile-spiked liquid. The pork skin turns wonderfully crackly in the oven.

4 cup(s) kosher salt
2 cup(s) sugar
6 quart(s) cold water
1 cup(s) black peppercorns, crushed
5 ounce(s) Thai or serrano chiles, stemmed and finely chopped
8 whole(s) cloves
4 cup(s) ice cubes
1 18-pound, bone-in fresh ham with skin
2 cup(s) low-sodium chicken broth
1. In a large saucepan, combine the salt and sugar with 2 quarts of the water. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine into a very large pot. Stir in the peppercorns, chiles and cloves. Add the remaining 4 quarts of water and the ice and stir until the ice has melted and the brine is at room temperature. Add the ham, skin side up; the skin does not have to be submerged. Brine the ham in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  (You Can Do This Safely In An Insulated Cooler)
2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Remove the ham from the brine and brush off the peppercorns and cloves. Set the ham skin side up in a roasting pan and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
3. Roast the ham for 1 hour; turn the pan and add 1 cup of water halfway through. Reduce the oven to 300° and roast the ham for 2 1/2 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 150°. Transfer the ham to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes.
4. Strain the pan juices into a saucepan; skim off the fat. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cut the skin off of the ham and break it into pieces. Thinly slice the meat and serve with the jus and crisp skin.

Spiral Cut Orange Baked Ham

Orange Baked Ham, Bone in, Spiral Cut. Photo credit to Food Network.

     This recipe from Ina Garten at the Food Network will go perfect with all the sides planned for your Easter dinner.  Its not too sweet,balanced with just the right of spice.
1 (14 to 16-pound) fully cooked, spiral-cut smoked ham on the bone
6 garlic cloves
8 1/2 ounces orange marmalade
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 orange, zested
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the ham in a heavy roasting pan.
Mince the garlic in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the marmalade, mustard, brown sugar, orange zest, and orange juice and process until smooth. Pour the glaze over the ham and bake for 1 hour, until the ham is fully heated and the glaze is well browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Roast Leg of Lamb Shoulder (Serves 6)

Carved Roast Leg of Lamb, Recipe by Jaime Oliver.

There is nothing like a Jaime Oliver recipe to liven up your holiday. This Roasted Shoulder of Lamb would be an honor to serve on your holiday table:

For The Lamb
1 (4.4-pound) bone-in lamb shoulder **
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh rosemary
1 bulb garlic, unpeeled, broken into cloves
For the lamb gravy/mint sauce:
6 tablespoons butter (divided)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups good-quality hot chicken or vegetable stock
2 heaped tablespoons capers, soaked, drained and chopped
1 large bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

**NOTE: You can roast a boneless leg of lamb using this same recipe - just adjust the cooking time. Estimate 10 - 13 minutes per pound of boneless lamb assuming you start hot at 450, then lower to 325 after 20 minutes.

For the lamb: Heat your oven t0 450 to 500 degrees F. Slash the fat side of the lamb all over with a sharp knife. Lay half the sprigs of rosemary and half the garlic cloves on the bottom of a high-sided roasting pan, rub the lamb all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place it in the pan on top of the rosemary and garlic, and put the rest of the rosemary and garlic on top of the lamb. Tightly cover the tray with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Turn the oven down immediately to 325 degrees F and cook for about 4 hours - it's done if you can pull the meat apart easily with 2 forks. If it's tender but not brown as you'd like, uncover and briefly turn up the heat again at the end, till it has a nice brown crust.
For the sauce: Remove the lamb from the oven and place it on a chopping board. Cover it with foil, then a kitchen towel, and leave it to rest.
Pour away most of the fat from the roasting pan, discarding any bits of rosemary.
Put the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Add the stock, stirring and scraping all the sticky goodness off the bottom of the pan. You won't need gallons of gravy, just a couple of flavorsome spoonfuls for each serving. Add the capers, turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes. Finely chop the mint and add it to the sauce with the red wine vinegar at the last minute then pour into a pitcher.
Serve hot with the Lamb which has now rested but is still warm. Enjoy.

Deb's Own Leg of Lamb, Bone in Serves 6 - 8

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, minced (or I prefer 4 tbsp garlic paste)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 (4 1/2- to 5-lb) bone in leg of lamb, trimmed of fat
Special equipment: a jumbo (4-gallon) heavy-duty sealable plastic bag;
Combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper in sealable plastic bag. Add lamb and seal bag, pressing out air. Turn bag to coat lamb, then put bag in a shallow baking pan and marinate, chilled, turning bag over occasionally, at least 8 hours.
Bring lamb to room temperature, about 1 hour, before grilling.
Preheat oven to 450. Prepare grill pan by lining the bottom with foil, and spraying the top with cooking spray. Place lamb fat side up on grill pan and cook at 450 for 30 minutes; then reduce heat to 375 and cook the lamb for approximately 25 minutes a pound (about 2 hours depending on the size of your leg) until thermometer registers 125 to 128°F, for medium-rare.
Transfer lamb to a cutting board. Let lamb stand, loosely covered with foil, 20 minutes. (Internal temperature will rise to 135°F while meat stands.) Cut across the grain into slices. 

Thai Cucumber Salad, Serves 4 - 6

Marinade:  1/2 cup sugar,  1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sweetened chili garlic paste,
1 teaspoon salt

Salad:  3 cups (seedless) cucumber, unpeeled and sliced thin, 1/4 cup sliced sweet or red onion, 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper, all of the marinade. 

Garnish (optional): fresh mint or cilantro leaves, chopped peanuts

1) For the marinade: Combine the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the chili sauce and salt. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion, and pepper. Add just enough marinade to cover the vegetables, stir, and chill for 1 hour before serving. Garnish with fresh mint or cilantro and chopped peanuts if desired

Shaved Raw Asparagus w/ Parmesan Dressing: Serves About 6

     Another treat from our friends at Food & Wine - this time something you may have seen before - shaved Asparagus. I’m going to admit that I attempted a similar recipe before & for the time it takes to shave Asparagus, you could just use Arugula.  Yet this time, the delicate and unique taste you end up with when you take the extra few minutes it takes to prepare this dish makes it all worthwhile!
From Chef Mark Ladner of Del Posto in NY has shared a secret to avoid the concern that Asparagus often makes wine taste vegetal. To counter that, he mixes shaved spears with a supremely wine-friendly ingredient: parmesan. Perfect!!

2 pound(s) large asparagus

1 cup(s) coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 3 ounces
3 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon(s) warm water
1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus into long, thin strips and transfer to a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix the Parmigiano-Reggiano with the lemon juice, water and olive oil. Add to the asparagus and toss to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Scalloped Potatoes w/ Caramelized Onions, Serves 6 to 8

Scalloped Potatoes & Onions, from Food52.

     Who doesn't love potatoes?  Here is a luscious celebratory way to serve them from Katheryn's Kitchen, via Food52

2 cups whipping cream
4 crushed garlic cloves
3 peppercorns
3/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 large Spanish or yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes (2 to 3 pounds), peeled
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
2 sprigs fresh thyme
In saucepan, bring cream, gar­lic, pep­per­corns, thyme, and salt to just under boil; reduce heat to low, cover and sim­mer for 15 min­utes. Remove from heat; set aside. Heat your oven to 300° F. Mean­while, in skil­let, heat oil over medium-low heat and cook onion, stir­ring often, until light brown, about 45 min­utes. Slice pota­toes as thinly as pos­si­ble (using a man­do­line if avail­able). Layer 1/4 of the pota­toes in greased about 8 x 12-inch glass bak­ing or casse­role dish; top with 1/3 of the onion and 1/4 of the cheese. Repeat twice. Top with remain­ing pota­toes. Strain cream mix­ture over pota­toes, shak­ing casse­role to dis­trib­ute evenly. Sprin­kle with remain­ing cheese. Bake in 300° F oven on a baking sheet (to catch drips) until ten­der and a knife inserted into the dish pierces pota­toes eas­ily, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Make-ahead: Let cool, then cover and refrig­er­ate for up to 2 days. Reheat, tented with tin foil, in 375° F oven for 30 minutes.) Tip: For a lighter ver­sion, steep gar­lic, pep­per­corns, thyme, and salt in 2 cups of (500 mL) milk. Then make béchamel sauce: In saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons but­ter over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Cook, stir­ring, for 1 minute. Whisk in strained milk mix­ture, and sim­mer everything for 5 min­utes until slightly thickened. Pour over pota­toes

Spinach Gratin Serves 8 - 10

     From Food52: Creamed spinach with a crunch, Lizthechef's gratin applies a layer of finesse to an age-old comfort food. A fragrant onion bechamel, made savory with a generous addition of Gruyere, envelops chopped spinach in its lush embrace without overwhelming it. We especially love the layer of buttery-crisp, salty panko crowning the top. Pair with some steak, a baked potato and a nice Cabernet, and you've got one heck of a meal.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped
1/4 cup unbleached flour
3 cups organic whole milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinches of cayenne
1 and 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
3 16 oz. bags of organic, chopped spinach - thawed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
Panko topping
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Squeeze the liquid from the thawed spinach, handful by handful. Set aside. Heat milk to simmer in saucepan. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add onions and cook until wilted but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the hot milk and whisk the sauce until it thickens. Add the nutmeg and cayenne. Turn off the heat. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Taste and correct seasoning. Add the spinach and mix in well. Pour into a 9X11 glass or ceramic baking dish. Prepare crumb topping. Melt butter in medium skillet. Add panko, sprinkle with sea salt and stir until lightly toasted. This occurs quite suddenly. Gently smooth the toasted panko on top of the gratin. Cook for 30-35 minutes until bubbling.

Green Spring Pea Salad, Serves 6

Recipe & Photo adapted from Ina Garten

3 pkgs frozen steam fresh sugar snap peas
2 pkgs frozen steam fresh green peas, or green peas with mushrooms if available
1&1/2 c. pea shoots or if not available use any regular sprouts that are fresh
1/2 c. finely diced red onion (optional)
1/2 c. japanese dressing (the yellow one)

Note: if you do not have the japanese dressing you can use ranch, or use this recipe for something lighter:
3 tbs olive oil
1tbs lemon juice
1tbs dijon mustard
salt and pepper
Whisk all salad dressing ingredients together vigorously and pour over vegetables.
     Cook the steam fresh vegetables as package directs, but just until defrosted. (that is about half the time directed) You dont want to be eating mushy vegetables.

     In a large bowl, add snap peas, green peas, and sprouts which should have been rinsed and dried, salt and pepper. Add Japanese dressing of your choice and mix gently. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

     I love to see the striking hues of bright green on the table in the Spring. But, as always, this is a flexible recipe for you to use as a base. Feel free to substitute or add ingredients as you see fit.


French Toast Cassarole, Serves 8-10

photo credit: Food TV

**thank you Paula Deen. This one is worth every calorie!
The simplicity of this recipe is that you can prepare it the night before, and then just pop it in the oven the morning you want to cook it.  

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces) 
8 large eggs 
2 cups half-and-half 
1 cup milk 
2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
Dash salt
 Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. 
     The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
   Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.
Praline Topping, recipe follows :
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

Splendid Pineapple Pudding

Here's one that was absolutely delicious, a perfect accompaniment to ham or pork. Or you can even use it as dessert.

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 (20 ounce) cans crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 10 slices day-old white bread, cubed
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. stir in the drained pineapple and lemon juice. Fold in the bread cubes. Do not over mix now, because you don't want the bread to dissolve. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until set.
  • I doubled the recipe, and it still came out perfect.

Brunch Frittata w/ Tuna & Tomatoes

6 large eggs, beaten, at room temperature
Two 5-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces, such as Flott
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of 1 small lemon
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

For the frittata:

Mix together the eggs, tuna, milk, parsley, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat in an oven-safe, 10-inch nonstick skillet. Add the egg mixture and cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Arrange the tomatoes on top of the egg mixture and cook until a crust forms on the underside and the sides of the mixture have set, about 3 minutes.  Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the center is set, for 6 to 8 minutes. Using a heat-resistant spatula, loosen the sides of the frittata and slide onto a serving plate.

For the topping:

Mix together the cheese, salt and lemon zest in a medium bowl; Cut the frittata into wedges and serve with a dollop of the topping.

Maple Pancake Lasagna

I will use about 36 frozen 6-8" pancakes
(you can make them from scratch if you want)
30 strips pre-cooked bacon
(or You can fry it from scratch if you prefer)
30 links good breakfast sausage
1/2 bunch fresh sage, chopped
25 eggs
Butter, for the skillet
About 1/2 cup heavy cream
(do not use a short cut on the Bechamel)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 gallon heavy cream
4 cups maple syrup
Butter, for greasing
2 pounds shredded Cheddar (I am making mine without cheese)
1 cup maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Square off the edges of each pancake and set aside.
FOR BACON & SAUSAGE: Place a grill rack over a baking tray. Line the rack with the bacon strips and bake until crispy, about 15 minutes. Reserve the rendered grease in a large saucepot. (Or if using pre-cooked bacon, cook in the microwave w/o paper towels and save the grease.)
Line a baking tray with the sausage links and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. (If using the pre-cooked kind, heat them in the microwave for 5 minutes) Chop the sausage finely, add the chopped sage and mix. Do not mix with the bacon.
For the eggs: Whisk the eggs until smooth. Cook in a buttered large skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Place in a blender and add enough cream until blended smoothly. Remove and let cool.
FOR MAPLE BECHAMEL: Add the butter and flour to the reserved bacon fat in the large saucepot and make a roux. Add the cream and maple syrup and cook over low heat, stirring until thickened, about 30 minutes. The sauce should have the consistency of gravy.
TO ASSEMBLE: Butter a casserole dish, and line the bottom with a single layer of pancakes. Lightly spread the bechamel over the pancakes until covered. Place the chopped sausage on top of the pancakes, spreading evenly until covered. Spoon half the egg mixture over the sausage and spread until evenly dispersed. Add another layer of the bechamel, and then add a layer of shredded cheese. Add another layer of pancakes, then bechamel, then bacon strips, bechamel again, then eggs and finish with a liberal covering of cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted on top and begun to get crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Then cut portions of lasagna.
Place a portion of lasagna on the plate and spoon the syrup over the top to taste.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.  I personally am taking a leap of faith and making it for Easter Brunch!