Easter Appetizers

Easter is almost upon us once again. This year, we are doing a simple pot-luck at my sister’s house. She and her wonderful Hubby are cooking up the traditional ham. So I’ve been searching for sides, appetizers and other things that might be fun to add to the Easter table.

In the appetizer category, I’ve managed to narrow things down to four. These are whimsical, delicious, inviting to the eye and fun to make.

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The first thing that came to mind was Asparagus Ham Roll Ups. I haven’t a clue as to why when I think of spring I think ham and asparagus. They just seem to go hand in hand. Although the recipe calls for cheese in every roll up, I’m planning to make half of the asparagus wraps with cheese, and half without. Mainly because Hubby isn’t a fan of cheese, so I thought it would be nice to give people options.

Asparagus Ham Roll Ups
16 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into 16 strips
8 ounces Havarti cheese, cut into 16 strips
8 thin slices deli ham or prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise
16 whole chives

In a large skillet, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately place asparagus in ice water. Drain and pat dry.

Place an asparagus spear, red pepper strip and cheese strip on each piece of ham. Roll up tightly; tie with a chive. Refrigerate until serving.

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One of my favorite things about Easter is that the church is so pretty – filled with Easter Lilies. It always seemed to me that every family in the entire Parish brought a potted Lily plant to place near the Alter. As a child, I often wondered what ever became of all those potted plants after mass. As it turns out, they were loaded up, brought to hospitals to brighten the rooms. How lovely!

Calla Lily Tea Sandwiches (Easter Lilies)
1 (5.2-ounce) package garlic and herbs cheese, softened
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
48 slices white bread
Paprika
2 carrots, peeled
Green Onions for Garnish

In a small bowl, combine cheese, cream cheese, walnuts, red pepper, and black pepper. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

Using a 2 1/2-inch cutter, cut 48 rounds from bread. With a rolling-pin, roll each bread round to 1/8-inch thickness.

Spread about 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture on each bread round. Sprinkle center with paprika, and fold bottom of prepared bread round over, pinching end to seal.

Cut small pieces of carrot, and place in center of each sandwich for flower stamen. Garnish with green onion tops to form stems, if desired.

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Another must for Easter is deviled eggs – maybe it’s the “egg” thing. I haven’t decided yet if I’m making “chick” eggs or a colorful platter of Pastel Deviled Eggs. Personally, I’m leaning more toward the colorful Pastel platter. These eggs are pretty, keeping with the Easter Theme, fun to color and a whole lot less work than the “chick” eggs. All point winners in my book!

Pastel Deviled Eggs
Ingredients for Deviled Eggs:
10 hard-boiled eggs
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons mustard Dijon-Style Mustard
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Put cold eggs in large pot and cover in COLD water about 1 to 2 inches higher than the eggs. Add a halt pinch of salt and about a tablespoon of vinegar for two reasons: makes it easier to peel and keeps the eggs from cracking.

Heat on high until rolling boil. If using a gas stove, lower the heart to medium — if electric, have another range ready to go on medium heat. Continue on medium for one minute.
Take of heat, cover, and set a timer for 12 minutes.

Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and place yolks in food processor with mixing/chopping blade.

Mix/chop yolks until fluffy and are fine grade resembling bread crumbs. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix until creamy. Mix in red wine vinegar one tablespoon at a time and season to taste. Store filling in refrigerator until ready to fill “colored” egg whites.

Ingredients for Colored Egg Whites:
Food Coloring, desired colors
1 teaspoon vinegar for each color
1 cup water for each color
Large cup or mug for each color

Mix water, food coloring and vinegar to each cup or mug – one for each desired color. Dip egg whites into dye until desired color is reached. Place whites up-side-down on a paper towel lined plate and gently pat dry. Transfer eggs to serving dish.

Fill the egg white halves with yolk mixture. Chill for several hours before serving.

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At Thanksgiving, I made a Turkey Spinach Dip. That was so much fun, even if the Turkey did look a little “tipsy”. I love Spinach Dip. And this Bunny is so simple to put together. Maybe we can even get the kids to eat their spinach if it is scooped from a bunny!

Easter Bunny Spinach Dip
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 container (16 oz.) sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 package Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
1 can (8 oz.) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 Large Sour Dough Bread Round (body)
1 Small Sour Dough Bread Round (head)
1 French Bread Loaf (Ears)
1 Bag baby carrots
2 Cucumbers, sliced thin
Olives for garnish
Celery for garnish

Combine ingredients for Spinach dip. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Cut the top from the large sour dough round and hollow out to form a bread bowl for the dip.

On a large serving platter, place large hollowed out bread bow. Place smaller round above large round to create the bunny’s head. Form the eyes and nose from olives. Create the whiskers from strips of celery. Use a slice of celery to form the mouth. Cut the French Bread Loaf in half to form ears. Secure pieces with small cocktail picks.

Arrange sliced cucumbers, bread from the body and baby carrots around the bunny as desired. When ready to serve, fill body with dip.

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Wishing you  a wonderful Easter filled with laughter, friends and family.

Peace be with you all!

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