Stress Free Easter Ideas

 

Easter mornings are a special time. Maybe you head out with your family for a sunrise service at your local church, or maybe you wake up to the pitter-patter of little feet ready to go Easter egg hunting. In either case, the last thing you want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen cooking up a big breakfast.

Instead, you want to relax and enjoy a yummy meal with your loved ones for breakfast.  There’s an easy way to do just that.  Put your slow cooker to work.

Keep It Simple With Baked Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Oatmeal is always a breakfast favorite around here. It’s quick and easy enough to make in the slow cooker for weekend breakfasts throughout the year, but you can also make it special for Easter (or any other important day) with special add-ins and toppings like chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, whipped cream and the like.

Start with the basic recipe. Use rolled oats in this recipe. The finished oatmeal will turn out better than using quick cooking oats.

Mix 2 cups of dry oats, 2 cups of milk, and 2 cups of water. Add sugar, honey or the sweetener of your choice and mix. Cook on low overnight (for about 8 hours).

Add your favorite flavors and serve. We like ours with apple sauce, cinnamon, and walnuts. For a special Easter treat, you could set out small bowls with various fresh and dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips and anything else that sounds tasty in oatmeal.

Get Ready For A Busy Day With A Hearty Breakfast Casserole

If you know you’ll have an early Easter dinner with the whole family; it may make sense to skip lunch and opt for a big hearty breakfast or brunch instead. Here’s an easy way to have your big breakfast cooking while you sleep.

Before you head to bed, fry up a pound of bacon. Allow it to cool a bit and chop it up. Dice a small onion while you’re at it. Crack open a dozen eggs and whisk them up in a large bowl. Add some salt and pepper to the eggs. Get out your slow cooker and a big 32 oz. bag of shredded hash browns.

Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and layer ⅓ of the hash browns in the bottom of the crock. Top with ⅓ of the bacon and ½ cup of cheese. Repeat these layers two more times (omitting the cheese on the last layer). Pour the egg mixture over everything and top with the last ½ cup of cheese.

Cook everything on low for 10 to 12 hours and enjoy when you are ready for breakfast or lunch.

Cook the Perfect Easter Ham in Your Slow Cooker

One of the hardest things about cooking for a big gathering around the holidays – including Easter – is the logistics of figuring out what needs to go in the oven when. There just never seems to be enough time or space to bake the turkey, ham, casseroles, pies and rolls to perfection and get it all hot and ready at the same time. That’s where your slow cooker comes to the rescue. This Easter, cook your ham in this handy kitchen gadget and free up hours of valuable oven time.

To begin with, get out your largest slow cooker. Ideally, you want one that holds at least six quarts. The size of the ham you’re able to cook depends on the size of your slow cooker. Since these handy kitchen appliances aren’t terribly expensive, it may well be worth investing in a larger model if your current slow cooker is too small to hold a ham.

Choose a fully cooked ham that you think will fit in your slow cooker. It’s fine if it’s a bit of a close fit. You can even get away without the lid closing. When that happens after you put your ham into the slow cooker, grab some heavy duty aluminum foil and make a tent over your slow cooker instead of the lid. Be sure to seal everything well around the rim to prevent too much heat and moisture from escaping.

For easy clean-up, you may want to spray the inside of your crock with non-stick cooking spray before you add the ham. There is no need to add water or any cooking liquid. Cook the ham on low for six to eight hours or on high for four to five hours or until your entire ham is thoroughly heated. You can use a whole ham or a spiral sliced one for this cooking method.

If you prefer the outside to be a little browned, heat the ham in your slower cook, then carefully transfer it to a baking dish. Broil the ham for a few minutes until it develops a nice lightly browned crust. Keep an eye on it carefully. When broiling, you can go from perfectly cooked to burnt in less than a minute.

We decided brunch would be best for our family this year. In addition to a breakfast casserole, we’ll be adding a Burgers’ Smokehouse ham, fruit and probably some rolls. We’ll set the food, plates, silverware, and drinks on the counter and let everyone serve themselves. What a great way to spend part of Easter Sunday together in a relaxed way!

Celebrating Easter with your loved ones should be about spending time together as a family, not stressing about getting the house clean, the table set, and a big dinner ready on time. Keep it simple, focus on what is important to everyone, and make sure there is plenty of time and energy for you to enjoy this special day with your loved ones.

Wishing you a Blessed Easter,

Bea

Dyeing Easter Eggs In Your Slow Cooker

Dyeing hard boiled eggs for Easter is a lot of fun, but it can get a little messy.  If you have a lot of little helpers around, dealing with boiling water on the stove is not always the greatest idea. Why not get your slow cooker out of the cabinet and dye your Easter eggs in it this year?

Before you get started, do yourself a favor and grab a package of crockpot liners. They are fairly inexpensive and will prevent the dye from penetrating your crock. Even though we’re dealing with food safe ingredients here, it won’t harm you to skip this step, but if you do, don’t be surprised if your slow cooker insert ends up being discolored.

Dyeing With Kool-Aid

A fun and easy way to start coloring Easter eggs is with packets of Kool-Aid. Grab a few bright colors and think about how you want to go about dyeing your eggs. Start with the lightest color and then mix to your heart’s content. For example, you could go from yellow to orange, red and finally purple. If you have more than one slow cooker, you’ll have even more coloring options.

Start by lining your slow cooker and adding just enough water to cover your hard boiled eggs. Turn your slow cooker on high and allow the water to heat up for about 2 hours. Add enough Kool-Aid packets to get a nice, deep color, and then carefully dip your eggs into the slow cooker. There’s no need to add vinegar since the drink mix has citric acid in it. Dye the eggs as you would with commercial Easter egg dyes.

Natural Dyes in The Slow Cooker

Another fun option is to use things like onion skin and red cabbage to dye your eggs. You’ll end up with some lovely natural shades. Cook up the dye stock in your slow cooker, then carefully ladle it into cups or glass jars and dip your eggs in for dyeing. You’ll still want to add a liner before you start cooking will prevent discoloration of your crock.

In each case, fill your slow cooker about half full with water. Add plenty of the plant material suggested below and allow it to cook on high for 3 to 4 hours until your dye liquid is fairly dark.

Here are some ideas for making the dyes:

–  Several big handfuls of dry onion skins (I save them ahead of time)

–  One small head of red cabbage, sliced

–  Six beets, quartered

–  1 to 2 cups of coffee grounds

–  8 to 10 tea bags – more for deeper colors.

Allow the dye to cook, then carefully ladle some of the liquid in jars and let your hard boiled eggs to sit in the mixture for several minutes. The longer they sit, the darker the color. You’ll end up with pretty soft shades of yellow, purple, red, brown, and green. All will be earthy, subtle tones.

Until next time,

Bea