Make Ahead Easter Dinner

When Easter comes on Sunday, I plan to spend as much time with my family as I can.  First, we will attend church, then come home to dinner.  5 of my children will be here, along with some of their families, along with other extended family.  We are planning on 18 this year.  Because I want to spend time at church, then come home and visit, I am doing some things ahead of time so I will not be stuck in the kitchen for too long.

I am serving ham.  I will defrost one I got for a really good price after Christmas, and pop it into the Crockpot Sunday morning.  I may put some glaze on it, I haven’t decided yet.

Potatoes will be on the menu as well.  I will likely serve them mashed with ham gravy I make from the juice from the ham.  Or, I will make scalloped potatoes (what Alissa wants), twice-baked potatoes (which we all love), or ???  Both of those last 2 could be made tomorrow and just warmed up, so I’ve done both of them in the past as make-ahead alternatives.


Vegetables will be plain green beans.  One of my daughters is allergic to many, many things and that’s what she would like and can eat.  They are already home-canned.  It doesn’t get easier than that.  I prepped them 2 summers ago:)  Sometimes we will have a veggie tray, or pickles on a tray.  I may do that if I’m in the mood or end up with extra time, but we are having salad, and no matter how big our eyes are, our stomachs can’t eat too much, and that kind of thing is often leftover.

Salad:  My mom is bringing it.  Now, that’s pre-preparation for me.  Just ask her to do it!

Fruit:  My sister is bringing it–either chunks, or salad, or whatever she wants.

Rolls:  I made gluten-free rolls this morning and froze them.  I used a recipe from the magazine, “Gluten Free & More.”  I got it from their website.  I will probably buy a package of wheat rolls.

Candy in Eggs:  My Easter bunny Aunt Janet will bring that as she has done for many, many years.  She fills the plastic eggs with candy.  The kids know that after we play “hide the eggs” a few times, they have to empty all the candy into a bowl and share it.  I also heard one solemnly explaining to someone recently that then they have to give back the eggs so she can fill them next year.  And she does.  Such a fun tradition.  They find and hide them multiple times, usually.

Other allergy friendly food:  My daughter will bring some things she can eat, and we are all welcome to dig in, too.

Other things:  People can bring, or the kids can cook, whatever takes their fancy, so I’m never sure what is going to come, but it’s all good.  Patsy is making green Jello in fancy little dishes.  That can also be made ahead.  She will do it today, Friday, and they will wait in the camper fridge until Sunday.


I hope I get around to Deviled Eggs.  We love them.  I boiled some eggs yesterday.  We will probably have Patsy color 1 dozen and I will make these from the other dozen.  They also will wait for Sunday in the camper.

Tables:  I got the table in the garage enlarged, tablecloth on, and put pansies along the middle.  I will sprinkle wrapped candy down, and that’s it.  The table is set up already.  The candy is not, or there won’t be any on Sunday!  Ja’Ana purposely picked pastel shades of pansies and Patsy put foil around the cartons to keep water from leaking through, and to make them look better.  We may add ribbon if we can find any.  We will bring a table for food in and put it in the dining area against the wall so people can move freely, while the food is served buffet style.  We will put the regular table in the living room, and many will eat there.  It may be nice, so I dug out an outside tablecloth for the table on the deck and several will eat out there, hopefully.  So, that’s almost all done, already.

My mom and I sent Rob shopping for paper plates and napkins, etc.  None of us wanted to wash all the dishes for 18 people by hand.  Neither did we want to drop our dinners.  He got really nice, sturdy plates and pretty Easter designs on the paper goods.  We will use regular silverware, and have plenty of other dishes to wash, but people will pitch in.

Dessert:  I made a gluten-free angel food cake from the Taste of Home website.  Then, using another idea from that website, I cut it into 3 layers and put rainbow sherbet in between the layers.  It’s in the freezer, waiting for me to “ice” it with whipped cream, and pop it back in there.  It will be waiting for Sunday, as well.  My oldest daughter is bringing some dessert, and we will all get candy.  We will not go hungry for sugar, or anything else.  I’ve never tried the sherbet/angel food cake before, but I wanted something make-ahead that looked special for the holiday.


Drinks:  I will make lemon-water and serve some Mango Lemonade I got a while back.  I may serve soda, coffee, and tea, as people desire.

It’s shaping up to be a great day, with much of the work done ahead of time.  Do you have things you make ahead?  After all, we’ve still got most of 2 days left–there’s still time for ideas!




14 thoughts on “Make Ahead Easter Dinner”

  1. Sounds like it will be a wonderful meal and a wonderful day for you to be with your large family, Becky.
    Happy Easter!


  2. What a special time you will have with your family. Be blessed.

    Hams were on sale here so I bought a small ham shank, bone-in, and tried Brandy’s (the Prudent Homemaker) recipe for ‘honey baked ham’. I adapted her recipe..Instead of thinly slicing the ham like she suggests, I cut slices about one inch wide. Her marinade is to drizzles honey on the ham. Then cover the ham with brown sugar. Baste every 15 minutes and lower the temperature 15o every 15 minutes. It was amazing. Her instructions are very clear.

    1. Sounds wonderful! I’ll have to look it up for another time. I wouldn’t be able to baste or anything this week, since I’m going to be at church, but we make ham quite often and that sounds really good. When Rob does them on the barbecue, he has a “secret” recipe that involves brown sugar, and that’s good too. (I don’t try to find out the secret, since I have no desire to take his bbq job away–I like him doing it too much!)

  3. My husband’s favorite cake is angel food cake with sherbet. It was made for him from his first birthday on. His mother made it just a little different–she cut the top off the cake and hollowed out the inside and then filled it with sherbet. Replaced the top, then iced it with whipped cream. Thanks for the reminder–his birthday is in July and he didn’t get his cake last year as we were dealing with his stroke recovery. Guess I’ll have to make two this year! 😉

    1. Mine doesn’t look very good–the cake kind of crumbled under the knife a bit, but I think when I put the whipped cream on, it will cover all of that up, and look lovely. Your idea sounds great, and I may try that another time. I’m glad to hear someone else has successfully done it before!

  4. Sounds lovely. I have made shepherds pie, from scratch, with leftover lamb and its gravy (recipe uploaded 2 months ago)-def gluten free. We r at church every sunday so i usually make something ahead of time.

    1. That sounds great. I’ve only eaten lamb a couple of times in my entire life–it’s just not a common item here where I live-but I’ve heard it can be very tasty. That’s a great thing to make ahead. I’ve done that before with ground beef, veggies and mashed potatoes, but it’s been a long time. Thanks for the idea.

  5. Sounds wonderful! Our kids and family are spread so far apart that we do not have a family Easter. We go to our son-in-laws family for Sicilian food which is all the yummy things like meatballs as big as your fist, raviolis, big loaves of French bread right on the table with oil for dipping, etc. I made a cake today and gluten free cupcakes for our daughter.

    That Angel food sherbet cake was our birthday cake when I was growing up. I had forgotten about that. It is yummy but take it out about ten minutes before serving to let the sherbet soften or it is difficult to cut. I hope you like it!

  6. I love reading about your plans. I cooked a carrot cake today and hard boiled some eggs. The rest I will cook tomorrow. I wish you and your family a blessed Easter!

  7. Happy Easter! Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is my great encouragement to know how other Christian women live out there lives and faces their challenges. You have blessed me with your testimony and your faith.

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