Easter Dinner Buffet

   Whatever the occasion, the perfect way to entertain is with a buffet. Guests enjoy the ease and freedom, (especially the kids), to serve themselves and to mingle. They like the attention that places them rather than the food in the limelight. And that is how it should be, for it is really the people who make the party.

   For the host and hostess, the buffet party is good for its practicality. For those that work outside the home, it makes good sense. Many items can be prepared ahead, which frees them up later to truly enjoy their guests instead of spending all their time in the kitchen.

Menu (serves 12)
Glazed Ham*
Elegant Rice*
Asparagus and Green Beans
Melon-Cucumber Salad*
Strawberry Puffs Revel*
Easter Bunny Carrot Cake*
Coffee and Iced Tea
*Recipes for included

Several days before: Bake puffs and fill with ice cream and freeze.

1 day before: Cook rice for Elegant Rice, cover and refrigerate.

Several hours before serving: Prepare Melon-Cucumber Salad, refrigerate. Prepare vegetables for rice, cover and refrigerate.

About 2 and 1/2-hours before: Bake ham.

About 30 minutes before: Prepare strawberries for the Revel, cook rice, asparagus, green beans, heat croissants, brush ham apricot mixture, complete cucumber salad and make coffee and iced tea.

Glazed Ham
5 to 5-1/2 pound fully cooked boneless smoked ham, cut into 1/4-inch slices and tied.
1-jar (12 ounce) apricot preserves
1-tablespoon prepared mustard


Place ham, fat side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in center of the thickest part of ham and does not rest in the fat. Bake in a 325 degree oven 1-hour and 45 minutes. Heat the apricot preserves and mustard over low heat until preserves are melted., brush ham evenly with half of the mixture. Bake until thermometer measures 14o degrees, about 20 minutes, brush with remaining apricot mixture.

Elegant Rice
1/4-cup slivered almonds
1/4-cup butter
2-medium stalks celery, sliced (about 1-1/2-cups)
4-ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 1-1/2-cups)
3-cups cooked white rice
3-cups cooked wild rice
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4-cup green onions (with tops)

Elegant Rice

Cook and stir almonds in butter in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat until brown, remove and set aside. Cook and stir celery and mushrooms in same saucepan until celery is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in wild rice, white rice, salt and basil. Cook stirring occasionally, until rice is hot, about 10 minutes. Stir in onions and sprinkle with the almonds.

Melon-Cucumber Salad
1/2-cup vegetable oil
1/4-cup lemon juice
1-teaspoon white granulated sugar
1/2-teaspoon salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
6-cups melon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon)
3-medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
Crisp salad greens (optional)

Melon-Cucumber Salad

Mix oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper in a tightly covered container, toss with melon and cucumbers. Refrigerate no longer than 8 hours. Drain; serve over salad greens.

1/2-cup water
1/4-cup butter
1/2-cup all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat water and butter to a rolling boil in a 1-quart saucepan. Stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1-minute; remove from heat. Beat in eggs, all at once and continue beating until smooth. Drop dough by slightly rounded teaspoonsful about 1-inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
bake until puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool.  Makes about 30 puffs.

Strawberry Puff Revel
1-pint vanilla ice cream
1-pint strawberries, sliced
1/2-cup powdered sugar
1-cup chill whipping cream
2-tablespoons powdered sugar
Cut off the tops of puffs, pull out any filaments of soft dough. Fill puffs generously with ice cream; replace tops. (Freeze at least 1-hour but no longer than 1 week). Mix strawberries and 1/2-cup powdered sugar, let rest at least 1-hour. Just before serving, beat whipping cream and 2-tablespoons powdered sugar in a chilled bowl until stiff. Remove puffs from freezer, and alternate layers of puffs, whipped cream and strawberries (with juice) in a 1-1/2 to 2-quart glass serving bowl

Strawberry Revel

Strawberry Revel

Easter Bunny Carrot Cake

1-1/4- cups white granulated sugar
1/2-cup vegetable oil
1/3-cup water
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
2-cups all-purpose flour
2-teaspoons baking powder
1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4-teaspoon salt
 1/2-teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4-teaspoon ground cloves
2-cups grated carrots
1-can (16 ounce) cream cheese frosting
light and dark pink gel food coloring
brown decorator icing
1-chocolate-covered peanut
red and green liquid food coloring
flaked coconut


Easter Bunny Cake

Easter Bunny Cake

Step 1...In a mixing bowl, combine the 3 eggs, 1-1/4 cup sugar, 1/2-cup vegetable oil, 1/3-cup water and the 1-teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until well blended. In another mixing bowl, combine the 2-cups all-purpose flour, 2-teaspoons baking powder, 1-teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4-teaspoon salt, 1/2-teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4-teaspoon cloves; with an electric mixer beat into the flour mixture. Stir in the 2-cups grated carrots and pour into a greased and floured 2-quart bunny shaped cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toohpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Step 2...Tint 1/3-cup of the cream cheese frosting light pink and 1/3 cup dark pink. Spread the remaining frosting on the bunny cake. With the brown decorator icing, outline the bunny and form an ear, eyebrow, bow, nose, mouth and paws. Fill in the ear and nose with light pink frosting and bow with dark pink. Add the chocolate covered peanut for the eye.

Step 3...In a resealable plastic bag, combine 1/2-teaspoon water and a few drops of red food coloring; add 1/3-cup coconut. Seal the bag and shake to coat. Sprinkle on the tail. If desired, tint more coconut green and sprinkle around bunny for grass.

Note; the bunny pan can be ordered on line at wilton.com or  can be found at Michael's Craft Store, Hobby Lobby or JoAnn's Fabrics. You can also just bake in a 11-inch x 7-inch x 2-inch baking pan for 40 to 45 minutes.