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Budget Easter Dinner Ideas With Cost-Saving Tips & Recipes

Budget Easter Dinner Ideas With Cost-Saving Tips & Recipes

Want to host an Easter Dinner on budget? Zulily brings to you cost-saving tips, menu ideas & recipes for the best easter dinner to have with your family in 2021!

Easter Sunday is coming up on April 4, 2021. While there are a lot of different elements vying for your attention – and your budget – from putting together Easter baskets to new outfits, the pinnacle to your holiday is an Easter dinner that brings the family together.  

This year, keep your costs under control with some Easter dinner ideas that can help you save money while making the holiday more delightful than ever. Money-saving tips for an inexpensive Easter dinner menu can even inspire you to explore new dishes and think outside of the box for a memorable holiday with your family. 

Spring Clean Your Pantry

The best place to start planning your Easter dinner menu is by taking inventory of your pantry and the back corners of your freezer. Using pantry staples that you already have on hand is an easy way to make your Easter dinner more affordable, while spring cleaning your non-perishables. Anything can be the inspiration for a new dish, from dried lentils to canned soups. The trick is to not think of your pantry items within their traditional uses, but transform these items from mundane to impressive. 

For example, that can of soup you have hiding in the back of your pantry is probably still there because it is uninspiring. You’ve got two great options to get new life out of your canned soup. The simplest option is to spruce up the soup with additional items from around your kitchen to make it feel homemade. Garlic and spices can amp up the flavor while noodles and diced vegetables can make the soup more interesting. Garnish with toasted seeds or croutons or drizzle with yogurt and watch your canned soup become a special addition to your Easter dinner. The other option is to treat canned soup like a sauce, instead. Cook down the soup so it thickens slightly and pour it over veggies or meat for a fast sauce.  

My favorite Easter dinner hack is to melt down any chocolate leftovers from the Easter basket to use in a cocoa dessert, like a lava cake. Milk chocolate bunnies work, but even better are Cadbury creme eggs – repurposing that candy into a decadent dessert will earn you ‘mom of the year.’ Find my recipe for Cadbury Creme Egg Lava Cake at the end of this article! 

meal prep for weeks to come

Thinking of your Easter dinner as an avenue to prep future family meals can help you buy and cook in bulk, reducing costs and saving you time. Plan ahead to knock out your Easter dinner and your meal prep in one day, labeling the food for future meals in your fridge for ease. Worried about getting sick of eating the same foods for weeks on end? Instead of thinking of your meal prep as complete dishes, plan for individual components that can be mixed and added to for distinct meals down the road.  

The traditional Easter ham, for example, can be eaten as a standalone main course for Easter dinner and then repurposed into other dishes for the weeks ahead. Dice some ham into small pieces to include in dishes like ham fried rice or a spring pasta with ham and peas. If you’re also making crescent rolls for your Easter dinner, save some rolls to make ham and cheese pinwheels. Pre-roll the crescent dough with sliced ham and cheese and refrigerate for up to four days; you’ll only have to pop a couple straight into the oven for a freshly baked lunch. For the freezer, combine whatever leftover ham you have with extra veggies to make casseroles and quiches that will become dinner staples.  

Plan for a Potluck

Ask everyone to bring a starter, side dish, or dessert to share, and focus your attention – and budget – on the main dish for Easter dinner. Hosts often feel that they need to provide every element of the meal, but guests usually love being able to contribute! Even those who don’t enjoy cooking can bring a bottle of wine or stop by a bakery for a delicious pie. 

You can assign each guest a type of dish to bring, but I prefer to create a shared document, like a Google Doc, to allow everyone to note what they are bringing. Since all the guests can see what others are bringing, groups tend to naturally fill in any gaps.  

Let Beautiful Dishes Be Your Centerpiece

Instead of spending additional money on table decor for your Easter dinner, let your food do the work! With a little attention, platters of food can become beautiful centerpieces, without the expense of buying flowers or themed decor. Since eggs are synonymous with Easter, a plate of deviled eggs can make for a festive centerpiece if brightened up with a bed of colorful cabbage or salad greens. Or, bright orange carrots, roasted whole, drizzled with Greek yogurt and sprinkled with pistachios, will delight your guests’ eyes and taste buds.   

My personal choice for a food-focused centerpiece is a fun Easter dessert since it will last (almost) the whole meal as decor. Pastel colors add charm and are easy to create with white icing and food coloring. Or, make a platter of bird nest cookies, adorned with Peeps. 

Cadbury Creme Egg Lava Cake Recipe: Makes 4

  •  4 ounces chopped dark chocolate  
  •  1 stick unsalted butter 
  •  2 whole eggs 
  •  2 additional egg yolks 
  •  1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  •  1/3 cup flour 
  •  4 Cadbury Creme eggs 
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray four ramekins with non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter.
  2. Create a double boiler by heating a pan with water on the stove until it reaches a low simmer and then setting a heatproof bowl on top of the pan, not touching the water.
  3. Stir the chocolate and the butter in the double boiler until melted, and then turn off the stove.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, eggs, and egg yolks, mixing until pale.
  5. Continue to whisk as you slowly add the chocolate/butter mixture into the egg/sugar mixture. Incorporate the flour slowly, continuing to whisk, until well combined.
  6. Fill each ramekin half full, then place an unwrapped Cadbury creme egg in the center, not touching the bottom of the ramekin. Cover the eggs with more mixture.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees until the edges are firm.
  8. Let cool for 10 minutes and then serve immediately. As the cakes continue to cool, the gooey center firms up.

About The Author

Michelle Stansbury

Michelle Stansbury is a San Diego-based blogger and freelance writer who writes about travel, food, cannabis, and relationships. Follow her @discovermichelle or visit Her work has appeared in national magazines like Marie Claire, Forbes, Cosmo, Reader's Digest, and Bustle.

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