Budget Easter Dinner Prep Ideas (Plus, an Easy Dessert Recipe You Can’t Miss!)
Easter dinner cost-saving tips, menu ideas & recipes for the best family dinner in 2022!
Easter Sunday is coming up on April 17, 2022. While there are a lot of different elements vying for your attention and budget, from Easter egg decorating to 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.
Tip One: Shop 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.
Tip Two: Meal prepThinking 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.
Tip Three: Plan for an Easter PotluckAsk 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.
Tip Four: Let Dinner 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 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.
Budget-friendly Easter dessert hack
Melt down any chocolate leftovers from the Easter basket to use in a cocoa dessert, like this 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.’
Cadbury Creme Egg Lava Cake Recipe
This delicious recipe uses 4 Cadbury Creme Eggs into an ooey-gooey delicious cake.
- 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
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray four ramekins with non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter.
- 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.
- Stir the chocolate and the butter in the double boiler until melted, and then turn off the stove.
- In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, eggs, and egg yolks, mixing until pale.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees until the edges are firm.
- Let cool for 10 minutes and then serve immediately. As the cakes continue to cool, the gooey center firms up.