March 22, 2021
Part of any truly great gathering is the food, and whatever form your Easter dinner may take this year, whether it’s a distant outdoor meal with friends, or an intimate family-only supper around the table, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Preparation for a special meal can save time and frustration—and prevent you from languishing in the kitchen while your guests are socializing. Here are some of our top timesaving tips.
Use Pre-Prepped Produce
We’ve all seen the pre-prepared fruits and veggies on the shelves in the produce department at Co-op, and these will undoubtedly come in handy when looking to save time. Washed, peeled and sliced vegetables and fruit can truly make your Easter dinner less stressful. Take advantage, too, of salad kits which come with dressings, toppings and all the little touches you need—pour them in a nice bowl, and present them as if you made them yourself.
You can find Cal & Gary’s Steamer Bags of veggies that are a perfect shortcut for cooking up on their own, or for using as part of recipes. Using pre-prepped cubed, or sliced veggies save you the hassle of washing and peeling, or look for spiralized veg for that extra fancy touch.
Pre-Ordering Cooked Turkey or Ham
A holiday meal wouldn’t be the same without a turkey or ham, but making one of these yourself can be quite time consuming. Luckily, you can pre-order one (or both) from Co-op, and even get us to do the cooking for you! Order a pre-cooked sous-vide turkey on its own, or with a full holiday meal kit. Sous Vide cooks the bird to perfection before you get it, so all you have to do is warm it up—talk about a timesaver! Also in the kit is potatoes, stuffing, veggies and even the cranberry sauce. Delicious hams are also available as part of a meal kit too.
The best part about pre-ordering your meat or choosing our pre-cooked kits is that you know it will be fresh and ready for you—no worries about getting to the store and potentially seeing an empty meat case where your dinner plans once resided!
A holiday meal is not complete without the appetizers. While the fruit and prepped veggie options outlined above are always a good option and can create an easy appetizer or dessert, there are plenty more appy options at Co-op.
Look for easy and popular nibbles like shrimp rings with cocktail sauce, or frozen bake-and-serve options that are ready in minutes.
Inquire at the Deli department about ordering an amazing tray with meat and cheeses that you can arrange on a fancy platter or board and make it look like a restaurant-style charcuterie board.
Visit the Bakery for Dessert, Buns and Easter Pastries
To finish off a great meal, you’ll need some dessert. Luckily, you don’t have to make your own cake, cookies, pie, or brownies; instead, let the Co-op bakery do it for you!
Co-op’s Bakery department offers all kinds of baked goods and Easter-themed treats (Hot Cross Buns, anyone?) that can be purchased immediately, and there’s also many options for cakes and sweets that can be pre-ordered and customized. If that 3-D bunny cake you saw on Instagram seems like a bigger project than you want to take on right now, don’t worry, you can find something that will be just as fun by dropping in and chatting with the Bakery staff.
It's also quick and easy to pick up some tray buns for the meal (they make great mini sandwich buns for the leftovers!) and rolls.
Prepare Early and Make Things Easier
Of course, not everything can be prepared far in advance because many dinner items need to be cooked and cut fresh before serving, but if you’re short on time, it’s a good idea to prepare what you can a day or two earlier.
Make that pan of sweet potato casserole the day before and simply pop it into the oven on Easter afternoon, or buy canned cranberries that can quickly be scooped into a serving bowl. Looking to make mashed potatoes? The ones in the box can actually be really good and you can cook them on the stove in no time (or even the microwave!). Boxed stuffing is also available and many types can be cooked in minutes—literally!
No one says you need to make the entire Easter meal from a box, but the key is to evaluate the big stuff you can and want to make from scratch, and then look for some of those shortcuts on the other stuff.
Ultimately, Easter dinner doesn’t need to be challenging. Preparing in advance and utilizing available pre-made offerings through your local Co-op store can make things easier for you and let you enjoy the time with your family and friends.
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