Happy Easter! I hope you all had a peaceful holiday – it was definitely a different feeling this year with a stay-at-home order in effect, and while we all missed getting out to church in the morning, we still enjoyed lots of family time and plentiful food. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I planned to make cinnamon rolls for breakfast, Easter Dinner on 2 Sheet Pans, and a lamb cake for dessert.
Guys, don’t make homemade cinnamon rolls unless you want to ruin the canned stuff for the rest of your life. I grew up eating a lot of cinnamon rolls – my dad made the canned ones for breakfast every Sunday morning and we made pretty frequent trips to the mall Cinnabon – but I never tried homemade until I made this same recipe about 7 years ago. While I haven’t taken the time to make them since then, I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy the alternatives either. This time I did most of the work the night before, and just popped the pan into the fridge after letting the rolls rise in the pan. I let the butter and cream cheese for the frosting soften overnight on the counter, so everything was ready to go in the morning. If you are like me and don’t want to spend an hour or longer making an extra special breakfast in the morning, this is the way to do it!
I started making our Easter dinner on the early side. Maybe it is the houseful of kids, or maybe I am just a particularly slow cook, but recipes almost always take me longer than they say they will. Yet in some sort of Easter miracle, this recipe took me the exact amount of time it said it would. Amazing. The potatoes au gratin were the star at our house, and even my sauce-hating 5-year-old really enjoyed them. I don’t have a mandolin, but my food processor’s 2mm slicing disc worked just as well. One thing I would change about this recipe is the cook time on the asparagus and carrots – it was just too long.
This year’s lamb cake started out dramatically the day before Easter when I lost the lamb pan. My kids really looked forward to this cake – they had spent the whole week divvying up the cake, and I had spent the whole week listening to them chime, “I get the head!” and, “I get the tush!” So it was a frantic and sad 30 minutes as I searched and imagined telling them that there would be no lamb cake this year. Of course I did eventually find it tucked away inside my stock pot. It is not the first thing I have stored in the stock pot and then lost, and sadly will probably not be the last. So after all that, I did get the lamb cake made. It was kind of sloppy this year, which is what happens when you forget to take it out of the pan for almost 24 hours and don’t pipe frosting until your kids are asking to eat the cake. The recipe does only call for 3 cups of cake batter, so if you use the The Cake Bible’s recipe for Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake (find the recipe online here), you will have enough leftover batter for seven cupcakes. This year I paired it with Sally’s Favorite Vanilla Buttercream. I think I still prefer the flavor of the coconut frosting from last year, but this one was a lot faster to make and still quite tasty.
This week we are back to simpler, more standard fare. This will be my first time making the ham and Swiss sliders. We had them at a friend’s house a few months ago and my husband and I both liked them, so they seem like a good way to use up the leftover Swiss cheese from Easter (I subbed Swiss for Gruyere in the potatoes au gratin). The kids will most likely eat a deconstructed version of the sandwiches. I have high hopes for the chicken parm meatballs, which is the other new recipe we will be trying in the next couple of weeks. At least one of my kids is SUPER into meatballs right now and one is moderately interested in them, so my fingers are crossed on that one.
I hope to make a menu plan for the entire month of May, but our grocery store continues to have shortages of random things, so we might stay more week-to-week for a bit longer. We’ve just gotta stay flexible right now!
S 4/19 Pasta with burst cherry tomato sauce, green vegetables
M 4/20 Ham and Swiss cheese sliders, broccoli
T 4/21 Slow cooker tomato soup (from The Complete Slow Cooker), biscuits, spinach
W 4/22 Leftovers
R 4/23 Eggs, vegetables
F 4/24 Pizza (crust, sauce), vegetables
S 4/25 Chicken and snap pea stir fry, rice
S 4/26 Pasta with chicken parm meatballs, vegetables
M 4/27 Mayo-free chicken salad sandwiches, carrots, fruit
T 4/28 Potato cauliflower soup, vegetables, bread
W 4/29 Leftovers
R 4/30 Eggs, vegetables
F 5/1 Pizza (crust, sauce), vegetables
S 5/2 Cheesy farro with chicken and broccoli