Easter Menu: Ham Sauce & Salad

I don’t know about you, but Easter is just sneaking right up on me this year!  While I have yet to even decorate for this lovely time of year, it’s a holiday I love to host. 

As I mentioned last week, I always strive to make only a few dishes that require effort, and simplify the rest of the meal.  (And then I get preoccupied with the table, the flowers, the candles….and when my guests arrive I’m in my bathrobe with a towel on my head.)  The goal is to make this day enjoyable for you as well as your guests.  Make some of the food the day before, set your table or buffet up a day or two before your event, and on the day of the event take a deep breath and enjoy being with your family and friends!

I’ll be back tomorrow with some inspiration for sides that don’t require an enormous effort.  Here are a few ideas to whet your whistle today!
We’ll be serving the all-time-easiest main dish:  a Spiral Ham (order ahead!  I’m getting mine from the Honey Baked Ham Co.) – as well as:

Apricot Sauce for Ham and
Waldorf Salad with Savory Blue Cheesecakes* and Warm Bacon Dressing

Apricot Sauce for Ham
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
8 oz. apricot preserves
1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar

In a small saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil for one minute (don’t let it brown).  Add apricot preserves and balsamic vinegar; heat over medium for a few minutes to combine flavors. Keep warm until ready to serve, or make this ahead of time and warm up in the microwave before serving.

Waldorf Salad
serves 12-16
adapted from Southern Living, 11.08
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 large Gala apple, diced
1 large Granny Smith apple, diced
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c raisins
2 5-oz. packages spring lettuce mix

Preheat oven to 350.  Bake walnuts in single layer in a shallow pan 5-7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
Toss diced apple with lemon juice in a medium bowl; add walnuts and raisins. Right before serving, toss with 1/2 c salad dressing (see below); serve with remaining dressing.

Warm Salad Dressing
1/2 medium onion
1/3 c white vinegar
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 c olive oil
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

In a blender, finely dice onion.  Add vinegar, sugar, s&p and Worcestershire; combine.  Slowly add olive oil.  Taste and add more s&p as needed.  Transfer to cruet or jar.  Right before serving , add bacon and heat dressing on stovetop or in microwave until warm (30 second intervals in mike – you want it warm but not piping hot!)

Savory Blue Cheesecakes
adapted from Southern Living, 11.08
makes 24 mini cheesecakes
24 mini muffin baking cups
Vegetable cooking spray
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sour cream
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
1 T flour
1/2 t dried parsley
1/2 t dried marjoram
1/4 t garlic powder
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325.  Place paper baking cups in mini muffin pans and coat with cooking spray. 
Beat cream cheese, sour cream, blue cheese, flour, parsley, marjoram and garlic powder until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Spoon into baking cups; fill completely.
Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until set.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely (about 15 minutes).  Cover and chill at least 4 hours.  To remove from paper baking cups, freeze for 15-30 minutes until paper easily peels off.  Serve alongside the salad.

(*If you are serving a plated salad consider placing these cheesecakes on the side. Some of my family members don’t enjoy blue cheese and would rather it not even TOUCH the other foods on their plate!
You know who you are!)