Monday, April 22, 2019


Celebrating special occasions doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg! Let me show you how to stay within your budget and simultaneously treat your family and friends to a wonderful, memorable meal!

For help with my Easter menu I turned to a website that I just recently discovered:  This lady is an absolute genius when it comes to food photography! Her recipes are both easy and incredibly elegant. I've been cooking from her site all week long. Since I was feeding a crowd I doubled every recipe. You'll find a link to each recipe under each photo.

(This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you.) 

Easter brunch menu 

First Course: Soup

I made this soup earlier in the week and it was amazing! I cannot describe for you the velvety quality of this soup! I made it with canned pumpkin, cutting the cooking time way down. I subbed hazelnuts for the chestnuts - a substitution which an internet search will assure you is fine. I disagree. Spend the extra money. Buy chestnuts.  (Yep, that's an Amazon affiliate link.) I love the taste and texture of chestnuts over hazelnuts any day! This soup is thick and could easily be used as a topping on pasta or brown rice. I'd wager good money that it would freeze fantastically, too! 

Second Course: Salad and Appetizers


Mixed Green Salad with tomatoes

Raw Veggie Tray

Olives and Fruit Salad

These took a little more prep time. But, they were oh so worth it! Homemade ganache filled the inside of these moist decadent-tasting spirals of goodness! They tasted amazing and were not overly sweet.

I used Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips. This is the ONLY kind of chocolate chip that I recommend. Here is the ingredient list in its entirety: unsweetened chocolate, cane sugar. That's it! Seriously! I wait until I find them on sale and then stock up.  Here's a link to buy your own supply of chips.

Third Course: Main Dishes

This recipe was a nice surprise. I didn't know if everyone would love the zucchini. But, they did! I assembled it a day ahead. So, all I needed to do was throw it in the oven for an hour after we got back from church. I doubled the recipe and it filled a huge 11 X 14 inch pan to the top. 

I really had to make this a day ahead of time. Using canned pumpkin, I was able to make the filling in the blender in about five minutes. The pasta needed to rest in the fridge for an hour. So, be sure to include the resting time in your plans. 

I simply must tell you that one of my favorite kitchen tools is my Pampered Chef cut and seal. I use this making fancy sandwiches, homemade hot pockets, and (clearly) ravioli. It makes crimping and sealing the edges super easy. My kids love to use it! Get your own cut and seal, here. My friend, Karen, will take good care of you! 

 I rolled out the dough and the 14 year old sous chef cut out the circles, filled them, and then crimped each one. We then threw them into boiling water for about five minutes, until they floated to the top of the water. You can top them with any number of yummy sauces. I made homemade pesto (a family favorite). The boys fought over who would get to take the leftovers for lunch today! 

Please note: The ravioli freeze wonderfully. Freeze them in a single layer on top of parchment paper. Then, use small pieces of parchment paper between each ravioli to freeze. 

Fourth Course: Dessert 

Blooming Nolwenn shows it on her website using a vanilla blueberry topping. I used vanilla plant-based yogurt and in-season strawberries and fresh pineapple. The granola crust held together beautifully and had just a hint of sweetness. The yogurt and fresh fruits were the perfect toppings. Easy and elegant .... and delicious! 

Total Cost: 

This meal would easily feed 12 people. I put the entire menu together for about $25.00! Yes! You can prepare amazing, healthy, special-occasion foods and still stay within your budget! 

Your turn! 

What do you prepare when you want to get that "Wow!" without spending a lot of money? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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Do all to the glory of God, 



  1. Hope, wow! Your menu looks incredible! I'm so so happy that you and your guests liked the recipes!

    1. We did, indeed, love everything we tried. The 14 year old sous chef and I were just back on your website again this morning, picking out more recipes to try. I'm sure your recipes will be making a return appearance on Under the Median!