Celebrate Easter and the Flavors of Spring

— Written By and last updated by

Easter always makes us think of Spring and all of its fabulous flavors, lemon, carrots, fresh asparagus, and of course an Easter ham. Most of us remember getting a new dress and shoes, an Easter basket filled with chocolate and jellybeans, but as we get older it’s the traditional Sunday lunch that really brings back the memories. From desserts, to sides and even brunch, here are some ways to enjoy your traditions and save a few calories and fat grams while you do!

Asparagus Salad with Eggs and Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 24 medium-to-thick asparagus stalks (about 1½ pounds), trimmed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 small shallot, very thinly sliced, rings separated
  • 6 paper-thin slices cured ham, such as Serrano
  • ¼ cup fresh small basil and/or tarragon leaves
  • Paprika for garnish

Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ¼ cup white-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • ¼ clove garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients

  1. To prepare salad: Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and place next to the stove. Boil asparagus until bright green and just tender, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to the ice water with a slotted spoon. Add eggs to the boiling water and cook for 6½ minutes. Meanwhile, remove the asparagus to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Transfer the eggs to the ice water and let stand until cool.
  2. To prepare vinaigrette: Combine tarragon, cheese, vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, pepper and salt in a blender; process until the tarragon is finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in oil through the feed tube and process until creamy.
  3. To serve: Cut the eggs in half. Arrange the asparagus and eggs on a large platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with shallot, ham, basil and/or tarragon and a sprinkle of Paprika, if desired.
  4. To make ahead: Refrigerate vinaigrette (Step 2) for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before using.

Serves 6. Each serving contains Calories 169, Fat 13g, Fiber 1g, Carbohydrates 5g, Protein 7g, Cholesterol 100mg, Sodium 343mg.

Honey Glazed Carrots

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and then carrots and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the carrots and add back to pan with butter, honey and lemon juice. Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, 5 minutes.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

Tangy Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 4 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour (about 1 cup)
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • Cooking spray

Filling

  • ¾ cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) package ⅓-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour, almonds, powdered sugar, oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse until almonds are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pat mixture down into an even layer, patting firmly without compacting too tightly (which will make crust tough). Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; cool completely.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.
  4. To prepare filling, rinse processor, and wipe dry. Place yogurt and next 6 ingredients (through cream cheese) in processor; process until smooth. Add eggs; process until smooth. Pour mixture over crust, spreading evenly. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until set.

Serves 18. Each serving contains Calories 129, Fat 7.7g, Fiber 1g, Carbohydrates 12g, Protein 4g, Cholesterol 37mg, Sodium 130mg.

Fire and Spice Ham

Ingredients

  • 1 (5½- to 6-pound) 33%-less-sodium smoked, fully cooked ham half
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup red pepper jelly
  • ½ cup pineapple preserves
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. Trim fat and rind from ham half. Score outside of ham in a diamond pattern. Place ham on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Combine jelly and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Brush about one-third of jelly mixture over ham.
  3. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325° (do not remove ham from oven); bake an additional 45 minutes, basting ham with jelly mixture every 15 minutes. Transfer ham to a serving platter; let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

Serves 18. Each serving contains Calories 188, Fat 4.9g, Fiber 0g, Carbohydrates 16g, Protein 18g, Cholesterol 47mg, Sodium 865mg.

Low Carb Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

  • Cooking Spray
  • ½ pound bulk breakfast sausage, crumbled
  • 6 ounces bacon, chopped
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound white sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 16 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Green onions, for garnish

Directions

  1. Spray your slow cooker.
  2. Cook the sausage, bacon, and onion in a skillet over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sausage is browned and the onion is softened. Drain off the excess fat.
  3. Place the shredded sweet potatoes in the slow cooker, and press them down slightly.
  4. Add the meat and onion mixture and the bell peppers to the slow cooker.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milks, salt, mustard, and pepper. Pour into the slow cooker.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Serves 10. Each serving contains Calories 375, Fat 28g, Fiber 1g, Carbohydrates 8g, Protein 21g, Cholesterol 304mg, Sodium 861mg.

Crock Pot Mexican Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 1½ cups low-fat milk
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 pound bulk sausage, cooked and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¾ cup sliced green onions
  • 2 cups low-fat Mexican blend cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • 9 corn tortillas
  • ½ cup salsa, optional
  • Pickled jalapeño slices, optional

Directions

  1. In medium bowl, beat eggs, milk, and jalapeño with a whisk. Combine the sausage, chopped red pepper, green onions, jalapeño, and cheese in a separate bowl. Set both aside.
  2. Spray a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place 3 tortillas in a slow cooker, tearing, if needed, to cover the bottom.
  3. Top the tortillas in slow cooker with half of the sausage, bell pepper, green onion, and cheese mixture. Layer 3 tortillas on top, then top those tortillas with the rest of the sausage, vegetable, and cheese mixture. Top that layer with remaining 3 tortillas, tearing, if needed, to cover mixture. Pour egg mixture over tortillas.
  4. Cover, and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or on the high setting for 2 to 3 hours, or until temperature reaches 160° F and center is set.
  5. Serve with salsa, jalapeños, scallions, and whatever other toppings you wish.

Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 386, Fat 24g, Fiber 3g, Carbohydrates 17g, Protein 25g, Cholesterol 221mg, Sodium 703mg.