Calling All Cooks: Easter sides from the pantry, fridge and freezer


In these trying times when we’ve all been asked to stay at home to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus, preparing an Easter dinner can have its challenges. Not only is going to the grocery store a health risk, but often key items are in short supply. Personally, I have no plans to shop this week. Instead, using ingredients I already have in the pantry, fridge and freezer I can still put together a delicious holiday meal.

The point is, don’t fret the small stuff. Be creative. Substitutions are okay. I may not have the traditional ham but do have ham steaks in the freezer. Chicken or beef steak would be okay, too. No potatoes? That bag of frozen hash browns will have to do. Baking items, dried herbs and spices, dairy and eggs I’ve got covered, along with shelves full of canned goods.

I’ve got this and you can, too. Simply look for recipes that use items you’ve got. Here are a few that I’ll be making. Hope they inspire you to stay home, stay safe.

Happy Easter!

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

1 (32-ounce) package frozen hash brown potatoes, slightly thawed

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or whatever you have)

2 to 3 cloves garlic, sliced (or sprinkle with garlic powder)

Salt and pepper

2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half

1/4 cup butter, cut into thin pats


Directions: In 13×9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish place half of the hash browns in an even layer, breaking apart any frozen clumps. Sprinkle the Parmesan and garlic slices over the top. Season with salt and pepper. Cover evenly with remaining hash browns. Pour cream over the potatoes. Dot with butter and dust with paprika. Cover dish with foil.

Bake on center rack in preheated 400-degree F oven 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5 to10 minutes, or till cream bubbles and browns slightly and potatoes are tender. Serves 8 to 10.

Baked Pineapple

(Delicious with ham.)

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice

5 slices white bread, cubed

Directions: Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, two at a time; mixing well after each addition. Blend in pineapple. Fold in bread cubes. Pour into greased 2-quart casserole. Bake in 350-degree F oven 50 to 60 minutes. Serves 8.

Cranberry-Glazed Beets

2 (13.25-ounce) cans sliced beets, drained

1 (14-ounce) can whole-berry cranberry sauce (I only have jellied)

1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed

Orange zest for garnish, optional

Directions: In a large saucepan, combine the cranberry sauce and orange juice concentrate. Stir till melted. Add the beets and stir over low heat till heated through. Serves 8.

Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole

Potato Layer:

3 cups cooked sweet potatoes, fresh or canned

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup canned evaporated milk


3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cold butter

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (these can be optional)

Directions: In mixing bowl beat together sweet potatoes, butter, salt and milk till smooth. Spread into 8×8-inch baking dish or round casserole. Set aside.

For the topping, in small bowl cut butter into the sugar and flour till crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over sweet potato mixture. Top with pecans. Bake in 350-degree F oven 45 minutes till hot and topping is lightly browned. Serves 10.


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