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Seasonal recipes make for sweet, savory springtime

Amy Gunderman has always loved Easter, but she had never cooked a special family meal for the holiday until this past year. The coronavirus kept Gunderman and her daughters from spending the day with their extended family, so she set out to make sure the holiday was still a special occasion with a few favorite dishes.

“As a Christian, Easter is a very special day that offers hope to us all,” Gunderman said. “I also love bunnies and spring. I had bunnies as a child, and my girls have also had pet rabbits. I also love hiding and dyeing eggs with my girls every year.”

Whether hosting Easter brunch or just looking for something new to serve anytime, here are some of Gunderman’s favorite dishes for springtime.

Easy Brunch Punch

Ingredients

64 oz. no-pulp orange juice 

64 oz. white grape juice 

1 liter 7UP

Lemon, lime and orange slices, for garnishing

Instructions

  1. Combine orange juice and white grape juice into a large container or punch bowl and stir.
  2. Add in 1 liter of 7UP.
  3. Chill.
  4. Garnish glasses with fruit slices.

Grandma Peggy’s Fruit Salad

My Grandma Peggy always made this for our Easter dinners. It was my childhood favorite. 

Ingredients

1 package vanilla instant pudding

20 oz can pineapple chunks; drain and reserve juice

1 can of diced peaches, drained

2 cups strawberries, sliced

2 large bananas, sliced

1 cup drained maraschino cherries

2 large green apples, diced

1 cup sliced purple grapes

Instructions

  1. Whisk instant pudding into pineapple juice. Allow to dissolve and thicken. If you want the mixture to be thinner, add the juice from the peaches.
  2. Combine fruit in a large bowl.
  3. Pour pudding mixture over fruit and gently stir to combine.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Notes: This does not do well to make the day before, as the apples and bananas will brown. You may also use blueberries, raspberries or blackberries. You can also use sugar-free pudding or decrease the amount of pudding you use to make this less sweet.    

Orange Roll Casserole

Ingredients

2 cans Pillsbury orange rolls

3 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp. real butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Chop each orange roll into six pieces.
  3. Place all of the orange roll pieces in a 2-quart casserole dish. Set aside the icing container.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, cream, butter and vanilla; whisk until combined.
  5. Pour the egg mixture over the orange rolls and shake the dish slightly so it settles evenly.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the casserole is done all the way through.
  7. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
  8. Drizzle the icing that comes with the rolls over the top and serve warm.
  9. Note: You can prepare this the night before. Wrap tightly and refrigerate. Allow 5-10 more minutes of cooking time.

Quick and Easy Quiche

Ingredients

1 refrigerated pie crust

1 cup half-and-half or milk

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled (3/4 cup)

1 cup shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese (4 oz.)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. chopped green onion, if desired to add color

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for one-crust filled pie.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix half-and-half, eggs, salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Layer bacon, cheeses and onion in crust-lined plate.
  5. Pour egg mixture over top.
  6. Bake 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Let stand five minutes; cut into wedges.

Spinach Quiche

Ingredients

1 refrigerated pie crust

1 tbsp. real butter

1/2 cup diced sweet onion

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

3/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 cup (8 oz.) finely-shredded cheese

10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed free of water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set a rack in the middle position.
  2. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for one-crust filled pie. Prick the bottom and sides all over with a fork, pricking about an inch apart.
  3. Bake until fully cooked and lightly golden, 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it; if it puffs up while cooking, gently prick it with a fork so it will deflate.
  4. Set aside and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  5. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onions until soft and translucent, about eight minutes. Do not brown. Set aside to cool.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream, salt and cayenne pepper.
  7. Place the cooked pie crust on a baking sheet; this makes it easy to move in and out of oven.
  8. Spread the onions over the bottom of the cooked crust.
  9. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the onions.
  10. Scatter the spinach evenly over the cheese, breaking up the clumps as best you can.
  11. Pour the egg and cream mixture over top.
  12. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes until the custard is set and top is lightly golden.
  13. Serve hot or warm.
  14. Note: I usually defrost the frozen spinach quickly by placing it in a fine mesh strainer and running hot water over it. I then gather the spinach into a ball and squeeze it dry. The spinach should be completely dry; otherwise, your quiche will be watery.

Amy Gunderman is a graduate of Phil Campbell and the University of Montevallo, and she has been in the Franklin County Schools system since 2008. She has three daughters, Leah, Anna Beth and Lara.

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