Food

Why you should absolutely host a big spring feast and how to do it with ease

Easter or otherwise, the tips, the recipes, and the case for a spring fling!

Jessica Brooks - CBC Life

March 07, 2018

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The lightness in your step and abundance of energy you may feel when those crocuses pop up is no accident. Spring fever affects our mood and maybe even our biological clock. If an early case of spring fever has you thinking of hosting a feast to celebrate, for Easter or otherwise, let us be the first to encourage you to do it. Winter can get almost everybody down at some point. We've been cooped up for months, guilty of tucking under the TV-room blanket rather than braving the cold to get out and see friends. It's a time of year when many of us are unhappy with our bodies (winter weight gain IS a thing), and the lack of daylight hours can be harsh on happiness. Can you blame us for looking forward to spring?

Hosting a feast gives everyone an opportunity to shake from winter's stronghold. Bringing people together encourages real social connections, which are essential to our well-being. It'll also motivate you to get that spring cleaning done early! Nothing like clearing out the hall closet and even those coils behind your fridge to help you feel on top of things. Celebrating the change of seasons can be simple too, even if you are hosting a holiday feast. Here are some tips for making it easy breezy.

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Make a workback schedule

Take the time to plan your menu and make a list of all the extra tasks you need to conquer before the big day and you'll be so glad you did. Mark a calendar with little things to do each day in the two-week lead up to the party. A plan helps keep you on track and efficient and gets all of those nagging details out of your head.

Reach out early to your guests and take inventory of any dietary restrictions

Always build a vegetarian option into your menu that will satisfy meat lovers too — even meat-eaters don't want to eat meat all the time. We've got some great suggestions below to help with that. And if you're cooking for kids too, you can easily modify what you're already making to suit picky eaters. Setting out mini buns beside the ham for sandwiches is always a good way to get everybody eating something.

Delegate!

By hosting a feast, you're also assuming the position of organizer and — don't be shy — BOSS. "Bring your favourite dish," is an invitation, not a punishment, and guests generally like feeling useful and being told how to help. Easy tasks like bringing ice or assembling a cheese or fruit plate are all good ones to give away.

Make as many dishes as you can ahead of time

Get a head start on mashed potatoes, quiche, or even this curried grain salad. Finding a do-ahead dessert is even easier. Panna Cotta, cheesecake or a show-stopping ice cream bombe can all be made ahead, freeing up time and oven space on feast day.

Now for the menu. Keep that simple too! We suggest choosing one appetizer, two sides, one meat main, one veg main, and one dessert from the list below. Many of these can be made ahead, and all of them will help you feast with ease.

Pick one of these appetizers:

Asparagus, Lemon & Ricotta Flatbread

Baked Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Stuffed Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese

Pick two of these sides:

Asparagus, Mint & Feta Salad

Maple-Mustard Glazed Vegetables

​Farro & Chickpea Salad with Pistachio Dressing

Pick one of these meat-based mains:

Rack of Lamb with Pomegranate Sauce

Balsamic & Fig Glazed Ham

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mediterranean Stuffing

Pick one of these vegetarian mains:

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Quiche

Vegetarian Lasagna

Jessi's Vegetarian Meatloaf

Pick one of these desserts:

​Lemon Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Zippy Lemon Bars

Dark Chocolate Mud Pie