A Spring Special Occasion Dinner Menu

Hard to believe it’s almost May and we just celebrated Easter! I have to share with you my Easter dinner menu, which I think would be fitting for any special occasion dinner in the spring. Bookmark for next Easter if you’d like!

Sean’s mom was in town, visiting from Chicago. Atlanta was a little rainy and chilly on Friday and Saturday but Easter Sunday was gorgeous. After spending Saturday at a fun (yet rainy) festival downtown and having a nice dinner in Decatur at our favorite restaurant, The Iberian Pig, we woke up to sunny skies and Easter baskets. After church we got outside to the tennis court across the street from our house to get some fresh air, then it was back to the kitchen. Here’s a shopping list, recipes, and menu plan for 4-6 people.


Appetizers: Baked Brie, Candied Bacon

Main Course: Herb-Roasted Leg of Lamb, Spring Risotto, Roasted Lemon-Dill Carrots, Mixed Greens Salad with Grapes, Pistachio Goat Cheese Balls and Easy Herb Vinaigrette, Dinner Rolls

Dessert: Carrot Cake (of course!)


Baked Brie

There are so many similar recipes out there. The only difference with this one is we used egg wash on the outside of the brie, not maple syrup. Our dough was a little dry though so not sure if we should have basted with BUTTER or SUGAR instead. Oops we forgot a photo!

Candied Bacon

Again, lots of versions out there. I ended up leaving it in the oven for about 40 minutes instead of the recommended 20-30. This was my first time making this and I will DEFINITELY be making it more often. We just ate it on the side/plain but it’s great in a salad and I’m sure lots of other side dishes. Oops we forgot a photo!

Rosemary and Garlic Roast Leg of Lamb

This was my FIRST time ever cooking lamb (so this counts as my new ingredient for the month!) After a few mornings of research, I finally settled on Emeril Lagasse’s recipe. I loved this recipe because it was simple, delicious and made a great impact. I spent more time than usual researching because I didn’t understand the cut of meat I bought. I was debating braising vs. roasting. I could have sworn I bought a shank but when I re-read the butcher’s label, it said “Lamb Sirloin Half.” Once I realized I definitely didn’t have a shank, I settled on Emeril’s recipe. Note: I don’t trust meat cooking times in any recipe. The only reliable source of information is my electronic meat thermometer, well worth a $40 investment at Thanksgiving. This is the only tool that will tell you when YOUR cut of meat in YOUR unique oven is cooked perfectly. I also made a side of gravy using the pan drippings (not pictured).

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Roasted Lemon Dill Carrots

I repeated the same recipe I made a few weeks ago.

Spring Risotto

Asparagus, edamame, goat cheese and tarragon make this dish incredible. I subbed in tarragon for the thyme when I made this for myself about two weeks ago, but decided the herb-switch was well worth it. I also subbed in goat cheese for cream cheese.

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Spring Salad with Grapes and Pistachio-Crusted Goat Cheese

Yummmmmmm! I’ve been making this salad for four years now and it never gets old.

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Easy Herb Vinaigrette

This recipe makes a huge portion, but it’s great for leftovers all week!

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Carrot Cake

I used a recipe from “The Newlywed Cookbook” by Robin Miller. I’m almost positive I used this same recipe last year but for some reason it didn’t turn out as moist. Maybe I just don’t remember it the same or wasn’t in the same mood. Added sprinkles and peeps for fun!

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Shout out to my mother-in-law for her help in the kitchen, decorating the table and the fancy napkin folds. So cute! And the lovely flower centerpiece was an Easter present from my brother-in-law in NY.  We also treated ourselves to some delicious cupcakes from Sprinkles thanks to my brother who joined us for the afternoon.

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Asparagus (1 lb.)


Carrots (1 lb.)



Garlic (approx. 10 cloves)

Mixed salad greens/spring salad mix

Lemons (4)

Red grapes (1 C)


Thyme (or sub in Tarragon)

White or yellow onion



Arborio rice

Brown sugar


Confectioner’s sugar


Fig or Raspberry jam/jelly



Low-sodium chicken broth (1 qt.)

Maple syrup


Pistachios, shelled


White vinegar



Bacon (1 lb., sliced)

Leg of lamb, bone in (approx. 1 lb./person)


Freezer Section

Edamame (shelled)

Puff pastry/phyllo dough sheets


Brie round of cheese

Pecorino or parmesan cheese, on the block

Cream cheese


Goat cheese (6-8 oz.)

Leave a comment


  1. Honora Ostermann

     /  April 30, 2014

    I was the lucky recipient of each of these fabulous recipes. The candied bacon was the first that I have had, and am anxious to try it myself. It could be good crumbled and put in several dishes too. I particularly liked the salad which was so different with the cheese balls rolled in pistacios. It looked like a nest, so perfect for Easter or spring! The spring risotto was so unique with edamame and asparagus and although my son wasn’t a big fan of the tarragon, I loved it. The lamb had the whole home smelling delicious with the garlic and rosemary! No funny lamb smell! It was done to perfection. The entire meal was a real treat filled with textures and colors and tastes!

  2. Libby Turner

     /  April 30, 2014

    What a spread! Incredible! It all looks and sounds delicious. Wish I could have been there too. Maybe someday.?.

  3. Wish you were there too! Definitely one day! Love ya!

  1. DIY Salad Dressing | On The Rhoades

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