I have always loved menu planning, so turning that into an actual job has been absolutely incredible. Since I’ve started catering, it’s been an extra treat to plan a menu that I actually get to eat! My mom and I are hosting Easter this year for some of our family and we got together last weekend to plan.

We’re both pretty serious about food. Whenever we plan a party together, we end up coming up with our own lists ahead of time before we get together to make up the final menu. She’s very patient with me – I, admittedly, can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to food. I get super into planning and want everything to be perfect.

So, because I love food and menu planning so much, I thought it would be fun to put together a few tips for holiday menu planning.

Presbyterian Cocktail

Start with a signature cocktail.

Offering a signature cocktail, in addition to beer and wine, gets the party started and is often a great conversation piece. The ideal party cocktail is one that can either be mixed in advance (for large parties), or that one that’s quick to make individually. I made Presbyterians for a cocktail party my mom hosted recently and they were a great conversation starter (mostly because of their name!). Lemon Bellinis are on the menu for this Easter.

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Mix old and new.

For holiday menus especially, I like to not stray too far from family tradition. That said, there’s nothing wrong with making updates to old favorites, whether it be an updated version of deviled eggs or a new cooking method for lamb. I think its fun to give people the food they expect, but with a twist.

Pea and Mint Soup

Make as much ahead as possible.

This one might seem obvious, but I think worth mentioning. I still sometimes fall into the trap of having to do too much cooking last minute, and that’s stressful for both me and, probably, the guests. I try to make sure I can at least partially cook most things the day before, leaving only one or two critical things to do at the last minute. One of my favorite things to do for a party is soup; most soups can be made completely ahead and gently reheated before serving. Cold soups are a bonus!


Have fun.

It’s really easy to get stressed out when you’re cooking for a crowd, so you have to make it fun. After all, food is supposed to bring people together. Whenever I host a party with my mom, we have a “cooking party” the night before. We pop open some wine (or bubbly), and make the cooking our entertainment.

And with that, here is this year’s Easter menu:

Lemon Bellinis

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms
Pimento Cheese

Pea and Mint Soup

Main Course
Sous Vide Leg of Lamb with Parsley and Mint Chimmichurri
Traditional Mashed Potatoes
Sous Vide Glazed Carrots
Roasted Asparagus
Farro and Spring Vegetable Salad (vegetables TBD!)

TBD (family is bringing)

Happy Easter, everyone!

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