Start a new tradition for Easter meal

This year, as you join with family and friends for Easter, consider incorporating a few new traditions into your holiday meal with some help from vegetables.

Easter is a time of traditions.

Most visible are the store shelves stocked with jelly beans, chocolates, stuffed bunnies and Easter baskets.

But beyond the candy and the colored Easter eggs lies one of the most important traditions of all – the holiday meal with all of the trimmings. As ham, turkey, potatoes and more cover the table, family and friends gather to share stories, memories and the meal.

This year, as you join with family and friends, consider incorporating a few new traditions into your holiday meal with some help from vegetables.

It’s true that veggies are a staple at the Easter meal, but the challenge is how to spice them up for the occasion and afterwards.

Here are a few suggestions that are guaranteed to bring flavor, color and taste to the table and beyond:

· Get green – Nutritional research suggests the more green vegetables you eat, the healthier you will be. So why not try cut green beans or chopped broccoli as the perfect side dish to your Easter meal?

· Get creative – To get your family eating more vegetables, consider a nontraditional approach.

Ditch the dinner rolls in favor of a delicious broccoli cheddar cheese bread or broccoli and cheddar muffins.

· Liven up leftovers – Make a brand new meal by blending such leftovers as green beans and ham together to create a tasty casserole, a post-holiday tradition in its own right.

Even after the holiday ends, frozen vegetables always are good to have on hand.

They’re convenient, fresh tasting and, contrary to popular belief, contain just as many nutrients as produce at your local grocery store.

Using a flash-freezing technique locks in flavor, texture and nutrients, and helps to ensure a long shelf life. This process also guarantees the fresh quality of vegetables without artificial preservatives.

In fact, it is recommended that you eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

To help increase your vegetable consumption, consider the following dishes to complement your holiday meal or to create tasty leftovers.


Cheddar Cheese Loaf

* to * cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 box (10 oz.) chopped broccoli, thawed

* cup shredded

sharp cheddar cheese

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine pan in order listed. Use regular or medium cycle.

When cycle has completed, remove bread from pan and cool before slicing.

To thaw broccoli, place unopened box in refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Do not thaw at room temperature.

Green Beans

and Ham Casserole

2 cups cooked ham, chopped

1 can (10 oz.) cream

of mushroom soup

* cup 1 percent milk

1 bag (16 oz.) frozen

cut green beans

1 can (2.8 oz.) french-fried onions

In a microwave-safe casserole dish, mix ham, soup, milk and green beans. Cover and microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes or until well heated.

Remove and sprinkle top of casserole with french-fried onions.

Return to microwave and cook, uncovered, for 3 to 5 more minutes.