Celebrity chefs Matt Abdoo, Melissa Clark, Sunny Anderson, Ryan Scott, Jocelyn Delk Adams, Alejandra Ramos and Adam Richman share their best recipe upgrades, holiday hacks, time-saving tips and more for amazing Easter and Passover celebrations.
Matt Abdoo: Make Easter bread with leftover eggs.
Don't let dyed eggs go to waste! Braid them into sweet Easter bread for a festive treat. You can color the eggs up to a week in advance (when they're not on display, store them in the fridge to keep them fresh). The eggs turn the braided bread into a beautiful edible centerpiece. Another fun trick (once the bread is baked and cooled) is to swap out the hard-boiled eggs for cleaned, sanitized plastic Easter eggs filled with treats and surprises for the kids!
An orange zest, vanilla and cardamom glaze add incredible fragrant flavor to this sweet celebratory bread. The sprinkles on top also add color and make it feel extra festive.
Melissa Clark: Add natural color to deviled eggs.
Use all-natural coloring agents like beet juice, cabbage and turmeric to add a festive pop of color to your deviled eggs.
These magenta-colored, beet pickled eggs are Southern classics. Here, they are deviled so their yolks are very creamy.
With a gentle curry flavor and creamy center, the turmeric in these pickle eggs make them turn a gorgeous orange-yellow hue.
When you take these eggs out of the pickling liquid, they will be a blue-lavender color, but will turn teal green as they sit out and oxidize.
Main Course Tips
Sunny Anderson: Cover your ham to keep it moist.
When cooking ham, start by brushing on half the glaze and wrapping it tightly in foil. Pour water into the bottom of the pan to help keep it from drying out. Once it's close to cooked you can unwrap it and add additional layers of flavorful glaze.
I love to have fun with recipes by adding tasty twists to familiar foods. Here, ham gets five different five-ingredient-or-less glazes to suit whatever flavor profile you're hoping to achieve.
Ryan Scott: Roast your lamb in one pan with vegetables.
I love cooking for a crowd, and this recipe makes it easy and is probably the only way I want to cook lamb. You don't get any gamey smell while roasting and having the whole meal in one pan is kinda my thing.
Also, I don't use a roasting rack, but instead pile loads of vegetables (like whole carrots, quartered rutabagas and halved parsnips). The veggies will get blistered on the bottom from the hot roasting pan and soak up all the juices from the leg of lamb roasting to medium rare-medium on top.
Cute and Clever Desserts
Jocelyn Delk Adams: Make dessert do double-duty.
Make entertaining easy by letting dessert be the decorations. Bake brownies into mini flower pots and top them with fresh flowers for adorable place card holders. Kids will love making these easy and fun treats!
I love serving flowerpot brownies for Easter because they are a sweet way to end the meal and double as beautiful décor on the holiday table.
Alejandra Ramos: Turn leftover candy into cute cupcakes.
Repurpose the bounty of your Easter baskets into adorable peek-a-bunny cupcakes. Just frost cupcakes, dip them in colored coconut and decorate with marshmallow bunnies, jelly beans and/or any other sweets.
All you need is coconut, food coloring and marshmallow bunnies to turn a batch of basic chocolate cupcakes into these adorable Easter treats.
Adam Richman: Customize your matzo balls.
Everyone likes his or her matzo balls a little different. Whether you're a fan of light-and-fluffy, medium-density or firm-textured, these easy ratios will give you the consistency you're looking for.
- Super light and fluffy: Substitute seltzer for the water called for on the matzo meal box. Separate the egg yolk and the egg white called for in the recipe before combining. Whip the egg whites until stiff and then gently fold them into your mixture.
- Medium firm: Make sure to add at least 1 tablespoon of melted fat per egg used. Add 1 tablespoon of chicken stock per egg to the batter. Add 1/2 tablespoon of seltzer per egg.
- Very firm: Change the ratio! Combine ingredients using the water last! For every egg, use 1/2 cup of matzo meal instead of 1/4 cup to get a thicker texture.
Every good Jewish boy loves his mother's chicken soup. It's part of our DNA. It is penicillin when we are sick; it is comfort food when we are sad; it is communal food when we are celebrating; and it has its roots in the traditions of relatives that we no longer have with us or ones we never got a chance to meet. This is both part of my tradition and part of my childhood, and with just one spoonful I am immediately transported back to the happy, wonderful times of youth.