Well, hello spring! You’ve been a long time coming. After many cold and wet days, we sure are glad to see you.
There is so much to love about spring: the fresh blooms, green grass (especially for those of us with Bermuda lawns), baseball, daylight saving time; spring cleaning; digging in the garden; and birds chirping early in the morning. It feels like a new beginning. A breath of fresh air (minus the pollen).
Spring also brings the Easter season, a wonderful occasion for worship and gathering around the table. When we think about our Easter lunch in the South, some dishes like ham, deviled eggs, green bean casserole and coconut cake are staples. It just wouldn’t be the same without them.
But we need to add a few more dishes to this Southern menu. You know I have some ideas.
First up is this slow cooker macaroni and cheese. Honestly, we have this at just about every family meal I cook. Putting it in the slow cooker frees up much needed oven space and that’s always a win-win. These mayonnaise rolls are so easy and delicious. I sure do like easy and good. And last but certainly not least is this classic mandarin orange cake. My grandmother made this cake for years. It is the perfect ending for your Easter dinner!
Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded provolone cheese
Cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine soup, milk, sour cream, butter and seasonings; cook and stir over medium-low heat until blended. Stir in cheese until melted. Drain pasta; transfer to greased 3 quart slow cooker. Stir in cheese mixture. Cook, covered on low 1-2 hours or until heated through. If it dries out, add a little milk and stir.
Easy Mayonnaise Rolls
2 cups self-rising flour
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Mandarin Orange Cake
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 box yellow cake mix
1 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained and diced
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix (5.1 ounce)
1 16 ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
Garnish with an additional 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
Directions for Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13 baking pan and set aside. Combine eggs and vegetable oil in a large bowl and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined. Add cake mix and beat on low speed for two minutes. Gently fold in the mandarin oranges. Pour batter into the baking pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.
Directions for Frosting:
With a rubber spatula gently fold together the crushed pineapple and vanilla pudding. Let sit for a few minutes until slightly thickened then add the whipped topping. Spread frosting on top of the cake and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Garnish with mandarin oranges.