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Dining In: Create wonderful Easter memories with a special dinner

by Karen Diefendorf

Marshmallow Easter basket
   Approximately 20-30 yellow, lavender, pink and/or white marshmallow chicks
   2 c. confectioner's sugar
   10 oz. bag jelly beans
   1 small bag shredded white coconut
   Green food coloring
   Take four marshmallow chicks that are still connected and flatten with palm of your hand to create a bottom for the basket. Assemble still-connected chicks around the perimeter of the bottom of the basket (approximately 12-15 chicks).
   In a small bowl, mix 2 cups of confectioner's sugar with enough water to make a thick icing. Place the icing in a plastic sandwich bag and snip the end of the bag. To hold the sides to the bottom, squeeze the icing around the perimeter of the basket. For any gaps between the basket and bottom, place a jelly bean in the hole and squeeze icing around.
   Place basket in refrigerator until icing has hardened, about 3 hours. When icing has hardened, remove basket from the refrigerator. Mix drops of green food coloring with coconut to resemble grass and fill basket with coconut, marshmallow chicks, and jelly beans (and anything else you choose).

Glazed pork roast
   3 lb. pork loin roast *
   1/2 c. teriyaki baste and glaze sauce
   2 Tbsp. red currant jelly
   1 Tbsp. dry sherry
   1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
   1/8 tsp. ground cloves
   Pierce top of roast several times with fork. Place pork on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast at 325 degrees for 1 hour 45 minutes, or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part reaches 160 degrees.
   Meanwhile, combine teriyaki baste and glaze, jelly, sherry, ginger, and cloves. Brush pork with the mixture every 10 minutes during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
   Remove pork to serving platter and let stand 10 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, pour 1/2 cup water in roasting pan, stirring to combine with pan drippings; bring to a boil. Slice roast into serving pieces and serve with pan drippings. Makes 6 servings. Nutritional information per serving: 586 calories, 45g. fat, 648mg. sodium, 12g. carb., 31g. protein.

   * Have your butcher loosen the backbone by sawing across rib bones.

Roast lamb
   1/4 lb. leg of lamb
   1 Tbsp. lemon pepper
   3/4 c. olive oil
   1/2 c. pearl onions, peeled
   1 bay leaf
   1 carrot, cut in 1/2-inch slices
   1/2 c. sherry
   1 1/2 c. white wine
   2 c. chicken broth
   Sprinkle lamb evenly with lemon pepper. In a large flame-proof casserole, sear lamb in olive oil over high heat, turning frequently until browned. Add pearl onions, bay leaf, and carrot. Lower heat to medium, add sherry and white wine, and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, turning and basting lamb frequently.
   Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir broth into casserole around the lamb. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until lamb is done to taste. Remove bay leaf. Serves 6.

Spinach bake
   1/2 c. ricotta cheese
   1 Tbsp. minced onions
   2 tsp. flour
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1/2 tsp. dry mustard or 1 tsp. Dijon style mustard
   1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
   1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, cooked, drained ad pressed
   Pimientos
   In a medium bowl, beat together all ingredients except spinach. Lay spinach in bottom of greased 1 1/2-quart casserole or baking dish. Pour mixed ingredients on top of spinach. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven about 30 to 35 minutes until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Garnish with pimientos.

Mashed potato casserole
   8 large baking potatoes
   8 oz. cream cheese
   1 c. sour cream
   2 tsp. garlic salt
   1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
   1/2 tsp. white pepper
   4 Tbsp. butter or margarine
   Cook potatoes until tender, about 40 minutes. Drain and mash well. With an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and sour cream, then gradually beat into mashed potatoes. Beat in garlic salt, parsley, and pepper. Turn mixture into buttered, shallow 3 to 4-quart casserole. Dot with butter or margarine. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until hot throughout. Serves 12-15.

Mocha almond parfaits
   1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
   1 (11 3/4-oz.) pkg. chocolate cheesecake mix
   3 Tbsp. sugar
   1/3 c. butter or margarine, melted
   1 Tbsp. instant coffee powder
   1 Tbsp. water
   1 1/2 c. white chocolate chips
   Prepared whipped topping for garnish
   Reserve 1 tablespoon almonds for garnish. Chop remaining almonds. In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, chopped almonds, sugar, and butter. Set aside.
   Dissolve coffee powder in water. Prepare cheesecake filling according to directions using milk and coffee mixture. Fold in chips. Layer half the crumb mixture and half the cheesecake mixture into six (6-oz.) parfait glasses. Repeat layers and garnish with whipped topping and reserved almonds.