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Easter Treats to Serve in the ’Burg


It’s hard to tell from the weather outside, but spring has sprung and Easter is only a few days away! While many JMU students will be heading home for the holidays with their families, many will stay behind to celebrate with friends and roommates. So why not cook up your own delicious Easter treats? Here are a few simple, yet delicious ways to get in the spirit of the season.


1. Cheesy Potatoes

What is Easter dinner without a side of cheesy potatoes? This recipe only has a few ingredients and is sure to delight all who taste its cheesy, warm goodness.


What you’ll need:


1 package of frozen cubed hash browns, slightly thawed

½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly

Salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste

2 cups of heavy cream


What to do:


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Take half of the cubed hash browns and put them in an even layer in a 9×13 glass or ceramic pan.

3. Sprinkle potatoes with shredded cheese and garlic slices. Add salt and pepper, to your liking.

4. Top evenly with remaining potatoes. Pour the cream all over the potatoes.

5. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 35-40 minutes until potatoes are tender and cream sauce has thickened.

6. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.


2. Bunny Bait Popcorn Clusters

If you’re looking for the perfect combination of salty and sweet, this “bunny bait” popcorn is where you will find it. White chocolate, M&M’s, pretzels and popcorn…need I say more?


What you’ll need:


1 bag of popped popcorn

White chocolate almond bark

Easter M&M’s®

Pretzel sticks (broken in half)

Colorful sprinkles


What to do:


1. Melt the white chocolate almond bark according to the directions on the package.

2. Drizzle the melted almond bark over the popcorn and stir to coat.

3. Stir in the Easter M&M’s® and pretzel sticks, making sure to coat them with chocolate as well.

4. Place the popcorn mixture on a large piece wax paper.

5. Shake the sprinkles onto the popcorn and let cool.

6. Break into pieces and enjoy!


3. Squash and Cheese Casserole

Squash and cheese casserole is a great vegetarian entrée but can also be used as a side. Quick, easy and delicious.


What you’ll need:


1 1/2 llbs yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

3 tbsp butter

3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp ground coriander seed

Salt and pepper to taste

2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices of bread, crusts removed, coarsely ground in a food processor)


What to do:


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a shallow 2 1/2-quart baking dish.

2. In a vegetable steamer, steam the squash until tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. In a small skillet over low heat, cook the onion in 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.

4. Add to the squash along with the Jack and Parmesan cheeses, cream, coriander, and salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish.

5. Melt the remaining butter. Sprinkle the top of the gratin with the bread crumbs and drizzle with butter.

6. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes.


4. Carrot Cake

Now tell me, what is Easter without a carrot cake? Make sure you save some room in your stomach because this carrot cake recipe will have you wanting seconds, thirds and even fourths, picking at it with a fork late into the night.


What you’ll need:


For the cake…

1 cup light brown sugar, packed (or dark brown sugar)

3/4 cup vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil or canola oil)

1/4 cup greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, plain or vanilla)

3 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups very finely grated baby carrots (or regular carrots)

3/4 cup pecan pieces


For the cream cheese frosting…

8-oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2-2.5 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar

2 tbsp heavy cream (see note for substitutions)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt, or as needed


What to do:


1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9- or 10-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. I do not recommend a regular circle or square pan, as the cake may rise above. Set aside.

2. Set out the cream cheese for the frosting so it may soften as you make the cake batter.


Making the carrot cake:


1. In a large bowl with a handheld or stand mixer on medium speed, combine the brown sugar and oil.

2. Beat until the yogurt is fully combined – about 60 seconds. Mixture will be gritty and thick.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. With a spatula, manually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and all flour pockets are gone – do not overmix.

5. Fold in the finely shredded carrots and pecan pieces. Pour into prepared springform pan.

6. Bake cake for 30-32 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake, which will dry out cake. Check the cake at 28 minutes, then again at 30. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.


Making the frosting:


1. Beat the softened cream cheese and butter together on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until soft, creamy and combined thoroughly.

2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until thick and combined.

3. Add 2 tbsp heavy cream and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes.

4. Add more powdered sugar until desired thickness is reached. Add salt to taste. 

I'm currently a Senior WRTC major and Human Resource Development minor at James Madison University. I'm an executive member of Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority and also an executive member of the Human Resource Development Club. I've been involved in HerCampus JMU since my freshman year and am from New Fairfield, CT!
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