Ora et Schola

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Easter is the highest and most glorious liturgical season of the year! This Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior deserves a meal fit for a king! Today, I will share my secrets and tips for preparing and executing a low stress Catholic Easter dinner. Easter is very special in our home, and I always make sure to take time to prepare a wonderful and delicious feast to celebrate this joyous and holy occasion.

The more you prepare in advance, the more focus and attention you can give to the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Of course, you also want to give your time and attention to your family on Easter!

Offer up all of your work and preparation as a prayer to God! You can also pray for the intercession of Sts. Martha and Mary of Bethany. Martha was a true homemaker who was very dedicated to hospitality and serving others, and Mary was always present to her guests and visitors – especially when Jesus came to her home! I strive and pray to be a balanced mixture of Martha and Mary in my hospitality towards others.

How do you host a low stress Catholic Easter dinner?

First of all, you will be doing most of the work for your low stress Catholic Easter dinner in advance. You can freeze many of the components or recipes that I am about to recommend!

Ideally, you could spread the prep out throughout the Lenten season. However, if you homeschool multiple small children, Holy Week will be plenty of time to prepare for a lovely Easter meal. I actually love pouring myself out during Holy Week to serve my family by preparing the Easter feast! 

Perhaps you could also plan some easy and meaningful Holy Week homeschool activities with your children, and build in time for cooking here and there.

If you make time for prayer and preparation to receive Jesus, everything else falls into place. He will give you the grace to prepare a beautiful Easter meal for your family.

My main tips are:

  • prepare as much in advance as possible – during Lent and/or Holy Week. Use Holy Saturday to assemble and do any last minute prep

  • keep the menu simple but delicious

  • pick special dishes just for Easter and repeat them year after year (it will only get easier with practice!)

  • involve the kids! Or, at least, accept that small ones may want to “help.” This may take a little longer than if you did it on your own, but it will be much more fun and enjoyable to take a laid back approach and allow them to help in whatever ways they can. One day, they will grow into big kids who WILL be a big help!

  • accept any help anyone is willing to give such as bringing a side dish or dessert to help out with the meal

lasagna for a low stress Catholic Easter dinner

Catholic Christ-Centered Easter Decorations for your low stress Catholic Easter dinner

It is so fun and joyful to decorate for Easter! Decorate and set your table on Holy Saturday, so you can rejoice in the Resurrected Lord on Sunday! You may consider the following easy decorations to carry out a low stress Catholic Easter dinner:

  • fresh flowers – especially lilies! Lilies symbolize purity and peace. The lily flower also symbolizes rebirth since the gorgeous flower bursts forth from the bulb much like Christ coming forth from the tomb!
  • white tablecloth and linens since white is the liturgical color of Easter
  • an Alleluia banner or wall hanging
  • crosses with white fabric drapes on them
  • colorful eggs – another symbol of new life!
  • pictures of the Resurrected Christ
  • “He is risen!” signs and decor
  • bright, floral wreaths
  • Easter candy tomb centerpiece (see below)

What are good foods for a low stress Catholic Easter dinner?

Anything that can be made ahead will help make Easter dinner stress free and relaxed. My favorite recipes can all be partially or fully made ahead and frozen. Be sure to take everything you need out of the freezer on Good Friday or Holy Saturday.

Here is my favorite menu for a low stress Catholic Easter dinner:

Salami bread

This recipe is very simple and can be made days or weeks in advance and frozen. On Holy Saturday, be sure to take out the loaf to defrost it. Then, slice and toast the bread slices on Easter as an appetizer or easy side.

Here is a recipe just like the pizza parlor makes! It’s super simple and uses store bought dough. You could also use your favorite pizza dough recipe.

Easy Salad Recipe

We like to have a big, chopped salad as a side for our Easter dinner. You can wash and chop all of the veggies on Holy Saturday and store separately in the fridge. I usually use a combo of red and green romaine, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, and sliced black olives.

This recipe is my favorite, easy dressing to also make ahead.

Lasagna with homemade noodles

Sticking with the Italian theme, we love a homemade lasagna with homemade noodles for Easter. It’s a special meal that takes some effort, but, hey, it’s Easter! It’s a glorious dish perfect for celebrating Our Lord’s glorious resurrection! Also, you do not need any fancy tools to make the noodles. Simply roll them out with a rolling pin and cut them in sheets to fir your pan.

I encourage you to make the noodle dough and meat ahead of time. I make the dough and separate it into two balls. Let the balls rest according to the recipe and then wrap each one in plastic wrap. Place in a freezer ziploc bag until Good Friday. On Holy Saturday, assemble your lasagna and keep it covered tightly in the fridge. A couple hours before dinner, bake it and make sure it has at least 30-45 min to rest and set. Your guests will be welcomed to your house by the amazing aroma!

homemade lasagna with homemade noodles
layering the homemade lasagna noodles

What can I eat instead of ham for a low stress Catholic Easter dinner?

Instead of ham, a traditional Catholic choice is lamb. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! Lamb would be an awesome choice.

We also love an Italian American beef dish called Braciole. Braciole is made using thinly butterflied and pounded flank steak, bottom sirloin, or rump. It is stuffed with various fillings such as parmesan and Italian herbs. 

Usually, I buy the thinly sliced and pounded steak from an Italian market, but you can also ask the butcher to cut and prepare it for you. Some Italian markets even sell the already stuffed and rolled braciole which is an awesome time saver. 

Freeze the raw meat until Good Friday. I also recommend making the sauce some time during Holy Week or some time before and freezing it. Then, take everything your need out to thaw it. Stuff, roll and wrap the braciole on Holy Saturday. Keep the rolls in the fridge overnight and then cook it up while your lasagna bakes on Easter Sunday. I usually buy 1/4 lb of meat per person.

braciole in a pot with sauce
braciole in a serving dish

Low Stress Easter Dinner Desserts to Make with Toddlers

No Easter meal is complete without dessert! If you are a busy Catholic wife and mom, chances are you have some toddlers in the mix you want to “help” you.

Here are 3 of my favorite no-fail, easy desserts that call all be made ahead of time with toddlers!


My husband’s uncle ALWAYS made the most delicious cheesecake every Easter. Since he passed away, we have been carrying on the homemade cheesecake tradition.

Cheesecake can be tricky, but I found the easiest and most delicious recipe that is now my go-to. Toddlers love helping with it. Since it only has 5 ingredients, it’s a very fun and enjoyable dessert to make with toddlers!

Usually, I make the cheesecake by Holy Monday or Holy Tuesday and freeze it until Easter. Cheesecake is usually eaten cold after setting in the fridge or freezer so it’s great for making ahead.

I love this recipe because it does not require a water bath, but I do recommend putting the cheesecake pan on top of a cookie sheet with edges. Sometimes, a but of sugary liquid leaks out of the cheesecake pan on the bottom and you do not want this dripping in your oven.

Resurrection Cookies

These cookies are great for teaching Catholic kids about Christ’s Passion. There is accompanying scripture to read with each step and ingredient. Then, you “seal” the cookies in the oven until Easter morning! The cookies come out hollow – or empty – just like Jesus tomb! They are also absolutely delicious and perfect for another easy Easter dinner dessert option.

preparing the resurrection cookies
plate of resurrection cookies

Chocolate Marshmallow Sunbutter Candy Treats

This is an awesome treat to make for Easter, especially if you need a peanut-free candy option for family or friends with peanut allergies. Again, toddlers love helping with it!

I used dark chocolate chips from Trader Joe’s and they stayed great in the fridge all week. We will definitely be making them again throughout Easter!

Easter Candy Tomb Centerpiece

This is probably the easiest recipe on the list. It is also very yummy and perfect to use as a centerpiece.

You can adapt this using your favorite Easter candy. You just need something resembling the tomb or even 3 crosses for Calvary. I have made many variations over the years based on whatever candy I find at the store. 

Easter candy tomb centerpiece

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