Trust in the tried-and-true back-of-the-box recipes for Easter

Arthi Subramaniam, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Entertaining

Here are some recipes that have won likes and hearts:

Upside-down pineapple cake: I will buy canned pineapple slices and maraschino cherries just to make this King Arthur flour recipe that I first came across on the back of a 5-pound bag. The cake does not take much effort to make and plops out of the pan perfectly — all with just one egg and not too much butter, sugar or flour. If you want the cake to look bright and cheery before taking it to the table or if you are posting a pic on Instagram, place a candied or maraschino cherry on top of the ones already on the cake.

One-bowl brownies: The recipe was first printed inside the box of Baker’s Chocolate some 20 years ago and it has been a keeper since. That’s right, you need just one bowl to make the brownies. Two cups of sugar might seem too much for one cup of flour in Baker’s recipe but the sweetness is cut by the unsweetened chocolate. BTW, the straightforward recipe does not call for any embellishments; the pecans do the work. But it is Easter after all and why not top the brownies with Reese’s eggs to make them look festive.

Raspberry gelatin cake: “There’s always room for Jell-O” was a popular slogan in the 19050s and ‘60s. That jingle holds true even today at Easter when gelatin-based “salads” crop up in some fashion on the table. If the word “salad” can be used loosely with Jell-O, why not “cake”? Make a Raspberry Angel Cake, featured on the Kraft Heinz Co. website, with just three ingredients — frozen raspberries, raspberry gelatin and angel food cake. In the event, you can’t find prepared angel cake in the store, don’t go hunting for it; just use ladyfinger cookies or any other light and airy cookie. Whether it is served in the beginning or at the end of the meal, the “cake” will get the hashtag #whatsnottolike.

Lemon pie: Thick, sticky and sweet, the Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk by Borden Inc. was first introduced in 1856. In 1931, homemakers were paid 25 cents for submitting recipes to the company, which received 80,000 in all. Over the years, recipes for smoothies, fudge, cakes and pies were printed on the labeling around the can. The luscious lemon cream pie on a graham cracker crust is classic 100%. Sweet, tangy and straightforward, it is a reminder that there is something to savor during these times.

Crescent roll pie: In 1980, Pillsbury came out with an easy-peasy replacement for a pie crust — crescent rolls. And they have been popular since then with rookie bakers and those looking for shortcuts. Start by popping open a can with an image of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Then separate the premade perforated crescent dough into triangles and place them in a pie plate, pressing them down and together. And voila, you have a crust. All you do next is pile on a filling, savory or sweet, and you’ll have a ta-da moment.


Tortellini soup: Upgrade a soup by tossing in some tortellini, whether it is stuffed with cheese, meat or both. Missouri-based Louisa Foods, the long-time maker of the famed St. Louis Style Roasted Ravioli, features a recipe for pasta soup with broccoli to promote its tri-color frozen tortellini made with tomato, spinach and fresh egg dough and stuffed with a blend of cheeses. When combined with a made-from-scratch broccoli soup, it makes for a satisfying side or can be a meal in itself.



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