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Made From (semi) Scratch: March/April 2022 Recipes

Spring is finally here! The chicks are chirping and Easter’s on its way.

To me, spring signifies a time families come together to enjoy an Easter feast. If you want to add a little color to your Easter dinner table, try Deviled Easter Eggs, featuring peeled eggs that you’ve dyed naturally. Skip the chemical dyes, and color your peeled eggs with food dyes you likely already have in your fridge, like grape juice and blueberries. And for more food-dye ideas, visit my blog post on this recipe at

Don’t stress about peeling boiled eggs, because I’m sharing with you two foolproof ways to hard-cook eggs where the shells seriously just slip right off. You’re welcome.

The method works whether you’re using backyard or store-bought eggs. I like to support local farmers, so whenever I can, I buy farm-fresh eggs from Cullman County’s Foundry Farm, a Sweet Grown Alabama member. Foundry Farm eggs are available at The Foundry Thrift Store in Cullman.

For me, spring also means March Madness, as I’m more of a basketball fan than a football fan. (SEC heresy, I know.) I played basketball in high school, so I understand that game better than football. But it doesn’t matter which game and what sport you make my Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas for, they are game-day goodness. Made with rotisserie or leftover cooked chicken, these delicious quesadillas are quick, easy, crisp and cheesy as appetizers or for lunch fare with a kick. For a game-day party, cut each quesadilla into six triangles and serve as appetizers. If it’s just you watching a March Madness game on TV at lunch, fold them in half like “sammiches” and enjoy.

Naturally Dyed Eggs

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1 cup grape juice

1 cup pickled beet juice

3 teaspoons white or apple cider vinegar, divided

Place 1 1/2 cups water in each of two small pans. Add blueberries to one pan and turmeric to the other. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Strain blueberry and turmeric mixtures through a fine metal strainer or cheesecloth into two cups or small jars. Pour grape juice into a third cup or jar and beet juice in a fourth. Add 1 teaspoon vinegar to the blueberry, turmeric and grape juice mixtures only. The beet juice already has vinegar in it. Vinegar helps the eggs absorb the color.

Lower one peeled egg into each cup. Let sit 15 minutes or until desired color is achieved. For more vibrant colors, leave eggs in dye and refrigerate overnight. Pat dyed eggs dry with paper towels.

Naturally Dyed Deviled Easter Eggs

Yield: 8 servings

4 large boiled and peeled naturally dyed eggs

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard

1/8 teaspoon salt

Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and place yolks in a small bowl. Mash yolks with a fork, potato masher or hand mixer. Add mayonnaise, mustard and salt and mix until smooth. Spoon the filling into the halved egg whites, or pipe the filling in using a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip or a zip-top bag with a corner snipped.

Easy-Peel Boiled Eggs (Two Ways)

Instant Pot 4-5-5 Method

1 cup water

1 to 1 dozen large eggs

Bowl of ice water

Place metal rack that comes with 3-, 6- or 8-quart Instant Pot in the bottom of the insert pot. Add 1 cup water. Arrange eggs on the rack, stacking if necessary. No fancy egg rack needed.

Close and seal the lid. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook 4 minutes. After the cooking time, let the pressure release naturally (which means do nothing) for 5 minutes. If your Instant Pot doesn’t have an LED indicator for pressure release time, set a timer here.

Once pressure is released, immediately remove the lid and, using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer eggs to the bowl of ice water. Let the eggs cool in the ice water at least 5 minutes. Tap the cooled eggs on the large ends on the counter and roll them around. The shells will peel right off without running water.

(Note: Immediately plunging boiled eggs directly into ice water stops the cooking process and also helps prevent air-space indentions on larger end of eggs.)

Stovetop Method

1 to 1 dozen large eggs

Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover desired number of eggs by about 1 inch. (Don’t add eggs yet.) Cover and bring water to a boil over high heat. With tongs or a slotted spoon, gently lower the desired number of eggs into boiling water in a single layer. Partially cover the pan, and boil the eggs 12 minutes over medium-high to high heat, keeping water at a rapid boil.

Meanwhile, prepare bowl of ice water. When 12 minutes have passed, immediately transfer the eggs to the bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon.

Let the eggs cool in the ice water at least 5 minutes.

Tap the large ends of the eggs on the counter and roll them around. Gently peel the eggs under running water.

(Note: Placing cold eggs in already-boiling water, instead of bringing eggs up to a boil in cold water, is a game-changer.)

Shortcut Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

Yield: 12 appetizer servings or 2 lunch servings

1/3 to 1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce

3 tablespoons prepared ranch or blue cheese dressing, optional

2 tablespoons chopped green onions, optional

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby Jack, Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, divided

2 cups shredded rotisserie or leftover cooked chicken breast

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

1 tablespoon butter, softened

Additional ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping, if desired

Stir together wing sauce, dressing, green onions and shredded chicken. Spread butter evenly on one side of each tortilla. Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place one tortilla in the skillet, buttered side down. Quickly sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over tortilla, then dollop 1 cup chicken mixture over the cheese and spread to the edges. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup cheese over the chicken mixture. Place another tortilla on top of the cheese, buttered side up.

When the bottom tortilla is golden brown, carefully flip the whole stack. (I like to put another spatula on top as I’m flipping to hold it together.) Cook until golden brown and remove from skillet. Repeat process with remaining ingredients. Cut quesadillas into triangles.

Kathleen Phillips is a Southern shortcut recipe developer and cookbook author who uses her talents to make life easier in the kitchen. Find more of her recipes at

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