Hop, Hop, Hop to Ready-Made Easter Meals

The Easter eggs are hidden. The pastel d├ęcor is in place. The chocolate eggs and jelly beans are ready to be eaten. Just one more thing -- Easter dinner. If the holiday has snuck up on you and you're in search of a little help from someone else's kitchen, consider buying some ready-made Easter fare. Here are a few local ideas:

Just about every major grocery store will sell you a complete holiday dinner for eight to 10 people. Wegmans' Easter package includes a European cheese assortment appetizer for $25, a spiral-sliced ham for $5.99 a pound and four side dishes including spring asparagus, a medley of zucchini, squash, red peppers, carrots and green beans and scalloped potatoes for $29.99.

A more economical route would be to make your own sides and explore some of the meats stores like Safeway and Giant are offering. Safeway is also selling hams for $1.49 for a spiral-sliced ham and 79 cents a pound for a shank half or whole ham. If ham isn't your thing, Safeway also has a beef ribeye roast for $4.99 or fresh turkeys for $1.29 a pound. Giant has a semi-boneless beef rib roast for $4.99 a pound, a spiral-sliced ham for $1.39 and a semi-boneless rib steak for $5.99 a pound. A leg of lamb is $2.99 a pound and fresh turkeys are going for 99 cents a pound.

SendAMeal.com will deliver a four-person Easter dinner to your doorstep. The site offers a classic Sunday pot roast and a side of mixed vegetables for $34.95, a boneless 2-pound turkey or a boneless 2-pound ham with a roasted vegetable medley, a green bean casserole and whipped sweet potatoes for $89.95. The meals come in an insulated cooler packed with dry ice, so the food arrives frozen. Now here's the bad news. You'll have to pay about $30 to have it shipped by Easter Sunday if you order it today.

Or you could do what I do and graciously accept your mother-in-law's invitation for Easter dinner at her house. Offer to bring a dessert and get ideas from our own Food section.

So what will you prepare for Easter dinner? Who has the best deals on ready-meal meals? What has been your experience getting prepared holiday dinners from grocery stores?

By Tania Anderson |  April 9, 2009; 12:00 AM ET General Interest , Grocery Deals
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