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An Elegant (and Truly Easy) Easter Menu

April 11, 2014

This easy and elegant menu keeps things classic, but with an extra helping of flavor and color. Here’s one main dish and three sides that will win you the hearts (and appetites) of your Easter luncheon guests.


Glazed Spiral-Cut Holiday Ham
We love a spiral-cut ham, but we don’t like the sugary mystery glaze that comes with it. Toss the packet and use one of our three easy and unique glaze recipes instead.

1 (8- to 9-lb.) fully cooked, bone-in spiral-cut ham half

Glaze (recipes below):
Pineapple-Prosecco Glaze
Cola-Dijon-Brown Sugar Glaze
Coffee-and-Pepper Jelly Glaze

See More: Homemade Holiday Ham Glaze

Preheat oven to 350°. Place ham half, cut side down, in a heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Brush 1/2 cup desired glaze over ham. Bake, uncovered, on lowest oven rack 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 140°, basting every 30 minutes with 1/2 cup glaze. Remove from oven, and spoon pan drippings over ham. Let stand 10 minutes.
Note: We tested with Smithfield All Natural Spiral Sliced Smoked Uncured Ham.

1. Pineapple-Prosecco Glaze

1 1/4 cups pineapple preserves
1/2 cup Prosecco or Cava
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor 6 or 7 times or until smooth.

2. Cola-Dijon-Brown Sugar Glaze

1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cola soft drink
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Stir together all ingredients until smooth.

3. Coffee-and-Pepper Jelly Glaze

1 1/4 cups red pepper jelly
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Stir together all ingredients until well blended.

See More: Delightful Spring Desserts


Hot Potato Salad
This genius recipe is the perfect marriage of potato salad with a bubbly, cheesy gratin.

1 pound processed cheese (such as Velveeta)
8 baking potatoes (about 4 lb.)
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives
Vegetable cooking spray
6 bacon slices, cut into 2-inch pieces

1. Freeze cheese 45 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in boiling water to cover 25 to 30 minutes or until tender; drain and cool completely.

2. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Grate frozen cheese, using large holes of a box grater.

3. Preheat oven to 325°. Whisk together mayonnaise and half-and-half in a large bowl. Stir in onion, olives, potatoes, and cheese until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with bacon pieces.

4. Bake at 325° for 55 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil, and broil 5 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Let stand 5 minutes.

Note: Organic milk may curdle while simmering. Don’t worry, it will smooth out when processed in the blender.


Spring Pea Orzo
The key to this crowd-pleasing salad is to toss the warm pasta with the dressing so the orzo soaks up flavor. Make it up to two days ahead, and serve any leftovers with ham.

See More: Easter Sunday Lunch Menus

1 lemon
8 ounces uncooked orzo pasta
1/4 cup minced shallot or red onion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked fresh or frozen peas
1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas, blanched and chopped
1 cup assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as mint, chives, and parsley)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1. Grate zest from lemon to equal 2 tsp. Cut lemon in half; squeeze juice from lemon to equal 1/2 cup.

2. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Whisk together shallots, next 4 ingredients, and lemon juice. Toss together pasta and shallot mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 1 to 48 hours.

3. Toss together pasta, peas, snow peas, next 2 ingredients, and lemon zest just before serving. Add salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice to taste.


Carrot-Ginger Puree
You’d never know there’s only a tablespoon of butter in this velvety, spiced puree. Make it up to three days ahead.

2 pounds carrots, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon loosely packed orange zest

1. Bring carrots and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and stir in sugar and next 3 ingredients. Simmer, stirring often, 25 minutes or until carrots are tender.

2. Transfer mixture to a blender, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Add butter and orange zest to carrot mixture, and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add reserved cooking liquid, if necessary, 1 Tbsp. at a time, and process to desired consistency. Serve immediately or chilled. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Note: Organic milk may curdle while simmering. Don’t worry, it will smooth out when processed in the blender.

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