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Make-Ahead Easter Menu

Celebrate Easter with ease this spring with a fancy make-ahead menu. Once the meal is taken care of, follow our simple tips to get your home in shape for hosting the gathering.

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I used to wonder why my mother made a ham every Easter. Now I know: because it's yummy, can be served hot, warm, or cold, and most important, because there is nothing easier to prepare for a crowd. I mean, all you really do is reheat ham, since it almost always comes fully cooked. Brush it with a tangy glaze, let it caramelize in the oven, and now you're a creative chef -- all for 15 minutes of work.

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  • Spring Pea Soup
  • Chutney-Glazed Ham
  • Glazed Carrots with Pistachios
  • Pepper Cheese Biscuits
  • Lemon Beehive Meringues

Streamlining the menu is essential to save time for my favorite tradition, Easter eggs. I'm too old to hunt for them, but I can satisfy my crafty side and find new ways to decorate them year after year. Sure, it sounds silly to you, but every year when I put a bowl of decorated eggs out as a centerpiece, people ogle them.

Spring Pea Soup

What a fancy start to the meal that showcases the first of spring's vegetables. Use frozen peas to ease the prep on this fresh-tasting soup.

View Spring Pea Soup recipe

Chutney-Glazed Ham

Easter without ham is like dinner without dessert -- absolutely unfathomable. Try this glazed version with a subtle, zippy kick.

View Chutney-Glazed Ham recipe

Pepper Cheese Biscuits

Add a savory side to your meal. Bonus: if there are any biscuits left over, they make great ham sandwiches!

View Pepper Cheese Biscuits recipe

Lemon Beehive Meringues

Light, sweet, and easy. What could be better?

View Lemon Beehive Meringues recipe

Easter Traditions

What are your family's favorites?

Up to a week ahead...

  • Bake the Meringues and store in an airtight container.

A day before Easter...

  • Prepare the biscuit dough, including rolling and cutting. Wrap and refrigerate dough pieces until ready to bake.
  • Make the carrots, but do not glaze until just before serving.
  • Cook the chutney sauce for the ham and refrigerate until the next day.

Two hours before dinner...

  • Make the Chutney-Glazed Ham.
  • Set the table.

An hour before dinner...

  • Prepare the Spring Pea Soup straight through.

30 minutes before sitting down to dinner...

  • Bake the biscuits.
  • Reheat and glaze the carrots.
  • Have ingredients ready to assemble dessert after dinner.

Easter Traditions

What are your family's favorites?

Easter is the perfect time to shake off the solemnity of winter and lighten up our spirits and our homes. To celebrate renewal, I like to bring the mood of spring right into my home and onto my dinner table. Here are a few of my tricks:

  • Even if the air still has a bit of chill, turn off the heat, open some windows, and air out the house for at least 15 minutes. Burn candles while you do this, and the air in your home will be remarkably fresh.
  • Make sure to get new candles for spring with light, rather than heavy, scents. For scents that leave you refreshed, check the label to make sure the candle contains only natural botanical oils and extracts. Lemon verbena, lilac, and mint with lavender are great choices.
  • Change the linens: pack the flannels away and bring out brighter, lightweight cottons. Add a few bright accent towels to the guest bathroom.
  • Start a fruit bowl -- it's a bright, cheery, and welcoming sight on the kitchen counter or table.
  • A few prominent planters of spring flowers outside your home will make you feel like you live in a garden. And don't forget to bring flowers inside, too! A large bouquet purchased at the grocery store can be split into smaller portions: an arrangement for the dining room table, a single bud on the kitchen windowsill over the sink, and a flower or two for the main-floor bathroom.

Easter Traditions

What are your family's favorites?

Spring Asparagus Quiche

Our quiche uses refrigerated dough for an interesting and hearty crust.

View Spring Asparagus Quiche recipe

Orange Chiffon Cake

Bake a little burst of sunshine for someone this spring.

View Orange Chiffon Cake recipe

Three-Minute Lemon-Tarragon Peas

Tender and sweet spring peas brighten any dinner plate.

View Three-Minute Lemon-Tarragon Peas recipe

Three-Herb Deviled Eggs

Put all those colored eggs to good use with our yummy version of deviled eggs.

View Three-Herb Deviled Eggs recipe

Easter Traditions

What are your family's favorites?

For inspiration, check out these egg-decorating how-tos

Pearlized Easter Eggs

Decoupage Easter Eggs

Glittered Easter Egg Ornaments

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