Practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you have to skip the ham.

By Emily VanSchmus
April 09, 2020
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Easter looks different this year: As we practice social distancing, people are turning to virtual Easter egg hunts and at-home activities rather than hosting large gatherings. But just because you can’t invite the entire family over, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate with a traditional Easter dinner. That also might mean making do with a few ingredient substitutions, and that's ok, too. Here are seven ways to prepare a delicious dinner that’s small enough to feed just the people you’re quarantining with.

Credit: Andy Lyons

Make Small Servings

Our apple butter-glazed ham recipe serves 4 and is a delicious alternative to the 10-pound ham you might be used to making. Can’t find ham? Substitute with a new take on pork (our herb-rubbed pork is insanely good) or dress up a plain chicken by making lemon thyme rotisserie chicken in the air fryer

Put Leftovers to Good Use

With many foods in short supply, eliminating food waste is at the top of our list this holiday. If you do roast a bigger ham than you can eat in one sitting, put it to good use by meal planning with recipes that will use up your leftovers. For week-after-Easter lunches, prepare our easy one-pot ham and greens pasta, our potato-ham bake (a total comfort food), or our creamy ham chowder that’s perfect for chilly spring weather. 

Make a Non-Traditional Menu

Grocery pick-up is one of the easiest ways to practice social distancing, but it isn’t totally reliable. Our editors have been having difficulty getting some grocery staples (like eggs and bread); if you’re having the same struggles, put together a non-traditional menu with the ingredients you are able to find. Opt for a delicious Mexican meal with beef enchiladas as the main dish, replicate your favorite Chinese takeout dish with homemade General Tso’s air-fryer chicken, or try Italian cuisine: Our skillet turkey and spinach lasagna is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. 

Don’t Stress About Substitutions

Don’t stress about making every recipe to the letter: Our Test Kitchen-approved list of ingredient substitutions will help you cook a delicious dinner with whatever you already have on hand. And who knows, you may discover you actually like the tweaked version of a classic holiday recipe better than the original! 

DIY If You Can’t Buy

No bread? No problem! If you can’t get the kind of bread you like, why not make your own? It’s actually easier than you’d think to make your own sourdough (but it is time-consuming if you don’t already have a starter, so plan accordingly). Here are 39 more homemade recipes that are better than the store-bought

Make Family Favorites

It's okay to skip the traditional meal and make something that is guaranteed to please every family member. Everyone loves pizza, and there’s certainly no shame in whipping up a homemade pepperoni pie for Easter. Try three-cheese stuffed pasta shells or perfect mashed potatoes for a meal of total comfort foods, or go with this winner-winner chicken dinner of delicious chicken dumplings. And for dessert? We’ll be making this insanely rich brownie pie

Ask for Help

In my family, certain people are assigned the same recipes each year. My grandma always makes hot cross buns and my mom is always in charge of the green bean casserole. Since you won’t be gathering for a potluck-style meal this year, try making some of these dishes yourself. Call Mom to get the must-have recipe she always makes. You could even try virtual cooking together! Gather the ingredients ahead of time and cook alongside her via FaceTime.

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