Southern Style Easter Menu

Orange-Dijon Glazed Ham
1 12-lb. smoked bone-in ham
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Trim rind and excess fat from the ham, leaving a 1/4-inch thick layer of fat. With a sharp knife, score the fat in a diamond pattern.

Place ham in a large roasting pan, cut-side down and cover tightly (either with aluminum foil or lid) and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours (or 10 minutes per pound).

Remove ham from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.  Pour off excess liquid from the pan (I use this to make Greasy Rice). 

Meanwhile, add orange juice, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and dry mustard to a small sauce pan to make the glaze.  Cook on low heat until simmering then remove from heat.

Brush ham with half of the glaze and return to oven (dress ham with cloves, pineapple, cherries, etc. if desired).  Cook for 30 additional minutes, basting twice during cooking time.  Remove from oven and allow ham to cool for 15 minutes before carving.

Greasy Rice
Pan juices from ham
Chicken broth if needed
1 cup uncooked white rice
Salt & pepper to taste

Pour pan juices into a 4-cup measuring pitcher to measure two cups liquid (not fat, the fat will set on top of the liquid).  Add chicken broth if needed to reach two cups liquid (sometimes my ham puts off a lot of liquid and sometimes it doesn't so I have to add a little chicken broth to get to two cups).

Add pan juices (with fat), rice, salt and pepper to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover tightly and cook for 20 minutes; stirring occasionally. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

*Microwave instructions: Add pan juices (with fat), rice, salt and pepper to a 1-quart baking dish.  Cover dish with a fitted lid and microwave on high for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 50% then microwave for an additional 10 minutes.  Fluff rice with a fork before serving. 

Southern Style Potato Salad
6 medium baking potatoes*, peeled & cut into 1-inch cubes
6 boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
1 cup mayonnaise**
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Boil potatoes in liberally salted water for 20 minutes.  Add potatoes to a colander and rinse with cold water.  Drain thoroughly.

Add the potatoes, chopped boiled eggs and pickle relish to a mixing bowl; set aside.  Combine mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.  Add mayonnaise mixture to potato mixture and gently fold until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.  I like mine on the “mashy” side so I get a little rough with mine but if you like a firmer texture, go easy. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Deviled Eggs
6 large eggs*
1/3 cup mayonnaise, approximately
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt to taste
Paprika if desired or chopped chives

Cover eggs with cold water by at least an inch in a small pan.  Bring the water to a full rolling boil, boil eggs for one minute then turn off the heat and cover.  Let eggs stand in hot water, covered, for twenty minutes.  Pour off water and refill pan with cold water and a few cups of ice.  Let eggs sit in the ice bath for 10 minutes.

Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise.  Add yolks to a small bowl and arrange egg whites on a serving dish.

Add mayonnaise (I start with a little less than 1/3 cup and add more as needed) and mustards to egg yolks and mash together using the back of a fork.  Add salt to taste.  Using a hand-held electric mixer, whip yolk mixture until smooth.  Add yolk mixture to a piping bag or zip-top bag (snip a small hole in one corner when ready to fill eggs) and pipe mixture into egg whites.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Garnish with paprika or chopped chives if desired.

*Don’t use super fresh eggs as they are hard to peel. 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese
8 ounces uncooked ziti*
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup whole or evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Cook pasta in liberally salted water per package instructions for al dente preparation.  Drain pasta and set aside.

Meanwhile whisk egg, sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper and cayenne in a large bowl until well combined and smooth.  Add pasta and 3 cups cheese then toss to coat.

Add mixture to a small baking dish (about 1.5 quart). Top mixture with remaining one cup of cheese.  Sprinkle with garlic salt.  Bake at 350 degrees until browned and bubbly (about 35-40 minutes).

*I prefer the extra large elbow macaroni noodles but they're almost impossible to find these days so I use ziti.  Any large, tubular pasta will work.  You want a large pasta so that the custard and cheese has enough room to really get inside the pasta.

Sweet Potato Praline Casserole
Sweet Potatoes:
4 lbs. sweet potatoes
3/4 – 1 cup sugar*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Praline Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 heaping cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, melted
Pinch of salt

Arrange sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil then pierce each with a fork a few times to vent. Bake at 400 degrees until tender (usually about an hour for large sweet potatoes). Check tenderness by inserting a knife into the thickest potato – knife should slide in easily with no resistance. Do not boil the potatoes or use canned ones. I mean it!

Allow sweet potatoes to cool to room temperature then remove the skins. Add sweet potatoes, sugar, vanilla, salt, eggs and butter to a medium bowl or stand mixer.  Mix on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until fluffy. Spoon sweet potato mixture into a 9x9 casserole dish and spread evenly.

To make praline topping, combine flour, brown sugar, pecans, butter and salt in a small bowl and mix until combined.  Mixture will be crumbly.  Sprinkle praline crumbles evenly over sweet potato mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

*Start with 3/4 cup of sugar and add more if desired.  Some sweet potatoes are much sweeter than others so the amount of sugar that you need can vary.  Mix everything up to the eggs and taste it for sweetness.  Make it as sweet as you like.

Squash Casserole
3 pounds yellow squash, washed and sliced
Salt & pepper to taste
1 medium onion, grated
1 large carrot, grated
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 cups Pepperidge Farm Herb stuffing

Boil squash with salt and pepper until tender then drain well and add to a large bowl.  Add onion, carrot, cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter and mix well.  Fold in 2 cups of the stuffing.

Add mixture to a baking dish then top with remaining stuffing.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Italian Bakeless Cake
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 small can crushed pineapple, undrained
40-50 vanilla wafers
1 8-oz. carton cool whip, thawed
2-3 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
12-16 maraschino cherries, rinsed

Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. Mix in pineapple with juice and set aside.

Line the bottom of a small glass baking dish (8x8 or 7x10) with vanilla wafers. Pour all of the pineapple mixture over vanilla wafers then add another layer of vanilla wafers on top of pineapple mixture. Spread cool whip evenly on top of vanilla wafers then sprinkle with coconut. Top with cherries then cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving.

Mandarin Orange Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, with juice

1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix (5.1-oz.)
1 16-oz. carton frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained

For Cake:
Grease and flour three round cake pans and set aside. Combine wet ingredients and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined.  Add cake mix and beat on low speed for two minutes.  Pour evenly into cake pans and bake per cake mix manufacturer’s instructions.  Cool cakes completely.

For Frosting:
With a rubber spatula or with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer set on low, gently fold together all frosting ingredients until thoroughly combined. Garnish with drained mandarin oranges.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Store in refrigerator.

Chocolate Delight
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
Pinch of salt
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
16 oz. Cool Whip, divided
2 3.9-oz. boxes instant chocolate pudding
3 cups milk

Combine flour, butter, 1 1/4 cups of pecans and salt and press into the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish.  Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.  Fold in half of the Cool Whip and mix until combined.  Spread cream cheese mixture evenly onto crust.

Mix pudding mixes and milk with an electric mixer until combined then mix on medium speed for two minutes.  Spread chocolate mixture evenly onto cream cheese layer.

Spread remaining Cool Whip onto chocolate layer then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup chopped pecans.