HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Help a Yankee with a Southern Easter Dinner

I live in NYC and will be hosting the in-laws for Easter this year. They always do traditional Italian Easter with leg of lamb and pasta. I grew up with ham at Easter and want to do a true Southern dinner with all the fixins (the only way they will agree to forego the pasta is if it's part of a greater theme for the meal).

So I've got a maple / mustard glazed ham recipe and I need your help with the rest. Biscuits? Collard greens? Sweet potatoes? What else am I missing? Ideas, recipies, etc. are all welcome. Please help me knock the socks off my Italian Yankee family!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm making the ham menu for Easter at southernliving.com - check it out! I'm doing the entire menu, it just seems to work together. Let me know.

    PS - I'm from the deep South.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bayoucook

      Wow! It looks amazing. I love the asparagus and new potato hash! I think I'll add that to my menu for sure. I was trying to stick with ham, so I'm reluctant to commit to the whole menu (pork roast and all). So far I am thinking:

      Glazed ham
      Country biscuits
      Asparagus & Potato hash
      Green beans (with onion and bacon from below post)
      Whipped sweet potatoes
      Lemon cake

      Does this sound southern to you southerners? Bayouccok - whaddaya think?


      1. re: jenhen2

        It sounds WONDERFUL, jenhen2! I think the lemon cake is a perfect finish for the ham, etc. I'm making the lemon-coconut one on the menu in southernliving.com.
        The only thing you MIGHT consider adding is an ambrosia or old-fashioned fruit salad. But your menu looks perfectly Southern delicious to me!

        1. re: bayoucook

          Second the ambrosia recommendation. The South Carolina relatives always had ambrosia for holidays. Right alongside the cakes; pound cake for sure, and often one or two others.

          Someone down thread mentioned deviled eggs. That's another holiday standard.

      2. re: bayoucook

        this is the menu I was talking about:
        Easter without a coconut cake! (Serves 8)• Sweet-Hot Plum-Glazed Ham

        • Classic Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

        • Asparagus Amandine

        • Baby Blue Salad With Fresh Pears

        • Refrigerator Yeast Rolls

        • Lemon-Coconut Cake

        • Peach Iced Tea

        1. re: bayoucook

          Peach iced tea: Really? My extended family would look at me like I'd lost my mind if I adulterated their sweet tea in any way ;-) The first time I served my Mother herb tea she looked at me like I had put roast puppy on the buffet.

          1. re: danna

            It's relatively popular here, even comes in bottles and a dry mix. My guests are more into wine anyway, so I'll just have it on hand just in case. And b/c it's really delicious.

      3. I am re-creating my Kentucky grandma's Easter dinner-- country ham (I'm going to try Kite's); seven layer salad; dinner rolls (she didn't do biscuits-- not sure why); "greasy" beans (green beans cooked with onions and bacon); deviled eggs; maybe potato salad as well. She usually served chocolate cake with caramel frosting for dessert, but I'm doing a coconut cake. Collards would be good. Maybe spoon bread? For dessert bread pudding with whiskey sauce? We also often had scalloped potatoes. It's a little early in the season, but succotash would also be yummy. Just some ideas...

        6 Replies
        1. re: Procrastibaker

          i like and second procrastibaker's menu.

          my thoughts:
          the asparagus hash does not sound appealing.
          with a sweet ham glaze (and ham a sweet meat), i don't want only sweet potatoes. i'd love potato salad, or a scalloped potato dish.
          and i like the ambrosia idea. so light and refreshing!
          and dinner rolls, not biscuits, i agree.
          but others differ, obviously. rolls are lighter, imo.
          deviled eggs -- one can NEVER go wrong.
          you need a RELISH TRAY, too. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/569828
          (and for sandwiches later, you need mayo, mustard and wonderbread).

          wash it all down with some great iced tea, and not that "raspberry iced tea" kind of thing.

          signed, southern gal

          1. re: Procrastibaker

            Two things from a Ky girl...the reason she didnt do biscuits is because biscuits and cornbread are everyday food and yeast rolls are "special occasion" and greasy beans are an acutal type of green bean not how you cook them.They are very very hard to find.They are my husbands favorite and before we moved away from Ky I had to give lots of money to the farmers market lady to secure the beans.LOL!

            ps do the spoonbread ....we had it for dinner!

            1. re: LaLa

              Had no idea they were a type of bean! I'll have to look out for them. We call this preparation greasy beans-- so I guess it can be a type of bean and a preparation in my family at least. To be honest, my grandma actually always served her country ham (bought at a farm, soaked, scrubbed, and big enough to feed an army) with potato rolls straight out of the package.

              1. re: LaLa

                and greasy beans are something different from "creasy greens" which I'm familiar with as a NC old-time favorite? But certainly not a bean!

                1. re: DGresh

                  this website is very informative about various beans

                  I didnt mean to appear rude Procrastibaker I just thought I should point it out because they are so very different than say half runners.

                  1. re: LaLa

                    No offense taken. I was just curious b/c I LOVE beans and will try to track down the greasy bean at our farmer's market (I'm in VA so we may have them...) :) But really, green beans cooked with the bacon and onion are delicious-- my mom used to throw in a little beer.

            2. to start: deviled eggs, cheese straws or pimento cheese with celery, shrimp with a homemade sauce (either a sharp cocktail sauce with horseradish or a remoulade type with capers and parsley, or both), spiced roasted pecans if you don't use pecans elsewhere

              Definitely biscuits. Consider brown sugar on the ham instead of maple, and pour a can of coke over it. Crispy roasted sweet potatoes (oven fries) topped with snipped chives. Green bean (or sugar snap pea) salad with toasted pecans and mustard/walnut oil dressing. I'd roast the green beans until they are wilted and I wouldn't add bacon fat, but you could. Collards if you don't do the green beans (I'm thinking about the colors). If you don't do the sweet potatoes, or want more starch, lemon saffron rice with snipped green herbs. For dessert, a lemon tart and/or chocolate chess pie.

              1. You could always do a mac and cheese...it's southern and it would fullfil the pasta requirement. Remember southern m&c is a casserole w/ eggs and can be cut into pieces...it's not the noodles in orange sauce kind.

                I never go to a family function that there aren't sweet potatoes. My mom always has fruit salad as well. If not coconut cake, or pound cake for dessert, consider bananna pudding.

                14 Replies
                1. re: danna

                  Wow! Thanks everyone. What great ideas! And bayoucook, thanks for clarifying the menu - I had looked up the wrong one on Southernliving. Yours sounds amazing! I'll check it out.

                  You all have inspired me and instead of Easter dinner, I may need to make all this food and eat it over the whole week! It sounds awesome. The scalloped potatoes and mac n cheese sound particularly good. And I am totally going to do up a relish tray - with any luck it'll be a tradition that'll stick!

                  Thanks again everyone!!

                  1. re: jenhen2

                    You're welcome. Please report back on the dinner!!

                    1. re: bayoucook

                      After a little refinement and some recipe searches, this is what I've got - all from scratch inclduing pimento cheese for the relish tray! I think it's really going to transport my family to the deep south. If only my tiny Queens apartment had a wooden porch with rocking chairs...!

                      Relish Tray
                      Ham Glazed with Brown Sugar and Mustard
                      Scalloped Potatoes
                      Roasted Sweet Potatoes
                      Green Beans with Bacon and Onions
                      Green Salad with Pears, Strawberries, Blue Cheese and Pecans
                      Dinner rolls
                      Lemon Cake

                        1. re: jenhen2

                          that's a winner. but, but... where are my deviled eggs? ;-).

                          1. re: alkapal

                            OMG! GOOD CALL! I'll definitely add the deviled eggs to the apps plate. You're right - totally southern and totally delish! Thanks for the reminder!

                            1. re: jenhen2

                              bless you, my child! i like to do little decorations on top, like 1) a little pimento sliver in a twist, 2) a little slice of a pimento-stuffed green olive or black olive, 3) a little caviar, 4) tiny cilantro leaf, 5) a little butter-toasted panko crunchie 6) chives, 7) smoked salmon 8) middle-eastern za'atar http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/za... .....

                              oh, aren't these beautiful? http://images.google.com/imgres?imgur...

                              1. re: alkapal

                                Lovely, alkapal - recipe looks good too. My family likes crumbled bacon on the top but will take them any way they can get them. My cousin's bringing them to Easter dinner, and my aunt is bring the ambrosia. Mmmmmmm

                                1. re: bayoucook

                                  how could i have forgotten BACON!?!

                                  and does anyone else ever put a little dill or sweet relish in some of the egg fillings?

                            1. re: jenhen2

                              I am so going to do this menu.I understand all these items on the menu except the relish tray what is it and what is its significants?

                              1. re: david robert

                                My Mom's relish tray would have a couple of different kinds of pickles, some chow chow, at T-givimg or Christmas it would have a couple of kinds of cranberry sauce/relish. You might find hot pepper jelly as well. All this stuff would typically be homemade. You might find weird pickles like watermelon rind or peach pickles (disgusting).

                              2. re: jenhen2

                                God, I know this was a year ago, but it's making my mouth water nonetheless!

                        2. Spoonbread (very Virginia).

                          (Though, for me, it wouldn't be Easter without lamb, much as I love ham - lamb is to Easter like turkey is to Thanksgiving. So I would be prepared for a veiled but similar reaction no matter how great a meal you prepare.)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Karl S

                            karl s, with all due respect lamb is not a southern meat, and especially not for easter.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              I know. But lamb is nevertheless the quintessential meat for Easter, due to its deep Paschal associations. Ham is not, much as I love it.

                              1. re: Karl S

                                Ham is pretty quintessential here, Karl. Love lamb, but tradition is ham for Easter here in the deep south.

                          2. I'm (Yankee) also preparing a Southern Easter dinner and heard about yams baked with Blenheim Ginger Ale (a Southern Brand), Can anyone offer more information?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: dkrom

                              Michigander for years. Ham!!

                              I roasted my sweet potatoes and some diced onions in Vernos and olive oil, s/p and then mashed lightly. I added some bourbon, s/p and brown sugar, just a little and then put in a casserole dish and baked with a little butter on top. NO marshmellows. And it wasn't pureed, just lightly mashed. So much better. That is my version. You can also not mash them if you don't want too.

                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                now miss k, i see that bourbon rearin' its head in many of your posts. would you be a maker's mark kind o' gal?

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Honey ,a true makers mark girl all the way!!

                            2. Warning -- they may agree to skip the pasta, but they will miss it. That tradition dies hard. It is even part of their Thanksgiving dinner, if I had to guess. They will come away from your dinner smiling, but will secretly complain to each other.

                              How do I know? I have a Yankee Italian family, and I live in the South. Your menu will be delicious and they will appreciate it, but it will be too "Americano". Personally, I'd throw in a couple of ravioli, just to keep the peace :)

                              9 Replies
                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                  now THERE'S a solution i can wrap my tongue around! in brown butter & sage sauce -- maybe a splash of maker's mark?? with little butter-toasted crunchy panko bread crumbs sprinkled on top? oh yeah!

                                  or maybe just serve the maker's mark on the side. that way, they won't CARE if they're not eating italian ;-).

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    And how did you know I was thinking Makers Mark :)). It is a good ravioli with or without but better with. ... I like the bread crumbs,. definitely sage and butter the only way. I make it all the time, I love it!!

                                    But you forgot ... a little crumbled gorgonzola, blue cheese for you on top

                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                      miss k, we might be soul sistahs. becauuuussseee----- i was thinking last night in bed, "hmmm, maybe there needs to be something sharp to cut through the sweet richness. <your gorgonzola -- picante? fits the bill>

                                      and then i thought, hmmm, maybe also do a "spring" ravioli, with asparagus and goat cheese. or go with a gorgonzola and walnut ravioli -- or even more southern, maybe gorgonzola and pecan! you know, i think of many more dishes than i could ever actually make and consume.

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        I make a "spring ravioli as you called it" , good name btw, with asparagus ricotta and lemon zest and a scallions. My sauce with a simple creamy parm sauce but on the lighter side, I used a little white wine and cream vs all cream. It was just a fluke. Packages of asparagus were on sale buy 1/1 free at Publix, then had 1/2 container ricotta and 1 small bag of parm, a lemon and 2 scallions. Bought the wontons and presto. Decadently good.

                                        Love walnut ravioli, never made it but had it fried with a honey yogurt dipping sauce.

                                        I think my list of dishes would be close actually, being single I try a lot of my dishes, just single versions. Publix has got used to buying 6 shrimp or 4 clams or 4 scallops, lol. He knows I cater too but a lot of times I just try the dishes for myself. It is fun. I also help a lot of friends cater so I try dishes out too. But I still come up with more than I could possibly ever make.

                                        Gorgonzola and pecans, not to bad, we some how has to get the bourbon and sweet potatoes back in there. Gorgonzola and sweet potato ravioli with a pecan bourbon glaze ...??

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          Thinking of Sweet potatoes, blue cheese and southern and light spring ...

                                          How about ...? Which I have made, roasted sweet potatoes, skinned and cut in cubes (not too overdone) and then tossed in a pan with spinach or chard, I used spinach and a a couple of shallots (onion is ok too) thin sliced. Sauteed in olive oil, pecans and a little cider vinegar, s/p and red pepper flakes just to give a bit of a spice. I added 1 small teaspoon of brown sugar to give a little sweetness at the end. Toss and serve.

                                          Pretty Southern! Forgot all about this recipe, it has been a couple of years.

                                  2. re: RGC1982

                                    I've seen in-laws try to force an all-American Thanksgiving on my family, and it's never worked. A bowl of pasta always materializes at the beginning of the meal, and amari at the end.

                                    1. re: RGC1982

                                      I totally hear you about the pasta - you're absolutely correct that they will miss it, but I don't think they'll complain. Since we're not huge into Easter, my plan was to make this more of a "nice dinner" than a true holiday celebration. And I think they're on board with that. Especially since every other holiday (Christmas, Thanks-G, New Years, Mother's Day, everyone's birthday, and every Sunday) they do up a "nice plate of macaroni".

                                      That said, I'm liking the sweet potato ravioli idea. Any idea on where to get those in NYC? I looked around Thanksgiving and could never find them. Thanks again everyone!!!

                                      1. re: jenhen2

                                        Easy to make, but can't help with buying them. I make them all the time.