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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Casey Barber

Ready to host this year's Easter dinner? You're more than prepared when you've got this simple but sensational make-ahead menu on hand. Carve out 30 minutes each night to get your side dishes and desserts ready, including classic creamy scalloped potatoes, deviled eggs and a refreshing lemon tart. All that's left to do on Easter Sunday is reheat and serve!

Follow our 5-day prep plan below (including grocery shopping) and you'll be sitting pretty at the head of the table.

Casey Barber

MENU:

  • Classic Deviled Eggs
  • Spring Salad with Avocado, Radish and Citrus
  • Easter Ham
  • Scalloped Potato Casserole
  • Lemon Tart

5-DAY PREP PLAN

Wednesday before Easter:

Go grocery shopping! Most hams you'll purchase from the supermarket have been pre-smoked or pre-cooked, so all you'll need to do is reheat and glaze to your liking on Easter Sunday. When buying a ham, you'll likely be presented with the option of a boneless or bone-in ham. A boneless ham is easier to carve at the table, but a bone-in ham retains its moisture a bit better when reheating in the oven — and it has that delicious ham bone that can be used for soup stock after the meal, so it's your choice.

How much ham to buy? Depending on the number of appetizers and side dishes you'll be serving alongside the main course, estimate about 1/4 to 1/3 pound of ham per person. Remember that the weight of a bone-in ham also includes the bone, so up your estimate by a few notches just to be safe.

Thursday:

Make and pre-bake the potato casserole. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until Sunday.

Friday:

Make the lemon tart. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until Sunday.

Saturday:

Make the deviled eggs and refrigerate the component parts overnight.

Easter Sunday:

3 hours before you plan to serve dinner, start the ham

Preheat the oven to 325˚F.

Place the ham in a roasting pan, either on a rack or on top of a few thickly sliced potatoes or onions to keep it off the bottom of the pan. If the skin of the ham isn't already scored in a diamond pattern, lightly slice the ham with a paring knife to do so.

For an easy crunchy glazed coating on your ham, stir 1 cup light or dark brown sugar with 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons bourbon or Dr. Pepper together in a bowl. Spread generously over the ham.

Tent the pan with foil and bake the ham for 90 minutes.

Uncover and bake for about 1 hour more, until the ham has a crispy exterior and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the ham registers 140 degrees. (Estimate about 18 minutes per pound; again, the ham has been already safely and fully cooked; you're just heating it through.)

Finish the deviled eggs

While the ham bakes, fill the deviled eggs and garnish with paprika. Set out for guests to eat as an appetizer or reserve for Easter dinner.

Start the salad

Assemble the salad and whisk the vinaigrette, but keep the two components separate.

45 minutes before you plan to eat, heat the potatoes and finish the other dishes

Remove the foil from the potato casserole and place it in the oven to reheat for 30 minutes. The casserole can cook alongside the ham if there is room in the oven, or the ham can rest on the counter for up to 30 minutes before carving.

Take the lemon tart out of the refrigerator so it will come to room temperature while you eat dinner.

Toss the salad with the vinaigrette, and serve your Easter feast!