Trying to decide on what to serve for your Easter Sunday dinner?

Ham will be center stage on many Easter tables. We have lots of choices as to what kind to buy. There’s the big whole ham that many of you will be having; the tasty, hickory-smoked Virginia hams with the dark red meat; the popular smoked, spiral-cut ham, which is usually what I buy; fresh hams; and smaller shank portions for serving a few people.

Most hams these days are already cooked and mainly need heating. The time to reheat is determined by the size of the ham and how “done” you like your ham. We know now not to overcook pork; however, some of us still like “to cook it to death.”

Scoring can be done when you first put the ham in the oven. If the top of the ham is real close to the top heating element, it may get too brown and dry out. In that case, shield it with a piece of folded foil on top of the ham. About 30-45 minutes before removing from the oven is when you decorate the top side with pineapple if you like fruit garnish, and that’s also when you begin glazing every 10-15 minutes.

Instead of putting canned pineapple on the ham, I baked fresh pineapple slices separately as a side dish, flavoring with brown sugar and apple cider vinegar spiced with a little ginger and basil. The pineapple has a nice, sweet, but pickled, flavor.

Make an easy cold Creole Mustard Sauce or a Tangy Cherry Sauce to serve with the ham.

I made a homemade coconut cake with lemon filling for dessert. In fact, I made two coconut cakes. The first one I made with the 7-minute frosting was sugary because I tried to combine two recipes. So, I scratched that icing and used one from my college days which is quicker and more foolproof. It tastes very similar to 7-minute icing but it’s not quite as sweet. Both call for making a boiled syrup that’s slowly added to beaten egg whites. You will need a candy thermometer and electric mixer for making it.

I like a tart lemon filling on either a white or yellow cake with this cooked icing. You can make your own lemon curd for the filling or use the Easy Lemon Filling — and delicious — shortcut, which jazzes up a box of cooked lemon pie filling.

I made the first cake from scratch and being in a hurry to make the second cake, I used Anne’s Old-Fashioned Yellow Cake Mix. Anne Byrn (The Cake Mix Doctor) now has a line of cake mixes that are simple and delicious. I found the cake mix at Calandro’s Supermarket on Perkins Road in Baton Rouge. If your grocery store doesn’t carry it, use your favorite brand. Byrn has interesting cake ideas on her website,

Fill in with your own fresh vegetables and you have your Easter menu on the way.

Corinne Cook is a columnist for The Advocate. Reach her at