Spring into Easter with Reinvented Family Recipes

Vegetable casseroles and carrot cake have been Easter menu mainstays for decades, but with the majority of millennials now hosting holiday family gatherings, retro dishes are getting a flavorful facelift with new ingredients and flavor twists.

Chef Kevan Vetter of the McCormick Kitchens offers these tips to put a new spin on Easter favorites:

  • Liven up the Easter ham with a spicy-sweet glaze of apricot jam, pineapple juice and chipotle chili pepper. Brush on a spiral-cut ham before roasting in the oven.
  • Upgrade a traditional vegetable casserole by sprinkling a layer of cheddar cheese and topping with potato tots. Bake until the tots are crisp and golden brown and the casserole is bubbly.
  • Combine two classic Easter desserts in one; swirl carrot cake batter into a smooth and creamy cheesecake base with a hint of lemon. Bake and cut into bars.

Elevate your holiday meal with these creative updates to Easter classics. For more recipes and tips, check out McCormick.com and visit McCormick Spice on Facebook and Pinterest.

Carrot Cake Swirled Cream Cheese BarsCarrot Cake Swirled Cream Cheese Bars

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 24


  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour, divided
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp McCormick Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp McCormick Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 2 tsp McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp McCormick Pure Lemon Extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix 1 cup each of flour and sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Add oil, 2 eggs, vanilla extract and carrots; mix well. Spread half of the batter into greased and floured 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Reserve remaining batter. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese and remaining 1 cup sugar in another large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add milk, remaining 2 tablespoons flour and lemon extract; beat until well blended. Add remaining 2 eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended.

Drop spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture and reserved carrot cake batter, alternately, over carrot cake batter in pan. Cut through several times with knife for marble effect.

Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.


Apricot Pineapple Chipotle Glazed HamApricot Pineapple Chipotle Glazed Ham

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Servings: 24


  • 1 bone-in spiral-cut ham, about 10 pounds
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 3/4 tsp McCormick Chipotle Chili Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp McCormick Garlic Powder


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place ham on its side in roasting pan. Mix apricot jam, pineapple juice, chipotle chili pepper and garlic powder in small bowl until well blended. Brush half of the jam mixture over ham, gently separating slices so mixture can reach middle of ham. Cover loosely with foil.

Bake 1 hour, basting occasionally with pan drippings. Remove foil. Brush with remaining jam mixture. Bake 45 minutes longer. Serve ham with pan drippings.


Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Tater-Topped CasseroleCheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Tater-Topped Casserole

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes
Servings: 14


  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp McCormick Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 tsp McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound frozen fried potato tots


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut up any large broccoli or cauliflower florets into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour, Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper. Add milk; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese and Parmesan cheese; cook and stir until cream cheese is melted. Add vegetables; toss gently to coat.

Spoon into 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with Cheddar cheese and top with potato tots.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until heated through and potato tots are golden brown and crispy.