Spring into Easter with Reinvented Family Recipes

Carrot Cake Swirled Cream Cheese Bars
Apricot Pineapple Chipotle Glazed Ham
Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Tater-Topped Casserole

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 Bars


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided

  • 2 cups sugar, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 eggs, divided

  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots

  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Lemon Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. 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 1/2 of the batter into greased and floured 13×9-inch baking pan. Reserve remaining batter. Set aside.

  2. 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, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended.

  3. 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.

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

Servings: 24

Preparation Time:
15 minutes

Cook Time:
40 minutes

Apricot Pineapple Chipotle Glazed Ham


  • 1 bone-in spiral-cut ham, about 10 pounds

  • 1 cup apricot jam

  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice

  • 3/4 teaspoon McCormick Chipotle Chili Pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. 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 1/2 of the jam mixture over ham, gently separating slices so mixture can reach middle of ham. Cover loosely with foil.

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

Servings: 24

Preparation Time:
10 minutes

Cook Time:
1 hour, 45 minutes

Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Tater-Topped Casserole


  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli florets, thawed

  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen cauliflower florets, thawed

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon 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


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

  2. 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.

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

Servings: 14

Preparation Time:
20 minutes

Cook Time:
55 minutes

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