Ina Garten just blessed us all with her easy, elegant Easter menu

ICYMI, April 1 is Easter, and Ina Garten is planning an effortless feast (because of course she is). In fact, she already knows what's on the menu. Take notes.

This year, our kitchen muse is going the traditional route, with a baked Virginia ham that she calls her “easiest Easter dinner ever.” Her tip? Start with an already-cooked smoked ham and all you’ll have to do is glaze it.

RELATED: See the Barefoot Contessa's secrets

Ina Garten's 10 best-kept kitchen secrets
See Gallery
Ina Garten's 10 best-kept kitchen secrets

1. Splurging Is OK…In Moderation

Prior to hitting the grocery store or market, make a list to avoid excess purchases. But don’t punish yourself for occasional impulse buys—even Garten sometimes splurges on sweet treats (and hence why she has Lidey handle most of her ingredient shopping). Her favorites are Tate's chocolate chip cookies and vanilla Häagen-Dazs.


2. Breakfast K.I.S.S.

Everyone loves pancakes and French toast but both require multiple ingredients to make. (Not to mention the mess!) Garten keeps it simple and eats the same breakfast For the last decade, she’s had a cup of coffee and McCann's Quick-Cooking Oatmeal. No lie.


3. And Salt Makes All the Difference

That Eeyore-inspired breakfast Queen Ina eats every morning? Garten adds a heavy shaking of salt so her oatmeal doesn’t “taste like wallpaper paste.”


4. Instead of Take-Out, Prepare ‘No Cook’ Options For Lazy Days

Even the Barefoot Contessa has days where she doesn’t feel like cooking. “I always have soup in the freezer that's hearty enough to be a meal, like Tuscan white bean, split pea, cauliflower, or Loaves & Fishes' tortellini en brood,” she says. Simply come home, zap it in the microwave and voilà!


5. Coffee + Chocolate Are a Delicious Combo

Garten adds coffee to chocolate to “give it a depth of flavor.” Bonus: The delectable pairing satisfies chocolate cravings and caffeine fixes.


6. Don't Forgo the Essentials

Garten says she always keeps the following items in her kitchen: Lemons (always in a bowl on the counter), butter, eggs, Parmesan cheese and chocolate.


7. The More Seasoning the Merrier

Season your meal throughout the cooking process—not just at the end.


8. Follow the Recipe…No Matter What

Cooking is a science, and one bad move can ruin the entire dish. Garten admits she measures everything, exactly.


9. DIY-ing Isn't For Everyone

If starting from scratch isn’t your thing...don’t start from scratch. Garten’s mantra: Unless you can make something that's better than what you'd buy, there's no point in spending the time! Less time cooking equals more time eating, ladies.


10. And It’s Not Always About the Food

OK…food does take priority, but no Garten meal is complete without a beautiful bouquet of flowers to brighten the table.


BACK TO SLIDE thought that was it? The Barefoot Contessa knows that side dishes are the best part. Enter her Parmesan fennel gratin; a simple (but delicious) peas and pancetta; and for dessert, a carrot cake topped with mascarpone frosting and crystallized ginger.

We find it a little suspicious that our invite got lost in the mail, yet again. But, Ina, we'll see you and Jeffrey at 6? Can't wait.

RELATED: The 11 Best Ina Garten Recipes of All Time

Read Full Story