Tag Archives: ham

Sometimes it gets expensive to have such a low threshold of boredom.

I’ve always got to try new things, most often new recipes. As a result, my kitchen resembles a small grocery store. As long as it’s not too exotic, whatever the recipe ingredient, I’ve probably got it in one form or another. Come to think of it, most of our grocery expense is incurred by my habit of frequently purchasing a large variety of fresh produce, and that’s a good thing. I try to grow what I can in the summer, and buy what is available at the farmer’s market, but in February those sources aren’t an option, even in Alabama. The grocery store’s produce department is really cashing in on my habit, but utilizing a wide variety of produce makes such a difference in the complexity of my dishes.  We try to have a House Salad before dinner as many nights as possible, and plenty of veggies on the side, as well.

If you follow The Sticky Menu Plan you may have noticed that I rarely prepare the same recipe twice, but almost always have a plan for the leftovers. Epicurious magazine calls these “nextovers”, and I think that is a wonderful, fitting name for planning what’s next. Baked Ham makes for a glorious traditional Sunday dinner, but without a plan, that seven pound ham quickly goes to waste, especially in a small household like ours.  So what’s next?  Ham and cheese sandwiches get old fast and plain ham doesn’t freeze well at all.  That’s when I go exploring.  At last count, I had around 30 recipes featuring ham in my data base, and those are just the ones I have personally prepared, many are my own creation.  Can you imagine how many different ingredients are in all those recipes?  Creativity and a low threshold of boredom can get expensive!  That’s when my freezer inventory becomes important. Often, folks package foods for the freezer with the best of intentions, but somehow those meals just fall into a black hole, never to be seen again, but I guess that’s another subject.

Last week’s Baked Ham certainly didn’t go to waste at all.  It did serve as the traditional Sunday dinner, as well as evening sandwiches after we took Emily out for a birthday lunch on Monday.  However, that ham’s other scheduled meals for the week,  Asparagus and Ham Lasagna and Ham Tetrazzini, skipped the dinner table and went straight to the freezer along with a fair quantity of Fat-free Ham Broth and some Southern Style Pinto Beans.

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We celebrated Valentines Day quietly at home. One of my gifts to Michael was his traditional gift dinner of sautéd chicken livers.  If you know us, you know this dinner is a gift because of my extreme dislike of all things liver.  Michael surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of red roses!

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Wednesday I rescued some chicken from the fridge before it went out of date and turned it into a Chicken Cobbler. This version of chicken pot pie is always the perfect balance of filling and crust, at least for our taste. The leftovers reheated well on Thursday, too.

Friday’s Seafood Enchiladas were a bit of a disappointment. For some reason the filling was a bit dry and lacked flavor. I must have over cooked it. That can happen quickly, especially if you let yourself get distracted by a Friday evening glass of wine!

Speaking of Friday, it’s already Friday afternoon, again, and I’m a week behind, again! Well, it’s not because I’ve been sitting around doing nothing! I’ll be back soon.
Be thankful for what life gives you.

Got Ham?

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Well, I finally used up the ham that was left over from our Easter dinner, but it took some effort!
(Oh, as a side note: I don’t use any sort of glaze on my Baked Ham because I don’t want the carry-over flavor in the recipes I prepare with what’s left. The basic ham flavor is just fine with us, but I suppose some sort of glazey sauce might be good served on the side.)
There were only five of us for a rainy Easter Sunday dinner this year. Even though my ham weighed just six pounds there was still enough left to last a good week, but I managed to use it all down to the last litle bits. Here’s where it all went.
Even though I try, Monday is not always Meatless, as was the case this past week. We had Leftovers of course! That was a good thing though. It gave me the time to break down the ham into the portions I needed for the rest of the week. I also used this advanced prep to turn the ham bone and vegetable trimmings into a flavorful cooking broth for other dishes.  The Mashed Potatoes were repurposed as well.
Tuesday night I served Michael one of his favorite dinners, Scalloped Potatoes with Ham and Mushrooms.  I have several recipes for scalloped potatoes and ham, but I think this one might be the best.  It’s a little lighter than most and the flavors all seem to stand on their own.
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The smallest scraps of ham that I harvested from the whole went into Ham and Potato Cakes. These cute little patties are good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This time I made a Maple Mustard Sauce to serve on the side. The remaining mashed potatoes evolved into a similar recipe, Cheesy Potato Cakes . Those were bound for the freezer. If you’re wondering why I cooked up so darned many mashed potatoes, there’s a very simple answer. I bought too many because the 15 pound bag was less expensive than the 5 pound bag, and all those potatoes would soon be going bad. Now the work is all done and I have quick and easy side dishes good for any time of the day.
Wednesday’s dinner was a break from the ham, my saucy Chicken Cobbler. Well, at least it was supposed to be saucy until I used the wrong size baking dish and it boiled over. Time to clean the oven!
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One more Ham dish made it’s appearance before the end of the week. My Ham and Eggs in a Garlicky Grits Crust are not for the faint of heart. They are garlicky! Of course, that is easily toned down, but face it, we love garlic. It’s supposed to keep you healthy, right? Well, maybe that’s just because nobody else wants to get too close to us, but hey, whatever works!
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We finished the week out on Fishy Friday with my second attempt at Lobster Mac and Cheese. I think this second version of the recipe is just what I was trying to create. Steeping the shells and a slice of lemon in the pasta cooking water amped up the lobster flavor a bit. (The water was strained before the pasta was cooked.) The cheese sauce was better balanced this time, too. The only thing that might improve this recipe is more lobster, but around here lobster is expensive. You can’t have everything.
Next week will be filled with fattening comfort food, but we’re not just being indulgent. We have good reason. The week after that Michael is scheduled for gall bladder surgery and we don’t know how it might force him to change his diet. I asked him for a list of dinners that are on the “occasional” list because they are just too fat ladened. Here’s his list:
Sauteed Chicken Livers
Country Fried Steak with Gravy
Chicken Fingers with Buttermilk Gravy
and Red Lobster
I think it will take a while to recover from that menu! Anybody have any gall bladder friendy recipes they’ like to share? I’d love to have them. Just contact me here.
Be thankful for what life gives you.