Baked Glazed Ham

Ham with *Parsley Potatoes
Ham was always served for Easter Dinner growing up, so once a year it was a big deal! When marrying and taking my turn baking one, it presented a great mystery: what kind, how big, how long to bake, bone in, boneless, smoked, picnic, cured?  Even my trusty Betty Crocker Cook Book left me confused.

My mother-in-law showed me her method of smearing with mustard, sticking in cloves (studding), putting in a brown paper grocery sack, closing, then setting sack on rack in roasting pan with water in the bottom at 350 degrees for a few hours.  It was tasty, tender and moist. Followed that method for decades, then used bone and scraps for navy bean soup.

In recent years I settled on a tried and true method enjoying ham year round, by stocking up when on sale.  I buy the butt portion versus shank, as it offers more meat, and the ham's label reads: already "cooked, ready to heat and serve."  

Leftovers go to the freezer for use in many recipes: sandwiches, soups, ham salad, chef salads, omelets, casseroles, scalloped potatoes, & breakfast slices. Hams frequently go on sale for under $2 a pound around the holidays, offering cooks a big bang for the bucks.  

New Year's Day and Easter are Ham Days in our house! Game Day Food!

Baked Glazed Ham
Ham Butt Portion, around 10 pounds
1/2 cup bottled BBQ sauce or homemade
1/4 cup mustard of choice, I use Dijon
2 Tabs. of honey
1/4 cup of orange juice or 2 Tabs. of frozen concentrated orange juice
Optional: cloves

Score the rind,  fatty surface of the ham cutting up to 1/4 to 1/2 inch slashes in one direction all over the surface about inch apart; then turn ham half way, and score more slashes across, so surface ends up looking like tic-tac-toe or "diamonds."

For glazing, combine BBQ sauce with mustard, orange juice, and honey and brush about half, all over ham surfaces; or using your hands, smear all over surfaces. If using cloves, push in along open slashes on top of  ham and inch or so apart.

Place on rack fatty side up, in uncovered baking pan, filling pan with a half inch of water. Bake at 350 until internal temperature reaches 140, about 2 hours.  Baste with remaining sauce every half hour, adding more water to pan if it evaporates. Outside will have a crispy surface and glaze flavors will seep into the moist ham. Slice to serve, allowing about 4-6 oz. per serving.

The bone and smaller scraps can be used to make split pea or navy bean soup. I deglaze the baking pan and drippings, adding more water and scraping to loosen bits and pieces, then save as a broth to add when making soups.

*Parsley Potatoes: I serve ham with boiled potatoes covered with a simple sauce of melted butter, parsley, salt and pepper ( 'cause it's the way grandma did it).  Peel potatoes, half or quarter, boil until tender.  Melt butter, add parsley (fresh or dried), salt and pepper and gently pour over potatoes, rotating or mixing to coat all sides.

Dumplings, Three Kinds

Homemade noodles, or pasta-like dumplings are a snap to make by simply combining flour, egg and salt with a few varied additions. They go well with chicken, turkey or pork dishes with gravy. My German grandmother was known for her fresh "dumplings," often allowing grandkids to help shape them, drop in the broth or water, then watching them form and rise to the top.
When wanting to quickly serve a fresh side dish for sauces, gravies, or add heartiness to soups and stews, try these as an alternative to relying on potatoes or dry pasta.  Make them fresh!

German Spaetzles
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tabs. softened butter

Break eggs into a bowl, add 2 egg shells of water and the butter. Beat good with a fork, then mix in flour, a little at a time. Dough will be tacky.  Drop by teaspoons into boiling broth, soup, or stew for about 8 minutes. Can roll dough in strands then snip or pull off pieces dropping into liquid. Or press through holes in a sieve, ricer, or grater for stringy noodle effect. Serves 6-8.

Potato Dumplings
Potato Dumplings
3 medium potatoes, Idaho if possible
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 cup flour

Goes well with roast chicken or turkey. Instructions at this link:

Bohemian Bread Dumpling
Bohemian Bread Dumpling
1 cup flour
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 slice of cubed toast, or 3/4 cup of croutons

Sift dry ingredients, add beaten egg, milk and cubes, mixing until dough holds together in a large ball.  If too thin, add more flour up to a half cup.  In a large pot, bring water to a boil and drop in dumpling, turn heat to low boil, cover and boil for 30 minutes without peeking.

Makes one large dumpling which can be sliced into 1/2 inch thick servings.  Goes well with sauerkraut and gravy, or liver and onion gravy. Serves 4-6.

Tip for slicing:  use a 12 to 16 inch long thread and stretch wide, pull under dumpling.  Pull ends up and cross over center to slice; repeat several times.

Estimated cost:  incredibly inexpensive, each recipe is .70 cents or less to make.

Cookie Truffles

I'd seen these made with Oreo cookies, but didn't have any on hand, so used vanilla wafers and crumbled them in the food processor then mixed with cream cheese and peanut butter. 

I'm thinking other flavors of cookies would work well, too, so may experiment in the future.
They are fun to make and ever so delightful to eat! Recipes I've read don't always call for using paraffin, but candy makers use it for gloss and holding chocolate firmer when cooled, so I used it.

Cookie Truffles
I made 2 dozen using:
Approximately 2 cups finely processed vanilla wafers
1/2 cup peanut butter
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips melted in double boiler (or in micro wave)
4 oz. white almond bark melted in double boiler (or micro wave)
1 oz. household paraffin divided and melted with the chocolate and almond bark

At room temperature combine softened cream cheese, peanut butter and cookie crumbs.  Blend well, and shape into 3/4 to 1 inch balls, then place on foil, wax paper lined sheet, or silicone sheet, and put in freezer for 30 minutes.

Prepare melted chocolate and almond bark.  Remove balls from freezer and drop 12, one at a time into chocolate with a teaspoon and roll around to coat, then remove with teaspoon and place back onto sheet.  Then repeat with other half, dropping and coating in the white almond bark.

Next take a teaspoon of melted chocolate and drizzle over almond bark truffles; then take the melted white almond bark and drizzle over the chocolate balls.  Here's your chance to be creative with the dizzels.  Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve. They keep well.

You can opt to make all chocolate if you don't have white almond bark. then decorate with chocolate or colored sprinkles.

Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls

These are terrific to have on hand during the holidays, or anytime during the year and freeze well.  I use the dough cycle on my bread machine, then take out and roll out and prepare for baking. 

I'm always amazed at what a delightful, economical treat results from a few cups of flour and simple ingredients.  Nice for a hostess gift, or gift for a neighbor.

Cinnamon Rolls
3/4 cup water
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup butter
3/4 tsp. salt
3 Tabs. sugar
3 1/2 cups of flour
2 1/2 tsps. yeast

1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds or walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsps. cinnamon
2 Tabs. melted butter
optional: 1/2 cup raisins

Put ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer's instructions set on dough cycle. (Usually takes an hour for mix and first rise.) Remove and knead by hand 1 or 2 times, divide dough in two, and roll out each piece into an 8x9 inch  rectangle. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with half of filling mixture.

Roll up tightly, lengthwise in jelly roll fashion pinching the bottom edge to seal. Cut into 6 rolls. And place cut side down, 1 inch apart in greased or non-stick baking pan with 2 inch high sides. Repeat with other half of dough and filling. Cover and let rise for an hour to double in size, 30 to 60 minutes. Rolls with rise and swell to touch each other.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Or cut into 2-inch pieces and put into greased muffin tins or muffin tins lined with cupcake papers, let rise and bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Cool slightly and drizzle with a glaze made from a cup of powdered sugar and few tablespoons of water, milk or orange juice.

Holiday Dog Treats

A friend recommended I make a pumpkin recipe for doggie treats for my grandpups! So this will be their Christmas Treat! Makes several dozen and I'll have a stash on hand whenever they come to visit.

Pumpkin Dog Treats
1 can non-seasoned mashed pumpkin
4 Tabs. molasses
4 Tabs. water or beef or chicken broth
2 Tabs. vegetable oil
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Also optional: 1/4 cup sesame seeds, or rolled oats or grated carrot.

Preheat oven to 350.
Blend all wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients and stir until a soft dough forms. Extra flour may to added to make dough firm enough. Grab by teaspoonfuls and roll into balls.
Gregor & Amber
Drop onto a cookie sheet and flatten with a fork or roll into 1/4 inch thick dough and form shapes with small cookie cutters. (I used hearts!)

Bake until hard (approximately 25 min.). If wanting them a bit crispier, just turn off oven and let cool overnight.  They vacuum seal or freeze well