Monday, February 9, 2009

What, a ham?

This morning I am attempting to completely ignore the fact that on this 70* day in North Alabama, my children are all sick. The chest crud has moved on to the rest of the boys and my throat is really sore. Sigh. SOOOO, I am going to blog about something I am pretty good at that has nothing to do with germs: meal planning. Our subject today? The north American precooked Ham.

Several moms have balked at the idea of spending $20 on a good size, quality ham. That is so much money for one meal they say. ONE meal? I don't think I could stuff that much ham in my stomach. Here is a sample menu of how I use a ham:

Day One - Bake the ham in the oven with or without glaze to warm. I prefer without. Fewer calories this way and it makes it more versatile later. Serve it sliced with side veggies and dinner rolls for a complete meal.

Day Two - Slice the ham and use to make incredible sandwiches for lunch. Add lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles - whatever floats your sandwich boat.

As prep for tomorrow, soak half a pound of pinto and half a pound of northern beans in water overnight.

Day Three - Use cubed ham for a breakfast casserole. Scramble eggs, cheese, milk and ham over a crescent roll crust to make an awesome casserole breakfast one morning. There are a million varieties of this idea. A favorite here is baking the crescents into little cups with a muffin tin and filling them with toppings later.

Hopefully by now, you have used about 80% of your ham. Drain the beans in the morning and dump them in a crock pot. (Do not recycle the soaking water unless you want a musical supper the next night.) Throw in the ham bone with any extra ham picked off into the beans and one chopped medium onion. Add about 6-10 cups of water depending on how much liquid you like in your beans. Toss in six whole peppercorns and a bay leaf. You can add salt now if you want, but I usually add it before serving. Bake on low 8 hours or so. No ham and beans would be complete without corn bread either beside or crumbled in the beans. My boys like it with some maple syrup on top to sweeten the deal.

There you have it. You have just made four meals with one $20 ham.

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