Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Week of Meals - Ham

My best “tip” for young homemakers is to cook “smarter.”  I don’t just mean healthier, of course that, I mean – smarter.  I’ve adopted this concept of cooking, where you make your “meat” on Monday for the whole week of meals.   With a little planning, your week will be easy and you will save money – and eat homemade meals. 
I had a ham so this week so…I used ham.  TIP #1.  Invest in a Nesco roaster – I use it ALL the time.  You make enough of your meat on Monday to last all week.  Fill the Nesco, plug it in and get on with your day.  
Monday:  Ham, mashed potato, green bean casserole, rolls. (no picture, however I’ve posted about this before:  After supper, slice and dice up the rest of ham – now you have it ready for the rest of week, not to mention for lunch sandwiches and salads.  
One of the salads….for lunch.
SAVE THE BONE! And scraps of meat for later – Wednesday.  
Tuesday:  Ham Ragout over Noodles
Super easy, super fast – with prep work done earlier. 
TIP #2:  Invest in one of these slicers this was $10.  Makes slicing and dicing so much easier.  Also, as long as you are doing this…do extra for Wednesday’s soup and to have celery and carrot sticks to snack on and for salads.
Ham Ragout:  Dice carrots and potatoes, peas, onions, celery and garlic – sauté in olive oil until tender.  Add diced ham and I put in small cherry tomatoes sliced in half (also, mash them once hot for sauce).  Boil noodles (I used 1/2 whole wheat) add noodles with 1 cup noodle water to pan.  The water will make a sauce with the “pan bottom” and tomatoes.  That’s it – takes about 15 minutes. 
Wednesday:  Bean Soup.  TIP #3 – invest in a pressure cooker – they are a time saver.  Don’t be afraid to use one – it is really easy (don’t cook dried peas or beans – clogs up vent on cooker).
Put ham bone in pressure cooker – fill 3/4 way with water.  Cook @ 5 lbs. for 30 minutes (once it starts to clackididy clack) turn off and let it cool.  You only want the rest of meat to fall off bones and get nice stock for soup.
I soaked a variety of dry beans over night: black, pinto, northern, red.  TIP #4:  soak extra beans.  Cooking this way takes a lot of time, so why not do more now…  In the morning, fill kettle with beans and enough salted water to top.  Cook on lower temp for about 1 hour or until beans tender.  Once your beans are done, put extra in refrigerator – they will last at least a week and you can make other meals with them.  Don’t throw that bean water away – add to ham stock.   I wanted to add dried peas and lentils too, so just cook them on low temp for about 30  minutes too. 
TIP #5:  Bean & Pea puree/dip.  Take some of those extra cooked beans and peas and run them in the blender with garlic and onions.  This makes the most tasty dip or puree.
When I plated up the soup, I put a scoop of this been & pea puree on top and drizzled with olive oil – the puree melted into the hot soup – really good.
Oh ya, with all that “dip” you have a nice healthy snack for the week.
Thursday:  Ham Fried Rice. 
Boil up some brown rice – make extra for a salad for Friday.  Pan fry fresh green beans, green onions, garlic in a pan.  Add diced ham and cooked brown rice.  Simple…we also toasted some sliced almonds and put those on top.
Friday:  Scalloped Potato and Ham Soup, brown rice and a green salad.
Sweet potato and ???.  I went to an Asian Food store in Weston and bought some vegetables.  I will post next week about the great greens they have and juicing.  Anyway, I asked the lady at the store what the 1st 3 were, I didn’t really understand how to say the name, however I did figure out that they are like our sweet potato (on the end).  I sliced and diced these up and steamed them.  I added that to the left over brown rice, added green onion, red onion, broccoli, golden raisins and walnuts.  I lightly dressed with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper.  Believe me…it is good.
Now for the scalloped potato and ham soup.  Slice up a yellow onion, mince 3 cloves garlic and slice the russet potatoes.
Sauté onions and garlic (I did in bacon grease I save) add potatoes and water.  After potatoes are almost fork tender add about 1 C heavy cream, parsley or whatever herbs you like.  Then to thicken the soup, I ran my hand blender in the kettle till was as thick as I wanted.
While soup is cooking, mix up the salads.  I also made a green one.
This is what I made this week.  This is my concept of easy cooking – you can be as creative as you want.   The idea is to save time and money. 
Next week it is chicken – so, if you want to see what I did, check back. 
Blessings from Wisc
Growing Home

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