April 12, 2007 at 7:31 a.m.
I'm going to start with a souffle. Don't be afraid to try it. It's basically a light, fluffy baked dish made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a main dish or a sweetened version as a dessert. It's a main dish today.
HAM AND MUSHROOM SOUFFLE
6 T. butter or margarine (not a spread)
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms (can use a 4 oz. can, drained)
6 T. flour
1/4 t. salt
couple dashes of pepper
1-1/2 c. milk
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz.)
1 c. diced ham (Don't make the pieces very big, probably little more than 1/4-inch square.)
6 eggs, separated
3/4 t. cream of tartar
In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add mushrooms and saute till tender. Remove mushrooms, saving drippings in pan. (If you are using canned mushrooms, saute them.) Stir flour, salt and pepper into drippings till smooth. Gradually stir in milk,* cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly till thickened and bubbly. Take off heat; add cheese, stirring till melted. Stir in mushrooms and ham.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed of electric mixer until stiff peaks form. When done, wash beaters.
In a medium bowl, beat yolks until thick and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. Fold ham mixture into yolks. Slowly pour yolk mixture over beaten egg whites; fold in gently. Spoon mixture into an ungreased 2 qt. souffle dish.
Bake at 300 degrees for 50-60 minutes or till knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve immediately. Makes six servings.
*While mushrooms are sauteing, heat milk in micro until hot to cut down on prep time.
**A souffle dish is a high, round glass dish, like a casserole dish. If you're not sure if it's a two-quart dish, pour two quarts of water in it. If it doesn't overflow, you have the right size.
And, a couple of oven dishes.
HAM & CHEESE
1-7 oz. package macaroni, prepared according to package directions, drained*
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (recipe suggests using low-fat or low-sodium soup)
2/3 c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 t. celery salt
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. ham, cut into small cubes
1/2 c. coarsely crushed cornflake crumbs (can use crushed cheese or butter-flavored crackers)
In a large saucepan, combine milk and soup. Stir in cheese, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce and ham.
Turn into 2 qt. greased baking dish. Top with cornflake crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes (till hot and bubbly). Makes four servings.
*If you buy macaroni in a large box, use two cups.
HAM AND VEGETABLE CASSEROLE
1-3/4 c. ham, diced small or julienned
1 c. canned green beans
1 c. canned corn
Can use frozen green beans and corn, but thaw first.
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup (recipe suggests using low-fat or low-sodium soup)
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
1-2 T. melted butter or margarine
Mix all ingredients, except crumbs, in a buttered 2-quart baking dish.
Combine crumbs and butter and sprinkle over mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
NOTE: You can prepare this dish ahead of time or the night before and refrigerate. Increase baking time to 30 minutes. Serves four.
This is a good spread to use with crackers or fresh veggies. It makes a good after-school snack for the kids.
HAM AND CHEESE SPREAD
1-8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. mayonnaise (can use lite)
1-1/2 c. minced ham
2 T. fresh parsley (can use 3/4 t. dried flakes)
1/4 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. hot sauce
1 T. sliced green onion or 2 t. minced onion
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Form (with clean hands) into a ball; chill until firm. Loosely wrap ball in waxed paper or plastic wrap, refrigerate. Serve with a variety of crackers or veggies.
Thought for today: Ten two-letter words to remember -- If it is to be, it is up to me.