Tip & Recipe: Baked Ham Basics

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How to Bake a HamWho needs a “how to” for baking ham?  You just stick it in a roasting pan, cover it and bake it, right?

Not really.  Baking a ham is certainly not difficult, but it’s not as simple as that.  There is great variation in the types of ham you bring home from the grocery store.  Smoked ham can be fully cooked and only require warming, or it may require to be fully cooked.  Some hams have bones-in, others are boneless.  You might bring home a whole ham, a half ham, or even just a portion.  All of these factors affect cooking temperature and time.

Then there is the question to glaze or not to glaze.  Also, do I want a delicious sauce or sauces to serve with my ham?  How much do I serve my guests?  Do I bake fat side up, or down?

I will try to answer all those questions, and provide a few tips to help you avoid potential smoked pork pitfalls in this article. In sharing what I’ve learned, down the road of ham, I hope to help you avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made.

It’s safe to say I was brought up a big fan of baked ham.  My family often served ham during the holidays when other families were dining on turkey.  We didn’t save ham just for the holidays either.  Ham always provided multiple meals in addition to the original dinner. From sandwiches, to fried with eggs for breakfast, and almost always as the stock for a delicious pot of bean soup.

So when I thought about it, baked ham really lent itself to Kitchen Survival.  It met all three of my site’s base criteria: it’s affordable, delicious, and easy to prepare.

With that said, below you will find some basic tips for baking ham, a cooking timetable, and then some nice recipes for glazes and sauces.  Glazes are for basting where sauces are served with the ham. Bring on the ham!

Baked Ham 101:

  • Allow 1/3 to 1/2 lb. per serving for bone-in ham and 1/4 to 1/3 lb. per serving for boneless ham.
  • Bake ham at 325°F.
  • Always bake whole hams fat side UP in a roasting pan.  Half hams should be placed flat face side DOWN.
  • Cover your ham in aluminum foil while roasting.
  • If using a meat thermometer insert it so its tip reaches the center of the thickest part of the ham and does NOT rest in the fat or touch the bone.
  • Follow the Timetable for Roasting Smoked Pork below for cooking times and temperature readings.
  • To glaze a baked ham, remove from oven when there is 15 minutes left to bake.  Increase oven temperature to 400°F.  Remove aluminum foil and discard drippings from roasting pan.  Score ham by cutting diamond shapes about 1/4-inch deep through fat.  Spoon desired glaze over ham.  If desired, insert 1 whole clove in each diamond.  Return ham, uncovered, to oven for remaining 15 minutes.
  • Once you remove ham from the oven; re-cover and let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Timetables for Roasting Smoked Pork:

Ham – Cook Before Eating

Smoke Ham Cut Weight (#’s) Internal Temp. Mins. per #
Whole (boneless) 8 to 12 165°F 17 to 21
Whole (bone-in) 14 to 16 165°F 18 to 20
Half (bone-in) 7 to 8 165°F 22 to 25
Portion (boneless) 3 to 5 165°F 35 to 40


Ham – Fully Cooked

Smoke Ham Cut Weight (#’s) Internal Temp. Mins. per #
Whole (boneless) 8 to 12 130°F to 140°F 15 to 18
Whole (bone-in) 14 to 16 130°F to 140°F 15 to 18
Half (boneless) 4 to 6 130°F to 140°F 18 to 25
Half (bone-in) 7 to 8 130°F to 140°F 18 to 25
Portion (bone-in) 3 to 4 130°F to 140°F 27 to 33

Timetable source: USDA and National Pork Producers Council

Internal Temp. is what you use with an internal thermometer. When the thermometer reaches the value listed in the chart, or within the range listed, the ham is done.

Baked Ham Glaze Recipes:

Brown Sugar Glaze for Ham
Your basic brown sugar glaze, this is a classic. As such it pleases the most people, I’ve found.

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. vinegar OR water

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Brush glaze on ham during last 15 minutes of baking (see glaze tips above).

Pineapple Glaze for Ham
A little zestier then the brown sugar standby glaze. I like this glaze better; think luau.

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained

In a small bowl, combine ingredients; mix well. Brush glaze on ham during last 15 minutes of baking (see glaze tips above).

Orange Soy Glaze for Ham
This glaze gives the ham a more subtle citrus flavor then the Pineapple Glaze with an Asian flair. An excellent glaze.

1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

In a small bowl, combine ingredients; mix well. Brush glaze on ham during last 15 minutes of baking (see glaze tips above).

Blueberry Chipotle Glaze for Ham
Blueberry preserves and chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce makes for a delicious glaze that definitely breaks from tradition.

1/3 cup blueberry preserves
2 Tbs. finely chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (from 7-oz can)
2 Tbs. brown sugar, firmly packed

In a small bowl, combine ingredients; mix well. Brush glaze on ham during last 15 minutes of baking (see glaze tips above).

Baked Ham Sauce Recipes:

Creamy Mustard and Horseradish Sauce for Baked Ham
My personal favorite of all the baked ham sauces. Just enough bite.

1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs. prepared yellow mustard
2 Tbs. apple cider
2 tsp. prepared horseradish

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours to meld flavors. Serve with baked ham.

Apple Raisin Sauce for Baked Ham
A perfect sauce for the holidays, so yummy it’s sure to please all at the table.

1 Tbs. butter
1 cup apple juice
2 Tbs. lemon juice
3 Tbs. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins

In a saucepan combine all the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon; approximately 10 minutes. Serve with baked ham.

Mike’s comments:

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and recipes. My mouth is now watering for ham. If you have any tips or recipes you’d like to share, I would gladly include them in this article. As the blog makes its transition to a website I really want the content to reflect both myself and my wonderful readers.

Tip & Recipe: Spice Rubs

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BBQ Dry RubsWelcome to the wonderful world of rubs.  If you thought marination was a blast, hold onto your aprons!

Wikipedia tells us that a spice rub  is any mixture of ground spices that is made for the purpose of being rubbed on raw food before the food is cooked. The spice rub forms a coat on the food. The food can be marinated in the spice rub for some time for the flavors to incorporate into the food or it can be cooked immediately after it is coated in the rub. The spices are usually coarsely ground. In addition to spices, salt and sugar may be added to the rub, the salt for flavor and the sugar for caramelization.

Damn that Wikipedia, I can never articulate definitions as well!  However, I don’t completely agree with this base definition.  I feel like I’m about to open a culinary Pandora’s Box, but Wiki’s definition seems to leave out wet rubs.  My experience has been that rubs come in two styles, wet and dry rubs.  A dry rub, as Wikipedia informed us, is made up of spices and herbs that are sprinkled on, used to store in, or directly rubbed into the meat.  A wet rub also contains a liquid component, classically an oil, and is used to coat the surface of the meat.

So why use a wet rub over a dry rub?  The deciding factor is usually in the level of natural moisture in the meat.  Dry rubs stick great to pieces of meat with a higher level of natural moisture but tend to fall off and become ineffective on dryer cuts.  There is nothing worse then putting together a wonderful dry rub, applying it, only to find it falls off into the fire.  These dryer cuts are where the wet rubs flex.   Not only does the wet rub keep the flavor sticking to the outside of the meat, but the moisture barrier helps the meat retain moisture which is always a good thing.  The oil that is almost always an ingredient of a wet rub also helps keep the meat from sticking to the grill.  So the bottom line in deciding which type of rub to use: the meats level of moisture.

Does sprinkling salt and pepper onto a juicy NY Strip before grilling constitute a rub?  No way!

Applying Dry RubWhat really defines a rub, as opposed to simply flavoring, is the way in which it is applied.  A rub, whether wet or dry, should completely cover the surface of the meat.  A rub should be lovingly worked into every inch of the meat to ensure complete flavor immersion (yes I just typed that). Epic fail when you spend time and money on a delicious new rub recipe and then fail to spend the time working it into the meat.

Here are a few special tips to keep in mind while you lovingly work your rub into dinner. When working with poultry you MUST work the rub under the skin. If you simply rub over the skin you won’t be doing anything for the meat but will end up with tasty poultry skin. So remember, skin will always block flavor immersion when applying rubs.

I’m a firm believer in letting “flavors meld” as my friend, and fellow cook, Josh always says. This means letting the meat sit for an hour, or so, after rub has been applied. Probably a good idea to let this melding happen in the fridge, to avoid any unwanted bacteria from joining in the party. Putting rubbed meat on immediately will do little more then flavor your BBQ.

One final note, although rubs are most classically associated with BBQ, I’ve successfully used them in the oven and on the stovetop. Like all culinary experiences should be – experimentation is half the fun.

So how about some rub recipes and the meats they most love to embrace?

Type-A Rub (dry)
This rub is the overachiever of the family. It’s good on virtually everything. Multiply this recipe, store it in a tightly sealed jar, and massage it (lovingly) into whatever needs a quick pick-me-up before it hits the grill.

1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. granulated onion
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

In a small bowl combine the ingredients. Press the rub into all sides of the meat or fish and refrigerate for 1 hour prior to grilling to intensify flavors. Yields 2 tablespoons.

Al RokerAl Roker’s Rub (wet)
The rub behind the man behind the legend. Use on pork shoulders or ribs.

1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbs. kosher salt
2 Tbs. ground black pepper
2 Tbs. Adobo sauce*
1 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. allspice

In a small bowl combine the ingredients. Press the rub into all sides of the meat. And remember… low and slow. (I really wanted to change that last instruction into a Beastie Boys line, but refrained. Who am I to change the words of Mr. Roker?) Yields 1 cup.

* The only way I’ve found I can purchase Adobo sauce is when I purchase a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. There is enough sauce for this recipe in a 7 oz. can.

Asian Rub (dry)
When looking to the Far East for flavor, look no further than this beguiling mixture. It carries chicken and beef thousands of culinary miles in a matter of minutes.

1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. granulated onion
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried lemongrass
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne

In a small bowl combine the ingredients. Press the rub into all sides of the meat and refrigerate for 1 hour prior to grilling to intensify flavors. Yields 2 tablespoons.

Southwestern Wet Rub (wet)
This delicious rub will be a thick paste which helps it stick to any meat. It’s particularly yummy on brisket.

3 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. cayenne
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, crushed (how to)
1 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1 Tbs. Tabasco sauce
1 Tbs. granulated onion
1 Tbs. black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin

In a small bowl combine the ingredients. Press the rub into all sides of the meat. May be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Mike’s comments:

You may notice rub recipes call for “granulated” versions of common spices. Granulated spices are simply coarser in texture which makes them much better in rubs. The coarser consistency works into the meat more effectively than the more flour-like powder versions of the spice. You really want to spring for the granulated versions of the spices rub recipes use, you know I try to keep price down throughout this blog, but this is one case where you want to drop the extra coin. Granulated spices are available right next to all the other spices in the grocery store.

Recipe Sources:
http://bbq.about.com/od/rubrecipes/r/bl70920a.htm

Weber’s Big Book of Grilling” by Jamie Purviance and Sandra S. McRae, is such a fantastic grilling bible, I think everyone should own a copy.

Weber's Big Book of Grilling

Tip & Recipe: Marinade Magic on the Grill

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MarinadesI love marinades, in fact I collect the magic formulas that create wonderful culinary goodness.

Wikipedia tells us that marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking.  It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat.   The process may last seconds or days. Different marinades are used in different cuisines.

That does not mean you can’t use a marinade on a tender cut of meat.  Keep in mind marinades BOTH tenderize the meat and infuse flavor.  Since the acidic levels in the marination process actually break down the tissue in the meat, the tenderizing part, it’s important to not let tender cuts marinate too long, or they will get mushy and icky.

In today’s post, I tried to share all the information you need to get on the road to becoming a marinade master (or mistress). First I share some tips, then some recipes, and finally a grilling chart to give you an idea how to cook just about anything you might want to marinate. The recipes mention the meats they work best with. The grilling chart shares marination and grilling times for specific meats.

A few tips to help with happy marination:

  • Marinate in a covered nonmetal dish or sealed plastic bag.  I love using those gallon-size Ziploc bags.
  • Turn the meat (or turn the bag) occasionally so all sides are covered with the marinade.
  • Refrigerate the marinating meat for the time specified.  Marinating at room temperature allows bacteria to grow.
  • Baste the meat marinade during grilling to keep the meat moist and add extra flavor.
  • Don’t marinate longer then 24 hours.
  • If you are going to use the leftover marinade for a dipping sauce be sure to bring it to a boil before doing so.  This ensures a safe, bacteria free, dipping sauce – which is a good thing!

The marinade recipes:

Asian Marinade
Delicious marinade for pork chops, fish, or chicken.

1 jar (9.5 oz.) kumquats, drained w/ 2 Tbs. syrup reserved
1 Tbs. grated orange peel
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Mix reserved kumquat syrup and remaining ingredients except kumquats. Garnish meat with kumquats. Yields 3/4 cup of marinade.

Herb Marinade
A flavorful addition to fish, chicken, pork chops or steak. I LOVE this one.

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1 med. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed

Simple mix all ingredients. Yields 1 cup marinade.

Sweet and Sour Marinade
Use with pork chops or steak for wonderful marination induced Nirvana!

1 can (8.25 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained (that’s UN)
1 medium onion, cut into slices and separated into rings
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. hot sauce (red pepper sauce)

Mix all the ingredients, I like to have Lake of Fire resonating through the kitchen for best results. Yields 2 1/2 cups marinade.

Provocative Lemon Marinade
Works beautifully with chicken, fish and chops.

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup white or red wine
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Shake all ingredients in a tightly covered container or Ziploc bag. Yields 1 1/3 cups marinade.

Need more marinade recipes? Visit: Marinade Magic Revisited

Grilling Chart:

Chicken, boneless breast halves – marinate at least 1 hour. Cover and grill 10 to 20 minutes; turn. Cover and grill an additional 10 to 20 minutes, turning and brushing with marinade until done.

Chicken, broiler-fryer, cut up – marinate at least 1 hour. Cover and grill bone sides down 15 to 30 minutes; turn. Cover and grill 20 to 30 minutes longer, turning and brushing with marinade, until done.

Chicken, thighs and drumsticks – marinate at least 1 hour. Cover and grill bone sides down 15 to 20 minutes; turn. Cover and grill an additional 20 to 30 minutes, turning and brushing with marinade, until done.

Beef steaks – marinate at least 4 hours. Slash outer edges of fat diagonally at 1-inch intervals to prevent curling (do not cut into the lean). Grill 20 to 30 minutes, turning and brushing with marinade 2 or 3 times, until desired doneness.

Pork loin or chops – marinate at least 4 hours. Cover and grill 20 to 30 minutes, turning and brushing with marinade 3 or 4 times, until desired doneness.

Fish, fresh or frozen (thawed) – marinate at least 1 hour. Cover and grill about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, turning once and brushing occasionally with marinade, until fish flakes easily with fork.

Mike’s comments:

With this marination lore you can come up with countless wonderful combinations for the grill. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Have a favorite marinade? I’d love to hear about it.

Need even more marinade recipes? Visit: Marinade Magic Revisited

Tip: Charcoal Grilling 101 Pt. I

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Weber Charcoal FlameQ. What’s the correct amount of charcoal briquettes to use?

A. Charcoal produces a hot heat, so a little goes a long way. For food that will be on the grill a short time, such a hamburgers or hotdogs, use 20 to 30 briquettes for 4 to 6 servings. Use 40 to 50 briquettes (enough to form a solid bed of coals under the grilling area) for foods that need to grill longer, such as roasts, pork, whole fish, and poultry. For foods that take longer than one hour to grill, consult the grills instructions. If you are unable to locate the grills “owner manual” they are almost always available online. It’s important you don’t “overload” your grill.

Q. When are coals ready for grilling?

A. Coals will be ready to use when they have an even coating of light gray ash. I generally like to gauge this by the amount of time it takes me to mix a nice vodka and lemonade and drink it down. A good rule of thumb is: red coals are too hot and black coals will give off uneven heat. The amount of time needed for the coals to be ready can vary depending upon the type of starter you use and the weather conditions. Check the temperature by placing your hand, palm side down, near the cooking grill. If you have to pull your hand away in less than 2 seconds, the coals are too hot. When your hand can take the heat for 4 or 5 seconds, the coals are medium and ready for cooking.

Q. How can a smoked flavor be introduced to my grilled food without using a smoker or that nasty “liquid smoke” stuff?

A. Soak up to a handful of hickory, mesquite, green hardwood, or fruitwood chips in water for 30 minutes; drain and toss onto hot coals. These chips are readily available generally at the same stores you buy your briquettes at. The smoke adds flavor and aroma to the food while it cooks. You can also add yummy flavors and enticing aromas to your grilled foods by placing fresh herbs or garlic cloves on the hot coals. The herb technique works best for small, mild-flavored foods, such as fish or poultry pieces.

Mike’s comments:

Grill on brothers and sisters!

Tip: Kitchen Essentials for the New Graduate

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First Kitchen UtensilsBelow is a link to a wonderful article written by Laura Thomas for epicurious. 

This is the time of year when we are all heading to graduation parties and this article offers some wonderful gift suggestions. These suggestions are appropriate for anyone just starting out on their own.  Cooking isn’t just for graduates anymore!

I remember my first set of kitchen utensils.  Made up mostly of hand-me-downs, given with the kindest of intentions, many of them simply gathered dust in my kitchen gadget drawer.  I remember having three saucepans of varying size but my fry pan wasn’t large enough to brown one pound of ground  beef.  A wide selection of plastic stirring utensils (I think) of all shapes and colors, yet no wooden spoon.  Maybe if I had this list I could have been more prepared, and more organized from the beginning.  If that had been the case, however, I might not be sharing this Ms. Thomas’ article today.

Kitchen Essentials for the New Graduate
Launch a life of good cooking with the top tools and kitchenware to give or get

By Laura Thomas

If you or someone near and dear to you is heading off for the first year of college, moving off-campus, or venturing out into the world as a college grad, some basic kitchen gear—tools, pots, pans, plates, and more—makes an excellent and practical graduation gift. At this stage in life, bang for the buck is of utmost importance, and given that kitchen space can be at a premium (especially when shared with roommates), we did our best to track down the most affordable, durable, and well-designed kitchen essentials we could find. Read on for 21 kitchen basics to help you or your grad whip up some scrambled eggs, bake your favorite chocolate chip cookies, and throw a dinner party for friends.

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Tip: Buying a New Grill

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Now Thats A FireI’ve found myself in need of a new backyard barbeque grill.  I recently moved and time was tight to get packed up and I had to say a very difficult goodbye to my electric outdoor Weber grill.  We had spent well over four years together, and had become very close.  The fact that she never once let me down made the farewell even more difficult.  I can only hope the new owners of my previous crib put her to good use.

Once I got settled into my new place I realized I am out of city limits and can heat with charcoal again, my preferred fuel source for grilling.  With the home budget as tight as ever I knew the decision making process was not going to be easy.  I have always been a believer in the idea that if you can only afford to buy the cheapest version of something, you can’t afford it.  Sometimes the cheapest version of something is fine, but when your decision making is limited to the most budget-friendly model you are unable to be objective.  Experience has taught me this usually leads to disappointment and some PoS model of something that either doesn’t work well or quits working in no time at all.  Grills are definitely this way, in my opinion.

Knowing it’s been a few years since I’ve purchased a grill, and wanting to make an informed decision, I began to Google.  I found the most incredible How-To-Buy article online and wanted to share it, in the event any of you are in a similar situation.  The article is linked below.   It’s expertly written and a lot of fun to read.  I learned a lot.  Most of all, however, I learned I want a Weber Gold One-Touch Kettle Grill, 22.5″ in blue.  And for $149.00 I think I’ll be able to order one next month.

How to Buy a Grill by Meathead

The snow has melted, the robins are back, and it’s time to recycle that old piece of junk out back and get serious about amping up your outdoor cooking chops. But an online search or a trip to the big box store can be daunting. There are too many grills to count, too many options. There are small disposable units for tailgating, and huge monsters that attach to your tailgate and have as many wheels as your SUV.

Opinon: The Importance of Letting Kids in the Kitchen

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Kids in the KitchenI think being able to put together an enjoyable meal or bake a batch of delicious cookies is one of the most underappreciated skills we posses.  Considering we really only need food, water, shelter, and procreation to survive as a species, and granted procreation is more fun, the ability to provide a yummy meal is essential.  Under the right circumstances it can sometimes even LEAD to procreation.  With that said, I have two people to thank for my love of the kitchen.

My mother never hesitated to let me spend time creating in the kitchen.  She never forced me to assist her in meal preparation, but rather let me follow my own culinary path.  She was The Pooh Cookbookalways there to assist me when needed, and more importantly, to clean up the mess I left in my wake.  She also helped cultivate my pursuit of yummy food by buying me cookbooks.  At first they where titles like the The Pooh Cookbook, and other wonderful tomes of childhood culinary excellence.  By the age ten she picked me up a copy of the timeless, Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1972 ed.).  At that point, it was on.

My father had another modus operandi.  His approach was less structured then moms.  He prescribed to the “we don’t need no stinkin’ cookbooks” school of thought.  He’d gather me in the kitchen in the pursuit of one very focused objective:  to bake a cake.  And bake cakes we did.  I remember comments like, “that’s enough flour” and “better pour a little more sugar in there”.   Most of our cakes were failures but I remember laughing and eating (a little) of each creation.  As the story in the family goes, there was once the two of us produced a decent finished product.  It was in celebration of my Collie Noodles’ birthday.  Unfortunately dad and I felt Noodles would enjoy the cake even more if we threw in a few handfuls of dog food kibble.  Needless to say Noodles was the only one to enjoy that birthday cake.

It was this combination of approaches that assured, by the time I left the house, I could put food on the table, and damn it, I could bake a cake!  It’s to late to thank my father for his contribution, and I don’t thank my mother nearly enough.  I know if it hadn’t been for them, letting me in the kitchen as a very young man, I wouldn’t be the cook I am today.

Betty Crocker Cookbook 1972That little walk down memory lane got a bit verbose, and I apologize.  I hope, however, it helps make the point I was having a difficult time articulating.  That being, get your kids in the kitchen, let them make a mess, bake a cake with no recipe, and if the occasion is right, throw a handful of dog food in it.

I PROMIE you they will be grateful you did and very likely love you for doing so.

So now the recipes!  I picked out four yummy recipes I thought you and your kids would enjoy preparing and eating together.  Together being the keyword.

Thanks for letting me make a disaster zone of your kitchen Mom.   I love you.

Sugar and Spice Porridge

Preparing this yummy breakfast with your kids is a sure way to start the day off on the right track.

Sugar and Spice Porridge1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
1/3 cup raisins
3 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. each salt AND cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 cup quick-cooking oats

1.  In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and butter to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the raisins, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

2. Slowly add the oats to the boiling milk, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Let stand 1 minute. Serve with milk. Serves: 2

Easy Yummy Tacos

Preparing these easy tacos is as much fun as eating them.  Make a mess and have fun!

Easy Yummy Tacos8 corn taco shells
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 large tomato, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Place the taco shells in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until hot and crispy.

2. In a small saucepan, stir together the refried beans and salsa. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through, stirring frequently.

3. Fill the taco shells with the beans mixture. Top with the lettuce, cheese and tomato. Serves: 4

Frank and Bean Sandwiches

A really fun way to eat franks and beans, this recipe will surely bring a smile to young and old faces alike.

Frank and Bean Sandwiches4 slices of bread
1 can (16 oz.) baked beans
2 hotdogs, sliced
4 slices American cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Place bread slices in ungreased shallow baking pan.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the beans and frankfurters. Spread he bean mixture over bread to cover each slice completely, mounding slightly in the center.

3. Bake for 10 minutes or until heated through. Place a cheese slice on top of each bean sandwich. Bake for 2 or 3 minutes more until cheese melts. Serves: 4

Cheesy Spanish Rice

This easy and super-yummy side dish goes well with just about any meal.  Begin teaching menu planning with your youngsters when you combine this dish with the Easy Yummy Tacos.

Cheesy Spanish Rice1 can (14 1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes, water, chili powder, and garlic powder.

2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the rice. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.

3. Top with the Cheddar cheese. Serves: 4

Mike’s comments:

If you enjoyed these recipes you should most definitely check out my friend Jessica’s site A Lot on Your Plate, she has some really cool kid-related recipes and crafts that I found very insightful.

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