All About Baked Ham

Baked Ham... a tradition for holiday meals and large family get togethers... and with Easter a week away I thought it would be a good idea to post some links to some previous posts.

Here are links to my posts about Baked Ham.... The Buying Guide, Baking and Roasting Tips and some Glaze Recipes...

I hope you find them helpful.

A Guide to Buying Ham

Roasting and Baking Tips for Baked Ham

Baked Ham with Rum and Coke Glaze

Jack Daniels Glazed Ham

Fabulous Finds: Easter Place Setting and Table Ideas

Fabulous ideas are not always expensive .... the idea above comes from Better Homes and Gardens... the colorful take-out containers are readily available at craft stores and discount stores... just place a jar inside and fill with flowers...

I love to make a table festive and fun… and I’m always looking for great ideas …

These adorable bunnies and chicks make a really cute place setting or finger puppets that kids will love….. They’re easy to make with a kit you can get at Paper Source.

Need something more adult looking for your table? ... How about this wonderful idea..

This idea comes from the folks at Southern Living. They have easy step by step instructions to make these beautiful eggs. You should be able to find nests at your local craft supply stores.

Fabulous Fridays

Aren't Fridays just glorious? ... if you work a Monday through Friday 9 to 5... Fridays are the finish line... the last stop before the freedom of a weekend... the evening can mark the start of celebrations and parties... so with that in mind.. I decided to share Fabulous Ideas and Finds on... of course... Fabulous Friday!

So mark it on your calendar... Fabulous Fridays at Cooking Tip of the Day!

Hope you enjoy this new addition to Cooking Tip of the Day.

Recipe: Crock Pot Cube Steak

Cube steak is notorious for being chewy… I never mined it and I do have a number of recipes for it… but a lot of people complain about it. Well complain no more… this recipe for Crock Pot Cube Steak is not only quick to put together and easy.. the cube steak will be so tender it will melt in your mouth… honest!


Every crock pot is different…. the heat settings are different. This recipe needs to cook on low … my one crock pot cooks the pot at a low simmer when it’s set on low… my other crock pot.. takes forever to get hot and will not simmer on low…. And believe it or not.. it’s the newer one that doesn’t simmer… anyway… you want a very low simmer… so set you pot on the setting to get a very low simmer.

My gravy is slightly thickened, I don’t care for really thick gravy… if you prefer it thicker… add more flour to the beef broth before you add it into the pot.

Set this up and 5 ½ hours later you have a delicious dinner! …. Add some smashed potatoes and a veggie… and you are good to go!

Recipe: Crock Pot Cube Steak

All you need:

6 good sized cube steaks
½ cup of flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
3 ½ cups beef broth, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons flour

All you have to do:

In a shallow bowl, mix the ½ cup flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dredge the meat in the flour mixture.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Brown both sides of each cube steak until it has a little bit of a crust. Place the browned cube steaks in the crock pot.

After all the cube steaks have been browned… add ½ cup of beef broth to the skillet to deglaze the pan. Using a spatula scrape all the bits up off the skillet and pour it over the meat in the crock pot.

Add the sliced onions and 2 cups of beef broth to the crock pot. cover and set the crock pot on low and cook for 5 hours.

In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of beef broth. Whisk until smooth and has no lumps. Stir it into the crock pot.

Add the sliced mushrooms and replace the lid. Cook for another 30 minutes or until gravy has thickened, stir occasionally.

Recipe: Chicken Stroganoff

This quick and easy recipe for Chicken Stroganoff is a pleasant change on the more traditional Beef Stroganoff. I don’t use Campbell’s soups often in cooking, but every once in a while … they’re good for quick comfort foods like this.

The recipe does come from the folks at Campbell’s… I did tweak it a bit. I thought the original recipe was a bit too bland… so I added a bit of garlic powder. I also made more sauce… and used more mushrooms… I also use shallots instead of onion.


I would not add salt until the end… the soup does have salt in it, so you do want to be sure not to add too much.

You can use the regular or the 98% lower fat variety of soup.. I used the lower fat version and don’t think it made any difference in the taste or texture.

I do use real sour cream.. if you want to substitute lower fat or fat free sour cream … you certainly can.. but I do think it does change the taste considerably.

I hope you enjoy this easy weeknight meal.

Recipe: Chicken Stroganoff

All you need:

2 tablespoons butter
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 pkg. (16 ounces) mushrooms, sliced
2 large or 4 small shallots, chopped
2 cans (10 ¾ ounces) Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Egg noodles, cooked and drained
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

All you have to do:

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat.

Add the chicken and cook until brown, stirring often. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and melt it. Add the mushrooms and shallots.

Cook until shallots are soft and mushrooms are tender. Stir occasionally.

Add the soup, garlic powder and the sour cream and mix well. Add the chicken back into the sauce and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until chicken is cooked through.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over noodles. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.

All about Crown Roast of Pork

Looking for more holiday meal ideas? Pork is a traditional meat for many holidays, Easter being the most popular. You see beautiful pictures of a Crown Roast of Pork in magazines, sometimes with those cute little paper chef hats on each bone (called paper frills) and think they’re complicated to make… but they aren’t. In fact, it is an excellent choice for both the experienced and the novice cook.

First stop… the Butcher

I know I’ve said this before… the butcher… a good one.. is your friend. I have had loads of help from my grocery stores' butchers. They’re eager to help and really have a wealth of information.

But… as with many experts who are passionate about their subject… a butcher going on about your choices can overwhelm you with information. The best advice I can give you… do a little reading before hand… so when you ask your butcher for help.. you’re not lost in all the information.

Ordering a Crown Roast

I highly recommend that you order it in advance. With the holiday still a couple of weeks away, stop by the butcher and ask how much advance notice you will need to give him to order a Crown Roast of Pork. While you’re there, ask him what size he recommends for the number of people you plan to serve. Then go home and do a little research, plan your menu and then order your meat.

I have gotten burned too often by either not ordering enough or way too much. In all fairness to the butcher, he doesn’t know what else I plan on serving and just what kind of meat eaters are among my guests. Take his recommendation and think about it before ordering. I’d recommend two chops per person as a generous serving.

So Just What is a Crown Roast of Pork?

A Crown Roast of Pork is made up of pork rib roast/ rack of pork. It’s formed by tying the rack into a circle with the ribs standing up. I have always had the butcher do it.

Before roasting … or it can also be barbecued… there is a bit of prep work that needs to be done. I have always had the butcher do this also. The roast needs to be … what is called… “Frenched”. What this means is … the meat needs to be cut away from the end of each rib so that part of each bone is exposed.

Cooking Methods

Okay so now you have your roast… let’s go over your cooking options. Roasting is by far your best choice. It is easy and pretty hassle free. It leaves you time to concentrate on other parts of your meal.

There are articles on how to barbecue one, but they are few and far between…. However.. if you are intent on barbecuing… here is an article to help you. I have never barbecued one and not sure I ever will, I like roasting mine.

The National Pork Board follows the guidance of the US Department of Agriculture recommendations, which say to cook roasts to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F., followed by a 3-10 minute rest time.

Roast in a shallow pan, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes a pound and be sure to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Cover the ends of the bone with a strip of foil.


Brining is marinating meat in a salty liquid, usually water, and sometimes with other liquids, such as, in the case of pork, apple cider.

Many people brine their crown roasts before roasting, it makes the meat tender and does infuse flavor also. There are a number of popular recipes, one of the best is by Williams Sonoma.


There are a variety of basting sauces to use… typically the roast is seasoned and basted before and periodically during roasting.


Some recipes stuff the center and then cook the roast stuffed… some cook them separately and spoon the stuffing into the hollow just before serving. Both methods are good… it can just be personal choice which method to go with.

A word of caution, stuffing it and roasting it stuffed can be tricky… you don’t want the meat to be done and the stuffing not. Make sure you don’t overstuff it.

I recommend making them separately and spooning the stuffing in before serving or cooking them separately and spooning some of the stuffing in the center about 30 minutes before the roast is finished cooking, then returning it to the oven, this way everything is thoroughly cooked and the stuffing in the center has a little crust on top when it comes out of the oven.

As with the basting sauce, stuffings vary widely and are really personal choice. My Apple Cranberry Stuffing recipe was actually a recipe I found years ago and was for a Crown Roast of Pork…. I used it for Cornish Game Hens and have used it for turkey almost every Thanksgiving since.

How to Carve a Crown Roast

Insert a large carving fork in the side between two ribs to steady it. Using a large sharp carving knife, cut down each rib to cut each chop off.

Need Roasting Pans, Accessories, Recipe Ideas or Even Wine Pairings?

Check out Williams Sonoma, they have everything you may want to add to your kitchen supplies and they have wonderful recipe ideas and serving ideas. The wonderful main picture above is for their Brined Crown Roast of Pork.

I hope I took some of the mystery out making a Crown Roast of Pork and inspired you to try it. Pork is always a wonderful choice, easy to make and low in fat… after all … it is the other white meat.


Raw Crown Roast of Pork by Pork Be Inspired
Header picture by Williams Sonoma

A Guide to Buying a Ham

With Easter just around the corner and with ham as one of the most popular meats cooked for Easter, I thought it would be a good idea to post my guide to buying ham.

You can buy the expensive spiral-sliced hams available from various specialty stores, but the taste of a great ham baked yourself can’t be beaten. Hams are very easy to bake… in most cases all you are doing is just reheating the already cooked ham (check labels for details... in fact a lot of hams will come with heating or cooking instructions on them... much like turkeys do).

The buying is where most cooks lose interest… labels can be confusing… and all the choices overwhelming… leading most cooks to wonder if they are making the correct choice… so they retreat and buy those expensive spiral hams.

This guide should answer most of your questions… or at the very least take some of the mystery out of buying a good ham. This is from Cuisine at Home… and taken in its entirety from them. (I’m just not that smart to remember all this).

I hope you find it helpful.

Butt Half

Ham comes one of three ways: whole, shank or butt. Whole is hard to carve, the shank has too much connective tissue, but the butt… is just right. Its large muscles provide pure meaty slices that are easy to carve.


You want a bone-in or semi-boneless ham- just not boneless. Boneless ham is nothing more than ground ham that’s mixed with a binder and re-formed. Bone-in ham is still easy to carve and will serve 2-3 people per pound.

No Slices Removed

Have you ever seen those nice individually-wrapped slices called “ham steaks”? They’re from the center of the ham… slices that should be on your ham. If you see the word “portion”, it means the best pieces have been cut out of the center of the ham. Try to find a half that says “no slices removed”.

Natural Juices or Water Added

Labels that read “Natural Juices”, “No Water Added”, or “Water Added” are all acceptable. Avoid anything that says, “Ham and Water Product Added”. These hams are spongy and weak tasting.

Natural Juice and No Water Added hams are excellent, but can be hard to cook – they can dry out unless you use a recipe that uses a moist heat (liquid in the bottom of the pan below the rack that the ham is on)…. Water added hams are moist and easy to slice…. but you won’t go wrong with either type of ham.

Recipe: Potatoes and Chorizo

I’m always looking for a way to change up what we have for breakfast… we love breakfast foods… after all.. breakfast foods are not only for breakfast… they often make a hearty weeknight supper too.

Mexican chorizo with its spicy blend of flavors goes perfectly with potatoes and onions… fry or poach an egg for on top of the Potatoes and Chorizo and you have yourself a dandy breakfast or weeknight meal.


Chorizo should be fairly easy to find in the supper market… look in either the section where you find the hot dogs or the meat section… if you still can’t find it… ask the meat manager… it’s probably there just in a specialty location in the store.

You can easily squeeze the chorizo out of its casing and into a skillet… as it cooks… break it up into bits.

I always drain my chorizo on paper towels after cooking.. you would be surprised at how much fat that removes.

I don’t usually have a lot of chorizo grease left in my pan after I cook the sausage (that will vary by brand)… so I need to add a bit of olive oil to it to cook the potatoes… you should have about 1-2 tablespoons of grease (chorizo and olive oil combined) to cook this… if you have more chorizo grease in your pan.. remove some.. otherwise add a bit of olive oil.

The amount of potatoes and chorizo are approximate.. use whatever amounts you need and adjust the amount of onion accordingly.

I use 3 links about the size of hot dogs for this dish… you can use more or less… the chorizo I get tends to have a little zip to it… so I am careful not to overdo the amount of chorizo I use.

Some people parboil the potatoes first… I don’t … I cut the cubes fairly small.. about the size you get in frozen hash brown bags in the freezer section.. so they don’t require a lot of cooking… after putting them in the hot skillet… I add about 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and cover it.. the steam helps cook the potatoes.

You could also use frozen hash brown potatoes instead of fresh potatoes.

I hope you try this… if you like Mexican food.. you will like this!

Recipe: Potatoes and Chorizo

All you need:

3 links chorizo, casing removed (see Tips)
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
About a tablespoon of olive oil (see Tips)
Salt and pepper to taste

All you have to do:

Squeeze the chorizo out of its casing and cook in a hot skillet over medium high heat. Break the sausage up into small bits as it cooks. Drain on paper towels.

Leave about 1 ½ tablespoons of chorizo grease in the pan.. if you don’t have that much add a bit of olive oil.

Add the potatoes and stir well to distribute the grease/oil evenly on the potatoes. Cook until tender … see tips. When potatoes are starting to brown a bit.. add the chopped onion and stir well.

Cook until the onions are soft and the potatoes are to desired browned and crispness. Don’t let the potatoes burn, adjust heat if necessary.

Add the chorizo back into the skillet, stir well. Cook for a few minutes until heated through. Add salt and/or pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

Recipe: Cajun Rice and Kielbasa Skillet

Have you ever gotten to the grocery store and a sale was just too good to pass up? … you get home and now you have to think of a dish you want to make with it… and nothing rings your chimes…. I’m sure you have…. it’s definitely a “been there done that” moment.

That was mine with the kielbasa. We love kielbasa… with pierogies, with onions and potatoes… onions and cabbage… even in soup… and we had just had those dishes recently… so there I was staring blankly into my fridge and pantry.. trying to decide what to make… and this recipe was born.

I’m sure I’m not the first to have thought of this kind of combination… but I did come up with it .. my Cajun Spice was a last minute addition when I tasted the rice and decided it needed something… and boy did it get it!


I used a full tablespoon of the Cajun Spice… lips on fire!... well not really but it was a bit spicy for my tastes… Warren was happy with it… I list the ingredient with a range… and I do list it as ½ tablespoon… use your tablespoon measuring spoon and eyeball it … as Rachael Ray would say… start off small.. you can always add more.

As for the Cajun Spice… click here for my recipe… I highly recommend it.. I have a small jar of it made up and use it often… so many things to use it in… if you prefer a commercially made Cajun Spice.. you will have to adjust the quantity in the recipe to your tastes since every spice combination is different.

This was a quick and easy skillet meal… start to finish in about 20 minutes… one skillet to clean… a great weeknight supper.

Recipe: Cajun Rice and Kielbasa Skillet

All you need:

1 kielbasa sausage, sliced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, finely diced
2 tablespoons olive oil plus a little more
2 cups instant rice
2 cups beef broth
½ - 1 tablespoon Cajun Spice (see tips)

All you need to do:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the garlic and onions and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring them constantly.

Add the sliced sausage and rice.. drizzle a little more olive oil over the rice and stir well… you do not need very much….. cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the beef broth and stir. Let it simmer … adjust heat as needed.

Add Cajun seasoning and cook until rice is tender.

Serve immediately.

Recipe: Strawberry Tiramisu

Strawberries in March? … Luscious … deep red strawberries… they were even on sale! Now how great is that??

I bought them and thought they looked really good on the outside and … well… unfortunately.. you get them home and start slicing them only to find them almost white inside… so understandably I was skeptical…

To my surprise they were great! Just as I started slicing them I could smell that sweet strawberry smell… to a strawberry lover like me.. it was pure heaven.

So now the question remained .. what to do with them… I had ladyfingers that I had gotten for something else… had mascarpone in the fridge… and heavy cream… so Strawberry Tiramisu it was.

This recipe was adapted from a Raspberry Tiramisu (another great idea)… from Giada ..


I actually cut the recipe in half because I didn’t have enough lady fingers on hand… and besides there is just two of us and I didn’t want to be eating this for a week… okay… two days.. let’s be real… Warren could have finished it in one night… so my point is… this recipe cuts in half just fine.

I lined a baking pan with foil so it would lift out easily… it also stores well that way also… doing this recipe up in a glass bowl would be good too… but then you would be scooping it out.. not cutting a piece… looks nice in a bowl.. like a trifle.. but after that.. the presentation goes downhill… so it’s your choice what to use.

I used Polaner All Fruit.. it works perfectly.

The ladyfingers did not fit snugly in the pan.. so I just placed them in the middle and layered the dessert.. it lifted out easily when I lined the pan with foil (see tip 2).

I used a long serrated bread knife to cut it… slow sawing motions cut it perfectly.

I hope you try this… don’t expect leftovers (see tip 1).

Recipe: Strawberry Tiramisu

All you need:

2 pkg. ladyfingers
1 cup Polaner Strawberry All-Fruit
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier, divided
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. Mascarpone, softened
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large package fresh strawberries, cleaned and sliced

All you have to do:

In a small bowl mix the Polaner All fruit with 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier. Reserve 2 tablespoons and set aside (to spread on very top of the strawberries.

In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks.

In a medium bowl, mix the mascarpone with 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier.

Stir ¼ of the whipped cream into the Mascarpone mixture. Then fold the rest of the whipped cream into it.

Split the ladyfingers open. Place half the ladyfingers on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

Spread half of the All Fruit mixture on the ladyfingers.

Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the All Fruit.

Layer half the sliced strawberries over the mascarpone mixture.

Repeat layers starting with the lady fingers again. Then the All Fruit, then the mascarpone mixture, then top with remaining strawberries. Brush the strawberries with the reserved All Fruit mixture.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.


This traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage, onions and often with bacon, is a perfect addition to any menu especially a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. We add bacon… according to Warren… life is better with bacon.

It’s pretty simple and inexpensive to make… and takes about 30 minutes .. start to finish with most of the time taken up by peeling and then boiling the potatoes.


Many recipes use quite a bit of butter, and while I do agree it is essential for flavor… I question how much is really needed. The original recipe I have used a lot more butter… in my opinion… way too much… I think 2 tablespoons is more than enough… feel free to add more if you prefer.

I used Russet potatoes.. their hearty and flavorful… and I “rough” mashed them.. I like texture with this dish.. and Russets worked perfectly.. however any variety will work.

This recipe will make 4-6 servings.. depending on your size serving…

There’s not a lot to this recipe… very easy and the flavors blend so well… I hope you try it!

Recipe: Colcannon

All you need:

4 large Russet potatoes
½ small head of cabbage, chopped
4 slices of bacon
1 large onion, chopped
½ cup hot whole milk
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter, melted

All you need to do:

Scrub and peel the potatoes. Cut them into even sized chunks, place in a large pot and cover with water. Cook until tender. Drain and them place back in the pot. Mash until mostly mashed… I like some small soft lumps. Add the milk and stir well. Lightly add salt and pepper (remember the bacon will add salt to the dish.. you can always add more at the end).

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and chop it. Set aside.

Remove all but about a tablespoon of bacon grease from the skillet. Cook the onions for about 2 minutes over medium heat, stir well. Add the cabbage, stir well. Place the lid on the pan and cook until soft (about 7 minutes), stirring frequently.

Add the chopped bacon, cabbage and onions to the mashed potatoes, mix well. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Place in a serving bowl and make a small well in the center and add the melted butter. Serve immediately.

Recipe: Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham…. how I miss reading Dr. Suess to my son… some of my fondest memories are the times we would snuggle at bedtime and settle in with a book….

Making holiday celebrations fun for kids is also a great way to them involved.. and with St. Patrick’s Day coming.. and all things green.. why not make it a Green Eggs and Ham breakfast…. maybe take turns reading from the book.

This recipe is really an adaptation of my Eggs Florentine recipe…. delicious and … most importantly… green!


I use shallots.. because of the mild flavor.. you can substitute onion if you don’t have them.. but shallots do give the dish a nice light onion flavor.

I use frozen spinach.. which I buy in the bag because it’s cheaper instead of the boxes… you can use either… even fresh spinach if you prefer… quantities don’t have to be exact..

I love to use Fat Free half and Half… no fat and it gives the dish a rich velvety texture.

You can poach your eggs in a poacher or you can bake them in the oven… an easy way to make as many poached eggs as you need…. click here for the “how-to” if you need it.

Make sure you squeeze out all the excess water from the spinach.

This recipe will make enough spinach for 2-4 people depending on how big you want the servings to be… the recipe easily doubles if you need more.

I hope you enjoy this great way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and make it fun for children and adults alike.

Recipe: Green Eggs and Ham

All you need:

2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
¾ cup Fat free Half and Half
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup finely chopped cooked ham
A sprinkling of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Poached eggs

All you have to do:

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat.

Add the chopped shallots and cook them for about 2 minutes until soft.

Add the spinach and the chopped ham, stir well. Cook for about 5- 7 minutes over medium heat.

Add the flour to a small bowl. Slowly add the Half and Half, whisking as you add it.. you don’t want lumps.

Add the mixture to the spinach and stir well. Cook until the spinach thickens.

Add a sprinkling of garlic powder and stir well.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the spinach and ham mixture into servings and place the poached eggs on top.

Looking for More Recipes?

If you are looking for more recipes click the "Older Posts" link to page back to older posts or go to the archives in the right column. The list of labels at the bottom in the right column will help you find specific types of recipes or try our search engine at the top and search by name or ingredient.

What's more comforting on a cold day than Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup? .. and it's so easy to make!

Chicken Noodle Soup