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Posts from ‘February, 2010’

Ham for a small family


Do you ever get hungry for ham but find the prospect of utilizing a large piece of ham rather daunting? I have the perfect solution for you:

The Ham Slice

picture of Picture Ham Slice

This nice little slice of ham costs about $4-5 dollars but can provide at least three meals for two people. I like to cut it into about five pieces. The meatier pieces can be browned in a skillet for a quick, easy meat serving and the piece with the bone in it can go into soup (such as corn chowder, ham and bean soup, or potato soup) or it can be diced up and used in scrambled eggs, egg casserole, or scalloped potatoes.

Here are a couple of pieces which have been browned in a skillet:

picture of Skillet Ham Slice

Here's a slice ready to be eaten:

picture of Finished Ham Slice

This is delicious with a baked sweet potato!

Here's a bowl of bean soup:

picture of Bean Soup

So, keep this in mind the next time you get a hankering for ham.

Becka


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Stuffed Shells


I made stuffed shells on Saturday and realized that it was a recipe I had never posted on my blog. The shells can be made ahead and either refrigerated or frozen. In fact, I think they are actually better when they are made ahead because the filling sort of "sets up" and seems a little firmer after baking. You can freeze the shells in a single layer in a pan or on a tray and then put them in a bag in the freezer and just take out the number you need for a meal.

Here are the filled shells:

picture of Raw Stuffed Shells

Here are the shells right out of the oven:

picture of Sauced Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells

1 egg
15 oz. cottage cheese (about 2 cups)
1 heaping cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 Tbsp. dried
1/2 tsp. salt
dash white pepper
20 jumbo shells, cooked and then rinsed with cold water
about 3 cups prepared spaghetti sauce

Beat egg lightly. Stir in cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper. Spoon approximately a heaping tablespoonful into each cooked shell. Arrange in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Top with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins. Serves 4-6.

This recipe can easily be doubled. If baking from the refrigerator or freezer you will need to increase the baking time. Store in the refrigerator or freezer without the sauce. Add the sauce and final dusting of parmesan cheese just before baking.

picture of Served Stuffed Shells

You can also add some cooked spinach to the filling if desired. This makes a tasty meal served with salad and garlic bread. Enjoy!

Becka


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Winter projects


For most of February we (like most of you!) have had cold, snowy or rainy weather. For the last three weekends there have even been some travel advisories in our area. Partially because of this Rob and I have spent a little more time than normal pursuing some fiber-related hobbies.

I have been working on my little on-line quilt-along project that I mentioned in my post called Winter activities. I strayed a little bit from the posted directions, but not too far. The blocks went together quickly and the piecing was fun. I decided to go with black for the sashing because of all the other colors that were involved. I am now working on the machine quilting and am using a variegated thread called antique Christmas and am doing some outline quilting and hope to do a little bit of free motion quilting as well. I've been doing a lot of reading and some practicing in preparation for this step.

picture of Square Quilt Unfinished

Rob has been working on a very cute knitting project. Shortly before Christmas we found this self-striping yarn. He just finished this adorable little baby sweater. I think it is pretty amazing how the yarn forms stripes all on its own. We found the sweater pattern as a free leaflet near the yarn in the store. Here is a link to a .pdf of the pattern.

picture of Striped Baby Sweater

How about you - have you been doing any crafting during the month of February?

Becka


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A tasty (and easy!) snack


We have been trying to eat more healthful snacks and one thing we have been eating is raw almonds. I try to keep some on hand and Rob keeps them in his office to munch on. We both thought they tasted O.K., but not outstanding. Some friends of ours mentioned that the almonds are a lot tastier if you toast them in the oven. I tried this a few weeks ago and we agree. The toasting greatly improves their flavor. I keep the majority of the almonds in the freezer and toast about a week's worth at a time to keep them nice and fresh.

Toasted Almonds

picture of Almonds

Just spread the almonds on a cookie sheet and toast in a 375 degree oven. I like to toast them for about 10 mins. and then stir them and toast for about 5 more minutes. Let them cool completely before storing.

Let me know your opinion if you try this!

Becka


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Some handy gadgets


Several years ago while we were on a road trip I was looking through some old copies of Gourmet magazine that I had purchased at a library sale. I saw a picture of this little gadget:

picture of JuliennePeeler

I was intrigued because I had never seen or heard of one before. It is a julienne peeler. I asked for one for Christmas that year and have enjoyed using it ever since.

It is very useful for cutting small shreds of vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini, and carrots. I find it quite handy for garnishing and adding just a bit of color to salads, etc. It is very handy since I'm usually just cooking for the two of us. I can use this little gadget instead of the food processor or some other larger tool.

picture of Carrot Shreds

Another handy gadget that I use frequently is this plastic lettuce knife.

picture of Lettuce Knife

DD Megan gave it to me one year for Christmas. I confess that it was several months before I got around to trying it, but it since has become one of my favorite kitchen tools. To use the lettuce knife you cut the lettuce into bite sized pieces, place them in the bowl of the lettuce spinner. Cover with cold water and then drain into the slotted basket. Then spin the lettuce and it is ready to use for your salad. The plastic knife prevents the cut edges of the lettuce from turning dark. After the lettuce is prepared this way it will keep for a day or two.

picture of Cutting Lettuce

picture of Washing Lettuce

Do you have any favorite kitchen tools that make your work in the kitchen easier? Sometimes just one little implement can make a task so much more pleasant. Please comment if you have an idea to share.

Becka


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