Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies.......She looks well to the ways of her household. Proverbs 31:10-27
We're sisters who like to cook and bake, talk cooking and baking, and share recipes and kitchen wisdom.

Glazed Ham Balls

 A favorite recipe in our house is this one from Taste of Home for Glazed Ham Balls.
I have made these for several years now and they are always a winner. You can cut the recipe in half as it makes quite a few, or do as I do and freeze the leftovers for another day. However, if Bettie’s daughter is at our house, she always gets any left over as they are one of her favorites. One of the reasons we like these is that there are no graham crackers in the mixture. For some reason in this area most recipes call for them and I feel they make the balls too sweet.
Glazed Ham Balls
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 ¼ cups quick cooking oats
 2 ½ lbs. of ground Ham (I use a ham loaf mixture from our local store which is ground ham and pork.
1 cup plus 2 TBS packed brown sugar
3 TBS cornstarch
¼ teaspoon ground cloves (scant)
1 ¾ cups pineapple juice (buy just the pineapple juice)
½ cup light corn syrup
3 TBS cider vinegar (it needs to be cider)
4 ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard (yellow will work if that is all you have)
  In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk, oats and ham. Shape into 1 ½ inch balls. (a ¼ cup measuring cup works well to get the right size). Place into a lightly greased 15 x 10 x 2 inch baking pan. Bake in a 350° oven for 15 minutes while you get the sauce ready. Drain before adding the sauce to get rid of some of the fat. 
 In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch and cloves. Stir in pineapple juice, corn syrup, vinegar and mustard until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Pour over ham balls. Bake uncovered at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until browned. Baste occasionally with the sauce.
Yield: 10 servings of 2 Ham balls per serving

Ham and Noodle Casserole

Here’s a simple-to-make casserole that doesn’t use canned cream soup.   I have found that it’s quick to thaw the mixed vegetables by putting them in the bottom of the colander, and then draining the noodles over them.  I topped mine with some crushed canned French fried onion rings, but you can leave them off or use any other topping you like; buttered bread or cracker crumbs or corn flakes during the last 10 minutes.  I have also used some left over sour cream dip instead of the plain sour cream and we really liked it too.  You can use whatever grated cheese you have on hand instead of the Parmesan.
After making this for a while, I discovered one day, when my oven was already full, that this is just as good finished off in the microwave, and much quicker.  Then you can top and crisp up the topping under the broiler, or simply leave off the topping.           
Ham and Noodle Casserole
  6        Ounces  Dry Noodles 
  12      Ounces  Cottage Cheese -- fine curd
  10      Ounces  Frozen Mixed Vegetables -- thawed and drained
  1        Cup  Ham -- cubed
     ¾    Cup  Sour Cream
     ¼    Cup  Skim Milk
  3        Tablespoons  Grated Parmesan Cheese
  1        Tablespoon  Flour
  1        Teaspoon  Dill Weed
Cook noodles; drain.  In a large bowl (or the noodle pot), combine remaining ingredients.  Add noodles, toss to coat.
Transfer to a 2 quart greased baking dish.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 400°.  Uncover; bake 8-10 minutes longer until heated through.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Optional:  Instead of baking, cover the casserole with a lid or microwave safe plastic wrap (punctured in a few places) and cook on high for 6-10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

4-6 Servings

Ham Vegetable Soup

 A chilly day in the spring is just right for vegetable soup. I remembered seeing a ham and vegetable soup in the More Cooking From Quilt Country, so decided that as I had some left over ham and a ham bone that I would make a version of it for our supper.
  I did not use her recipe except for getting a basic idea of what was in the soup. Vegetable soup can be a great way to clean up the odds and ends out of your lonely vegetable drawer. I will try to give you the amounts I used, but feel free to make it your own using your families favorite vegetables. The flat leaf parsley tastes a good deal like cilantro so if you do not like that flavor do not add it. 
Ham Vegetable Soup
2 quarts chicken stock, homemade or store bought
1 meaty ham bone
1 cup cubed ham or ham from your ham bone
1 14 ½ ounce can of chopped or diced tomatoes
1 russet baking potato peeled in ¾ inch cubes
2 carrots diced
2 stalks celery diced
1 onion chopped
Chopped cabbage to taste, I used about 2 cups
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh flat leaf parsley
  Saute the onions, celery, carrots till limp, add everything except potatoes and cabbage. Heat and simmer. Peel and cube the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes in a separate pan. Drain and add to the soup. At this point it can simmer for as long as you need it to. Add Cabbage (if using) 15 to 20 minutes before you are ready to eat.
 If you are going to be late eating it, cool and reheat later.

Homemade Raisin Sauce

We thought we would offer some favorite ways to use Easter ham this week.
I went to high school in a small town in North Texas, and at a community Easter dinner every year; they served this raisin sauce with ham.  Serve it with your baked ham or with ham steak; I browned my Frick's ham steak (from Missouri) in our Mom's cast iron skillet in just a little bacon fat.
I use cook-type clear jel in this recipe if I think I am going to want to reheat it. This is very fast to make, and most cooks will have the basic ingredients in their pantry.  The mustard and vinegar are just enough to keep it from being too sweet.  Quick, tasty, and it makes your meal a little special.
Homemade Raisin Sauce
     ½    cup  Brown Sugar -- Packed - 4 ounces
  2        tablespoons  Cornstarch or Cook-type Clear Jel
  1        teaspoon  Dry Mustard
  1        cup  Water
  ¾-1   cup  Raisins -- 3-4 ounces
  2        tablespoons  Cider Vinegar
  2        tablespoons  Butter
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, cornstarch and mustard.
Stir in the water and vinegar until blended.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in the raisins.
Stir in butter until melted.  Thickens at room temperature.
Serve slightly warm over sliced ham.
Yield:  "1 3/4 cups"

8 Servings

Family Favorites Cashew Chicken and Rice Casserole

  The recipe for Cashew Rice and Chicken Casserole in the Land O Lakes Country Heritage cookbook is quite good. It calls for baking in the oven for an hour, and using wild rice and white rice.  
  I do not want to spend this much time and the cost of wild rice on a casserole so this is my twist on putting it together. I am going to use the directions I came up with and if you want to check out the recipe in the cookbook I encourage you to do so. This is an excellent cookbook and the casserole was well received at our house. I add about two cups of leftover cooked chicken or what I have on hand. Canned chicken will work as well.
 Cashew Chicken & Rice Casserole
2 cups cubed cooked chicken or what you have on hand
1 (6 ounce) box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain Wild Rice original recipe (omit seasoning packet)
2 ¼ cups chicken broth
1 cup salted cashews (whole and pieces are cheapest)
1 cup sliced celery
¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup chicken broth and ¼ cup white wine if desired. (I used Sherry)
1 jar chopped pimiento, drained
⅔ cup dairy sour cream
1 teaspoon dried basil or italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt  (taste before adding. The cashews add salt)
Pepper to taste
  Cook rice with the 2 ¼ cups broth about 25 minutes. If there is still a little liquid in the rice saucepan just add it into the casserole.
  While rice is cooking, in large skillet melt butter, saute celery and nuts. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the sour cream. Simmer on medium low. When rice is done, add to the skillet. Stir in the sour cream and heat through. I let it heat about 15 minutes. 

Make It Yourself...Käsespätzle (Cheese Spätzle With Fried Onions)

Clockwise: from top L:  Prepared baking dish, cheese with nutmeg,
Serving portion, caramelizing onions, slicing onions,
European Mac and Cheese!
Here’s a delicious way to use spätzle, or what I think of as “batter noodles”.  I commented that I wanted to experiment some more with this recipe, and my husband said, rather firmly, that it was perfect just like this.  This "European mac and cheese" is popular in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and other areas of Europe; often with different names.
The trick to perfect spätzle is to stir it until the batter starts to get stringy.  That keeps it from falling apart when you cook it.  You can use a spätzle maker if you wish, but I simply cut the batter off in noodles from a wet cutting board or plate, letting it drop into the simmering water, as my Swiss grandmother taught me.    
I used some Emmi  raclette cheese and some gruyere, both cheeses that melt easily.  You do want to both butter the casserole and use the bread crumbs to keep the dish from seeming too greasy.   
I sometimes make the onions before I cook this, or I use my home-canned caramelized onions which speeds up the preparation and they taste delicious.         

 Käsespätzle  (Cheese Spätzle With Fried Onions)
  2         teaspoons  Olive Oil
  1         teaspoon  Butter
  2         medium  Onion -- quartered and sliced
  1         cup  Flour, All-purpose -- (4 1/2 oz)
     ½     teaspoon  Salt
  2         large  Eggs -- beaten 
  2        tablespoons  Milk 
     ¼     teaspoon  Nutmeg
  4        ounces  Gruyere Cheese -- or Emmental, or Raclette
            Butter and Breadcrumbs for Dish              
  1. Heat butter and oil in a small pan on medium heat, add onions and turn heat to low.  Stir every few minutes for about an hour, until lightly browned.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.  Heat a large pot of water, covered.
  3. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.  Combine the egg and milk and add to the flour mixture.  Beat for several minutes until the batter is smooth and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Let rest 10 minutes and beat again.  The dough should be a lot thicker than pancake batter but not as much as bread dough.  You can't beat it too much.
  4. Pour the batter onto a spätzle board or a flat plate that have been sprayed with non-stick spray or moistened with water.  Cut the noodles off in about 1/8-1/4" widths into the water.  Stir the pot so the noodles don't stick to the bottom.  They will rise to the top.  Cook an additional 3-5 minutes.  Drain well and set aside.
  5. Prepare a 1 quart casserole with butter and dust with bread crumbs.  Combine the grated cheeses and nutmeg.   In the casserole, layer the noodles and cheeses in 2 or 3 layers, ending with cheese.  
  6. Cover the casserole and bake 20 minutes, uncover, top with the onions.  and bake an additional 15 minutes or until bubbly.  Serve hot.
4 Servings
**Any combination of Gruyere, Emmental or Raclette cheeses may be used.

Per Serving: 323 Calories; 16g Fat (43.7% calories from fat); 16g Protein; 29g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 141mg Cholesterol; 413mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 Fat.

Make it Yourself...Spätzle, Spätzli or Spaetzle in Soup

Spätzle (Bavarian), Spätzli (Swiss) or Spaetzle (Americanized) – pronounced “spet-zul”, are soft, easy-to-make last-minute homemade noodles.  Our Swiss-German grandmother served them in chicken soup.
I can't believe people will actually buy dried spaetzle or use a fancy maker to drop them.  They are so easy to stir up!
The secret to getting these right is beating well to get a slightly elastic batter.  Grandma poured the dough into a fairly flat salad plate and cut off the noodles right into the bubbly broth with a table knife.   A smaller cutting board works too.   If you like knöpfle, or little knobs of dumplings, just drop pieces with two spoons.  
The spaetzle are done when they rise to the top; they should be delicate and light, but slightly chewy.  If the first one or two are too doughy, add some milk.  If you double this recipe, cook in two batches so you will not have some done before you can get all of them in the pan.
The noodle batter has only 4 ingredients and costs only 20¢ to make.
 3/4    cup  Celery -- finely diced
     3/4    cup  Carrots -- grated
     3/8    cup  Onion -- finely chopped
  1 1/2    quarts Rich Chicken or Turkey Broth
       1      pint Canned Chicken or Turkey (Optional)
  1          Large Egg -- beaten
     1/4    teaspoon  Salt
     1/2    cup  Flour, All-purpose
     1        tablespoons Milk
Soup: Cook vegetables in chicken broth until tender, 15-20 minutes.  Add chicken if desired, and keep soup simmering while adding batter.
Spaetzle: Beat eggs; add salt and flour, add milk gradually.  Beat well.  Batter should be fairly thick and elastic.  Pour batter into a flat plate or cutting board sprayed with cooking spray.  Tilt the plate slightly over the bubbling broth and slice off small noodles with a table knife into the soup.  Let them cook, about 5 minutes or so, until they are floating on top.
Serve with sprinkles of chopped parsley.

4 Servings as a main dish soup