Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ham and Pasta


Beach Treasures by frances robson

Good evening and come on in the house for a cup of hot chocolate. I am drinking some that Cindy sent me for Christmas and it is delicious. It the white chocolate mix and I added a hand full of chocolate chips and wow is it a good dessert. She bought it at World Market and I am sure going to buy some more.

Cold day and getting colder today and the fire in the fireplace is wonderful. We picked up a whole big plastic bag full of pine cones this week and that really starts a fire and helps keep the yard clean. We also pick up all our fallen limbs, branches and twigs, snap them in small lengths -about 1 foot - and use these as fire starters also. Good for the yard and for the fireplace. Thought about bundling them, wrapping a pretty ribbon around them and giving several bundles of twigs and branches to some friends who have fireplaces. Seems like a good gift to me, what about you?

I have been considering melting down some old candles I have and dipping the pine cones in that to use also. In an article I read, it was said to make great fire starters and smell good also. I throw my orange and grapefruit peelings in the fire to add a good smell to the house. It looks like we throw most everything in the fire place doesn't it? In fact, we also use it to burn papers instead of shredding them and the ashes go around some of our shrubbery or in the compost pile. I am too kin the my mama and daddy to waste much of anything without becoming a "hoarder."







Tried 2 new recipes I made as I went along cooking dinner and they are really good. Thought I would share them with you and see what you think.

The first one is a ham slice recipe and I used cured, smoked ham slices from a butcher in rural Alabama. I had some oranges from our tree which needed to be used and began to figure out how to use them and this recipe is what I came up with and it is good.

BROWN SUGAR & ORANGE HAM SLICES

2-4 slices cured ham – trimmed of fat
brown sugar - I used the Splenda lite and rubbed in about 1 Tablespoon per slice
orange juice from 2 oranges or ½ cup from carton
non stick spray

Trim outer fat from ham slices and rub brown sugar on both sides of the slices. Spray non-stick frying pan with non-stick spray, heat until hot and add the ham slices. Brown on both sides and remove to platter. Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze the orange juice into the fryer and use to deglaze the pan and return to heat which has been reduced to simmer. Add the slices back to the juice, cover and simmer for about 15 min. Don't overcook and toughen.
The sweet/salty/smoked taste is wonderful and would be good served with orange slices or segments on top of the ham.

My other recipe is using the whole wheat ravioli from the refrigerated section of the grocery. We like the whole wheat but you could use the white flour ravioli also if you prefer but try the whole wheat for the flavor is better and more hearty - almost a nutty flavor. Use the freshly shaved Parmesan cheese also even though it is a little more expensive. You only use a generous sprinkling and it so much better than the dried.

Four Cheese Ravioli with Parmesan Cheese

1 pkg. Whole Wheat Four Cheese Ravioli – I use Buitoni – this is the fresh pasta from refrigerated section
4 cups water
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
Bring water to boil, add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Add pasta and cook until aldente - 7-9 minutes and drain. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes – sliced once
fresh or dried parsley
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in frying pan and add the tomatoes and cook for about 1 minute – just heat, don't cook until mushy. Add the drained pasta to the pan and toss gently. Sprinkle with the parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle generously with the Parmesan cheese. Toss gently and if too dry add about ¼ cup of the pasta water or more if needed. You want it to be slightly sauced but not floating in the sauce.
Sprinkle the top with additional cheese and freshly chopped parsley just before serving.

Let me know how you like them if you try them for they are really good, not expensive and low fat and calories.

Ya'll be careful going home and come back to sit on the 'Net porch with us and have a cup of chocolate.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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