Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Easy Ham Dinner for Family

With the cool weather upon us I'm using the oven on a regular basis, and I decided to make an easy ham dinner this week while my husband had a day off work. For once we were all home together and ham is a family favorite.

I wanted to mention a few things about the ham. I always buy it on sale, and my favorite type of ham is the butt portion. It has more meat and less fat than the shank or the picnic ham, and it's moister than a boneless ham. On sale I can get it for a little over a dollar a pound. I usually buy a 3-4 pound ham for our family. Below are the instructions on how I cook it. It's very simple, and I don't use a glaze or seasoning. The Buttercup squash was on sale for .50 a pound at the grocery store, so I picked that up for the dinner as well.

Simple Baked Ham

3-4 pound butt portion ham
corn starch

Place the ham cut side down in a large roaster pan. Add about a 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. 1-2 cups of water. Cover with the lid, and bake at 350 degrees F. for one hour until ham is heated through completely.

Allow the ham to sit for 5 minutes or so then remove from the pan to a platter. Set aside. Depending on how many drippings collected in the pan, add 1-3 cups of hot water into the pan, stir and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Mix in 1/4-1/2 cup water and stir briskly with a fork to dissolve the cornstarch. Add this to the pan of drippings, stirring it in as it boils. Boil until it thickens, then turn off the heat.

Spoon up the gravy into a bowl, and serve with sliced ham.

Buttercup Squash

One whole buttercup squash
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
garlic pepper OR
black pepper and garlic powder

Place the squash on a towel or hotpad. Using a large, sharp knife cut the squash in half. Hold the squash firmly and cut straight down. I flip it over and cut from the other side as well until I've cut it in half completely.

Place both halves skin side down in a pie plate or glass pan that will fit into the microwave. Add enough water to the bottom so it's about 1/4 inch. Place in the microwave and cook 5 minutes on high. Check the squash for tenderness by piercing with a fork. It should go through the skin easily. Cook for 4 more minutes, pierce again. If it's still not tender cook for 2 more minutes. If the microwave does not have a rotating tray, then turn the dish each time. Remove when tender.

Place a tablespoon of butter in each half and season to taste. I served the squash as is out of the shells, but it can be scooped out into a serving dish first, then seasoned if you wish.

Dinner Notes: I also made mashed potatoes since there was gravy and the kids are not fans of squash. Don't forget to use the leftover ham bone for soup.

On OFL we have a tips and recipes for spaghetti squash: