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Wed, Aug. 21

Make the most of those leftovers ... and enjoy!

The subtitle of this column may well be Luscious Leftovers, since it is going in that direction. Since many of you may have leftover ham, and we all have leftovers from time to time, here are a few suggestions on how to use them. A longstanding rule on freezing meats has been that it was OK to freeze once before cooking and once after cooking, so if you have ham, here goes.

CASSEROLE SAUCE MIX

Since casseroles can often be anything but low fat, here is a helpful substitute for a can of cream soup, even though there are some low fat ones available. This one is without all the usual additives, however, which I consider an advantage. I am a label reader!

2 c. powdered milk -3/4c . cornstarch 1/4 c. boullion crystals (your choice - low sodium preferred)- 2 T. dried onion flakes - 1 tsp. dried basil and thyme (opt., but tasty) - 1/2 tsp. pepper. Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Store in airtight container. Makes 3 cups dry.

TO USE: Combine 1/3 c. mix with 1 1/4 c. water in pan. Cook and stir until thick. This equals one can cream soup with 95 calories, but no salt and no fat. May add, as desired, chopped celery, green pepper, mushrooms, shredded cheese, depending on the casserole.

POTATO HAM BAKE

This would use the above soup mix and the leftover ham!

3 med. potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced. 2 c. cubed cooked ham - 1 med. onion, sliced and separated into rings - 8 slices American cheese - 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream soup or mixed sauce as above - 1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed.

In a greased 3 qt. baking dish, layer half of potatoes, ham, onion, cheese and soup. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 1/4 hours or until potatoes are almost tender. Sprinkle with peas. Bake uncovered, 10 minutes or until heated through. Serves 6.

Note: If you dont have peas, but the fridge has 1/2 c cooked broccoli, use it instead. (More leftover use). Being creative is part of the enjoyment of cooking.

COMPANY HAM AND NOODLES

Not a casserole, but a stove top meal using ham.

1/4 c. chopped onion -2 T butter or margarine - approximately 2 cups julienned or cubed ham -2 tsps. all purpose flour - 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream - 1 can (8oz.) sliced, drained mushrooms - Hot cooked noodles - chopped fresh parsley, opt. garnish

In skillet over med. heat, saut onion in butter until tender. Add ham; cook and stir until heated through. Sprinkle with flour and stir 1 minute. Reduce heat to low; gradually stir in sour cream (low heat and stirring prevents curdling). Add mushrooms. Cook and stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Serve over noodles. Garnish with parsley if desired. 6 servings.

HAM AND RICE CASSEROLE

If your family prefers rice, or you might even have it left over, heres an easy dinner.

1/2 lb. cooked ham, cubed - 1 (4 oz.) can mushrooms, drained - 1/4 c. chopped onions - 2 T. butter or margarine - 2/3 c. COOKED long grain rice or 2 cups leftover, cooked -

1 T. dry parsley -3 T. butter or marg. -3 T. flour -2 c. milk -3 beaten eggs - 1 T. prepared mustard.

TOPPING:

1/2 c. soft bread crumbs - 1/2 c. chopped cashews- 1 T. melted butter. Cook ham, mushrooms, and onions in 1 T. butter or marg. 4-5 mins. Stir in cooked rice and parsley. Melt the 3 T. butter; blend in flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and dash of pepper. Add milk all at once; cook and stir over med. heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir in half of the hot mixture into eggs; return to saucepan and cook 1 min. more. Blend mustard into ham mixture. Pour into 10 x 6 x 2 baking dish. Stir topping mix together and sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake 35-40 mm. Let stand 5 min. at room temp. before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.

EASY HAM AND ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE

8 oz. can crescent dinner rolls - 10 1/2 oz. can asparagus spears, drained (if you have leftover cooked asparagus, you could use that) - 1 c. cooked, diced ham 3 eggs - 1/2 c. milk 1 c. grated mild cheddar cheese -3 oz. can French fried onion rings. This casserole could be used for a late breakfast or brunch, and the onions could be optional in that case. Place crescent roll rectangles in 13 x 9 pan and press together and up sides to form crust. Arrange asparagus and ham in pan. Beat eggs. Pour over asparagus and ham. Sprinkle with cheese and onion rings if using. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Exact servings not listed, but in a 13 x 9 pan, it would be at least 8- 10.

This recipe was left from last weeks column due to space constrictions

CORN-CHEDDAR CORNBREAD

Make up to one day ahead, storing airtight at room temperature. Reheat just before serving.

2 boxes (8.5 oz.) corn muffin mix - 1 can (11 oz.) Mexican-style corn - 2/3 c. milk - 2 large eggs - 2 T. melted butter - 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz.).

Heat oven to 375. Lightly coat a 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick spray.

Stir first 5 ingredients in a bowl until blended; fold in cheese. Scrape into prepared pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown, cool in pan on wire rack.

Cut in wedges to serve.

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