home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes

For generations, American families have enjoyed the succulent taste of a smoked bone-in ham as the centerpiece of their Easter celebration.

Today, tradition meets convenience with mouth-watering spiral sliced, slow cured ham. The eye-catching presentation of a hickory smoked ham is a crowd-pleasing favorite, and with a few lively, contemporary flavors, it's easy to create a modern twist on the traditional springtime menu.

Many spiral sliced hams are fully cooked, requiring only heating before they are ready to be served as the centerpiece of a festive, holiday table. Cook's bone-in spiral sliced ham, for instance, is slow cured with natural ingredients including pure cane sugar, real honey and brown sugar and includes a packet of prepared ham glaze. The juicy, traditional taste is delivered conveniently through spiral slices for serving ease. Ham is also an excellent source of protein. Many hams provide fewer than 200 calories per 3-ounce cooked serving, making the robust taste of bone-in ham part of a healthful diet.

This spring, dress up your holiday ham with a deliciously sweet and tart crimson sauce. You'll invest only five minutes of prep time--simply add the packet of prepared ham glaze to the frozen cherries and brush the sauce on the ham about 10 minutes before it is finished baking. The end result is a sweet balance to the savory, old fashioned taste of bone-in ham. Be sure to reserve some of the cherry sauce for dipping during the meal.

Add the flavors of spring to this festive menu with other seasonal fruits and vegetables as well. Mango and black-eyed pea salsa served with tortilla chips adds a rainbow of colors and bright flavors to your tabletop for a contemporary, casual appetizer. Golden turnovers of peach, bleu cheese and spinach wrapped in flaky puff pastry are a sweet and savory addition that makes any spring celebration special.

Spiral sliced hams are ideal for any festive gathering throughout the year because they are easy to prepare and practically serve themselves as part of a buffet or holiday table. Plus, leftover ham is always a welcome addition to a variety of recipes--whether as a base for sandwiches, an addition to scrambled eggs, a complement to pasta or a hearty topping for salads and soups.

For great tips for preparing and serving ham, and quick and easy recipes visit www.CooksHam.com.

Cherry Sauce

This crimson sauce is a seasonal addition to any springtime table when served as a glaze or alongside a serving of ham. Purée half of the sauce as instructed, or leave the cherries whole for a more dramatic presentation. You can make this sauce ahead and simply warm over low heat on the stovetop until ready to serve.

1 package Cook's Sweet Ham Glaze and Dipping Sauce
1 pound frozen cherries

In a saucepan over low heat, combine glaze and cherries and simmer about 8 minutes until cherries thaw and mixture begins to bubble. Remove half of mixture and purée in a blender about 30 seconds. Return puréed cherry mixture to saucepan and stir. Continue to heat on low another 3 minutes. Makes 2 to 3 cups.

Mango and Black-Eyed Pea Salsa

This southwest-inspired salsa will disappear when placed alongside an Easter ham and scooped up with tortilla chips. Combine the delicious flavors that complement ham and stir in some chopped fresh cilantro, if desired, just before serving.

1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 15 1/2 ounce cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 mangoes, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
3 green onions, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine oil, vinegar, lime juice, cumin and garlic powder in medium bowl. Add black-eyed peas, mangoes, tomatoes and green onion; toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate 4 hours and serve with tortilla chips. Makes about 4 cups.

Cambozola, Peach and Spinach Turnovers

Cambozola is a very creamy bleu cheese that is a cross between Camembert and Gorgonzola. Look for Cambozola in a cheese shop or substitute creamy Gorgonzola or Camembert.

1 egg
1/4 cup milk
4 square sheets puff pastry, 5-inch square
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ripe peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
14 ounce jar pimiento strips, drained
1 cup baby spinach leaves, washed and stemmed
4 ounces Cambozola, or other creamy blue cheese, sliced into 4 pieces

Heat oven to 400 F. Whisk together egg and milk in a small bowl; brush mixture onto one side of pastry squares. Reserve egg wash for later use. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over pastry squares. Layer 1/4 of the peach, pimiento and spinach in center of each pastry square and top with cheese. Fold dough around the filling to make triangle; sealing edges. Brush top with remainder of egg wash; place on greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 16 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.


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