(Family Features) This year, make your Easter ham effortless by ditching the oven and using your slow cooker instead. While most people think about slow cooking for staples like chili and stew, it’s also perfect for center-of-the-plate feasts — like an Easter ham.
Using the slow cooker, you can minimize both prep time and cleanup time, leaving plenty of room in the day for church, hunting eggs and enjoying time with your loved ones.
Ham is a tradition for many families this time of year, and because it pairs well with a multitude of ingredients, you can create a unique dish every time.
For a fresh spin on the classic ham, try this Sweet Southern Slow-Cooker Ham recipe from the National Pork Board. Apple cider and bourbon (or vanilla extract, if you prefer) combine to create a rich flavor complemented by the sweetness of brown sugar.
Round out your Easter menu by pairing your ham with classic sides such as oven-roasted carrots, asparagus wrapped in bacon and mashed sweet potatoes.
You can also use leftover ham for flavor-packed recipes like Ham, Apple and Cheddar Crepes, which are ideal for a family-style brunch.
Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes
Enter the National Pork Board’s Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes at PorkBeinspired.com/EasterHam for the chance to win an Easter gift basket with everything you need for this year’s celebration.
- 1 bone-in fully cooked ham, about 5 1/2 pounds
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Kentucky bourbon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- Place ham in large slow cooker. Whisk cider with brown sugar, bourbon, honey and mustard. Slowly pour over ham. Scatter thyme sprigs into slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours, or until very tender. Remove ham to rest on cutting board. Pass remaining cooking liquid through fine mesh sieve into saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly reduced. Carve ham into serving pieces. Brush ham pieces with cooking liquid before arranging on platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
4 to 8 hours
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
For a non-alcoholic alternative, replace the bourbon with 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
- 3 cups ham, shredded and warmed
- 1 3/4 cups 2% milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- Pour milk, butter, eggs and salt in blender. Mix until well combined. Add flour. Mix for 15 to 20 seconds or until smooth. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Heat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat well with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, swirl to fully cover bottom of pan. Cook for 1 minute or until crepe begins to curl around edges. Carefully flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until set. Transfer to plate. Repeat with additional cooking spray and remaining batter. Layer cooked crepes between pieces of wax paper to prevent sticking.
- Lay a crepe on clean work surface. Arrange few slices of apple on quarter of crepe; top with shredded ham. Fold crepe in half to cover filling and fold in half again to create triangular shape. Repeat with remaining crepes, apple and ham. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and hold in warm oven until ready to serve, or up to 30 minutes.
- For cheese sauce, melt butter in saucepan set over medium heat. Stir in flour until well coated. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until pale and smooth. Whisk in milk, a splash at a time, until smooth; stir in mustard, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheese, a small handful at a time, until melted and smooth.
- Place filled crepes on each plate. Spoon cheese sauce over each crepe and sprinkle with chives.
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
All the elements of the recipe can be prepared a day in advance and gently warmed before assembling.
SOURCE: National Pork Board
(Family Features) - In the restaurant world, professional chefs can afford to spend hours on their culinary creations. When they come home after a long day, however, even the most passionate cooks tend to relish a few cooking shortcuts. From simple recipes to pantry essentials, there are a variety of tips and tricks that home cooks can add to their repertoire, too.
Timesaving products, such as prepared stock and mashed potatoes, allow home cooks to replicate restaurant-quality dishes without spending all day over a hot stove. Here are a few recipes that are easy to prepare, but rich with flavor.
For an elegant main course, try Pan Sautéed Chicken With Vegetables and Herbs. This moist, flavorful dish gets its richness from Swanson chicken stock. Or trade in the traditional salmon filet for savory Butter and Herb Salmon Cakes. Made with cayenne, tarragon, garlic and Idahoan Butter and Herb Mashed Potatoes, these cakes are a cinch to prepare, but friends and family will think you ordered in.
Butternut Squash Soup With Sage is a show-stopping first course that is accented with the flavors of sweet apples and sage. For an appetizer that will please a crowd, try Four-Cheese Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms.
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 bone-in chicken breast halves
- 2 small red onions, cut into quarters
- 1 pound new potatoes, cut into quarters
- 8 ounces fresh whole baby carrots (about 16), green tops trimmed to 1 inch
- 1 1/2 cups Swanson chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Heat oven to 350°F. Combine black pepper, paprika and flour in small bowl. Coat chicken with flour mixture.
- Heat the oil in 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until it's well browned on all sides. Remove chicken from skillet.
- Add onions and potatoes to skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots, stock, lemon juice and oregano and heat to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet. Cover the skillet.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Uncover the skillet and bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the thyme.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cups Swanson chicken broth (regular, Natural Goodness or Certified Organic)
- 1 tablespoon butter OR margarine
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- Heat oil in saucepot over medium heat. Add squash, apples and onion and cook until almost tender. Stir in sugar, coriander and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 2 minutes.
- Add broth. Heat to a boil. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Place cooked squash mixture in food processor, using a slotted spoon. Cover and blend until smooth, adding enough cooking liquid to make soup of desired consistency.
- Heat butter in small skillet. Add sage and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve butter in skillet. Divide soup among 4 bowls. Drizzle each with sage butter and garnish with fried sage leaves.
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 lemons
- 1 10 to 12-ounce salmon filet
- 1/3 cup celery, finely diced
- 1/3 cup onion, finely diced
- 3 teaspoons mayonnaise
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 4-ounce pouch Idahoan Butter and Herb Mashed Potatoes, dry
- Canola oil
- In a medium pot, boil 4 cups water with the juice of the lemons, placing one lemon half in the water. Reduce heat to a simmering boil. Poach salmon filet in water by cooking, covered, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until done. Remove with spatula. Set aside to cool.
- When salmon is cool, combine with celery, onion, mayonnaise, cayenne, tarragon, garlic, dry mustard, salt and black pepper in large bowl and mix well. Add dry potatoes slowly while mixing until everything is moist.
- Form patties and cook in preheated canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat until both sides are brown (3 minutes per side).
- Serve hot.
- 1 4-ounce package Idahoan Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes
- 12 large mushrooms or 18 medium mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons butter, margarine or olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Prepare potatoes as package directs.
- Remove stems from mushrooms; chop stems and set aside. Carefully scoop out center of each mushroom cap with a spoon, leaving 1/2-inch shell.
- Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add chopped mushroom stems and cook 3 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and stir in mashed potatoes, 2 tablespoons chives and salt.
- Fill each mushroom cap with potato mixture, mounding it slightly. Bake 10 minutes or until potatoes are lightly golden. Sprinkle mushrooms with remaining 1 tablespoon chives.