Make Easter a time for family and fabulous foods

Published 11:12 am Thursday, April 9, 2009

Well, lookie here. It’s freezing once again.

Just when ya get your closets reorganized from all the winter clothes, you’ve got to go dig for something warm to wear once again.

I guess this is our usual pre-Easter freeze. I must say the petunias, marigolds and azaleas are all looking wonderful!

I just love the natural colors of Spring. Easter is upon us once again and I have such fond memories eating tons of food on Easter!

You just can’t have an Easter dinner without a ham. Here is one of my favorites and you’ll want to begin this fresh ham recipe a day in advance:

1 fresh ham, about 5 pounds

whole cloves

1 large bay leaf

dash crushed red pepper, or 1 small red pepper pod

1 small cinnamon stick

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

dash garlic powder

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

Place ham in a large pot and cover with boiling water. Add 4 whole cloves, the bay leaf, red pepper and cinnamon stick. Simmer for 3 hours. Cool and refrigerate in broth overnight.

Remove ham rind.

Combine mustard and horseradish and rub over the ham. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Score fat with a knife and insert whole cloves evenly, about every two to three inches. Sprinkle ham with brown sugar and bake for 1 hour longer. This will serve about eight people.

If you love mac and cheese like I do, try this one:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni

9 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 and 1/2 cups half-and-half

8 ounces cubed processed cheese

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, drain well and return to cooking pot.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt eight tablespoons butter and stir into the macaroni.

In a large bowl, combine the shredded cheeses and mix well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add the half and half, and 1 and 1/2 cups of cheese mixture, cubed processed cheese and eggs to macaroni. Mix together and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a lightly greased deep 2 and 1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese mixture and 1 tablespoon of butter.

Bake for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbling around the edges.

Happy Easter!