We went grocery shopping yesterday and I purchased a spiral sliced, Smithfield half-ham. I know from past experience that Smithfield hams are excellent quality with very little fat to be trimmed away. I also know that I can section off a half ham into various cuts and will have enough meat for a large number of meals. Years ago, I came across a pamphlet on how to carve a ham so there’s little to no waste. I’ve long since lost that pamphlet but remember the instructions quite well. So when we got home from the store, the first thing I did after getting the groceries put away was to turn on the oven and begin to set the ham up for baking. Although it’s already pre-cooked, I like to warm up the ham so that it’s easier to cut the sections apart. I filled a 9″x13″ x4″ Rubbermaid container with ham slices and stored it in the refrigerator. Plus, I put two gallon-size zippered bags of slices and large sections of ham in the freezer. Finally, I put the ham bone in another gallon bag and stored it in the freezer for a future beans and ham dinner. Thankfully, we never get tired of ham and I have any number of recipes that call for it.
The ham bone still had plenty of meat left on it for a pot of white (or pinto) beans. Served with cornbread, beans and ham is a meal that is filling, economical and healthy. Robert loves his cornbread and beans. He says his mother used to make beans every Wednesday. She had a fairly set menu that varied only for special occasions. He remembers one time when she left a pot of beans on the stove and went to set a neighbor’s hair. When she heard the fire truck’s siren, she remembered the beans sitting on the back of the stove — too late, she discovered, for the pressure cooker had cooked bone dry and the lid blew off. When that lid blew off, it spewed pinto beans all over the kitchen ceiling, the wall behind the stove and the floor. His mother got a new kitchen floor with new wallpaper on the walls, but after that she never left another pot of beans on a back burner.
He says his mom always served beans with cornbread and homemade yeast rolls. Robert said the rolls were perfectly round and he and his brother used to call them “buns” because that’s what they looked like. For myself, making yeast rolls AND cornbread for one meal seems like a lot of extra work. Although I’m willing to make special foods for Robert, I’ve only cooked yeast rolls and cornbread for the same meal a couple of times over the years. He also remembered that when his mother made cornbread, she made it in a round pan (I’ve always used a square one) and he remembered cutting a wedge of cornbread, splitting it in half and rearranging the cut halves on his plate before ladling on the beans. I eventually began making my cornbread in a round pan, just to please him. It’s the small things in life, you know.
The first time I made cornbread after Robert had been diagnosed as Diabetic, his blood sugar numbers skyrocketed. No more cornbread! I figured there had to be a way to make one of his favorite foods in a way that wouldn’t run his numbers up. And I found it — Bisquick cornbread… Oh my word! Ten times better than regular cornbread, it rivals Marie Calender’s, but best of all, it doesn’t cause Robert’s blood sugar to rise up.
Fast. Easy. Delicious. Made in 30 minutes or less.
2 cups Bisquick
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar (I substitute Splenda)
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Mix all ingredients together. Pour into an 8″ by 8″ pan & bake at 350 deg. F. for 35 minutes.
Be safe, be well, and please be happy. We’re seeing more misty rain here today and that’s a good thing. We’ll take all we can get. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them. May you be as blessed as we are…