Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

November 20, 2016 Lend a Helping Ham
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

(Family Features) Preparing the perfect ham for all of your holiday guests to share can feel like a lot of pressure, but complementing the main dish with sides, snacks and desserts can help take a bite out of that overwhelming feeling.

To help fill out your dinner table this holiday season, start with a crowd-pleasing appetizer like Bacon and Cheddar Ranch Dip that can ease everyone into the meal. Serve up a tasty side, such as Balsamic Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables, so that the ham doesn't stand alone. Then, just as dinner's grasp wears away, treat your guests to White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn Bark as a delightful holiday sendoff.

The Perfect Piece of Pork

To make sure the main course this holiday season – a yummy, juicy ham – is cooked and prepared to perfection, there are some simple steps to follow.

Thaw It

While ham can be cooked without thawing, for best results the first step to a tasty ham is properly thawing it in either the refrigerator or cold water. Never thaw a ham on the counter, as it can become subject to bacterial growth when the outside warms but the inside remains frozen. Remember: The larger the ham, the longer it needs to thaw before cooking.

Bake It

Once the ham is properly thawed, start by heating your oven to 325° F and lining a roasting pan with aluminum foil. You'll want to cook the ham low and slow to avoid drying it out, and lining the pan helps limit the mess. As it bakes, don't forget to flip it over about halfway through the process.

Check It

When the ham gets close to being done cooking, take the safe route and check its temperature. The USDA recommends bringing pork to 145° F to help ensure it's cooked thoroughly.

Finish It

After pulling the ham from the oven, let it rest 15 minutes before slicing. Because the ham will continue baking outside the oven for a short period, allowing it to rest holds in those delicious juices. If you're looking for a different way to please your guests' palates, try glazing it with different mixtures that could include anything from brown sugar to fruit juices.

A Dozen Ways to Dip

Liven up the party platter by transforming traditional ranch dressing into crowd-pleasing dips, just by adding a few simple ingredients. Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressing is a versatile base that can be mixed with anything from sriracha to basil and Parmesan cheese to create dips that pair perfectly with fresh-cut vegetables, crackers, bread and more.

Bacon and Cheddar Ranch Dip1 cup Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressingchopped bacon, to tasteshredded cheddar cheese, to tasteassorted dippersCombine ranch dressing with chopped bacon and shredded cheddar cheese, to taste.Serve immediately with assorted dippers.Variations: To achieve different flavored dips, use any of the following mix-ins in place of bacon and cheddar cheese:AvocadoBasil and Parmesan cheeseSrirachaBarbecue sauceDill picklesChili pepper and limeShredded chicken and hot sauceCilantro and jalapenosGarden vegetablesRoasted garlicCaramelized onions and Worcestershire sauceA Tasty Holiday TreatAs your calendar begins to fill up around the holidays, keeping a few simple ingredients on hand can be the difference between enjoying the festivities and feeling overwhelmed. An ingredient such as popcorn can help you serve up a tasty dessert like this White Chocolate Popcorn Crunch that packs both a festive punch and a sweet crunch. Find more quick holiday recipes at popcorn.org.White Chocolate Popcorn Crunch5 cups popped popcorn1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries1/2 cup sliced almonds12 ounces white chocolate baking chips, chopped white chocolate or white candy coating1-2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (optional)Cover baking pan with foil or wax paper; set aside. Place popcorn, cranberries and almonds in large bowl; set aside.In double boiler over barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth, or melt according to package directions. (If chocolate is not smooth after melting, stir in 1-2 tablespoons shortening until mixture is smooth and loose enough to coat popcorn.)Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn mixture; stir to coat.Spread onto prepared pan; allow to cool completely.When chocolate is cooled and set, break into chunks for serving.Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature.Roast a Savory SideFill your home with the wonderful aroma of Balsamic Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables. Easy-to-make and completely satisfying, this holiday staple is ideal for a crowd and comes together beautifully with a pan that has raised circles for better browning, like the Circulon Symmetry Chocolate sheet pan. For more Circulon cookware and bakeware options, shop Circulon at Macy’s and Macys.com.Balsamic Glazed Roasted Root VegetablesRecipe courtesy of Circulon Gourmet Cookware2 onions, quartered10 cloves garlic, unpeeled2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces1 celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces3 turnips, peeled and cut in half to about 2-inch pieces1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces1 cup winter squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes2-3 potatoes, cut into 2-inch quarters1-2 white or gold beets, peeled and quartered2 tablespoons olive oilsaltpepper3 sprigs rosemary3 sprigs thymeCirculon Symmetry Chocolate sheet panGlaze:2 tablespoons oil3 tablespoons maple syrup2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar1/2 teaspoon rosemaryHeat oven to 425° F.Combine vegetables, olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme; toss well. Spread on sheet pan. Cover and bake 40 minutes.Check vegetables and cook another 5 minutes, if needed, or until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Remove rosemary and thyme; add salt and pepper.Combine glaze ingredients and cook 5-10 minutes until thickened. Pour over vegetables before serving; stir to combine.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (ham photo)

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