Hot Ham and Cheese Crescents

Hot Ham & Cheese CrescentsIngredients

16 oz. cooked ham, chopped

¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

¾ cup shredded Swiss cheese

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

¼ teaspoon onion powder

3 cans refrigerated crescent rolls

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. Mix together the ham, cheeses, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and onion powder.
  3. Separate the crescent rolls into triangles.  Cut each triangle in half, forming two triangles.
  4. Scoop one tablespoon of ham mixture on the wide end of each triangle. Roll up crescents, and place on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle tops of crescents with poppy seeds.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

 

Yield:  48 appetizers

Recipe source:  plainchicken.com

Eggs For Your Spring Basket Up, Salad and Orange Juice Down

Lower retail prices for several foods, including salad, orange juice, shredded cheddar, ground chuck, sirloin tip roast, vegetable oil, white bread, ground chuck, deli ham and orange juice, resulted in a slight decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $53.28, down $.59 or about 1 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, ten decreased and six increased in average price.

CS16_054 Spring Marketbasket Graphic_vert“Egg prices are up sharply from first quarter of 2015, a year ago but are down even more sharply from the third quarter of 2015. This shows the effect of the HPAI (High Pathogenic Avian Influenza) event last year,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “Prices soared in the latter half of last year, but are working their way back down as increasing production has started to catch up with demand, which has moderated prices somewhat,” he said.

Prices on the beef items in the marketbasket – ground chuck and sirloin tip roast – are lower compared with the first quarter of 2015, explained Anderson.  Retail beef prices peaked in early 2015 at record high levels.
“Since then, a combination of increasing beef production, weaker exports, and lower competing meat prices have led to modest price declines,” he said.

Dairy product prices also remain relatively low. At $4.29 for a one-pound bag, shredded cheddar cheese price is at the lowest price in this survey since the third quarter of 2012.  The whole milk price rose almost 3 percent from the third quarter of last year, but that third quarter price was the lowest price in the survey since 2010, noted Anderson.  The whole milk price remains well below the 2015 first-quarter price.
“Apple prices are up quite a bit year-over-year. This is a reversal of retail prices that were historically low in 2015,” said Anderson. Last year, the apple market faced a really tough export environment with labor disruptions at west coast ports as well as an increasingly strong dollar.

“Current retail apple prices are still below some pretty recent years, for example 2011 and 2012,” he said.

Items showing retail price decreases from a year ago included:

  • bagged salad, down 11 percent to $2.20 per pound
  • orange juice, down 8 percent to $3.21 per half-gallon
  • shredded cheddar cheese, down 7 percent to $4.29 per pound
  • whole milk, down 6 percent to $3.23 per gallon
  • ground chuck, down 5 percent to $4.36 per pound
  • vegetable oil, down 5 percent to $2.55 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • white bread, down 3 percent to $1.69 per 20-ounce loaf
  • flour, down 1 percent to $2.49 for a 5-pound bag
  • sirloin tip roast, down 1 percent to $5.65 per pound
  • potatoes, down 1 percent to $2.71 for a 5-pound bag

These items showed modest retail price increase compared to a year ago:

  • apples, up 12 percent to $1.64 per pound
  • eggs, up 9 percent to $2.23 per dozen
  • bacon, up 8 percent to $4.78 per pound
  • toasted oat cereal, up 6 percent to $3.31 for a 9-ounce box
  • chicken breast, up 3 percent to $3.37 per pound
  • deli ham, up 1 percent to $5.57 per pound

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.13; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.32; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $3.67.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm) report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $53.28 marketbasket would be $8.52.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a spring picnic survey, summer cookout survey, fall harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 87 shoppers in 28 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in March.

Hearty Lentil Ham Soup

Hearty Lentil Ham SoupIngredients
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 cups water
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained or 1 qt. home canned tomatoes
¾ cup dry lentils, rinsed
¾ cup pearl barley
1 meaty leftover ham bone or 2 ham hocks
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules or 2 cubes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese, optional

 

Directions
1.   In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, saute the celery, onion, and garlic in butter until tender.
2.   Add water, tomatoes, lentils, barley, ham, bouillon,  herbs, and pepper; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Lentils and barley should be tender.
3.   Add carrots; simmer for 15-30 minutes, until carrots are tender.
4.   Remove ham bone/ham hocks from soup; remove meat from the bones and return it to the soup.
5.   May be served with a sprinkling of cheese in each bowl.

Yield:  8-10 servings

Dairy and Bacon Prices Down, Apples Too

Lower retail prices for several foods, including whole milk, cheddar cheese, bacon and apples resulted in a slight decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $54.14, down $.12 or less than 1 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 decreased and six increased in average price.

Higher milk and pork production this year has contributed to the decrease in prices on some key foods.

“Energy prices, which affect everything in the marketbasket, have been quite a bit lower compared to a year ago. Processing, packaging, transportation and retail operations are all fairly energy-intensive,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. Lower energy prices account for much of the modest decrease in the marketbasket.

CS15_128 Fall Harvest Marketbasket SurveyThe following items showed retail price decreases from a year ago:

  • whole milk, down 17 percent to $3.14 per gallon
  • bacon, down 11 percent to $4.55 per pound
  • apples, down 7 percent $1.45 per pound
  • shredded cheddar, down 5 percent to $4.56 per pound
  • flour, down 4 percent to $2.37 per five-pound bag
  • bagged salad, down 4 percent to $2.46 per pound
  • vegetable oil, down 3 percent to $2.61 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • Russet potatoes, down 3 percent to $2.64 for a five-pound bag
  • white bread, down 1 percent to $1.69 for a 20-ounce loaf
  • chicken breast, down 1 percent to $3.42 per pound

These items showed modest retail price increases compared to a year ago:

  • eggs, up 56 percent to $3.04 per dozen
  • orange juice, up 7 percent to $3.43 per half-gallon
  • ground chuck, up 6 percent to $4.55 per pound
  • toasted oat cereal, up 3 percent to $3.09 for a nine-ounce box
  • sirloin tip roast, up 3 percent to $5.67 per pound
  • sliced deli ham, up 1 percent to $5.47 per pound

“As expected we saw higher egg prices because we lost so much production earlier this year due to the avian influenza situation in Iowa, Minnesota and some other Midwestern states,” Anderson said.

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.21; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.79; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $4.16.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

 

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $54.14 marketbasket would be $8.66.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a Spring Picnic survey, Summer Cookout survey, Fall Harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 69 shoppers in 24 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Recipe - Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole2This recipe uses leftover chicken and ham.

Ingredients

1 lb. pasta (penne is suggested; rotini was used in the photo)

1 cup cubed leftover cooked chicken breast

1 cup leftover cooked and cubed ham

1 1/2 cups milk

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons dried minced onion

2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

A pinch of cayenne pepper

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup butter, melted

 

Directions

1. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente (follow package directions). Drain and return to pot.

2. Add chicken and ham. Toss to combine.

3. Preheat the broiler.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream cheese and minced onion over low-medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until is becomes a smooth sauce (about 15 minutes).

5. Stir the milk mixture into the pasta.

6. Add the Swiss cheese. Stir. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

7. Transfer the pasta mixture into a baking dish and top with Panko crumbs.

8. Pour melted butter over the crumbs.

9. Broil until golden brown ( approximately 4 minutes).