Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Harvest Meals: Don't Go Off Half-Baked!

Homemade cookies (hidden in lefthand corner, grapes, macaroni salad and baked ham & cheese sandwiches were on the menu for supper last evening.
Meals on wheels - country style. After 32 years, maybe I should come up with a theme song. I'm thinking the tune to "Love Boat." OK, maybe not.

When we were first married, I worked in Hutchinson, so I delivered evening harvest meals, while my mother-in-law, Marie, made the bigger noon repast. After I "retired" from The Hutchinson News when Brent was born, I expanded my repertoire to noon meals, too.

For the most part, the harvesters comes to the house for noon, and I deliver the evening meal. (Yes, I know I'm lucky.) If the custom cutters don't arrive in time and we end cutting "up north," as we call it, the delivery expands to both meal times. That was tricky in 1988, when Brent was a month old or so during his first harvest.

It's definitely less complicated than it used to be when the kids were little. While I was dirtying every pot and pan in the kitchen, they also needed attention. But it was a great adventure for my two "helpers" who enjoyed the picnics and the after-dinner entertainment - a ride on the combine with Daddy or Grandpa.
Jill would have been about 20 months old during the harvest pictured here. To serve the meal back then, I usually brought a blanket and spread it out on wheat stubble in the shade created by the combine or a truck.
I have tried-and-true recipes that I use every harvest. I make BBQ meatballs and serve them with potato casserole, corn casserole, or homemade macaroni and cheese. Part of the meatball recipe gets a pizza sauce for submarine sandwiches. I make a roast early in the harvest meal rotation. Yesterday, we had some of the leftover roast beef incorporated into beef and noodles over mashed potatoes. More of the beef ends up as BBQ supper sandwiches. Grilled hamburgers or BBQ sandwiches may be teamed with Sweet and Sour Beans. One of the guys' favorite suppers is Taco Pizza, a long-ago recipe contest winner from The News. An easy dessert that has already made a repeat appearance this year is Peach Butter Brickle Cobbler. (I could go on for quite some time finding links, but today's meal requires my attention. If you need additional menu ideas for harvest go-to meals and sides, I'm glad to share. Email me at

Some years, I've been both truck driver and meal person. When I fill both roles, the evening meal is cold sandwiches and fixings. 

But let me get to the latest addition to the harvest repertoire,  In the past, I've served hot ham sandwiches. Yesterday, though, I tried a variation. When Jake asked me what they were called, I had to admit, "Funeral Sandwiches." Really.

It was one of those church potluck offerings that had all of us talking. First, we were talking about how good it was. Then, we were talking about the recipe title. Surely someone could have come up with a better name than Funeral Sandwiches. Katie Minks brought them to a church potluck this spring. I was not the only one who requested the recipe. I'm not sure whether I'm the only one rebelling and renaming the recipe.

From this day forth, I believe I will declare them Baked Ham Harvest Sandwiches instead. I took these marinated, baked ham and Swiss sandwiches to the field last evening. Whether you serve them at a funeral, a church potluck, around your kitchen table or in the wheat harvest field, they will get good reviews. I paired them with macaroni salad, green grapes and cookies.
The sandwiches are marinated in a buttery sauce with both sweet and savory components. The recipe says they can be marinated for anywhere from 4 to 24 hours. The first time I made the recipe, I marinated for 24 hours. That really allowed the marinade to soak in. When marinated that long, they were definitely a sandwich to eat with a fork, not your hands. With repeat performances, I didn't marinate as long, and they were less sticky. They are good either way, but I still serve them with a fork - especially when there's wheat dust involved.
Baked Ham Harvest Sandwiches
(aka Funeral Sandwiches)
Recipe from Katie Minks from church potluck

1 pkg. King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
1/2 to 1 lb. high-quality ham deli meat
Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. mustard
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Dash of onion powder

Note: I saw King's Hawaiian Sweet Mini-Sub Rolls and used those the first time I made these (and when I took the photo on the real plate). I've since made them with regular-sized rolls because that's what I could find.

Spray 9- by 13-inch pan with baking spray. Cut the rolls in half and line the bottom of a baking pan with the bottom of the rolls. Layer the ham slices, then cheese and place the top half of the roll on top.

Mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over the buns, drenching each one. Cover tightly and marinate anywhere from 4 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, uncovered, or until cheese is melted and bun tops are golden brown.

Note: The last two times I've made these, I've put cheese on the bottom bun before topping with ham, more cheese and then the bun top.

Last night, I threw the scenery in for free as a bonus to the harvest meal. I'm nice like that.We may not have a tablecloth, but we have ambiance.

Today I'm linked to Ashley's What's In Your Kitchen Wednesday at Kitchen Meets Girl. Click on the link to see some 4th of July treats and other ideas from food bloggers.


  1. Kim: Great post! I remember lots of macaroni salads and fried chicken when I was a kid. Seems like meals tasted so much better in the field than they did at home. Thanks for sharing - and the photos are great.

    1. Thanks, Bill, and thanks for passing along the link on Kansas Wheat. Back when I was a teenager and driving the truck for my Dad, I always looked forward to the arrival of supper. (It was a close second to checking out the harvest crews at the elevator.) And, by the way, Jill enjoyed meeting you. Now you know everybody!

  2. Sounds delicious! Going into my recipe box. Have a safe harvest.

    1. Thanks, Lori! So far, so good! We are making progress. We started last Friday.

  3. Oh my goodness, that sky! The ham rolls sound delicious, and we'll try them here.

    1. They are tasty; hope you like them, too. Yes, the sky was beautiful from 6 o'clock on. You just can't beat a Kansas sky.

  4. Great recipe! I was just looking on Pinterest for harvest meals ideas and this is the first one shown. Funny because we are Kansas farmers also and should be starting wheat harvest within the next week (sometime between swathing the water ways and attending multiple baseball games :)).

  5. Can you direct me to the post for the Peach Butter Brickle Cobbler? When I click the link it takes me to the meatball sub page - thank you! Everything sounds and looks delicious on your blog!

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