28 Delicious Thanksgiving (and Thanksgiving Leftovers) Recipes for 2016

Thanksgiving 2016 2

It’s that time again; time for the annual Thanksgiving post. After almost 6 years of blogging, I have accumulated quite a few recipes that work in this category, so I have to cull some out so as to not end up with a post with 50 different additions. 😛

Let’s start with entrees. Because…turkey…ham. Yummy. 😀

This Orange Marmalade Brown Sugar Glazed Ham is my absolute favorite way to make a ham. The ham turns out so moist and tender with such a delicious sweet/salty flavor you’ll keep coming back for.Orange Marmalade Brown Sugar Ham-001This Sesame Soy Turkey Breast is fantastic if you’re a cook who’s willing to leave the traditional box a bit on Thanksgiving. This glaze can also be used on a whole turkey, a chicken, game hen, you name it.

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

I know that a lot of families like to serve a pasta dish as one of the main dishes so I’m including our favorite, this Cheesy Sausage And Meatball Pasta Bake. This makes a LOT, so it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, when a lot of people are there, with everyone getting as little bit of each dish.Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta BakeLet’s move on to appetizers; those little bits you put out to keep everyone from storming the kitchen begging for food. 😛  One of my favorite easy dips (and when I say easy, I mean it) is my White Trash Dip. I know; such a classy name, lol. But it is great for appeasing the hungry mongrel hordes and quick to throw together, which is always a plus on Thanksgiving.
White Trash Dip
I have adored Boursin Cheese for years, but man, that stuff is expensive for the small amount you get. So I started making my own years ago. This is soooo good and always a hit. It’s creamy, great with veggies like celery sticks as well as crackers. If you have any left over, it also makes a great stuffing for chicken breasts.

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Ahhhh, side dishes. What would Thanksgiving be without 50 side dishes to serve with the turkey and ham? One of my all time most popular posts here at From Cupcakes To Caviar is my Insanely Cheesy And Creamy Mac And Cheese. This makes a HUGE pan of mac and cheese, so it’s perfect for the holidays.Insanely Cheesy And Creamy Mac & CheeseYou can’t have turkey without mashed potatoes, right?
I was never a mashed potato fan until I made up these Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes. I totally love these. They are creamy, buttery (boy, are they buttery) and with a subtle tang from the cream cheese.

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

If you want to go a little different, you can’t beat these Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables. The potatoes and veggies get all crispy on the outside and all soft and tender inside. So, so good.

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

I was never a cold pasta salad sort of a person until I made up this Chilled Caprese Tortellini Salad a few years ago. It’s great during the holidays for people who may want something a little lighter (and with no meat in it, lol) but still full of flavor.Chilled Caprese Tortellini Salad
I have a major thing for Winter squashes. To me, they stand so far above the ubiquitous Summer squashes. I took one of my favorites here and stuffed it to come up with Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries. This is a fantastic addition to the holiday meal or a great light entree on it’s own.

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

You can’t have Thanksgiving dinner without cranberry sauce, right? While I admit to a secret love for the kind that slithers out of the can with a loud plop, I also love homemade cranberry sauce and make a large batch every year. My Spiced Spiked Cranberry Sauce is a perfect foil for all the rich dishes you’ll be serving. The brandy is completely optional so don’t let that turn you away from it. Spiced Spiked Cranberry Sauce

Now we come to the breads. I’m not normally a big one for breads, but hot and fresh on the holidays? I tend to go for them more at that time. And these Angel Biscuits have become a family favorite. Since they have baking powder in them as well as yeast, they are fairly foolproof, which is great for the less experienced cooks out there.

Angel Biscuits

Angel Biscuits

The rolls I have been making for years are these Oatmeal Yeast Rolls. They are so fluffy and soft; perfect hot spread with butter or later as a mini turkey sandwich (Yes, I know this is a bad photo. The post is an old one, when my photography skills were sub-par, to say the least. The rolls however, are amazingly good)

Oatmeal Rolls

Oatmeal Rolls

I love to make a few loaves of bread for Thanksgiving as well as rolls. They are so good with dinner and make fantastic sandwiches the next day. I particularly love to make my Loaded Baked Potato Bread, The flavors in it go wonderfully with a turkey sandwich!

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

Here in the south, a lot of people like to make cornbread to go with dinner, even on the holidays. My Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread is a favorite. It’s fluffy, not at all dry like so many cornbreads can be, with just a touch of sweetness.

Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread

Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread

Then, of course, we have the part of dinner that everyone looks forward to; dessert! And man, you know I have some desserts to share with you! I have to start with the classics, of course, so here is my favorite- my Decadent Extra Creamy Pumpkin Pie. This one is posted with a really good cornmeal crust, but you can use your favorite crust. Just make sure it’s a deep dish one. Decadent Extra Creamy Pumpkin Pie In A Cornmeal Crust
That pumpkin pie tends to be my husbands favorite. Mine however will always be Pecan Pie. I love it slightly warmed with heavy cream poured over it. So bad for me, but so delicious!Deep Dish Pecan Pie

The last few years, my favorite pecan pie has had to vie with this Cranberry Apple Cake. I can’t say enough good things about this cake. It’s absolutely delicious and I can’t imagine the Thanksgiving meal without it now. It’s sweet, tangy, crispy, just a wonderful dessert that I look forward to all year.

Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake

If you want a classic (not to mention, heavenly chocolate goodness 😀 ) you’ll want to make this wonderful Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing This is a favorite with pretty much all age groups, and even those people who say Thanksgiving should be all about the pies. I’m not even normally a cake person and I love it!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

If you want to do a different apple dessert, my Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce would be a great choice. It’s easy to throw together the day before you need it and then just warm up the sauce when ready to cut and serve. Again, I’m not huge on cakes, which is why if you see me posting one, you know it MUST be good.

Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce

Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce

Or maybe you prefer a classic apple dessert? I find myself going for this Old Fashioned Apple Crisp all year round, but it’s a delicious choice on Thanksgiving!Old Fashioned Apple Crisp 2

I have a couple of desserts for you that are a bit more elegant, plus not as heavy. The first is one I love; my Elegant And Easy Lemon Almond Cake. This cake is light and filled with the flavor of almond and lemon; perfect for the family members who want a little something for dessert, but don’t want the heavier sweets.

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

The other one is one of my more recent creations- these Skillet Pears With Autumn Spiced Caramel Sauce. These are wonderful if you have a smaller gathering. The pears end up tender and juicy and the caramel sauce is fantastic.Skillet Pears With An Autumn Spiced Caramel Sauce 9

So, what to do with leftovers once Thanksgiving is over? When you tire of just making a plate of leftovers, I have some things you can do with some of them. If the title says chicken, obviously you can sub in that leftover turkey staring you in the face.

We love Mexican food in my house. Yes, I know that much of what we all call Mexican food has been totally Americanized, but it’s still delicious, so who cares? One of my family’s favorites are these Cheesy Chicken (Turkey) And Chorizo Enchiladas. They have the perfect mix of creamy, spicy and cheesy. I make them all year round, but they are a perfect way to use up leftovers.Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas 2

Everyone makes soup after Thanksgiving. But I have one here that doesn’t need to have you simmering stock for hours on end. I can eat a boatload of my Quick And Easy Turkey, Bacon And Cheese Chowder. This is comfort food at its best and it doesn’t have to cook for hours.Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder

Along the Mexican lines again, I almost always make a pan of White Chicken (Turkey) Enchiladas in the week after Thanksgiving. These are soooo darn good and everyone scarfs them down.

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

You may still have some turkey left even after those (I know I will; I always buy too much!) so my Cheaters Easy Chicken (Turkey) And Dumplings never fails me. It’s warming, comforting and filling and tastes great!

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

If you have leftover cranberry sauce (and you know you will), make a loaf of my Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. It’s an easy way to use up some of those leftovers and it makes a yummy breakfast or light snack.Easy Pumpkin Cranberry Breadthanksgiving

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Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

I have a writing pad that I write recipe ideas in. It’s totally not pretty; just a typical notepad. Half the things in it are so scribbled that I’m the only one that can read them. My writing is atrocious at the best of times (leftie here!), but when I get an idea for something at 3am (yes, this is a curse of food blogging), it is even worse. When I finally try to create what my mind thought up in the throes of sleep, it gets crossed off of the list. The list, however, is NEVER going to get finished, because I keep adding to it. One of the things that was in there for ages was to try to recreate one of my favorite dishes, which is chicken cordon bleu, as a pasta dish. I love it the regular way, but it’s such a pain in the tush to make; pound the chicken down, roll it up with the ham and cheese, get it breaded, fry it, and then do the clean up. Ugh.

So, while I realize it’s not new; you can find 50,000 versions of this online, this is MY version of a chicken cordon bleu pasta. My family really enjoyed this one. It made a pretty full pan of pasta, but other than a little bit my husband took to lunch the next day, it ALL got eaten. Of course, I live with all males, two of whom are 19 and 21, but still…

This turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. Tender pasta filled with chunks of ham, slices of chicken (I cheated and use the packaged slices; SO much easier!), all in an ultra creamy Swiss and Gruyere cheese sauce with a little bit of peas mixed in for color and to convince myself that this is chock full of nutrition instead of fat and calories. 😀  So, so delicious!

You know the drill… 🙂

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

  • 10 ounces of your favorite pasta (I used fusilli just cause they are a fun shape), cooked and drained (reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water just in case you need to thin the sauce) and poured into a large bowl or pot
  • 16 ounces cooked, cubed ham
  • 12 ounces cooked, sliced chicken breast (I cheated and used the prepackaged slices in the lunch meat/deli area of the grocery store)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (leave them sit out for ten minutes… they’ll be thawed enough)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 3/4 cup milk (I used whole. I don’t suggest trying this with skim or 1%)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded and combined with
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded, and
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (the REAL stuff, not the cheap canned type)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (taste the sauce before adding salt. Some Parmesan can be pretty salty and you may not need as much or even any at all)
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an oven safe pan or medium sized dutch oven. In a medium heavy bottomed saucepot, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Slowly whisk in the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. When you have all the milk in, switch over to a spoon or rubber spatula and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, JUST until the mixture comes to a light boil.
  3. Slowly whisk about 1 cup of the milk mixture into the beaten eggs. You’re trying to temper the eggs (heat them up slowly) so that they don’t scramble when added back into the rest of the milk. Once the full cup of milk has been whisked into the eggs, slowly pour the eggs back into the milk mixture, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat for about a minute.
  4. Pull out 1/2 cup of the mixed cheeses and reserve to top the pasta with. Dump the rest of the combined cheese into the milk and stir constantly, until melted. Take the pot off of the heat and stir in the dill weed, Dijon mustard and black pepper. Taste for saltiness and then add the salt if needed.
  5. Dump the ham, chicken and peas over the reserved pasta and stir. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta mixture and stir to combine. If the sauce seems too thick, use some of the reserved pasta water to thin it down.
  6. Spoon the pasta into the prepared pan or dutch oven and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Sprinkle with a little extra dill weed, if desired.
  7. Bake at 350 just until heated through and slightly bubbly around the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.

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Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

 

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu



One of the things I loved when I lived in Germany many moons ago was the food. Lots of pastries and beer everywhere; what’s not to love, right? But they had excellent “real” food also. There was one restaurant my ex husband and I used to go to that served an amazing cordon bleu. This sucker was so thin and tender and filled up the entire plate with cheesy, hammy goodness. But know what? I’m rarely that ambitious 😛 I’ve made the real thing before as well as it’s cousin, Chicken Kiev and maybe at some point I will actually post those delicious recipes.

But the other night, I was tired and just wanted something a bit quicker, but still tasty. So I took the boneless skinless chicken thighs I had, schmeared them (gosh, I love the word schmeared. It’s so fun to say! Lol) with horseradish mustard (use your favorite flavor of mustard), shoved ham and cheese inside, folded them in half, then wrapped them in bacon. Then I sprinkled them with some Parmesan and baked them up. There you go. You don’t even need a recipe. 😛 I pretty much just gave it to you. Yes, it’s that easy.

But, since I love you all (not you…go away), I will make it an official recipe. Then, I feel all professional and all that rot and you all have something to print out besides my rambling. Cool with you? Alrighty then. Lets get to it.

When I made this, I used a full 9 chicken thighs because I live with pigs… I mean males. But I’ll cut this down to six for the recipe. Thing is, this is so easy, it’s simple to make it with however many you have on hand. Just increase or decrease the amounts of cheese, bacon and ham to go with the thighs.

You know the drill… get to cooking! Well, go…shoo!

And yes, I know the last thing I did was bacon wrapped, but c’mon…bacon!

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed off
  • 1/4 cup horseradish mustard
  • 6 slices good quality deli ham (please don’t use cheap crap.I’ll cry.)
  • 6 slices Swiss, Provolone or Mozzarella Cheese (just use your favorite. I thought about using Muenster which is a favorite, but mine had molded *sobs)
  • 12 ounces good quality bacon
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or at least decent store grated)
  • Toothpicks to hold meat closed
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking dish with non stick foil.
  2. Take a chicken thigh and lay it open and flat. Drizzle the desired amount of mustard on top of the thigh. Take a slice of deli ham and lay a slice of cheese on it, then fold it in half.
  3. Lay the ham and cheese on top of the chicken thigh. Fold the chicken thigh in half and wrap it in bacon so the open side of the meat is sealed off with bacon. Secure with toothpicks if needed.  Set in the prepared pan.
  4. Repeat with each chicken thigh.
  5. Bake at 375 until the bacon is browned and the chicken thigh is fully cooked, about 35 to 40 minutes. You can run the dish under the broiler for a minute if the bacon doesn’t get crispy enough. Thighs are a bit more forgiving than breasts when it comes to overcooking.
  6. Let sit in the pan for about five minutes so they aren’t so oozy that you have no cheese left inside the chicken when you cut it. Serve.
  7. These are also really good later, when cold, sliced thin and arranged on an onion bun with some mayo!

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Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

 

Ham & Swiss Scones (And Keeper Of The Memories)

Ham & Swiss Scones

Ham & Swiss Scones

 


Every once in a while, I’ve brought up my family outside of my husband and kids. Sadly, as one ages, one finds that family circle getting smaller. In my life, since my sister Sandra and both our parents have passed away, there is only myself and my brother left. We also have two half sisters, whom I love dearly, but they didn’t grow up with us so don’t have the same set of memories or same history, unfortunately.

Steve and I have always been fairly close. We’ve had our ups and downs, times our relationship was splintered (Lilo And Stitch quote- “This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good“. I love that movie.), but all in all, we’ve stayed close.

Since childhood, I’ve had a faulty memory. It seems to be due to an accident in youth. Add in the stroke from a few years back and a lot of my past is missing. Well, Steve and I have a habit of spending a fair amount of time on the weekends texting each other and many of his texts start out with, “Do you remember…”. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, I don’t. Steve has become, in my eyes, the Keeper Of The Memories. He is the one who reminds me of things we did as kids, the people we knew and the things we did, many of them crazy and probably dangerous and illegal, keeps me up to date on which relative has died, which was one that was nasty in the past, etc etc. He’s the one that helps me recall certain movies we watched 73 times as kids, which songs were important to us, usually for silly reasons and keeps the memories of our parents and sister fresh.  I’m the one that still rags him about using my Barbie Make Up Doll Head as Franken-Barbie for his garage haunted house one year and reminds him of the time we stood in the kitchen for an hour, him 18, me 13, while I tutored him in the fine art of talking to girls. Steve and I are the only people we each have who remember each others pasts. We remember the bad hair cuts (I still have the picture of you in 7th grade when your hair was shoulder length), the teen years when we both were rather hard to get along with, the fights with our parents. We know about the times of eating ketchup sandwiches cause there wasn’t anything else to eat even though our mother worked her butt off, the trips to Alabama, the nights up watching Creature Feature, the night mom kicked her then b/f out of the house for kissing another woman and “do you doubt my veracity?”. We remember “doodles” and “ewww, you “blew it” “. Siblings have their own language, their own inside jokes and memories. They make us laugh, they make us nostalgic and sometimes, they make us sad. But there is a bond there that can’t be shaken. It’s different than the one you have with parents, because for a lot of your growing up years, parents are the enemy. Siblings are the ones who can beat the crap out of you, but no one else better try it. They are the ones who are sad with you when your parents age and die. They are a tie to your own past and a part of your forever. You don’t see the age, you don’t see them as the grown ups they are. They always stay the kid you played with, argued with and made memories with.

What does any of this have to do with Ham & Swiss Scones? Not a thing. But make the scones anyway. They are completely delicious. 🙂

Ham & Swiss Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onions
  • 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, sliced thin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) diced ham
  • 12 ounces Swiss cheese, cubed into about 1/2 dice
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a greased baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, dill weed and dried onion.
  3. Using a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Break the egg into the heavy cream and whisk to combine. Pour all at once into the flour/butter mixture. Stir well with a fork until the mixture comes together into a ball. Add in the cheese and ham and use your hands to (as quickly as possible) mix them into the dough.
  5. Dump it out onto a lightly floured board or counter and knead a few times just to incorporate the ham and cheese.
  6. Pat down into a 3/4 inch thick circle and cut into 12 wedges. They don’t have to be perfect. Mine are usually misshapen and ugly and I have come to prefer that; there is something homey and rustic about them that way.
  7. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown. See all the cheese that oozed out and clung to the sides of the scones? Don’t be upset… that crispy browned cheese is one of the best things about these!
  8. Let cool for at least 30 seconds before eating them. 😀

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Quick & Easy Three Meat Red Beans & Rice

Quick & Easy Three Meat Red Beans & Rice

Quick & Easy Three Meat Red Beans & Rice


I like shortcuts. Always have. The problem for me in using shortcuts in real life, like say driving, is that I have absolutely no sense of direction. I’m that person who takes the same route to places every…single…time. Because if I don’t, I also become that person who is later saying “Honest, I MEANT to take three hours to get back home. I was looking at all the houses in this neighborhood. It was totally my plan to drive past each house 46 times before I got back onto the main road.” I have to take a route about 10 times, then I have it down pat and won’t change even if they have torn the road up, closed it down and are using dynamite to fix it. Better dynamite than lost in the desert for 40 years. I’m pretty sure the Jews back in Old Testament days wandered the desert for 40 years because someone suggested an alternate route.

When it comes to cooking though, I love shortcuts. When you have six kids waiting for food approximately 15 times a day, you have to come up with ways to feed them quickly. Sometimes this means taking old tried and true recipes and *GASPS* using things that are a bit more processed to speed things up. Case in point is this recipe for red beans and rice. Mind you, I love making them the old fashioned way; letting my dry beans soak overnight, making a 45 minute slowly browned roux and so on and so forth. Thing is, I have learned over 38 years of cooking (I started cooking when I was about ten) that sometimes, when you use shortcuts, you end up with a meal that is just as tasty as the old fashioned way. These beans are one of those times. Canned beans and a quick roux that’s made in the microwave (yes, you can do a roux in the microwave. Have I steered you wrong yet?) make this a weeknight meal that you don’t have to fuss much over. This is very meaty, filling and tastes fantastic.  This doesn’t have a ton of extra ingredients. Between the meats, the veggies and the Cajun seasoning, this is extremely flavorful.

You know the drill. Git to cookin’.

Quick & Easy Three Meat Red Beans & Rice

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 15 ounce cans red beans, 2 cans drained, 2 with liquid left in them
  • 1 lb fresh andouille sausage, casings removed, crumbled (buy the real thing, not smoked andouille. I found mine at Whole Foods Market)
  • 1 lb chorizo sausage (the Mexican style, not the hard Spanish style.)
  • 1 lb ham, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons good quality Cajun seasoning (check the ingredients; most use a TON of salt & it is the 1st ingredient. McCormicks makes a good one.)
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Franks. I like that it isn’t just hot but has a distinct flavor)
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 cups white rice, made according to the directions on the bag
  1. Make your roux- in a large glass bowl (one that you know can handle time in the microwave, combine your flour and oil. Stir well. Microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes, uncovered. It should be a nice light brown by this point and have a yummy nutty smell.
  2. Stir well, making sure to get the sides of the bowl. Microwave again for about another 1 to 2 minutes, watching through the door the whole time to make sure it doesn’t burn. By the end of 6 minutes maximum (unless you have a low wattage microwave, in which case the process will take longer), you should have a nice dark brown roux..
  3. Carefully add your vegetables (and garlic) to the roux and stir well. Put back in the microwave and saute for about 3 minutes. Slowly stir in about 1/3 cup of hot water.
  4. In a large pot, over medium high heat, brown your meats, one type at a time. Do the ham first, then the andouille, then the chorizo. The reason for this is that chorizo has a stronger taste and you don’t want the other meats picking up it’s flavor but instead  keep each meats distinct taste.
  5. Pour the roux mixture into the pot. Stir well, then add the beans, Cajun seasoning, tomatoes and hot sauce. Stir again, cover pot and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently and lowering heat if necessary to prevent sticking. You can simmer this for as little as 30 minutes if you’re in a hurry or as long as a couple of hours. It’s a very forgiving dish. It’s also amazing a day or two later, reheated.
  6. Serve over bowls of rice, garnished with onions.

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Orange Marmalade/ Brown Sugar Glazed Ham

 

Orange Marmalade-Brown Sugar Ham

Orange Marmalade-Brown Sugar Ham


I remember Easter when I was a kid. Our family wasn’t particularly religious when I was young. Easter consisted of an Easter basket from my mother, a bigger one from my father (they divorced when I was 5) and enough candy and chocolate to feed a small third world country. Then my mother made ham for dinner and that was that. Easter was over and all that was left was some hard boiled eggs that would rot in the fridge and be used later to bury in the back yard with threats of digging them up later and throwing them at people. We never did of course. I like to think that somewhere on the South Side of Chicago, there are pretty eggs buried that I could still go back and throw at my mean people… that being anyone who doesn’t like chocolate, hot tea, liverwurst and reruns of Roseanne or M*AS*H.

When I got a little older (ten I believe), we joined a Lutheran church after one of our many moves. The reason was that we could go to the school there free if we were members of the church. All in all, the three years I went to that school were the best school years I had.  I loved going to church on Sunday mornings. I loved the hymns (“He’s Alive”, “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today” are still my favorites.), I loved the feeling of family and I loved learning about God. I don’t talk about my faith much on my blog or here but it’s a large part of me.

I also love the food on Easter. I’m not a big ham person normally. But I love Cumberland Gap Hams . They aren’t as salty as most hams and don’t seem as fatty either. I usually make it the typical way, with a brown sugar and pineapple glaze. But years ago I found this recipe for a ham that was different enough to be intriguing and I held on to it wanting to make it someday. Well, someday happened. And this is one awesome ham. Does it dance for you, cook itself and clean your kitchen after you finish carving it? No. Unfortunately. But it’s just different enough with the glaze to make you keep going back to snitch another piece… and another…and another. And it doesn’t get any easier than this. There is no boiling up a glaze, basting every three minutes, blah blah blah. You stick it in a pan, stick cloves in it (I actually changed that up. I’ll explain down there), put it in the oven, brush with the glaze periodically and Bobs your uncle. Ok, maybe Bob won’t be your uncle. Maybe you have an Uncle Harold or an Uncle Bozo or that crazy uncle that no one mentions except in a whisper. But Bob will WANT to be your uncle if you make him this ham. So go… shoo… buy a ham. Make this on Easter. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Or Christmas. Or for Uncle Bobs birthday.

Orange Marmalade/Brown Sugar Ham

  • 1 12 to 17 pound smoked bone in ham
  • 1 18 ounce jar orange marmalade
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard (I actually used whole grain mustard. I like the texture)
  • 1 1/2 cups packs dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves (I subbed 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves right in the glaze. Nothin’ worse than accidentally biting into a whole clove.)
  1. Preheat oven to 300. Line a heavy roasting pan with a thick layer of heavy duty foil. Trust me on this. Only thing worse than biting into a whole clove is trying t wash a pan that has a glaze from ham cooked onto it.
  2. Trim any excess fat off of the ham. Or leave it you have people like my son who like it.
  3. Place ham, fat side up, in the prepared pan. Cut shallow marks across the ham in a diamond pattern and insert a clove into every diamond. Or omit that step and just do the ground cloves in the glaze.
  4. Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pan. Roast ham at 300 degrees for 2 hours if a smaller ham and 2 3/4 hours if on the upper part of that weight scale.
  5. Take ham out, brush with some of the glaze and return to oven. Increase oven temp to 350 degrees. Continue cooking for about another hour and a half to two hours or until ham reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees, brushing with the glaze about 3 to 4 more times.
  6. Transfer ham to a serving platter and let rest for about 30 minutes before slicing.

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Ham, Cheddar And Herb Scones

Ham, Cheddar & Herb Scones

I’m feeding my inner Brit today…and my inner Scot… and my inner whatever other ethnicity likes scones. The thing is, in real life, I have not a drop of Brit or Scot in me as far as I know.  Lots of German, some French, a touch or two of Irish (I think it’s the good at bull**** part of me), some Native American and some African American. I am the quintessential mutt.

I like pretending I’m Scottish though. There is little more fun than going into a store and loudly talking in a Scottish accent. People gawk big time. One would think they had never seen a Scot walking around Wal-mart before. Ok, so maybe they haven’t. An Indian accent is fun too since I’m light haired and extremely light skinned and don’t fit the genetic mold of what one would expect from a person speaking with a thick Indian accent.

Most fun however is Russian. My husband is fluent or close to it in a few languages and we have a habit of going shopping and somewhere, ineveitably, he will begin speaking Russian, usually very loudly and usually pretending to be irate over something silly done by Americans.

I, not knowing a lick of Russian, end up as his straight man, using a thick Russian accent to tell him that he is in America now and to speak English and not act like he just came over from the old country. We are American now and he needs to speak the language! Again, the looks are priceless hehehe.

We don’t have very exciting lives.

And I am fairly sure we need to be institutionalized

But before that happens, I want to share this scone recipe (do you say scone rhyming with cones or scones rhyming with cons? I’m a cones person myself) with you. As much as I love sweet scones, savory ones have a larger portion of my heart and my waistline. This one is chock full of cheddar cheese, diced ham, some garlic, some green onions and some dried dill. These smell amazing as they cook and they taste even better than they smell. There is nothing like a fresh, warm scone drowning in butter… unless it’s a fresh warm scone drowning in butter, served with a cup of tea. My idea of Heaven involves both those things. It also involves   ice cream, whipped cream and Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris hand feeding me peeled grapes but that’s another story.

Ham, Cheddar And Herb Scones

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Grease the bottom of a nine or ten inch round cake pan. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, dill weed and garlic powder.
  3. Make a well in the center and pour in the ham, cheddar cheese and green onions. Mix lightly.
  4. Pour in the cream and using a wooden spoon, stir the dough just until evenly moistened and you have no dry flour left in the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Pat the dough down evenly into the prepared cake pan.
  6. Score them almost all the way through into 8 to ten wedges
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until the top is a nice golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean. When done, turn the oven off and sprinkle a little bit (or a lot) more cheese on the top of the scones. Put back in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese.
  8. Turn out of pan onto a wire rack and let cool at least ten minutes before cutting. Cut the scones into wedges using the score marks as your guide.
  9. Serve warm with butter. These can be reheated by nuking for about 20 seconds.


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Real men Do SO eat Quiche!

Asparagus Canadian bacon Quiche

The Italian Quiche

I know this for a fact because every time I tie my husband to a chair and force bites of quiche into his mouth he eats it. So there! That theory shout outta the water. I’m pretty sure the threats and the rubber chicken I smack him with have nothing to do with it. He LIKES it. He really likes it!

I have never figured out how quiche got a reputation for being a food only women like. I mean really? It has meat and cheese and eggs in it. I know of no men who don’t like all of those in any combination as frequently as they can manage to eat them.

Quiche can be one of those meals that either turns out fantastic and you find yourself saying that you really need to eat it more often. Or it can be something that you eat and say “ehhh; not sure what all the fuss is about”.  I can’t help but feel that part of the problem is that it can tend towards bland. Take some swiss cheese, take a little bacon, throw it in a crust with eggs and milk or cream and call it done. Hello?! Can we say borrrrringgggggg?

That’s not to say that a nice Swiss cheesy bacony quiche can’t be good but it can always be helped along. Or better yet, just use different filling ingredients. Nothing says you have to use bacon or at least not ONLY bacon. When I make quiche, I make two of them and I make the fillings a little more exciting. I save the Swiss and bacon for the French Onion Bread Pudding I make. That recipe will probably go up come Autumn.

Today I made one with Asparagus, Canadian Bacon, various herbs and spices as well as a ton of Swiss cheese. The other has Italian Sausage, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Pepperoni, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and spices.

One tip before I get to the recipes. It is very easy to overfill pie pans when you make quiche. You see it and think it needs more cheese. Or it needs more meat. Well, don’t do it. All you will end up with is a mess. If you want to do that and I have done it before, just make extra filling base (the egg/milk/cream mixture) and put it into a 3 quart baking dish with no crust and call it a Frittata. 😛 Also, make sure you put a baking pan under each quiche just in case of overflow.

REAL MANS QUICHE

AKA

SUN DRIED TOMATO ITALIAN QUICHE

&

ASPARAGUS & CANADIAN BACON QUICHE

Think I had a long enough title there?

  • 2 ready made 9 inch deep dish pie crusts (sure you can make your own but…ummm…why?)
  • For the Italian Quiche-
  • 2 Italian sausage links, cooked and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Italian Medley
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Basil
  • For the Asparagus & Canadian Bacon Quiche-
  • 1/4 lb asparagus, chopped and 6 stalks cut in half to garnish
  • Half of a 6 ounce package Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • For the quiche base
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Layer your filling ingredients in the pie shells, ending with the cheeses and herbs and spices in each shell. Like This: *points down

3) In a large bowl, mix together your eggs, milk , cream, sour cream, salt and pepper.

4) Carefully ladle the mixture evenly over the filling ingredients.

5) Garnish the Asparagus quiche with the reserved Asparagus.

6) Bake both at 350 degrees until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Check after 35 minutes because ovens are different and annoying.

Italian Quiche

Asparagus Canadian bacon Quiche

You say Potato I Say…Well, Potato

I’ve always thought it was interesting that every culture has variations of many of the same foods. Tacos using ground beef for Mexico, meat sauce in Italy, Picadillo in Cuba. Pork is loved as pulled pork here in the states, schnitzel in Germany, Korea has Bulgogi. Here we love our chicken fried country style, in other countries they have chicken Marsala or chicken curry (I love curry. I’ve only told you that 376 times but it bore repeating.)  They all have different ways with chocolate, cabbage, rice and so many more. One of my favorites is all the different cultural uses for potatoes. Yep. Simple homey bumpy potatoes. They have saved people in many countries from starvation and made others wayyyyy too fat for their own good :-P. They can be fried, boiled, mashed, mixed with a gazillion other ingredients and pretty much no matter what you do (unless you add liver to them. ICK! No, I know of no liver and potato recipes but I had to throw in my hatred for liver.) they taste wonderful.

One of my favorite ways is dumplings. Dumplings are another thing that each ethnicity seems to have its own way of cooking. I am torn between German Potato Dumplings and Gnocchi for favored way of eating them. Tonight I played around with Gnocchi. While I love them just slathered with four sticks of butter (WHAT?!) and 3 pounds of cheese, I went a different route tonight. I probably could have used another package of Gnocchi because the final plateful has more other things than it does the dumplings :-p It’s chock full of fresh Asparagus, Portabello mushrooms, Shallots, garlic and chopped ham. It would make either a nice side dish or a fairly hearty meal on its own.It’s simple to make and delicious to eat. I would say though that if you’re really wanting the Gnocchi to be the focal point, either cut down on the other ingredients or double the Gnocchi. personally, as much as I love Gnocchi, I enjoyed it with the full helping of the Spring like Asparagus and the mushrooms and ham. YUM!

GNOCCHI WITH HAM, PORTOBELLOS, SHALLOTS & ASPARAGUS

  • 1 16 ounce package potato gnocchi, cooked, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water
  • 1 lb fresh Asparagus, woody ends cut off and the rest cut into bite sized lengths
  • 1 8 ounce package portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 ounces chopped ham
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook Gnocchi as directed on package. Cover and set aside while you make the veggie/ham part of the dish.
  2. In large pan melt the butter. Add in the asparagus, mushrooms, garlic, ham and shallot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is crisp tender.
  3. Pour this mixture in with the gnocchi. Add the 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water and the Parmesan cheese and mix well.