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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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.

I Scream Scones

 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!!!! I crack me up. I scream scones. Get it? Huh? Huh? Huh? You get it right? Don’t you? Sigh. No one ever understands the mind of a comic genius. Or me either for that matter 😛

I’ve always loved Scones. They are one of those things that I feel always need to be eaten wearing a fancy dress, big feathery hat and with ones picky sticking out as you drink English breakfast tea. I have to say, my husband and boys look great in a fancy dress and feathered hat. What?! They wanted the scones. I have rules! Conditions! Lots of emotional issues! Nobody forced them to wear the dresses. Well, not real force anyway. There were no weapons involved unless you count scones filled with ham, cheddar and dill as weapons. The sad part is that they all looked better in the clothes than I ever did. Something there is not right.

But seriously (I see you rolling your eyes at reading me say the word seriously. I can be serious sometimes!) I do love scones. But they have to be made a certain way. They have to be wedge shaped. None of the round ones for me. They have to be served with some sort of horribly decadent spread. Yeah, you’d never expect that last part from me huh? I’m just such the queen of healthful eating says the woman who ended up having a can of Hormel chili and Tostitos for dinner last night. and they have to be flaky. I can’t stand dense flat scones.

I started these with Ina Gartens Cheddar Dill scone recipe here On Food Network but changed them up quite a bit. I also made a oh so yummy caramelized onion cream cheese spread to go on them. The spread is good enough to just eat off of a spoon. Which I did. A  lot. Together, the scones and the spread give new meaning to “Bloody good old chap!”. Ok, so they are delicious. I just wanted to type something that was going through my mind in a British accent. We’ll get to my penchant for talking and thinking in foreign accents another time. I’ve traumatized you enough for now.

Ham, Cheddar & Dill Scones

  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 5 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 pound extra-sharp yellow Cheddar, grated
  • 8 ounces diced ham (you can use leftover or they have small packs of already diced in the packaged meats section of most stores. Also, make sure your ham has been patted dry with a paper towel or your dough will be too moist)
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill weed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine 4 cups of flour, the baking powder, dill and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until the butter is in pea sized crumbs. Stir in the cheese and the ham. Combine  well. Mix the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour-and-butter mixture.  Mix until they are almost incorporated.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it for 1 minute, adding a bit more flour if needed to make a smooth cohesive dough. Divide dough in half and pat each half doen into a greased 9 inch cake pan. Score the tops of each dough round into 8 pieces. Bake at 400 for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are golden brown and cooked on the inside. Serve with butter or the “Omg, I love this” caramelized onion spread.

Caramelized Onion Cream Cheese Spread

  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 small onions, cut into half moon slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

Slice your onions in half then slice thinly into half rings. Add the olive oil to a  medium sauce pot. Over medium heat, add your onions to the pot. Stir to get all the onions covered in oil. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low. Let the onions cook until wilted and soft, about 10 minutes.  Uncover the pot and turn your heat up to medium. Sprinkle the sugar over the onions and stir to combine. Stirring frequently to prevent burning, cook the onions until they are a nice golden brown color. This may take up to 20 minutes or so. Take them off the heat and let cool.

When the onions are cool, add your butter, cream cheese and salt to the pot with the onions (why mess up more dishes?). Beat well until mixture is creamy and well combined.  There ya have it… it’s done. The hardest part of it is cooking the onions.