Jess’s Pizza Pull-Apart Bread

PhotobucketIt isn’t too often that I come across a new recipe that I fall in love with, but recently I’ve been hitting the recipe jackpot. These are amazing! I’ve changed the recipe to make it my own, so here we go.

Jess’s Pull-Apart Pizza Bread

1/2 recipe Jay’s Pizza Crust dough
mozzarella cheese, about 20 cubed pieces
sliced pepperoni

For topping:
olive oil
Italian seasoning

garlic salt
grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan. Divide the pizza dough into roughly 20 equal sized pieces. Take one of the dough pieces and press in a cube of cheese and two slices of pepperoni. Pull the edges of the dough down around the filling and seal. Place in the pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough. Each piece of dough should be touching each other in the pan. (It may seem crowded, but will be fine.)

Lightly brush the tops of the dough with olive oil. Sprinkle on seasoning mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature, with dipping sauce if desired.

It should go a little something like this…

Cheese in pepperoni in dough:

Sealed around filling:

Pushed together nicely in the greased pan:

Brushed with olive oil:

Sprinkled with spices:

Fresh outta the oven:

Try these as an appetizer or a snack…either way, your family will be thanking you!

Published in: on November 13, 2011 at 8:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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He’s back, I’m back, and we’re hungry!

Most of you have noticed that it’s been a really long time since I updated here. That may’ve had something to do with Army Dude (aka my husband) taking a nice little year-long vacation to Sunny Iraq. He’s back now (yay!) and so am I…because I just don’t cook much at all while he’s away. After a year of having Dominos on speed dial, I’ve ventured back into the kitchen and thought I would share my excitement with you by getting my bahootie back to blogging!

One of the first breakfasts I made for Army Dude was some French Toast. French toast is usually pretty simple and most people know how to make one version or another. But this french toast is the kind you crave at midnight…it’s just that good.

First, gather your ingredients. You’ll need the following:

1 cup half-and-half

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons sweetened french vanilla coffee creamer (other flavors work, too, or warm honey can be substituted)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 (1/2-inch) slices of challah, brioche, or french bread, stale

4 tablespoons butter

The night before, whisk together the first 5 ingredients to make your custard.

Put custard in the fridge and set bread slices out on cooling racks to dry up overnight (4-8 hours).

The next morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour custard into a shallow dish (a pie pan works nicely). Prep a large cookie sheet/jelly roll pan by putting an oven-safe cooling rack inside of it.

Dip the bread slices, one at a time, in the custard mixture and let soak for 30 seconds on each side.

Once soaked on both sides, remove the slices from the custard and place on the cooling rack in the cookie sheet pan to allow excess to drip off. Let sit for 1-2 minutes.

Butter a large skillet or griddle on medium-high heat. Place bread slices in skillet and cook until lightly golden brown, flipping only once. This should take about 2-3 minutes per side. Once browned, put the toast back onto the cooling rack inside the sheet pan and pop into the oven for 5-7 minutes.

Serve immediately or turn off the heat in the oven and let them stay warm while you finish the rest of breakfast. Serve with butter, maple or fruit syrup, and powdered sugar. Yum!


Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mom’s Best Cake Recipe and Picture Tutorial

I have no idea where Mom found this recipe, but she had it as long as I can remember, and I haven’t found the same recipe anywhere online by the same name or ingredients…so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. It is named Best Cake for a reason. Not only is it very tasty and incredibly moist, but it is one of the easiest cake recipes I’ve ever seen (that doesn’t include a boxed mix)!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, cake baking isn’t my specialty. Cake decorating? No problem. Cupcakes I can do, but most non-box-mix cakes just fall on me-terribly! This one is almost flawlessly executed every time…and it’s even helped me place at a church cooking contest, so I can assure you it is worth the tiny bit of effort it takes to prepare it!

First, the recipe:
Mom’s Best Cake

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. crushed pineapple (juice and all)
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. plus 1/4 c. pecans, chopped (save the 1/4 c. for decoration)
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan (metal or glass will work). Mix all ingredients together, pour into pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. (Cake will turn from white cake-colored batter to a chocolate cake color during baking, this is normal.)

2 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 stick butter or margarine, softened (shortening will work, too)
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream butter and cream cheese together, add vanilla and confectioner’s sugar. Mix well until creamy-about 2 minutes.
Ice the cake in pan while still warm. Sprinkle pecans over the top for decoration. (Note: if you don’t like super-sweet cream cheese icing, try using 2 packages of cream cheese, and leave the rest of the ingredient amounts the same.)

Now for the tutorial:

If you didn’t buy already chopped pecans (which I typically do, but not this time), then you are going to need to chop the pecans into small pieces. That’ll take them from this:
To this:

Then it’s time to grease and flour the pan. Start with some shortening or margarine in the pan:

Wrap your fingers in a paper towel like I do, or just use your fingers to spread the shortening around the pan evenly. Be sure to cover the bottom, sides, and corners well.

Once you’ve done this, grab some flour and toss it into the pan:

Pick up the pan and gently tap it on one side, angling the pan so that the entire bottom of the pan is covered in flour. (The flour will stick to the shortening.) Once the bottom is covered, tilt the pan on one of its’ sides (do this over the sink or a trashcan to avoid a mess) and contine tapping and tilting until you’ve covered the entire inside of the pan with flour. Tap the non-sticking remaining flour into a garbage can, and you’re done with the greasing and flouring. Your pan should look something like this:

Measure out your pineapple, being sure to include the juices. To accomplish this, I spoon the pineapple and juice into the measuring container. This recipe will use almost all of a 15 oz. can of crushed pineapple, but not quite-so do measure it:
Crushed Pineapple

Measure the remaining ingredients (careful to reserve 1/4 cup of the pecans for decoration later) and throw them all in the bowl. Order does not matter in this cake, I promise!

Mix until thoroughly combined. Batter will be thinner than a cake mix usually is, so don’t panic. It should look something like this:

Pour the batter into the pan, and it should level itself out pretty nicely b/c of its’ thin nature:

Put the pan in the oven and bake the cake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. The cake will darken during baking, so don’t panic. It’s not burnt, really:

While the cake is baking, you want to be sure to set out the cream cheese and butter/margarine on the counter to soften. I usually just toss them both in the mixer to soften:

Once the cake is out of the oven, you may begin creaming the butter and cream cheese together:

Then add in your vanilla and confectioner’s sugar:

Mix until creamy…about 2 minutes should do it. Then it’ll look like this:

While the cake is still warm, spoon the icing onto the cake and spread with a spatula:

Be sure to get the icing to the edges of the pan:

For a final touch, sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped pecans over the cake in a random pattern. Serve warm or cold…either way is good, but nothing beats that first warm piece of Mom’s Best Cake!

How to Make a Baked Potato!

To some, this is the simplest thing in the world…anyone can bake a potato, right? Well, not so much. When I was in my first apartment, trying to teach myself to cook for the first time…I was completely and totally lost on such a simple thing. And I didn’t have internet at home to just pop on and figure it out. In this day and age, though, most anyone can get to a library at least to learn about such things, and I thought I’d post a very short tutorial on this simple procedure. This method was adapted from the way several steakhouse-type restaurants make them, so if your potatoes at home never taste as good as the ones at the steakhouse, try this!

First, you wash the potato, and place it on a paper towel:

Wrap the potato in the paper towel to dry it:
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Place a half-pat of butter (about 1 teaspoon’s worth) on the potato and put the potato on a square of foil, discarding the paper towel.
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Use your fingers to rub the butter all around the potato till it is fully coated, and sprinkle sea salt on it if you’d like:

Fold the foil towards you, over the potato:

Pull the ends of the foil in towards the center of the potato, and roll the potato until it is covered by the foil:

Form the foil tightly around the potato:

Now bake it at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour, OR 400 degrees for 45 minutes, OR 300 for 90 minutes. And now you can enjoy your baked potato topped with whatever you’d like! I personally am a fan of the broccoli, cheese sauce, and bacon bits approach, but a potato is good with just about anything on top!

What to do with a whole pork loin…

There are several options for dealing with a whole pork loin, but there are 3 ways that are my favorites.

Preparation One: Trim fat, use a rub on it, cook it whole, low and slow in the oven. (325 degrees for about two hours for a 5 lb loin)

BTW, my roast rub is much simpler: garlic powder, onion soup mix or onion powder mixed with beef boullion, salt, pepper, italian seasoning…but I don’t use a specific recipe, thus the link above to another popular rub recipe.

Preparation Two: As a pork roast, often in combination with a beef roast, b/c they flavor each other nicely. Pretty much the same rub as above. I like to sear and then dry roast mine, but you can add a couple cups of broth or soup to the pan or toss the whole roast and veggies in a crockpot with liquid. Of course flavor with what sounds good. When making pork roast, I often go with the above mentioned spices plus celery seed, a touch of sage, parsley, and thyme.

Beef and pork roast, rubbed, seared and ready for the oven:

Ready to Roast Pork and Beef Roasts

Preparation Three: Boneless pork chops! I typically do these on the griddle or grill for a fast cooking method that gets dinner on the table quickly.

I’m going to get some more pictures together for each of these methods later, but for now, I’ll show you how to break it down for Prep Two and Prep Three:

Whole Pork Loin trimmed and cut in half for a roast:

Pork loin cut into roast

The other half sliced into thick-cut pork chops:

Raw Pork Chops

I put these chops on freezer paper on a cookie sheet to freeze them individually (so they don’t stick together when frozen), then once they were solidly frozen, I tossed them in a freezer bag, labeled them and put them back in the freezer for another day:

Ready to Freeze Pork Chops

Please don’t be intimidated with a whole pork loin, it’s really quite easy and very versatile. 10 minutes of prep and you’ve got the makings of several meals already!

How to make Homemade Biscuits and Sausage Gravy…Part One, Biscuits!

A friend on a forum I visit mentioned she’d like to know how to make homemade biscuits and gravy…and I had a lightbulb moment-I have no idea why I haven’t given y’all a tutorial on this before, b/c biscuits and gravy are one of my favorite things to make! So here it is, a pictorial on the making of biscuits and gravy from scratch:

First, I’d like to start by saying that there is no shame in using canned biscuits if you’re just not up for trying to make your own just yet…I grew up on canned biscuits and I still have a more than healthy obsession interest in biscuits and sausage gravy made at home-it won’t scar your children, I promise. In fact, this sausage gravy is one of the few things that I actually learned how to make from my mother, who was a wonderful cook that had an ungrateful daughter who remained entirely uninterested in learning to cook till well into adulthood. I know, I know, y’all thought I was always into cooking, right? Yeah, not so much. But I’ve learned to love it, and you can, too! This post will address the biscuit part of the recipe…


The biscuit recipe I like to use most frequently is J.P.’s Big Daddy Biscuits. It’s not that I don’t use other recipes, but this was the first recipe that really helped me learn to make biscuits that couldn’t effectively be substituted for hockey pucks (and taste the most like Bob Evans-which are my favorite biscuits). I also like southern buttermilk biscuits, so you could go that direction, too. One day, I’ll learn to turn Big Daddy Biscuits into buttermilk biscuits, but for now it’s one or the other.

*I was making a double batch of Big Daddy Biscuits, so please know that if you make a single recipe instead, your dough ball and quantity will be much smaller than what you see in the pictures. Also, I used half butter, half shortening, but all of either is fine in this recipe, no worries.*

First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and cut your butter into small cubes if you are using butter. (If using shortening, skip the cubes.)

Now, I sift my flour and other dry ingredients b/c I find it makes fluffier biscuits, but the whisk almost accomplishes the same thing (which is what the recipe calls for).

Then you put the butter/shortening in the bowl with the flour. Now is the time to employ one of two methods:
1.Use your fingers to coat the butter/shortening in flour, then continue rubbing the butter pieces between your thumb and forefinger, breaking it into smaller and smaller pieces, covered in flour until the entire mixture becomes a coarse, crumbly mess with most crumbles being similar in size to one another.
2.Grab a pastry blender or fork, and use the utensil to do the same thing.

Whichever method you choose, remember to keep your palms of your hands out of the whole ordeal, b/c your fingers aren’t as warm as your palms, and you are trying to keep the butter from melting. This is a hugely important step, probably the most important, so make sure that you have a good crumbly mixture before continuing on with the recipe.

This is the mixture before you begin blending, note the whiteness and tinyness of the particles of flour in this photo:Photobucket

And here’s the mixture after you’ve worked the butter into the flour, see the larger, darker look to the crumbles in comparison with the first photo?

Measure out your milk:

Make a well in the center of your flour mixture, and pour in the milk:

Mix it into a big blob-y mess. This batch was a little wetter than most, but I don’t mind this b/c I flour my counter well and it is ALWAYS better to have too-wet dough than too-dry dough. Remember that you will be adding flour to the dough while rolling it out, so err on the side of too-wet, k?

Flour your counter (sprinkle flour on the counter so the dough doesn’t stick to it), plop the dough ball on the floured countertop, and sprinkle a teaspoon or two of flour on top of the dough and try to loosely work the dough into a ball. Try not to mess with the dough very much. Something I’ve learned about both bread and especially biscuits is that if the dough still feels cold and sort of wet (but not sticky), then you have reached your goal for having light and fluffy baked goods. Once you get too much flour worked in or the heat of your hands has warmed the fat in the dough, you’ve lost some of that luscious lift you so desperately want in heavenly baked goods, so less is more with biscuits, k?
Once you have it in a ball, LIGHTLY pat it out or LIGHTLY use a rolling pin to make the dough more flat. You are looking for the edges of the dough to be about 1/2 inch thick. You can use a ruler to check. Better to be too tall then too short on this:

Now it gets easy. Just use a glass (preferably with sharp edges) or a biscuit cutter (I use the medium size in my set of 3) dipped in flour to cut the biscuits. Cut straight down-don’t twist, or they won’t rise as high in the oven. Try to leave very little-to-no space between the biscuits and plan your cuts carefully to get the most cuts out of the dough, b/c you will NOT be re-rolling the dough to make more! We’ll get to that in a second…

But first, a tip on making non-floury tasting biscuits:
When I cut a biscuit and pick it up to put it in the pan, I turn it over to reveal the side that was on the bottom of the floured counter, and I use a pastry brush (or a silicone brush or even my fingers) to dust off as much of the loose flour as possible. I hate floury biscuits, and this fixes that issue.

Okay, back to the re-rolling issue. Sure you CAN re-roll the extra dough out and cut more biscuits, but quite frankly, it’s not worth it-they will be 10x tougher than the first ones and you just won’t like them very much. In fact, I believed so emphatically in not re-rolling my dough, that previously I have been known to throw the remaining dough into the trash, seriously. However, I found a neat trick that while it doesn’t produce the most beautiful biscuits, doesn’t compromise the lift and flavor of the “second round” of biscuits. Instead of gathering all the leftover dough from your first cut of biscuits and re-rolling it out to cut the second round-just do this: Take the scraps and gently form them together to make a biscuit-shaped circle approximately the size of the other ones, and cut the edges with your biscuit cutter. No kneading, no re-rolling, just shaping together without much pressure. It is much more effective and you don’t have to throw out the dough. They will be a little misshapen and ugly, but they will still taste good!

Here’s my “reworked” biscuit:

As with most of my baked goods, I use cast-iron for biscuits, but any old pan will do. Anything from a cake pan to a cookie sheet can be used-round or square it doesn’t matter. But if you want good rise on your biscuits (and you do, you really, really do), then you may wish to put them in the pan touching like I do. Some recipes tell you to put them 1 inch apart, and that’s fine, but just know that most restaurants that make those yummy, ultra-delicious, drool-worthy biscuits that you love (every place from McDonalds to Bob Evans) smushes their biscuits all together on the pan. So unless you really like a crisp outer edge on your biscuits, the touching-method is probably the one you want to use, no matter what the recipe calls for. Just a little hint from me to you.

Then just put your biscuits in the oven for appropriate time (in this case about 11 minutes is just right for me-but my oven also runs a little hot, so just follow the recipe on this one), and soon you’ll have fluffy, hot, yummy biscuits coming out of your oven. I brush some melted butter (or just rub a stick of cold butter over the hot biscuits fresh out of the oven) over them while they are still hot, b/c it gives them a better color and flavor…and here’s what you get:

How to make incredible homemade orange rolls!

Around here, we love orange rolls. Cinnamon rolls are good, but orange rolls are the best! So for church today (I make the snacks for between services), I made orange rolls and took some pics for you along with the recipe.

Jessica’s Incredible Ooey-Gooey Orange Rolls

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed OR 1/2 Grandmother Bread Recipe, just after the first rise. You can add another 1/3 c. sugar to the bread recipe as you make it or leave it as is. I add the sugar, unless I’m making the other 1/2 of the recipe into regular sandwich bread.
2 TBL plus 2 tsp. butter, softened
4 TBL sugar
2 tsp. orange juice (I use Simply Orange)
1 tsp. orange extract OR grated orange peel

Orange Glaze:
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
2 TBL orange juice
1/4 tsp. orange extract or grated orange peel

Roll one loaf of bread dough into approximately a 9×6 rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Let the dough rest (leave it alone) while you mix up the FILLING. Just use a fork to combine filling ingredients and spoon the filling onto the dough, spreading the filling out to touch 3 sides, leaving the long edge closest to you free of filling. This is to help it stick when you roll it later. Once filling is spread out evenly, begin to roll the dough towards you, jelly-roll style. Once dough has become a long cylinder, pinch the edges of dough together. Slice dough in 3/4 inch increments. Grease a 9×9 square pan and place the rolls inside, touching each other. Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rise in a warm location for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Alternatively, you can now put them in the fridge to rise overnight instead of letting them rise in a warm place.
Once ready to bake, set temperature on oven to 350 and bake for 18-22 minutes or until lightly browned. While baking, mix up the glaze. Once they are out of the oven, glaze immediately. You can pour or spoon the glaze over the rolls. Serve warm or cooled, your choice. Enjoy!

Grandmother Bread Recipe after first rise:

Orange Filling:

Grandmother bread, once punched down…see how shiny it is? This dough will still be slightly sticky at this point, and that’s okay:

Once kneaded a few times, it loses it’s shine, b/c of the floured surface:

The Grandmother bread recipe, now split in half. You could put one of these in a loaf pan to make sandwich bread or you can freeze the other loaf for use later or whatever:

Rolled into a 9×6-it’s never perfect, no worries!

With the orange filling spread on it:

Rolled into a log:

Sliced up nicely:

Orange rolls in greased pan:

Risen rolls after an overnight rise in the fridge:

Whisked up glaze:

Ooey-Gooey Orange Rolls, fresh outta the oven:

I made a double recipe of this-using one whole Grandmother Bread recipe b/c I was cooking for a crowd. Sometimes I make 1 loaf into orange rolls, and one loaf into cinnamon rolls on the same day.

How to Make Homemade Lasagna-a tutorial

Several of you have requested a more exact/updated recipe for my lasagna, so I thought I’d offer a pictorial on how I make it. I hope this helps!

Here are the ingredients, not pictured is the hamburger and foil:

We start by crumbling and cooking our hamburger, then draining it. I usually just add some salt, pepper, garlic, and italian seasoning to the meat while cooking:

The next step is, in a small bowl, mix one carton of sour cream with one pkg of crumbled feta cheese. Sometimes I choose to mix the hamburger into this as well, makes for less layers that way. Other people use ricotta for this step, but I prefer the texture and flavor of the sour cream and feta in its’ place:

Mix that until creamy like this:

Next, get out a 9×15 (9×13 will work, too) pan, and preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Pour just enough pasta sauce in the bottom of the pan to coat the bottom-swirl the pan around a little if you need to in order to cover the whole bottom of the pan. This will prevent sticking in a glass pan:

I am using the “no boil” noodles by Barilla…you can use the ones you have to boil, but I don’t like to waste that much time and effort.

After the layer of pasta, I do another layer of sauce, topped with some of the cheeses. You can slice or shred your cheeses, but I prefer sliced.

Next is a layer of hamburger, but if you already mixed it in with the sour cream mixture, you can skip this step:

Following that layer, we do the sour cream mixture layer:

Keep repeating layers till you run out of fillings and noodles, making sure to get sauce on top of the last layer of noodles, and ending with the provolone slices and any leftover shredded/small pieces of cheese.

After this, cover the pan with foil, trying not to let the foil touch the cheese on the lasagna:

Bake in 375 degree oven for 55 minutes, take pan out and remove foil, and bake for another 5 minutes (to brown the cheese on top). Please allow 5-10 minutes to cool before cutting, so that the lasagna has time to set up and won’t be a runny mess when you go to cut into it.

Jessica’s Lasagna Recipe:
1 pkg no boil lasagna noodles
2 cans Hunts Spaghetti sauce (or other favorite canned or jarred sauce)
salt, pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning to taste
1 8 oz pkg sour cream
1 4 oz. pkg crumbled feta cheese
1 4 oz. pkg. Amish swiss cheese (regular or baby swiss is fine)
1 lb mozzarella cheese (shredded or sliced)
1 8 slice pkg of provolone cheese (you can skip this and just use the mozzarella if you need to)
Foil for covering
9×15 or 9×13 pan

Brown hamburger, adding spices as you wish. Drain. Slice or shred all cheeses except the provolone, which is already sliced.
Preheat oven to 375. Mix sour cream and feta cheese (and hamburger if you wish) in a bowl, set aside. Pour some sauce in bottom of pan, then noodles, then some cheese, some hamburger, and then some of the sour cream mixture. Continue layering and top with sliced provolone cheese. Cover with tented foil and bake at 375 for 55 minutes, remove foil and return to oven for 5 more minutes or until cheese is lightly brown. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

And there it is, lasagna even Garfield would be proud of:

And a picture of a cut piece of it:

What to do with leftover ham?

Ahhh…the hustle and bustle of the holidays may’ve subsided for now, but the busyness in your fridge probably hasn’t. I, for one, hate dealing with leftovers. I like the idea of using up everything we have and not wasting a thing, but I don’t exactly like eating leftovers. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few things I will eat leftovers of, like chili, stew, turkey dinner, and ham dinner, but you can only eat so many meals of high-carbs without becoming slow and lethargic, so something has to be done with those holiday leftovers.

This post will be dedicated to a few of my favorite ideas for using up that holiday ham this year.

Obviously, (as evidenced by my blog counter,) everyone thinks of ham and beans. This is a great idea, especially using the hambone up as well.

Next, I like to cut up (dice) some of the ham and use it in my macaroni and cheese.

Another option would be ham sandwiches, another popular choice. Especially with homemade rolls or homemade bread, yum!

When that gets too familiar, try grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, possibly paired with some tomato soup. A great way to make these is to grill the ham in a skillet, butter one side of each slice of bread, keep your skillet or griddle on medium heat, and place the bread buttered-side down in the hot skillet. Squeeze some mustard onĀ one side of the bread, and add one slice of cheese to each piece of bread. (Velveeta works nicely, too). Then put your warm ham slices on top of half of the bread slices, and make sandwiches. Grill till lightly brown on both sides of sandwiches. Cut in half and serve.
The mustard really adds something to a grilled ham sandwich.

Another option, as with any leftover meat, is to make it into a casserole or other one-pot meal:

This one looks pretty good, how about ham ‘n noodles?

Another one I would try, cheese ‘n ham scallop:

An oft-overlooked idea is a nice ham ‘n cheese quiche-we would make this one, sans onions, b/c we don’t like ’em:
Ham or bacon quiche is often the only kind of quiche you can get a man to eat. The meatiness of it all helps him think of it as “manly food”, so if you’ve ever considered a quiche, but weren’t sure how hubby would react, try one like this, and either serve it as is-name and all, or just rename it to “Ham ‘n Cheese Egg Pie”, and the stigma is gone.

How ’bout a simple chicken cordon bleu? It takes more effort to say the name than make the dish, I promise!

Don’t forget easy things like ham omelets, or just a simple slice of ham with eggs and toast, either!

Along the breakfast lines, there’s also things like a Ham Breakfast Braid:

Throw some ham in your broccoli cheese soup to make it heartier, too!

There’s also baked beans, which benefit nicely from some ham instead of bacon, and don’t forget breakfast burritos or breakfast sandwiches (like at McDonalds). Ham also makes a nice pizza topping, as you’ll see in my previous post about homemade pizza!

Still got leftover ham? How about dicing it into tiny pieces and toss it in your potato salad, macaroni salad, pea salad, etc.?

And here’s just one more recipe I plan to try this year, which uses up leftover mashed potatoes, too:

Even with all these fabulous ideas, you are bound to get sick of ham after a couple of days, so be sure to freeze some of the ham in small baggies. Dice some small and put in a baggie, rough chop some larger and put in a baggie (like for casseroles and one pot dishes), Slice some and put 2-4 slices in each baggie (for sandwiches or breakfasts), use a biscuit cutter and make ham rounds and put in baggies (like for McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches at home), and be sure to keep that ham bone for ham and beans! Also, use a sharpie to label the ham baggies, so you know what you are thawing!

Enjoy those leftovers till you can’t be creative anymore, and then just toss them in the freezer for a nice quick meal at a later date. May your leftovers be as yummy as that very first holiday meal this year!

Simple Homemade Granola Recipe

Tonight I realized I hadn’t prepared anything for church tomorrow, and didn’t have much time to make anything, either. Every Sunday, I make something homemade and yummy for that awkward time between services. We are a small church, newly started, and because of that, they hadn’t instituted any kind of “coffee hour” or “snack time” between Sunday School and Church, so I volunteered to get it started. I usually make doughnuts or coffee cake, cinnamon rolls or streudel, but this time I got all busy with Christmas stuff that I plum forgot. Thankfully, I have a great recipe from the old, that I’ve affectionately named “Maggie’s Homemade Granola”. I like this granola recipe because it’s easy, fast, tasty, and cheap. Well, that and it doesn’t have all kinds of nuts and honey and other typical ingredients in granola, so it’s more allergen-friendly than most granolas. Without further ado, here’s Maggie’s granola recipe:

1/2 c. margarine (1 stick)
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. dried fruit (optional, but I use Craisins-dried cranberries)
1/2 c. nuts or seeds (optional, I usually skip)

In a large 4 qt. saucepan, melt the margarine, sugar, and water together. Simmer 2-3 minutes. Take off of heat and add the oatmeal, cinnamon, and salt. Stir up the granola making sure that every piece of oatmeal is coated in brown sugary goodness. Put the granola on a large sided cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10 minutes. It should be a nice golden brown. Allow to cool on cookie sheet. Once cooled, you can break the granola apart with spoon or your (clean) fingers, and place in a clean coffee can or jar. If adding optional nuts and/or fruit, you can mix those in just before placing granola in its container.

This is a GREAT snack, but also a pretty decent cereal. As someone who doesn’t really care for oatmeal and wouldn’t touch grapenuts if I were paid to, I really do promise this is a good cereal. If you have any trouble passing it off on the kiddos as a real cereal in the morning, you can always add chocolate chips, but this is just sweet enough that most kids will gobble it up, especially if you’ve put a sweet dried fruit in it for color.


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