Category Archives: Ham

Chicken Cordon Bleu – Ohh la la!

Not many dishes can compete for the presentation award as rolled and stuffed meat! With a bit of time, you can impress and appear to be a master chef with this Chicken Cordon Bleu and  cream sauce recipe.  I found I was able to assemble the chicken ahead of time (a few hours), cover and move on to the rest of my meal plan (or in this case, attend to a sick 5-year-old)

Recipe makes 4
4 chicken breast trimmed of any visible fat
4 slices smokey deli ham (no honey ham here)
4 slices swiss cheese
Dijon mustard for brushing on chicken
2 eggs beaten
splash water to thin egg wash
Italian bread crumbs (or plain) for coating chicken

Between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, pound chicken to about 1/4 inch flat, careful not to tear. Salt and pepper both sides, brush the inside of the chicken (the side that doesn’t look as pretty) with Dijon mustard, place slice of ham and cheese on chicken and begin to roll. Secure with toothpicks. Dip in egg wash and coat with bread crumbs. Place rolled chicken onto baking sheet or 9×13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. At this time, you can immediately bake or store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let rest before slicing.

Cream Sauce:
2 Tbs butter melted in a heavy sauce pan
1 cup white wine, I used Sauvignon Blanc as I like it to drink also
2 TBS bouillon powder
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 TBS corn starch whisked into a bowl with the heavy cream
2 TBS fresh herbs chopped, I used parsley so not to compete with the flavor of the sauce, but thyme or rosemary would be great too

Heat pan and melt butter, add wine and bouillon powder bring to a boil reduce by 1/3. Slowly add cream and cornstarch, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Add fresh chopped herbs. Pour over sliced Chicken Cordon bleu. Sauce is also wonderful over steam vegetables such as asparagus or broccoli.

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Ham and Cheese Pockets

Ham, sharp cheddar cheese, spicy brown mustard and refrigerated biscuits are a tasty dinner sure to please the family and help you use up the leftovers.

As the holidays have come to an end, I find that there are many tasty ingredients in my refrigerator worthy of being showcased. With a bit of help from store-bought biscuits, an impressive and easy meal was made. Once you’ve tried these, the filling options are endless! I simply served these pockets with a side salad for a complete and nutritious meal.

Yields 8 Pockets

Ingredients:

1 Package of large refrigerator biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands biscuits)
2 cups diced ham
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, sliced or shredded
Spicy Brown Mustard
1 egg
water
sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, make your egg wash by whisking 1 egg and a splash of water to thin, set aside. Lightly flour surface. Roll a refrigerated biscuit to a 6 inch circle. Smear a thin layer of mustard in the center. Place 1/4 cup diced ham and 1 oz cheese just off from the center. Dampen bottom edge of biscuit with either water or I used the egg wash as it was next to me. Fold in half gently so not to tear dough. Gently seal with a fork. With a sharp knife, make 2-3 slits in the top. Lightly brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the dough is a golden brown. Let cool slightly and serve.

These are so easy and will disappear just as quickly as they were made. I did, make a few with ham, diced green apples, cheese and Dijon mustard. These were the kids favorite! Other ideas for filling would be pizza sauce, fixings and mozzarella cheese. Or, as a friend of mine suggested, use pie filling, and sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar for dessert.

Baked Ham with Honey Dijon Glaze

Baked Ham with Honey Dijon Glaze, just may replace your traditional Holiday Ham

It’s mid-October and already time to begin thinking about our holiday plans. Just yesterday, Dad and I sat in my dining room (he came to hang up a shelf, Thanks Dad!) enjoying his first cup of Chai with me. This spicy, warm and creamy tea seemed to inspire a discussion about the upcoming holidays. As we leisurely visited and sipped our Chai, I found that little voice in my head saying “Sheri, you need to try out some new recipes to treat the family this year”.

After all of these years, Mom has perfected the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. There is comfort and warmth when we enjoy these time-tested traditional family dishes. We work together in the kitchen as if performing a well-rehersed dance. I treasure these days, full of pride as my role in the kitchen has graduated from prepping the vegetables to a true partner, one to be consulted or trusted to actually make the mashed potatoes.

Okay, so back to the ham. My shopping place had a great price on bone-in smoked ham. I got a 6 1/2 lb piece for about $8.00. A steal, as I knew it would produce many meals for my family. I already planned to save the bone for Split Pea Soup and Ham for later. I quickly bought it and it sat in my fridge for 2 days, taunting me! See, I’ve never had to make the Ham, Mom always had that dish mastered, decorated with the pineapple, cherries and cloves and some years a honey-baked one that was presliced. Since this one was pre-cooked and simply only needed to be heated, I shouldn’t have been intimated, but a large piece of meat can do that!

I went to the trusty web for inspiration. What I found was a ton of sweet glazes using orange juice, pineapple juice, lots of brown sugar and often cloves. I do not prefer these super sweet sticky glazes, or sugary crusts. A bit discouraged, I was about to resolve to simply heating the smoked ham as was. Then, it dawned on me! A while ago, I made Honey Dijon Pork Chops that my kids and I raved over! I knew I would utilize many of the flavors I’d used with the pork chops as they were savory and had the perfect amount of sweetness; the ultimate combination. The result was, what is now, our favorite ham recipe. This perfectly juicy baked ham with its beautiful golden crust, is a blue-ribbon winner! Mom, we just may have a new Holiday Ham recipe.

So began the creation of what I consider to be possibly the very best ham I have ever eaten (sorry Mom!).

Recipe:
1 Bone in smoked ham already cooked
1 cup white wine or apple cider
1-2 cups chicken stock
Fresh herbs if available (I used a few sprigs of fresh thyme and sage still on stems)

Glaze ingredients:
1/2 cup Apple cider
1/3 Cup Dijon Mustard
1/3 Cup Honey

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.Unwrap ham, carefully trim off excess fat, taking care not to cut into meat. Make diagonal score marks into the tough outer layer of ham. In a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the ham and cover tightly, place on a rack (I have a rack about 1/2 high) in roasting pan. Pour in broth, wine (or cider) placing herbs around ham in liquid. Cover and bake.

Now it’s time for a bit of math. For every pound of ham, plan to bake 15 minutes. I had just over 6 pounds of ham, so I figured about 1 1/2 hour plus about 5 more.

After the ham was getting cozy in the oven, I leisurely began making the simple glaze. In a small sauce pan, whisk all ingredients together and heat over medium heat. Careful not to let it burn, stir occasionally and allow to gradually thicken. After about 20 minutes or so, it should have the consistency of tomato soup. If not, let cook down longer. Keep on low simmer stirring occasionally when desired results have been obtained.

During the last half hour of cooking time is when you will begin basting your ham with the glaze and a basting brush. Remove from oven, bast liberally, return to over with lid off. Repeat 2 more times every ten minutes.

Remove ham from oven, bast one more time and let sit on cutting board or serving plate for 10 minutes before carving. I’d had high hopes of using the juices in the bottom of the roasting pan for a sauce, but found it too salty from the ham. The wine and herbs perfume the ham perfectly and keep it so juicy it didn’t need a sauce anyways. Don’t forget to save the bone for Split Pea Soup and Ham for another day.

Split Pea Soup with Ham – The way Grandma Would Make it if she had access to Ma’s Garden

Get out the stock pot, as soup season has begun!

We love our homemade soup! With all of its liquid goodness, my boys and I enjoy a big bowl of homemade soup and crusty bread. The season officially begins when I pull out my giant stockpot and make a batch of Split Pea Soup with Ham. I crave it all spring and summer, but with the warmer weather, it’s just not the same. Serve this with a thick piece of fresh baked Free Form Artisan Bread.

Although there are many “quick” soup recipes and crock pot recipes, I am a true believer, that soup must be given the love and respect of simmering for many hours. This is an endeavor that takes love and patience. Soup days are also days I plan other home projects, such as laundry, paper work, blogging and phone calls. One does not have to be a slave to the stove as much as you have to visit it periodically to stir, taste, and occasionally add an ingredient. I consider soup to be the perfect food. It usually has a protein, carb, veggies and herbs. It’s everything good in one pot, and how I trick the boys (and myself) to eat vegetables they may not try otherwise.

Earlier in the week, I made a Baked Honey Dijon Ham with the bone in. I removed most of the leftover ham from the bone, leaving some meat around it, put into a large plastic bag to use later. I don’t always have a ham bone like this to make my soup, so often I will purchase ham shanks to use instead. Here it is, My Spilt Pea soup with Ham that I’ve made more than any other recipe as it’s simply a family favorite.

Recipe yeilds…lot’s of soup

Ingredients
2 1-lb bags of dried split peas, sorted and rinsed
1 ham bone (from 5-7 lb ham with some meat still intact) or 2-3 lbs of ham shanks.
2 quarts of Chicken broth (I used 1 quart of store-bought and 1 quart of homemade I had defrosted from the freezer)
Water (as needed throughout)
2 stalks celery sliced
1 large onion diced (I used a Vidalia)
2 TBS garlic finely diced
3 bay leaves (remove before serving)
2 large carrots quartered and sliced
3 TBS fresh herbs (I used a combination of Thyme and Sage, but savory and parsley are good too)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Sea Salt to taste
2-3 chicken bullion cubes (optional)

After you’ve sorted out your peas (I pour them on a large baking sheet so I can easily pick out any unwanted discolored ones) rinse well under cold water in a colander and pour into large stock pot. Cover with water (about 1 inch above the peas) and bring to a boil for 2 minutes, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour. This is preparing the peas. There is also an overnight option, but I just prefer to use this method.

After an hour has passed, pour in broth and add ham bone (or shanks). All of the peas and bones should be covered well with liquid. If needed, add water (I often have to add some water throughout cooking process). On high heat, bring to a soft boil. Meanwhile, begin chopping onions, celery and garlic. Add to soup and bring down temp. to a high simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

After simmering for about an hour, add carrots and water if needed. Simmer another 45 minutes still stirring occasionally. Then, add fresh-cut herbs, simmer another 15 minutes or so. Remove ham bone or shanks with thongs and let cool on cutting board until able to handle. Remove meat and cut into little pieces. This process can be a bit tedious, but is worth it for the final result. Return meat to soup. This is when you begin tasting and adding salt and pepper to taste. Carefull with the salt as the ham adds it own, so add slowly, taste and adjust. Personally, I have been known to throw in a couple of chicken bullion cubes in place of the salt as it adds extra flavor and contains salt. Keep adding water as the peas absorb liquid and it evaporates during the process.

Soup is very forgiving and gets better the longer it simmers. Like a tomato sauce, it only gets better the next day. Freeze leftovers in individual servings for quick defrosting another day as a quick hearty lunch or dinner.

If you happen to have a dog, or your neighbor has a canine friend, send the bone for a special treat!

Zesty Italian Subs Pizzaria Style

Cody was craving an Italian sub from the local delivery place. The cost $7.99 + tax and delivery. This got me thinking and I made a trip to the grocery store. For the price of 1 sub, I bought enough ingredients to make 6 subs!

Ingredients:
Sub-style buns
Deli ham
Deli hard salami
Pepperoni
Provolone cheese slices
Lettuce shredded
Bannana peppers sliced (mild yellow in a jar)
Olives
Onions (optional)
Zesty itallian dressing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a piece of foil, place bun and layer with ham, salami, pepperoni and provolone cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Top sub with shredded lettuce, peppers, olives and Zesty Italian dressing. Eat right off the foil that its cooked on…no dishes!

Perfect Panini

Panini’s are no more than adult grilled cheeses. This one is made with Ham, provolone,red onion slices, spinach and tomato with a few more touches. The bread needs to be the good deli kind, crusty and hearty. Serve with a side salad or your favorite cold pasta salad…perfect picnic food or lunch for company!

Ingredients:

1 Loaf crusty bread cut into 1/2 inch slices. (I used sourdough, feta and spinach bread from family fare, just baked)
Deli shaved ham (Virginia baked was on sale or your favorite)
Deli sliced smoked Provolone cheese
Sliced tomato
Baby spinach (I used the organic on sale prewashed)
Thinly sliced red onion
Fresh ground salt and Pepper
Pinch of dried Oregano
Olive oil

Spray grill pan with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat at med-high. Brush outsides of bread with olive oil. Salt and pepper tomatoes and sprinkle with oregano. Layer on bottom piece of bread, ham, cheese, onion,tomato and baby spinach. Top with 2nd piece of bread. Place Panini on preheated grill pan. Weigh sandwich with a cast iron skillet or a clean brick covered with foil. Cook 3-5 minutes or until grill marks are dark brown. Flip Panini and weigh down with skillet or brick for another 3-5 minutes until done. Let sit 1-2 minutes before cutting in half.

Serve with a side salad or favorite cold potato or pasta salad.

Try this with any flavor bread, cheese, chicken, turkey, peppers, avocado, mushrooms….let your imagination lead your tastbuds!