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April 16, 2014

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham


Scalloped potatoes really are an ultimate comfort food that I don't find myself making all too often. I love them and they're always a hit when I make them. Maybe it's the knowledge that they're loaded with lots of calories and fat from the cream and cheese, or maybe it's because I always forget that I have a Mandolin slicer, but regardless I don't make them nearly enough.

Rob and I recently DIY renovated our kitchen, and while the kiddo was at the grandparents and Rob was in the garage and I got to listen to Food Network in the background, and overheard Pioneer Woman talking about this recipe. I looked over the wall between the kitchen and living room to see what this was all about and immediately knew I needed to make this to add a little variety to our menu, and because I had a few potatoes I needed to cook relatively soon!

While this would be a fantastic way to use leftover Easter ham, I did not have leftover ham.I highly recommend if you celebrate this holiday, try to snag some leftover ham to make this (unless you host, and therefore set aside some leftovers before other people take them)!  I won't be making these often (3 cups of cream and half and half - hello hips!), but these will be the forefront of my mind next time I want scalloped potatoes!




Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cups diced ham
  • 1 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups grated cheese (Monterey Jack and Cheddar are good choices!)
  • Chopped parsley, optional

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a casserole dish with butter or non-stick spray
  • Heat butter in a large skillet.  Add onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until turning translucent.  Add ham and cook for another 304 minutes until heated.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Combine half and half and cream in a glass measuring cup, and heat for 1-2 minutes.  Whisk in flour and pepper until well combined.  Set aside.
  • Slice potatoes into 1/8 inch slices.  If you have a mandoline, use it!  
  • Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the prepared casserole dish.  Top with 1/3 of the ham mixture, then 1/3 of the cheese.  Pour on 1/3 of the cream mixture.
  • Repeat 2 more times, for a total of 3 layers.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 20 minutes, or more until hot and bubbly.
  • Allow to cool a few minutes before cutting and serving, garnishing with parsley if desired
  • NOTE: you can speed the cooking process along by boiling the sliced potatoes for a few minutes before assembly.  Just drain and allow to cool a bit.

Source: Pioneer Woman



March 7, 2014

Chipotle Honey-Lime Pork Tenderloin



I've been in a bit of a blogging slump lately.  I've been cooking some great food, and when I do take pictures they're decent, but it's very rare that I take a picture of my food anymore.  Why?!  I can't blame it on the lack of natural light, but solely on my lack of planning. When dinner is done, I have a crazy toddler begging to eat, and I have to get food on the table ASAP or else he'll keep begging for Goldfish!

But, to get my butt in gear and start planning better, I signed up for another blogger's choice recipe exchange, hosted and coordinated by the obviously more organized than me Sarah.  This month I got Jenni's blog - Dough See Dough.  The moment I got the email I opened up her blog to peruse some potential recipes to try out.  (And, therefore started dinner later than planned - which is why I never get pictures!)  I was initially planning to try her homemade white bread, because I really need to start making more breads.  We don't eat a lot of sandwich bread in our house except for the weekends.  Sadly, the bread ends up going bad before we can use it all up, and therefor I never buy it anymore.  But, I've heard homemade bread freezes better.  So, long story short, I still plan on making her white bread when I have a little time.

What made me change my mind?  She posted this pork tenderloin like days after I bought a few tenderloins on super sale at the grocery store. I'm always looking for new pork tenderloin recipes.  I felt like it was kismet that she posted as I bought some to freeze.  So, the next week they went on the menu and I purposely planned to make this on a Sunday so I could actually allow myself extra time to photograph it.  

I was nervous Rob wouldn't like it, and once I explained the sauce had honey in it he was all for it.  I think he was pleasantly surprised.  Ty even ate his (minus the sauce, I was afraid it was too spicy for a picky toddler).  I was a huge fan and will definitely make this several times!  And bonus, made for amazing burrito bowl leftovers with some Cilantro Lime Rice!



Chipotle Honey-Lime Pork Tenderloin
Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2.5 limes for me)
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  • Put the pork in a shallow container to marinate.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, zest, honey, salt and garlic powder.  Pour HALF of the marinade over the pork, reserving the remaining half for the sauce, to be made later.  Pour chipotles and adobo sauce over the pork.  Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge. 

  • Remove the pork from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.  

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  • Heat canola oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Remove pork from marinade and sear in skillet on all sides, a few minutes per side.  (Any skillet would work, but I love cast iron for searing meats!)

  • Place skillet in preheated over and cooking for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through.  Remove from oven once the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F.  Move pork to a cutting board and cover with foil, allowing to rest about 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F.

  • While the meat is resting and coming to temperature, prepare the sauce.  Combine the used marinade and reserved lime juice mixture and cook in the skillet over medium-high heat, scrapping up any browned bits from the pork.  Allow the sauce to reduce and thicken.  

  • Slice pork in to 1 inch medallions.  Serve sauce over the sliced pork and garnish with cilantro.

Source: Dough See Dough

   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

January 7, 2014

Tortellini with Lemon Artichoke Pesto, Chicken & Asparagus


I'm not really one for new year's resolutions, but I do like to think about some of the bad habits I have and start making better decisions.  One of those bad habits is getting too comfortable eating leftovers for lunches at work.  Every once in awhile this is OK, but since we eat a lot of heavy dinners, not always is it the best decision to replicate that same heavy meal at noon the next day. So, one thing I really need to work on, or resolve to do if you must say it, is planning my lunches when making up my weekly menu plan.

While looking through a cookbook that I bought from a local grocery store I came across this recipe and immediately fell in love.  I knew I needed to make it soon, and that it would be perfect for lunches since there are too many things in it that Rob wouldn't like (pesto, artichokes, asparagus to name a few and sadly he's not a huge fan of lemon or tortellini).

This turned out to be a great lunch, and I've just been keeping one big Pyrex container of it in the fridge to scoop from while snowed-in this week!  I also imagine this would make a great base for a pasta salad with some other short pasta like bow-ties!

Another quick little side note, the original recipe yields 4 servings, each at only 252 calories!  I did adjust the recipe some (adding the chicken and omitting cherry tomatoes), but still, those changes couldn't have made the calorie content sky rocket!

Tortellini with Lemon Artichoke Pesto, Chicken and Asparagus
Ingredients:1 package cheese-filled Tortellini (Frozen or dried)
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
7.5 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained with marinade reserved
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2-3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
S&P
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup shredded or cubed cooked chicken

Directions:
Boil the pasta as directed on packaging.  If using frozen, add asparagus right away and boil with the pasta.  If using dried pasta, add the asapargus during the last 5-6 minutes of boiling.

While boiling the pasta, chop garlic and basil in a food processor.  Add artichokes, cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, S&P.  Process until smooth.

In a small bowl mix reserved marinade with Olive Oil.  Slow add to the pesto with the processor running on low until well combined.

Drain pasta and return to a large bowl.  Mix in chicken then toss in pesto.

Source: Adapted from Dierbergs Healthy Two



December 20, 2013

Peanut Butter and Oreo Truffles


I  love truffles/ball shaped desserts apparently.  There's these Peanut Butter Pretzel truffles I shared last year.   Cookie Dough Truffles  And, of course classic Oreo Truffles (which sadly I now see I didn't even post a picture of them!), but combine a few of those, and you get this adorable little baby - Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles!

Now, I admit that one night while we had a babysitter, Rob and I drank a bit of wine and started snacking.  Our standard late night snacks are nachos, PB and crackers (his) and cheese and crackers (mine).  This particular night we had Oreos as well.  Rob decided to spread a little PB on the Oreo and I'm certain I looked at him like he was ca-razy!  Not that it sounded bad, but just WHY?!  Well, I'll tell you why.  Because it was fantastic!  And yes, I realize there are PB Oreos out there - but I've had them and I'm not a fan.  And yes, I could try to make my own, but I haven't really felt the need since I prefer a classic Oreo cookie!

But enter my love of Oreo Truffles.  What would happen if I essentially replaced the Cream Cheese with Peanut Butter?!  So, finding the perfect reason, I decided to try this out.  With just a few ingredients and a little time to allow them to chill, these are well worth it.

*Note - I should point out that I used Chunky peanut butter, as that's our family preference.  Plus, we used creamy on our Oreos on a family trip one night and it just wasn't the same.  So, I totally recommend Chunky, but use whatever floats your boat!

Peanut Butter and Oreo Truffles
Ingredients:
1 package regular Oreos (not double stuffed)
1 cup chunky Peanut Butter*
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
16 ounces chocolate chips (I use Semi-Sweet)
2 ounces vegetable shortening
Crushed peanuts, if desired

Directions:
In a food processor, finely crush the cookies.

In a large bowl, mix the cookies with the peanut butter and cream cheese until well blended.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.  Shape the cookie mixture in to 1 - 1 1/4" balls, placing on lined baking sheet.  Freeze for 15-30 minutes.

When ready to coat with chocolate, heat a few inches of water to a simmer in a medium sauce pan.  Place chocolate chips in a large glass bowl, set on top of the simmering water.  (Make sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl).  Stir the melting chocolate until mostly melted.  Add shortening and continue stirring.  Place prepared balls in melted chocolate, stirring around with a fork or two to completely cover the ball.  Place on a prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with peanuts if desired.

Continue coating all pieces and refrigerate when finished for an hour, or until firm.  These can be made in advance, just move to an airtight storage container.

Source: Coffee and Cannolis orginal