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Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham in comfort food for the soul.  My Mother often made a version of Scalloped Potatoes with Ham and I have made in in the crock pot for years.  I wanted a new version, and loved this recipe.

While perusing the reviews, several people added additional seasoning to the sauce, parboiled the potatoes, added broccoli, etc.  This is a solid base recipe that you can use to get creative.  In the photos below, I did not cover the dish while baking and it took a solid hour to cook.  It is delicious ad comforting…just what we all need!

SCALLOPED POTATOES WITH HAM

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
12 ounces 1/4 inch sliced baked ham, cubed
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking dish.
  • In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a simmer while stirring. When sauce has thickened remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • In a skillet, cook onions in melted butter until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread 1/3 of the white sauce in bottom of baking dish and top with half of the potatoes. Spread out half of the onions, ham, cheese and another third of the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Continue layering ingredients, ending with the remaining cheese on top. Bake, covered, for 45 mintues.  Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
New Favorite

Buttternut Squash and Chicken Chowder

Butternut Squash and Chicken Chowder is a wonderful comfort food, especially paired with a nice biscuit or crusty bread.  Squash is plentiful, the weather is cool, and soups are my favorite fall and winter comfort foods.

It’s great fun to experiment with new recipes.  Growing up the standard soups and stews were Chile, vegetable soup, potato soup, bean soup, oyster stew at Christmas (still not a favorite), and an occasional ham and split pea soup.  Now the sky is the limit, trying new combinations and flavors!

Buttternut Squash and Chicken Chowder

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely minced
½ pound carrots peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small bite sized pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Few grinds black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (or both), all fat removed and cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup celery diced (I substituted 1 chopped green pepper and 1/2 teaspoon celery seed)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 14.5-ounce cans chicken stock
1 pound all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 14.5-ounce can kernel corn with liquid
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Few shakes of Tabasco sauce
2 cups half and half cream

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Toss one tablespoon of the oil in a small bowl with the sage and carrots and pour out onto a small sheet pan. Roast for ten minutes.
  • Add squash and another tablespoon of oil along with salt and pepper to the small bowl and pour out onto the carrots and flip with a spatula to mix.
  • Roast for ten more minutes.
  • Remove from oven and set aside.
  • While vegetables are roasting, in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil with the butter over medium high heat.
  • Once the fat is hot, add about a third the chicken and cook about five minutes to brown and cook through. Remove to a bowl and cook the another third then finally the last third, adding to the bowl after each batch. Set aside. The chicken should be fully cooked through at this step.
  • Turn the heat to medium and add the onions and celery. Cook, stirring often until the onions are translucent, about five to ten minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
  • Add flour and cook for two more minutes, stirring often.
  • Add stock and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Bring to a boil and add potatoes along with roasted vegetables and all pan drippings. Cook for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  • Add corn with juice along with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.
  • Add cooked chicken with any liquid that collected in the bowl, stir and add all of the half and half cream.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning and bring just to serving temperature.
Family Favorites · New Favorite

Runza

I know Runzas are a staple to my Nebraska and Kansas friends but not something we grew up with in Iowa.  A few years ago I was watching the television show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives where they visit Lauer-Krauts  in Brighton, Colorado.  A friend and I made the trek to Brighton to try one of their krautburgers and they were delicious, but frankly, too far a drive when you have a craving.

This recipe was close to what we experienced and I decided to give it a try.  It was very good and I would love to try making them with either a mixture of fresh cabbage and sauerkraut or simply with sauerkraut.  Growing up in Iowa, Mom’s homemade sauerkraut was amazing and I now love all things kraut!

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RUNZA

Makes 10 Runzas

Dough:

1/4 oz packet of dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
3 1/2 cups bread flour
12 tablespoons salted butter
2 teaspoons salt

Filling:

1 pound lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoons salted butter
1 Vidalia onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 head cabbage, chopped

  • To make the dough, combine 3/4 cup of very warm water, a pinch of sugar, and the yeast in a bowl. Let it sit until it blooms. If you’ve never done this before, pop yourself some popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show. You’ll know what I mean when the “blooming” begins. Okay, maybe it’s not that cool…
  • Add 3 of your eggs and whisk with your yeast mixture.  Add 2 cups of your flour to the liquid and mix well with a wooden spoon.  Add the butter, the sugar, the remaining flour and salt and mix well.
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes.  Place the dough ball in a buttered bowl and let sit for one hour at room temperature.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let sit for at least an hour.
  • Remove the dough and divide into 10 equal portions. Roll into separate balls and let sit covered while you make the filling.
  • Speaking of the filling, get your ground beef sizzlin’ on a skillet.  Season as desired with salt and pepper.  Cook until lightly browned, then remove the beef from the skillet with a spoon and place it in a bowl, leaving most of the grease behind.  Add your butter to the skillet and begin sizzlin’ your onion.  Cook until translucent, about 10 minutes or so.  Add your garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Add this whole mixture to the bowl with the beef.
  • Next, using the moisture still in your skillet, get the pan nice and hot.  Add your cabbage and stir constantly until the cabbage is lightly browned and translucent-ish.  It may seem like a lot of cabbage at first, but it shrinks down substantially.  Add the cabbage to the beef mixture.
  • Flatten your balls of dough with a rolling pin.  Each dough saucer should be about 8 inches in diameter.  Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup of filling in the center of each dough-saucer and pull the edges together and pinch to enclose the filling in the dough.  To avoid a thickened dough-seal, I actually cut off the excess dough with cooking shears.  If you don’t do something like this, you’ll find a doughy center as you take your first chomp.
  • Preheat the oven to 375° while the runzas sit and rise for a bit.  Brush some of the egg (your remaining egg of the 4 you originally had) on the top of each runza to give it a nice browning while in the oven.  Cook the runzas on a greased baking sheet for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe from Highheelsandgrills.com 

Garden · New Favorite

Chicken Pozole with Tomatillos

Tomatillos are plentiful this year so I’m always up for trying a new recipe. I love my standard Posole recipe with pork, but liked this idea with chicken and tomatillos. Tomatillos have almost a citrus-like taste to them so it pairs well with chicken and pozole.

The soup was great fresh and I’ve frozen a large batch for a cold winter’s night!

CHICKEN POSOLE WITH TOMATILLOS

1 pound tomatillos
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups chopped onion
1 pounds chicken, skinned (I used 2 cups of cooked, chopped chicken vs. raw)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and quartered
1 (30-ounce) can white hominy, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
8 lime wedges (optional)
Family · Family Favorites

This ‘n That

Sometimes you just need a time-out for a little R&R.  I needed a time-out this year based on my last post.  On one hand, it made me sad to take a break because summer and fall are my favorite seasons to cook with fresh vegetables and fruit. On the other hand, if you’re not in the zone, it’s a worthless venture.

August and September are big birthday months in our family (yours too?).  In total, we have 13 birthdays.  ABC News reported in 2005 that more babies are born in July, August and September with no real reasoning.  Really? It seems so simple to me. Colder weather, holiday celebrations… Maybe I should have been a rocket scientist.

September, October and early November in Colorado were unseasonably warm and utterly beautiful. We all knew it wouldn’t last but we felt blessed for the beautiful fall colors accompanied by the warm sun and cool breezes.

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Our family traveled to Columbia, Missouri for Homecoming weekend and the dedication of Traditions Plaza and Legacy Circle, where Karl’s memorial was placed. We enjoyed family time and the festivities of the weekend.  Little did we know the NCAA recognizes the University of Missouri as the birthplace of homecoming.

MIZZOU

The Chihuly Exhibit was showcased at the Denver Botanic Gardens this Summer and Fall.  I saw the exhibit in Phoenix earlier this year and enjoyed two additional visits to the Denver exhibit.

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Temperatures in Colorado are now below freezing and time to make my favorite soups and comfort foods:

Chicken and Noodles
Beef Stew
Portuguese Kale Soup
Green Chile
Red Chili

I’m looking forward to being back, sharing recipes, stories and life.

Family · Family Favorites

Potato Bacon Chowder…Family Fave!

Potato Bacon Chowder is officially a family favorite, shared with me by my sister Carolyn. It’s a quick fix for a weeknight meal and GREAT as leftovers. Need I say more?

POTATO BACON CHOWDER

8 slices bacon (cut in 1 inch pieces)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup water
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)

  • Fry bacon until crisp in a 3 quart saucepan; add onion and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Pour off fat.
  • Add potatoes and water. Bring to boil; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

  • Stir in soup and sour cream; gradually add milk.
  • Add salt, pepper and parsley.
  • Heat to serving temperature. Do not boil.
New Traditions

Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale…comfort food

Baked Risotto with Bacon and Kale (and many other yummy ingredients) is a comfort dish to love. My gal pal, Jan, told me about this dish and I had to try it.  It also helped that I had many of the ingredients on the ready.

I rarely make Risotto because I don’t enjoy standing over the stove, constantly stirring and adding liquid to the Arborio rice. This recipe eliminates that hassle. There is some prep work chopping, roasting, grating, etc. but I did that early in the day which made the final preparation a breeze.

Add this is the list…comfort food!

RISOTTO WITH BACON AND KALE

4 slices bacon, chopped coarsely
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups low-salt chicken broth (plus 1/2 cup+ to add later in preparation)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
3 medium curly kale leaves, stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 roasted carrot
1 roasted parsnip
1 roasted shallot
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and chop the carrot, parsnip and shallot. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan or braising pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
  • Add the chopped onions, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes.  Add 3 cups broth and the lemon juice. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Cover with a tight lid and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  (Note: my dish was done at 20 minutes so watch closely.)
  • Remove the pan from the oven and return it to the stove, over medium-low heat. Remove the lid and stir in the chicken, kale, roasted vegetables and 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Stir until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes, adding extra broth, as needed, until the Risotto is creamy.  Stir in the cooked bacon and cheese.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

Recipe slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis Risotto with Bacon and Kale

 

Family Favorites

Potato Bacon Chowder…perfect comfort food

Potato Bacon Chowder is a favorite that my sister, Carolyn, shared with me a few years ago.  She has often served this on Christmas Eve. It is wonderful for a quick lunch or dinner giving us that warm, cozy comfort food we crave this time of year.  So simple, so good.  Enjoy!

POTATO BACON CHOWDER

8 slices bacon (cut up)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup water
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)

  • Fry bacon until crisp in a 3 quart saucepan; add onion and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Pour off fat.
  • Add potatoes and water. Bring to boil; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Stir in soup and sour cream; gradually add milk. Add salt, pepper and parsley.
  • Heat to serving temperature. Do not boil.
Family · New Traditions

Chicken Broccoli Dish…a new favorite comfort food

 

Recently I was joining my neighbors for dinner and wanted to make a main dish from items I had in my pantry and freezer.  I discovered this recipe in the Cornerstone Cookbook published by the Assistance League, Marshalltown, IA in 1976.    My Mother gave me this cookbook, on my 23rd birthday, and it has become one of my ‘go-to’ cookbooks.

This casserole was a hit and will now join my list of favorite recipes.

CHICKEN BROCCOLI CASSEROLE

2 packages frozen (or fresh) broccoli
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken or turkey
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter

  • Cook broccoli until tender. Arrange in bottom of buttered baking dish (9″x13″). Place two cups cooked, cubed chicken on top of broccoli.

  • Combine chicken soup, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, lemon juice and curry powder. Pour over chicken and broccoli.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Combine crumbs and butter and spread over top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.