Recipe Friday: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

As usual, I don’t measure stuff when I’m cooking. I put this all together, and then wrote down the amounts I thought might be accurate. Use whatever you have on hand.

There was an issue, when it was done and served, of clarified butter puddling on the bottom.

I considered cutting the butter amount in half for the recipe; but we liked the taste (and texture) of the dish so much that I’m keeping it as-is. The butter melded into the creaminess of the sauce and potatoes eventually, as it cooled.

I used red potatoes, which hold their shape and texture well with longer cooking times.

My husband and I both had seconds of this dish, we liked it so well. I recommend against seconds, though; it’s pretty filling.

One more note: After we finished eating, I kept having flashes of nutmeg, almost in my mouth. So I think maybe a dash of nutmeg in this dish might be good.

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 90 min

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 2 extra large or 3 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8-10 oz fully cooked ham, cut to bite-size pieces (this was four, thick, maybe 3”x4” slabs of ham)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 T flour
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°.

Put the sliced potatoes, onions, and ham into a large bowl. Salt and pepper to taste; stir to combine.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and cream cheese, whisking together. (It’s a little clumpy.)

Whisk in the milk and heat to simmering.

Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. If it gets too thick, add more milk.

Whisk in the Parmesan cheese. Pour the cheese mixture over the ingredients in the bowl (potatoes, onion, and ham); stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9×11” (or similar) baking dish. Cover with foil.

Bake at 375° for 70 minutes. Uncover, turn the oven to 325°, and continue to bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve hot, with a vegetable and/or salad.

Recipe Friday: Kathy’s Instant Pot Chicken & Dumplings

This is a comforting, stick-to-your-ribs dinner. It’s also time-consuming, so pick a day when you really feel like cooking, and want to bless your family. You’ll want to plan ahead and make sure you have all the ingredients at-the-ready before you begin. Plan 3 to 3 ½ hours from start to finish.

This serves 3 with generous portions.

I started with frozen chicken breasts, bone-in. Because they were bone-in, I didn’t want to try to separate the meat from the bone until after they were cooked. If you have boneless chicken breasts, you can skip the first step, and just put in the raw, cut-up meat. Similarly, if you’re using left-over chicken, skip the first step.

Because my bone broth is concentrated, I used water and wine to supplement the amount of liquid. For extra nutrition, whisk a big scoop of collagen powder into the liquid.

The peas are optional. In our house, the peas only go into my bowl. 😉

Here is the complete list of ingredients. They are listed again later, separately, to show where in the recipe to add them.

Into the Instant Pot insert, put:

  • 3 large frozen, bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2 cups chicken bone broth

Close the lid, set to Seal, and cook 10 min at pressure. Allow 10 min natural pressure release, then release pressure and open the lid. Push Cancel.

Remove the chicken to a plate and allow to cool.

Pour out the liquid into a 2-cup measuring cup.

While the chicken is cooling, set the Instant Pot to Sauté and start in on the next set of ingredients:  

  • 4 T Butter
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut to bite-size chunks
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut to bite-size chunks
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp thyme or rosemary (or both)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Add the butter and olive oil; allow butter to melt.

Add the onion and celery, and sauté only 3-4 minutes.

Add the carrots, potatoes, garlic, mushrooms, thyme/rosemary, salt, and pepper. Stir.

Separate the cooled chicken from the bones. Cut the chicken into strips or bite-size pieces. Add the chicken to the Instant Pot.

Add back all but ½ cup of the cooking liquid (keep that ½ cup broth in that cup; you’ll use it for the dumplings). Stir.

NOTE: If you don’t have at least 1 ½ cups of liquid in the pot, add water until you do.

Cook 15 minutes at pressure. Allow 10 minutes natural pressure release, then release the rest of the pressure and carefully open the lid. Push Cancel.

Next ingredient set:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 Tbs softened cream cheese OR ½ cup heavy cream

Stir in the ½ cup water, ½ cup white wine, and 2 Tbs cream cheese (or heavy cream).

Set the Instant Pot to Sauté.

While the cream cheese is melting, mix the dumplings (This made 6 medium-size dumplings.):

  • ½ cup broth from cooked chicken mixture
  • (If your broth isn’t very salty, you’ll want to add a bit of salt to the dough.)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ Tbs butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten

In that 2-cup measuring cup with the ½ cup broth left in it: mix the dumpling dough together.

Stir the chicken mixture, making sure the cream cheese is blended in.

Drop dumpling dough by spoonfuls onto the top of the chicken mixture. DO NOT mix the dumplings into the liquid; leave them on top.

Replace the Instant Pot lid, but do not tighten or seal it. Cook, on Sauté, for 15-20 minutes. On my Pot, the Sauté function gets the mixture to a rolling boil. I let it boil for 8 minutes, then turned it off to cook the rest of the time, still with the lid on. (Alternately, you can seal the lid and cook at pressure for 10 minutes.)

Open the lid and check the thickness of the liquid. If you like, you can thicken with 2 Tbs flour:

GRAVY (optional):

  • 2 Tbs flour, mixed as a slurry with water or broth

First carefully remove the dumplings to a bowl or plate and keep warm.

Stir the flour slurry into the chicken mixture and allow to boil for at least two minutes.

If you like, add the frozen peas at this point, mix in and allow to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Replace the dumplings on top of the chicken mixture, or serve them from the separate plate/bowl.

This is the pot after 2 servings were taken out.

Natural Pain Relievers

Sayer Ji is a medical / nutritional researcher. He is passionate about his subject, and has established a research database.

This morning’s article deals with the health effects of over-the-counter pain relievers, and suggests five natural alternatives. As always, he backs his information with research.

This short article is worth the read:

https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/6-natural-ibuprofen-alternatives-backed-clinical-research3

Wardee’s 28-Day Challenge

Wardee Harmon is offering a 28-day challenge to start cooking healthy meals your family will love. The cost is $99.

From her email:

… we can help you eat healthy without going crazy. 😉

Seriously, though, all it takes is 30 minutes a day for 28 days in Jan (and weekends are off)… and I promise to help you get healthier and feel great. 🙂

I love pretty much everything Wardee offers, and I’d like to spread the good word.

This link gives more information, and sign-up opportunity: https://lp.traditionalcookingschool.com/lp/challenge-traditional-cooking-28day/

Recipe Friday: Chicken (or Turkey) Vegetable Soup with Rice

We got dat bad bug in our house. Not having much energy to speak of, I opted for easy and nutritious meals.

One day I threw a chicken into the oven for a couple of hours (easy enough), boiled some potatoes, and served with heated-up veggies.

A couple of days later, I chopped up one of the left-over breasts and added some back and thigh meat, and made this easy soup. Sadly, I had lost my taste and smell some days earlier, but my husband told me it was delicious, and I believe him.

Be sure to use real bone broth, (not just chicken broth) to get the gut-healing properties.

This made enough to fill my 3-qt saucepan.

Chicken (or Turkey) Vegetable Soup with Rice

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil or butter

3 stalks celery, with leaves, diced

1 medium-large onion, diced

4 medium-large carrots, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 shakes dried tarragon

4 shakes dried basil

2 shakes dried rosemary

2 cups diced chicken or turkey

1-2 cups cooked brown rice

4 cups chicken or turkey bone broth

Salt (use a healthy Celtic sea salt, or Himalayan salt) and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil or butter. Sauté the celery, onion, and carrots until the onions are translucent. In the last 2 – 3 minutes of sautéing, stir in the garlic, tarragon, basil, and rosemary.

Add the diced chicken, rice, and the bone broth. Stir.

Do a taste test before adding the salt, since bone broth contains varying amounts of salt, depending on who made it. Add pepper to taste.

Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes – 1 hour. (I let it simmer in the oven, covered, at 325°. That way I didn’t have to stir, and it wouldn’t scorch.)

Serve hot.

Recipe Friday: Barb’s Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Banana Pancakes

My sister, Barb, is visiting with us for a whole week. 😁 I inherited several tubsful of photos and albums from my parents when they moved. My plan has always been to sort through them, scan all the pictures and put them on thumb drives, then bring those and all the pictures to the next family reunion to distribute. They’ve sat, collecting dust for several years.

Barb has been such a blessing! Together, we’ve been sorting and organizing and scanning. (The photo is from mid-progress in our project.) There’s been a considerable amount of sleuthing involved, as we try to figure who is who in many unlabeled pictures. [Note to those who have photos: LABEL while you can, so future generations don’t have to guess.] It’s been interesting to look through photos from the early 1900’s. One album, that my grandmother created, is 100 years old, given to her for Christmas by her father in 1921.

Thank you, Barb! I could never have done this without you!

One day Barb made pancakes for dinner. (I love breakfast for dinner, don’t you?) These were not only delicious, but free of gluten and sugar! The recipe makes a small batch (3-4 pancakes, depending on size), but it doubles (or triples, I suppose) well.

The original recipe is from https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/oatmeal-cottage-cheese-banana-pancakes-high-in-protein-gluten-free/ . I added “Barb’s” to the title because she is the one who made them.

The only substitution when Barb made them was rice milk for the almond. We used quick oats, but they were still organic and gluten-free.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large egg whites (or 1 egg)
  • 1/4 cup fat free (or low-fat) cottage cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Optional add-ins:

  • Fresh berries, chocolate chips, peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter or cooking spray and heat over medium low heat. Drop batter by 1/4 cup onto skillet. Add desired toppings such as chocolate chips or blueberries. Cook until bubbles appear on top. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside. 

Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more cooking spray and remaining batter. Makes 3-4 pancakes.

Free Herbal Webinar Opportunity

I have personally learned so much from Rosalee and John, and continue to subscribe to their newsletter. In their latest offering, they outline herbs and how they interact with the viruses that run amuck during the cold and flu season. Here is information from their registration page at https://explore.learningherbs.com/secrets-of-antiviral-herbs/  :

LearningHerbs presents a FREE webinar

The Secrets of Antiviral Herbs

7 Powerful Remedies, 6 Misunderstood Herbs & The 5 Stages of Winter Wellness

Presented by Rosalee de la Forêt and hosted by John Gallagher of LearningHerbs

  • Understanding viruses and how antiviral herbs really work
  • How to know if an herb is actually antiviral or not (Also, which information to trust)
  • The 5 Stages of Winter Wellness (This is the key to knowing which herb to use and when to use it)
  • Herbs for upper respiratory infections
  • Is it still safe to use elderberry?
  • Going beyond antiviral herbs to eliminate the Cycle of Sickness (So you and your family can get healthy and stay healthy)

During the webinar, we’ll give you this Key to Winter Wellness chart, along with recipe cards for 7 of Rosalee’s favorite cold & flu season remedies.

Recipe Friday: My Other Morning Drink

This hot drink is comforting and filling, besides being pretty healthy. It can be enjoyed any time of day. It is a mixture of Dandy Blend, turmeric bone broth, collagen, sucanat, and rice milk.

Dandy Blend is an easy-to-dissolve blend of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root, and sugar beet. It is touted as a good coffee substitute, with no headache upon withdrawal. It has no caffeine, acidity, or bitterness. I enjoy the taste as-is, and it can be prepared hot or cold. It’s sold in most health food stores, and online (I buy it through vitacost.com). I first bought the smallest size available, but I liked it so much, I now buy it in the blammo-size packages.

Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein – Turmeric delivers 20 grams of protein per serving. (Bone broth is one of the healthiest nutrients you can consume. See my other posts, https://maggietiggles.wordpress.com/2021/10/08/recipe-friday-how-i-make-bone-broth/  and https://maggietiggles.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/recipe-friday-bone-broth-and-butternut-squash-soup/ for more information.) I bought it for the turmeric content: turmeric is a fabulous natural anti-inflammatory. I don’t know what made me think of adding it to my Dandy Blend, but I’m glad I did. The taste is really good. Ancient Nutrition also sells other flavors: pure, chocolate, vanilla, pumpkin spice, and salted caramel. I haven’t tried any of the other flavors in my morning mix. The turmeric blend does not contain any sweetener; most of the other blends have stevia or other natural sweetener (except the pure). If you use a sweetened blend, you will likely not need to add any sweetener to your drink.

Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein delivers 20 grams of protein per 2 scoops, besides the 5 types of food source collagen. (Collagen promotes healthy hair, skin, joints and digestion.). It is mostly tasteless, but adds some richness and body. You can also get other flavors of collagen. I get both Ancient Nutrition products from store.draxe.com.

My sweetener of choice is sucanat, but use any kind you like, or none at all.

It works best if you mix the powdered ingredients together really well before adding the hot water. The protein powders tend to clump badly; but they don’t if you mix well first. I top it off with a splash of rice milk.

To make one 16 oz. cup:

1 spoon of Dandy Blend

1 scant scoop of Bone Broth Protein – Turmeric

1 scant scoop of Multi Collagen Protein

½ spoon sucanat

Directions:

Measure ingredients into a 16 oz mug. Stir the ingredients together well.

Add boiling water, stir to dissolve.

Add some cream, milk, or non-dairy alternative to taste.

Because I drink this often, I make up a larger quantity at a time. Ingredient amounts can be adjusted to taste.

Quart mixture:

5 heaping spoons of Dandy Blend

5 heaping scoops of Bone Broth Protein – Turmeric

5 heaping scoops of Multi Collagen Protein

5 heaping spoons of sucanat

Add all ingredients to a 1-quart mason jar. Mix contents thoroughly.

To make a 16-oz mug:

Add two heaping spoonfuls of the mixture to the mug.

Add boiling water.

Stir to dissolve.

Add milk, cream, or non-dairy alternative to taste.

Recipe Friday: Pumpkin Stew

Pumpkin stew! This is a yummy and different way to present a dinner.


To make: Prepare your favorite recipe for stew. (We put ours in a slow cooker for 8-10 hours overnight.) Cut the top off a pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and pulp.

Set oven to 300 degrees. Be sure to lower the rack and take out the upper rack, because you’ll need the vertical space.

Prepare a baking pan by pouring 1-2 cups of water into it.

(I sprayed inside and outside the pumpkin with cooking oil, but I don’t know that I needed to.)

Spoon the stew into the pumpkin.

Place the pumpkin into the prepared pan. Bake the pumpkin for an hour; after an hour, put the top on the pumpkin, and bake one more hour.

When you serve it, scrape the inside of the pumpkin as you scoop out the stew, to make sure some of the pumpkin meat gets into the bowl.

Serve with crusty bread and a salad.