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.

Recipe Friday: Meatballs and Broth Gravy

We needed a bit of comfort food the other day, so I came up with this. I adapted from a recipe that called for canned cream of mushroom soup, and breadcrumbs. With my husband coming down with a sore throat, I wanted something that didn’t contain any junk, only ingredients that would be healthful. (I also plied him with echinacea and elderberry syrup.)

We like to have this over mashed potatoes, but noodles or something else would serve as well.

Bone broth is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Make lots of it, and use it for soup bases, gravies, anything you can think of.

For more immune-boosting, I added extra cayenne, cumin, and onion (we like onion).

All the ingredients in this recipe are real food. Eat real food, folks, and give up the convenience in preference to health.

Yield: 2-quart casserole
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 25 min + 45 min to 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:

1 pound                     ground beef, venison, or other meat

1                                  small onion, diced

1/2 cup                       quick (not instant) oatmeal

1                                  egg

                                    sprinklings to taste of spices: paprika, basil, celery seed, cayenne,

                                             cumin

                                    salt to taste

1 tablespoon             Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon             tamari sauce

1/2 teaspoon             liquid smoke

1/4 cup                       barbecue sauce

For the Gravy:

2 cups                        bone broth

2 tablespoons           cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water

     Serving suggestion:

     hot mashed potatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to broil at 400°
Mix all meatball ingredients in a large bowl.
Shape into 1-inch meatballs and place on a rimmed baking sheet. This recipe makes 20 – 24 meatballs, depending on size.
Place baking sheet on lower rack of oven and broil for 15 minutes.
Move meatballs to upper oven rack and broil for 5 – 10 more minutes.

In a saucepan, heat the bone broth to simmering.
Turn off broiler; turn on oven to 350°.
Remove meatballs from baking sheet to a 2-quart casserole dish.

Pour a bit of the hot broth onto the baking sheet, and scrape up the drippings.
Stir the cornstarch slurry into the saucepan with the hot broth, stirring constantly until thickened. Add the drippings from the baking sheet into the saucepan, and stir.
Pour the gravy over the meatballs.
Cover the dish and bake at 350° 45 minutes – 1 hr.
Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

Recipe Friday: Beef Stroganoff Pressure Cooked

We’ve got a blizzard going on in our neck of the woods. This calls for comfort food.

I know, I know, stroganoff automatically goes over noodles, right? Well, you can do it that way, but this household likes potatoes. Hey, you can even serve it over rice or quinoa or whole grain barley or not over anything.

The Instant Pot (or a pressure cooker) and the coffee make the meat tender. The sherry or red wine adds “depth of flavor,” as I hear in all the cooking shows (well, it makes it better is what it does).

Ingredients:

1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon (heaping) minced garlic

1 cup strong brewed coffee

spices to taste: cloves, basil, paprika, parsley, celery seed

salt to taste

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup cooking sherry or red wine

1 tablespoon tamari sauce

1 cup hot water

1/2 – 1 cup instant potato flakes

1/2 cup sour cream

hot mashed potatoes

 

Directions:

Set pressure cooker to sauté. Sauté onions and beef until browned. In the last five minutes, add garlic.
Add just a bit of the coffee, and stir up the browned bits.
Add the rest of the coffee, the hot water, the spices, salt, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, and sherry or red wine. Stir.
Push Cancel. Put the lid on, and seal.
Set the Instant Pot to meat/stew, set for 20 minutes.
At the end of the 20 minutes, allow natural pressure release for at least ten minutes. After ten or fifteen minutes, release the pressure. Remove the lid.
Stir in the potato flakes: add enough to thicken. (This should be a bit thicker than you want it to end up, as it thins out a bit after you add the sour cream.)
Push Sauté, and let the mixture come to a low simmer.
Turn off the Instant Pot.
Stir in the sour cream; stir until completely incorporated.
Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

Recipe Friday: Comforting Oatmeal

RecipeFridayComfortingOatmeal

When I want a little comfort food, I like it to be healthy, especially when there are unpleasant bugs going around. I want to be careful not to compromise my immune system with sugar; however, comfort often means sweet (at least, a little).

Enter a traditional favorite: oatmeal.

I go heavy on the spices because they’re so good for the immune system, and they also lend a bit of sweetness. And don’t be afraid to throw in the butter. Good food includes plenty of healthy fats: fats are not only good for the body’s systems and your brain, they also carry the flavor.

Kathy’s Comforting Oatmeal

Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients:

4 or 5 hours before, or the night before:

  • 2 cups oats (use whatever is on hand: rolled / old fashioned; quick; use only 1/2 cup if using steel cut oats)
  • Filtered water
  • 2 Tbs kefir or yogurt

When you make it:

  • 2 Tbs cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp each of powdered spices: nutmeg, cloves, allspice
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • Several dashes Himalayan or mineral salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Optional ingredients:

  • Fresh or dried fruit, such as raisins, chopped dates, or fresh or frozen peaches
  • Sweetener (you may not need this with the fruit), such as pure maple syrup, sucanat, stevia, or coconut palm sugar
  • Dairy or non-dairy milk
  • Peanut butter (I know – weird – but I tried it once and I like it)

Directions:

  • Put the oats into a medium-size saucepan. Add enough water to cover the oats. (You’ll need extra water for steel cut oats: the ratio is 1:4, i.e., if you use ½ cup oats, then 2 cups water.) Add the kefir or yogurt, and stir. Allow to soak 4 or 5 hours, or overnight. (I discuss benefits of soaking grains here.)
  • When you are ready to prepare your oatmeal, put the oats on to a low simmer until cooked: 5 minutes for quick oats; 10 minutes for rolled / old fashioned oats; 15-20 minutes for steel cut oats.
  • Add the spices, butter, salt, and vanilla.
  • Add optional ingredients.
  • Stir together and heat it back up.
  • Serve hot.

Sometimes I make “Apple Raisin Stuff:” I chop up apples, add a little water and some raisins, and simmer until the apples are soft. I throw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice. I keep it in the ‘fridge or freezer to use in pies or to mix some into my oatmeal.

What do you like to put in your oatmeal?