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She doesn’t like potatoes but Country Grandma is the queen of stirring up delicious gravy, and pretty much any other down-home Midwest comfort food served at a farmer’s table. When it came time to make gravy this Christmas, I had an abundant amount of reserved ham cooking juices but I didn’t have a recipe or a plan for making the gravy. Should I use flour or cornstarch? Broth or milk? My sister Heidi suggested I ask Country Grandma, the queen of gravy, to show me how she makes hers.

ham gravy v

Thankfully she obliged by stepping into the kitchen and showing us how to make ham gravy with milk and cornstarch. She eyeballed it so I’m hoping the mental notes I’m posting will be enough for me to remember how to make it next time.

ham gravy

Also known as Ma T, Country Grandma (Judy Thomssen) is grandma to my nephews—the T Boys. Before Grandpa Ron died, they farmed near Lake Benton and raised a son, Will, who is married to my sister Heidi. (Yes, that makes Judy Heidi’s mother-in-law and we love her company!) When the T Boys were little, Ron and Judy lived in the country and my mom lived in town so they nicknamed Judy Country Grandma. Can you imagine a farmer’s wife not liking potatoes? But my sister was right—Country Grandma is the queen of gravy and she is welcome in my kitchen anytime. I want her to come back and show me how to make her beloved meatballs, and the hamballs I just heard about.

The T Boys in 1998 (Trav, Garritt, Cody)

The T Boys in 1998 (Trav, Garritt, Cody)

Country Grandma’s ham gravy recipe – the eyeball method

Grab what you need:

equal parts whole milk and water

cornstarch (liquified to a paste with ice water so you don’t get cornstarch floaters in your gravy)

ham cooking juice to taste

pepper

Make the gravy:

In a large pot over medium-high heat, whisk milk and water to boiling. Pour in cornstarch and stir constantly until thickened. Add ham cooking juice to taste, starting with a smaller amount and adding from there. (It’s easy to add more but you can’t take it out if you add too much.)

Serve over mashed potatoes. Store leftovers in refrigerator and serve hot over fried leftover mashed potatoes or toast.

Salty swine wishes,

Staci

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This little piggy went to the market. These little piggies jumped into my breakfast pie. Just like with ham and cheese stuff’n puff, your houseguests will return. Add a side of toast or fresh fruit and it’s the quintessential brunch filled with eggs, bacon, sausage links, ham, and melty cheese. And look at how many farming industries you are supporting with this one recipe: pig, dairy, and chicken farmers!

3 piggies in a breakfast pie

All the breakfast meats in this dish seem like a lot of work for one groggy morning in the kitchen but here’s how to make it easy on yourself. When you fry too many sausage links (and maybe bacon) on a Sunday morning before you leave for a week-long vacation, freeze all those extras. When you are ready to make this breakfast, buy a package of precooked, diced ham.

If you don’t have cooked bacon in your freezer, just fry five strips and chop them into the egg mixture. Easy as [pork] pie.

3 piggies in a breakfast pie

5 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup milk

1/4 cup fresh celery or broccoli, chopped (optional)

1 package (6 ounce) STOVE TOP stuffing mix

3/4 cup diced cooked ham

7 sausage links (or patties), cooked and diced

5 strips cooked bacon, cooked and chopped

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided into two (1/2 cup) measurements

Bake it:

Get your oven to a piping hot 375˚.

In a really big bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sour cream and whisk until combined. Add milk and whisk until everything is blended. Stir in celery (or broccoli), stuffing mix, ham, bacon, sausage, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Pour into a greased 9-inch pie plate, 9×9 square pan, 9-inch tart pan, or a 2-quart casserole dish. Cover loosely with foil. I like the non-stick kind so the egg mixture doesn’t stick to it.

Bake 60-68 minutes, or until completely heated through the middle. Remove from oven, remove foil, and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese over the top. Bake uncovered another 5 minutes, or just until cheese is melted and slightly browning.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Sweet swine wishes,

Staci

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The only way smoky ham and cheddar hash brown casserole could be more comforting is if you eat it while wrapped in a king size wool army blanket, sitting on the floor in front of a glowing fireplace surrounded by flickering candles.

smoky ham and cheddar hash brown casserole | Random Sweetness Baking

You may have eaten something slightly similar in a country restaurant off the interstate, but when you take your first bite of this creamy, smoky, and cheesy dish, you’ll taste that there’s hardly a resemblance.

Smoky ham and cheddar hash brown casserole

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cheddar cheese soup

1 can cream of onion soup

16 ounces sour cream

1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted butter, divided into 1/4 cup each

2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 cups fully cooked, diced smoked ham

1 package (30 to 36 ounces) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes

2 cups crushed corn flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease with cooking spray a 9×13 pan, or any pan or pans equivalent in size.
  2. In a very large bowl, stir together soups, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, onion powder, and 1/4 cup melted butter.
  3. Toss in the shredded cheese and stir.
  4. Dump in the ham and stir.
  5. In batches, stir in the hash brown potatoes until everything is combined.
  6. Spread the casserole into baking dish(es).
  7. Sprinkle the crushed corn flakes evenly over the casserole. Drizzle with 1/4 cup melted butter. Cover pan with foil.
  8. Bake 1 hour, removing the foil for the last 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Store leftovers in an airtight container in refrigerator.

You can prepare this dish, without baking it, and store it in the freezer until ready to bake. Just don’t put the corn flakes or butter on top until you are ready to bake it.

Sweet and smoky wishes,
Staci

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If you want your houseguests to stay with you again, pull this hot, melty ham and cheese dish out of your oven in the morning and they’ll be planning their next overnight trip.

Chances are, they’ll ask you for the recipe so be prepared to either A.) write it on a recipe card and pretend it’s your own, or B.) send them this link to the KRAFT Stove Top recipe.

Ham and Cheese Stuff'n Puff | Random Sweetness Baking

The first time I made this breakfast was the same weekend I made my ex-sister-in-law’s cauliflower broccoli salad for my future in-laws. I left out the broccoli in the egg dish because I wasn’t sure if everyone in Betsy’s family liked broccoli, and I know Jason doesn’t like it, so I added extra ham instead. The ham I use is Hormel® Cure 81 diced boneless ham which is available at our local Hy-Vee.

Another way I’ve made it is with fresh, diced celery instead of broccoli and we really liked that. I’ve also made it exactly as the recipe states but no one in my family likes broccoli (except for me). You could easily turn this into a delightful vegetarian brunch by substituting fresh vegetables for the meat.

Since I’m not vegetarian and I love pork, I may add or substitute bacon, sausage, or even Canadian bacon next time.

Maybe if you’re lucky, it will be on your houseguest’s brunch menu the next time you visit them. Rise ‘n shine!

Ham and Cheese Stuff’n Puff

5 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup milk (I use skim milk because that’s mostly what I buy, but anything up to whole milk is good.)

1-1/4 cups chopped fresh broccoli, washed and drained (Substitute any fresh vegetables you like. The recipe calls for frozen vegetables so you could go that way too.)

1 package (6 ounce) STOVE TOP stuffing mix (The recipe calls for the chicken flavor but I’ve also used the cornbread style and like it.)

3/4 cup diced ham (You could use chopped ham from your Easter leftovers.)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided into two (1/2 cup) measurements (You could use any variety of cheese you like. I’ve only used cheddar so far.)

Get your oven to a piping hot 375˚.

In a really big bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sour cream and whisk until combined. Add the milk and whisk until everything is blended. Gently stir in the broccoli, stuffing mix, ham, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Pour into a greased 9×9 pan, 9-inch tart pan, or a 2-quart casserole dish. Cover loosely with foil. I like the non-stick kind so the egg mixture doesn’t stick to it.

Bake one hour, or until completely heated through the middle. Remove from the oven, remove the foil, and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese over the top. Bake uncovered another 5 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted and slightly browning.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Disclaimer: Here I am again, just writing about what I love and the stuff I use every day. This post is NOT sponsored or paid by Hormel, KRAFT, or Hy-Vee.

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