Wednesday, July 31, 2013

baked hawaiian ham sandwiches

Oh my GOSH, these were good! I just... oh my. Just savory and sweet, just a little tiny bit spicy and soooo delicious. Thank you, Navy Wife. Thank you.
Remember that massive ham I bought a few weeks ago? I sliced it in half when I brought it home from the grocery and threw half of it in the freezer. That way, we weren't eating ham for a week straight. So, almost 2 weeks later, I pulled it out of the freezer to thaw and I'm using it for this recipe, and in a day or 2 I'm going to be making a Hawaiian pizza, which is my favorite.
I sliced the ham fairly thin. Keep in mind, you can use regular deli ham (which is what the original recipe calls for) but I just happened to have this ham already.
Here's what you need for the sauce. Well, this picture is missing the dijon mustard and an additional 1/2 stick of butter. The only real thing that I deviated from the original recipe is that I added a tablespoon of whole grain mustard and used 2 tablespoons of dijon, rather than all dijon.
Melty, melty butter starts this all off.
Sliced onions, poppy seeds, both kinds of mustard, worchestershire sauce and a tiny bit of salt and pepper. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes or so.
While the sauce is goin', work on the buns. King's Hawaiian is the way to go. These little puppies come in a package and they are all stuck together, barely divided. When you remove it from the package, tilt the entire sheet of rolls on it's side and slice it right in half.
Just like that! Place the bottom half in a baking pan (9x13) that's been well greased. Now, it's time for part of that sauce.
Spread about 1/3 of the onion sauce all over the bottom sheet of rolls.
Top that with your sliced ham.
Okay, now the swiss cheese.
Finally, the other half of the buns.
Here's where things go a little crazy! Top those sandwiches with the reserved onion sauce. Yes. All over the sandwiches. Cover, then into the oven for about 15 minutes.
Uncover, and here they are. Again, I pulled out my trust pizza cutter to split theses guys up before devouring. Although, maybe just a fork and a knife and the entire pan would have been fine.
Baked Hawaiian Ham Sandwiches
Aw yea, Navy Wife!
1 12 pack King's Hawaiian Dinner Rolls
1 lb. deli ham, thinly shaved
1/4 lb Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
3 teaspoons poppy seeds
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a small sauce pan. When fully melted, add in chopped onion, both mustards, worchestershire sauce and poppy seeds as well as salt and pepper to taste. Let this simmer for several minutes. Meanwhile, slice the package of dinner rolls completely in half. Place bottom half of rolls into a 9 by 13 baking dish that have been greased. Top bottom half of rolls with about 1/3 of the onion sauce. Layer with ham, cheese and other half of rolls. Top with remaining onion sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and slice to separate. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

mashed potato quesadilla

I saw this on all recipes listed as kind of a take on a sweet potato quesadilla that's usually served like any other quesadilla- with salsa and guacamole. But, when I saw the mashed potatoes version all I could think of was a tortilla pierogie. So, that's what I made!
I made these mashed potatoes yesterday when I served them with the Hawaiian Baked Sandwiches. When I first made them, for 2 different meals, I used 6 russet potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft.
Plenty of salt and pepper, a whole stick of softened butter and about 1/2 cup of room temperature milk and mash it up!
Now this was 2 meals worth. If you just want it for the quesadilla, you can always cut it in half and use 3 potatoes. But who doesn't want a whole mess of mashed potatoes hanging out in the fridge, just waiting to be consumed?
When the time comes to make the quesadillas, you're going to want to reheat them first. They'll be pretty firm and it won't be easy to make the 'dillas with. I, of course, got distracted and walked away long enough for the bottom of this chunk you see above to get crusty and browned. But, it was nice.
For me, pierogies are really pierogies until they are served with caramelized onions. I could eat caramelized onions by the bowlful, but since that's frowned upon, I have to find some other way to eat it.
Now, I like a multitude of cheese in my piergoies, so the quesadilla needed the same. I grated a medium cheddar and some romano cheese as well for this.
Here's the key! I'd never butter a regular tortilla for a quesadilla, but since they are supposed to be like a fried ravioli, liberally butter the outside of each tortilla rather than spraying the pan with cooking spray.
Here are the steps for layering. Tortilla, butter side down, and then some of the cheese.
Next, the heated mashed potatoes. (Can you see the little flecks of extra brown mashers when I got distracted?) Try to make the taters as flat as possible before you add the next layer.
The next layer, of course, is more cheese.
Last layer is another buttered tortilla, butter side up. Let the bottom side crisp up and get all brown and yummy before flipping.
Aw, yes. The mashed potatoes may start to ooze out the sides a little bit, but that's okay. Most of it will stay inside.
When the other side crisps up fully, transfer it to a cutting board to let it sit for a minute or two so that mashed potatoes can firm up just a little bit before slicing.
Want a trick to slicing a quesadilla? I use a pizza cutter to slice right on through. So much easier than trying to slice with a knife.
By now, the onions should be caramelized and delicious and ready to go! Serve the 'dillas with the onions and some sour cream and you've got yourself a gigantic pierogie!
Mashed Potato Quesadillas
2 cups mashed potatoes
8 taco sized flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded romano cheese
1 large onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for spreading
Sour cream

In a large saute pan, melt butter. Add sliced onion, salt and pepper. Cook until caramelized. Meanwhile, make sure mashed potatoes are heated all the way through. Butter one side of each tortilla before assembling. Heat a saute pan over medium heat. When pan is hot, place one tortilla butter sided down onto the pan. Layer with cheese, mashed potatoes and then additional cheese. Top with another tortilla, butter side up. Toast until bottom is crispy and brown and flip. When the bottom is crispy as well, remove from pan and let rest. Repeat with the additional 6 tortillas. Slice each quesadilla and serve with the caramelized onions and sour cream. Enjoy!

Monday, July 29, 2013

how to make whipped cream

You can always buy whipped cream from a can, but that's not fun. Nor is it as good as REAL whipped cream. Once you try it and make it once, there's no going back. You want to start out with a cold, cold bowl and beaters. You can't see it, but the beaters I plan on using are in the ice chest.
Two things here- one cup of cream makes about 2 cups of whipped cream so you'll have more than you expect. I sweeten at the beginning- the rule of thumb is 2 tablespoons of sugar for every cup of cream. I use a little less because I don't like mine so sweet. Powdered sugar dissolves faster than regular granulated sugar so it helps to whip faster as well.
Cold bowl, cold beaters and powdered sugar all help to whip the cream faster AND to help make it even lighter and fluffier.
I like my whipped cream to be in hard peaks, which takes about 2 minutes or so, but you can stop before the peaks get to this point. Don't beat toooo much because you'll get butter!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

10,000 hits!! pepperoni chip celebration!

10,000 Hits!! YEA!!
You like me! You really like me! And I like you too. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I'm re-posting the biggest post of my last 10,000 hits and that has definitely been the pepperoni chips.
I do find it kind of funny that the pepperoni chips have been the biggest hit because it's by far the most simple I've posted. Rip open a package of pepperoni, lay them in a single layer on a baking tray, pop it into a 350 degree oven and that's it. 10 minutes later and this is what you have...
Pepperoni chips! If you use regular pepperoni you need to dab off the grease with a paper towel. If you use turkey pepperoni then you are good to go. These are awesome hot, I pack them in my lunch sometimes cold. Either way, they are a treat.
Pepperoni Chips
1 package turkey pepperoni

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Line pepperoni up in a single layer on a cooking tray with edges. Cook in oven for 8-10 minutes. Make sure to be vigilant against burning. Remove from oven when pepperoni looks visibly smaller, richer in color and crispy. Blot with paper towel. Store in ziplock bag to retain crunch.

Friday, July 26, 2013

caprese grilled chicken

Could this BE any more summery? Sorry, I'm just channeling my inner Chandler Bing. Grilled chicken is totally my thing and I could probably eat chicken and rice every day of my life. Ed, however, needs more variety. He can't even eat leftovers more than a day in a row. So, whenever I can find a simple way to doctor up a plain old chicken breast, I jump all over it.
This is the cast of players. I would normally use the basil from my garden but it is HOT in Savannah, and my basil is totally wilted. I had to break down and buy some basil at the grocery.
Rub some roasted garlic all over the outside of the chicken- or you can use garlic powder if you want. Roasted garlic is better.
Lots and lots of salt and pepper on the outside and then to the grill. Cook until nice and brown on the outside and at least 165 degrees on the inside. While the chicken is cooking, slice up the tomato and mozz.
Slice the tomatoes to about 1/2 inch thick.
Same deal with the mozzarella.
Bring in the chicken!
Top the still hot chicken with the mozzarella and tomato and cover for about 5 minutes to let the chicken rest.
After the chicken has rested drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Then, some basil that's been cut into a chiffonade- little strips. Note: You can always use some balsamic vinegar as well, but I like just the olive oil!
Caprese Grilled Chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 large beefsteak tomato, slice 1/2 inch thick
6 basil leaves, cut into strips
1 clove roasted garlic
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar, optional

Preheat a grill to medium heat. Season each chicken breast by rubbing with the roasted garlic clove, and then liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill each seasoned chicken breast until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and juices run clear. Immediately top hot chicken with sliced mozzarella and tomato. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle each breast with olive oil and the optional balsamic vinegar as well as additional salt and pepper. Top with sliced basil and enjoy!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

ravioli pasta salad

Okay, so I'm kind of obsessed with pasta salad right now. It's so unearthly hot in Savannah right now, I don't want anything super hot or heavy in the evening. Pasta salad always seems to hit the spot. I made a spicy pasta salad a few days ago, and I plan on making a ranch blt pasta salad fairly soon. This one is so good- savory from the roasted garlic, salty from the feta cheese and slightly sweet from the sun dried tomatoes. Oh! And did I mention that rather than pasta I use mini ravioli?
There are several brand that make the fresh pasta, and I found these little ravioletti in the refrigerator section. Perfect. More cheese!
Cook the ravioli according to the package directions, and immediately cool them off with some cold water. Let them set off to the side until they are completely cool.
Meanwhile, grab some garlic. Raw is okay, but roasted is better.
To the garlic add fresh cracked black pepper, kosher salt and olive oil. Mush the roasted garlic into oil.
There we go. Now, let this love each other for a little bit while you round up everything else you need.
To the cooled ravioli, add sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese (I found some yummy feta that was marinated with basil and tomato) and diced onion. Oh, and the roasted garlic oil.
Mix it up! Then, I usually pop mine back into the fridge for about 30-40 minutes to let everything jive and set up. Also, so it gets back to being nice and cold.
Ravioli Pasta Salad
1 package refrigerator mini ravioli
1 package sun dried tomato slivers
2 oz feta cheese, plain or seasoned
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Prepare mini ravioli according to package. Drain and allow to cool. Meanwhile, mash both roasted garlic cloves in a small bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Allow this mixture time to merry. Combine cooled ravioli, sun dried tomatoes, minced onion, feta cheese and oil mixture together in a large bowl. Place in refrigerator to cool for an additional 30 minutes before time to enjoy!