Tag Archives: leftover

Ham and Scalloped Au Gratin Potato Casserole

18 Jun
Ham and Scalloped Au Gratin Potato Casserole

Ham and Scalloped Au Gratin Potato Casserole

I volunteered to make ham and scalloped potato casserole to bring to a Father’s Day BBQ last weekend. Actually, my husband had volunteered to bake a ham, but by the time he informed me of this the hostess had already bought ribs for the event AND my husband had already defrosted the ham we stuck in the freezer last month when it went on sale.

We had about 12 people to feed. Armed with all those factoids, I decided a scalloped potato casserole would work, and then I could add some of the leftover ham that we ended up baking the day before Father’s Day instead.

I found a great recipe for this on one of my favorite foodie cook’s site, The Pioneer Woman. Gosh, I don’t even know how many gajilion recipes I’ve made of hers. She makes it look sooo easy and her food photography is great! She calls it Scalloped Potatoes, but with all the cheese it’s really Au Gratin too, so I added that to the title.

However, last time I made a dish with a ton of sliced potatoes (mind you we are feeding a crowd), it took me over 45 minutes to slice the potatoes, and even then, they were haphazardly sliced, at best. I’m terrible at slicing thin potatoes.

I decided to risk life and limb and invest in a food slicer (also known as a mandoline, and no, not the instrument kind.) They now come with hand guards and decided I could make the plunge and invest in one. And heck, it was less than 10 bucks! What was I waiting for???? Those horror stories of old of trips to the emergency room to re-attach a fingertip are long gone with this device.

My new love:

Food Slicer and Potatoes

Food Slicer and Potatoes

Story: I got the slicer all assembled and cut a potato in half (to have a flat surface to start with). I put it on the gadget and quickly ran it twice up and down to slice. Nothing. Nada. I was like… “Uggh, this thing doesn’t even work! And then I lifted it up, and two beautiful slices were laying underneath it on the cutting board. Really? I thought I would feel some resistance, something, anything! Nooop! That blade is so sharp it was like cutting through soft butter. I had 3 pounds of potatoes sliced perfect-thin in under 10-minutes! WOW! Happy me. 🙂

The below recipe is how I made it as I didn’t have all the ingredients, but you can find the original recipe link below. And just use whatever cheese you have on hand. I used all my cheddar for another recipe earlier in the week, so ended up used store-bought grated Colby-Jack combined with some fresh-grated Gruyere cheese. Either way it came out great! I didn’t have much to bring home from the BBQ. Now on to the recipe.

Ham and Scalloped Au Gratin Potato Casserole)
Adapted from Ree Drumond, The Pioneer Woman, Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

3 pounds Russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
3 cups ham, diced
1/2 cup half-and-half (that is all I had, you can use more and reduce the milk for creamier potatoes)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
Black pepper, to taste
1 cup grated Colby Jack cheese (mixture of Colby and Monterey Jack)
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees then butter a large casserole dish. (Mine was 9 x 13 inches.) Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onions and cook for several minutes until they start to turn translucent. Add the ham and cook for another few minutes until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Sauteeing Ham and Onions

Sauteing Ham and Onions

Combine the half-and-half and milk in a microwave-safe container and cook in the microwave for about a minute, until no longer cold. Whisk in flour and black pepper until combined. Set aside.

Using a vegetable slicer (or a knife if you don’t own one), slice potatoes into 1/8-inch slices. Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle 1/3 of the ham/onion mixture over that, then 1/3 of the cheese.

Scalloped Potatoes without Milk

Scalloped Potatoes without Milk ~ Sometimes I don’t follow directions exactly

Here is where I went astray. I forgot to pour 1/3 of the milk mixture over it until the end, but if you want you can pour on 1/3 of the milk mixture now. It didn’t seem to make a difference.

Repeat this twice more, ending with a sprinkling of cheese and pouring on the rest of the milk mixture (or in my case, all at once). Then grind a bunch more of black pepper over it. Cover the pan with foil and bake for an hour.

Peeking at Casserole

Peeking at Casserole ~ Yes I peeked at the casserole at the hour mark

Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes at least, or until bubbly and hot and the potatoes are tender. Check with a fork periodically for doneness.

p.s. (You can make this ahead of time and cook later. I cooked mine to the one hour mark, then brought it to the BBQ. About a half hour before ready to eat, I uncovered it, popped it in a preheated oven and baked until ready, about a half hour more.)

Casserole in Oven

Casserole in Oven ~ I had to check on that puppy! Baked beans underneath from other guest cooking

 

 

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Steak and Pork Pot Pie

9 Apr
Steak and Pork Pot Pie

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

After a busy and fun (OK, awesome!) weekend out of town, I’m finally getting around to cooking and blogging again! My husband had grilled up some pork and steaks over the weekend and I was faced with grilled leftover meat and not a lot of ideas for what to do with it.

When I opened the freezer to look for options, I spied a frozen pie crust and had an “AHA!” moment. Who said you can’t make pot pie with grilled steak or pork, huh? And with the meat already cooked, it became a simple and delicious dinner idea. I did not use the “Holy Trinity” with celery since my daughter does not eat celery (even though I cook with it all of the time), but I added peas for both color and taste. Two thumbs up from the fam, too! Here is what I did:

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup baby carrots, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 small potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup flour
2 cups homemade or low-sodium beef broth
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, or salt, to taste
1 sprig of fresh thyme, leaves stripped and minced (or a pinch dried)
1/4 cup milk
1 pound leftover cooked steak and/or pork, cubed (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup frozen petite peas
1 frozen pie crust, thawed
1 egg, beaten with a little water

Grilled Beef and Pork

Grilled Beef and Pork

In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the carrots, onion, and potato. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the flour, seasonings, and thyme and stir until mixed into the butter.  Add the beef broth, then turn up heat to medium, stirring constantly until it thickens and begins to simmer. Turn back down to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the milk and stir to combine. Last, mix in the meat and peas, then turn off heat.

Steak and Pork Pot Pie Filling

Steak and Pork Pot Pie Filling

Pour into a 1.5 quart casserole (or large deep pie dish — I don’t happen to own one like that). Preheat oven to 375 degrees, meanwhile letting the mixture cool for about 20 minutes.  Top with the thawed pie crust and crimp around edges to seal. Brush on egg wash all over crust, then cut a few slits on top for venting. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until crust is golden. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Dee-lish!

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

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Turkey, Ham, Sausage, and Shrimp Gumbo

1 Dec
Turkey, Sausage, Ham. and Shrimp Gumbo

Turkey, Sausage, Ham. and Shrimp Gumbo (with Okra!)

I’m always on the lookout for a new recipe that will help use up the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, and The Homesick Texan “brought it home” for me with this one! I told my husband I was going to make this, and he said, “I don’t like gumbo.” Well. I think he said that as a knee-jerk reaction to okra. He doesn’t like okra, ergo he doesn’t like gumbo. “I don’t plan on putting any okra in this one. It will have turkey, ham, and smoked sausage in it! Doesn’t that sound great?” Pretty much no reaction to that. He doesn’t like okra, ergo, he doesn’t like gumbo. I made it anyways. Plus, since I’m such a great gal, I bought some shrimp to add to it because he loves shrimp.

The Holy Trinity and Meats

The Holy Trinity and Meats

The day before I made this, hubby and I teamed together to make a huge pot of turkey broth from the carcass, recipe here: How to Make Homemade Turkey Broth. You can never have too much turkey or chicken stock on hand. You can substitute low-sodium store-bought, but why? The original recipe makes enough to serve 10 to 12, so I halved it as well as made other adaptions/tweaks (including adding about a cup of my homemade canned tomatoes). Feel free to experiment! And if you like okra, by all means add some of that too. Since I wasn’t going to add gumbo, I was also going to add some file powder to thicken it, but alas, the Pacific Northwest does not seem to know of its existence (I scoured four different stores!), so I had to substitute a little cornstarch for the thickener.

Turkey, Ham, Sausage, and Shrimp Gumbo
Adapted from Turkey Gumbo, The Homesick Texan

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 large rib celery, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/8 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend, to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or more if you like spicy
5 cups turkey broth or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 cup diced cooked ham
1 cup sliced smoked sausage (1/2 of a horseshoe link)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (optional)
1/2 cup frozen okra, microwaved for 3 minutes (optional)
Cooked rice, for serving
2 green onions, green part only, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a cast iron dutch oven or cast iron skillet, add the oil and flour and whisk well to combine. (You are making a roux here, the easy way!) Place in the oven for an hour and a half, whisking every 20 minutes or so.

Caramel-Colored Roux

Caramel-Colored Roux

Meanwhile, you can prep your veggies, chop up the turkey meat, and brown the sliced sausage and diced ham in a skillet sprayed with a little oil. Set aside.

When the roux is done (it should be a nice caramel brown), carefully remove it from the oven. If you have a cast iron dutch oven, you can continue cooking the gumbo in it. If you don’t (like me), transfer the roux to a regular dutch oven and place on the stove burner over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, red peppers, and garlic, stirring constantly for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Sauteing the Veggies in Roux

Sauteing the Veggies in Roux

Now add the tomatoes, parsley, thyme, Worcestershire, Mrs. Dash (or salt), black pepper,  cayenne pepper, and mix well. Gradually add the turkey broth, stirring constantly. Add the turkey, ham, smoked sausage, bay leaves, and sugar, bring to a low simmer, and cook for about an hour or more, stirring occasionally.
Turkey Sausage Ham Gumbo

Turkey Sausage Ham Gumbo Simmering ~ No Shrimp Yet!

During this time you can cook your rice. In the last 10 minutes or so, add the shrimp (if using) until cooked through. Last, add the cornstarch mixture to the pot (or file powder if you have it), stirring to combine. Simmer for a few more minutes, turn the heat off, cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. Serve over the cooked rice and garnish with green onions. (Pssst, I added some cooked okra to my bowl!)
My daughter really liked this, and my husband went back for seconds and looked me square in the face and said, “This had a nice blend of flavors, the perfect spice amount, and the shrimp really added to it, Thank You.” (except you don’t want to know what he said when I forced him to try a spoonful of mine with the okra in it… lol!)
Turkey, Sausage, Ham. and Shrimp Gumbo

Turkey, Sausage, Ham. and Shrimp Gumbo

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Healthy Leftover Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Potato Soup

17 Mar
Healthy Leftover Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Potato Soup 2

Healthy Leftover Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Potato Soup

Have you ever been frozen with so much indecision with what to make for dinner that you can barely force yourself into the kitchen to make a meal? That happened to me today. I waffled back and forth so many times on how to make this soup, and was so terrified of it being a complete flop, that I literally stayed out of the kitchen for hours until I was forced to just go head on into the kitchen and start doing something. ANYTHING! So I started out with the basics and began slicing and dicing. There…I started feeling more comfortable. I defrosted some homemade chicken broth. OK. I’m feeling a littler more confident. Uh oh. Should I add some tomato and carrot for flavor and color? OK add them to the photo shoot, then you’ll be forced to use it, right? Should I use the leftover boiled potatoes in this, or start with a fresh chopped one? Stop it! You like dicing. I ran and got a potato and peeled it and chopped it before I changed my mind. Oh no! What if the soup is too bland? Quick, add some allspice to it. Whew!

Healthy Leftover Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Potato Soup Served

Healthy Leftover Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Potato Soup Served

This entire episode began with me asking hubby if I could make soup out of our leftover corned beef dinner we had a day before St. Patrick’s Day, since he was going out of town overnight and wouldn’t be around for the evening’s meal tonight. “Oh. I put six potatoes in the crock pot so we could have another meal out of it when I got back on Monday.” Hmmm. OK so there went that. But then I noticed how much corned beef was left, and knew I could pull off a soup in his absence. So then I asked my daughter. “Would you like some soup made out of the leftover corned beef?” Silence. More silence. “Well, the corned beef is just so salty,” she finally replied. We have indoctrinated our daughter into a pretty low-salt diet, which is not bad, but a crockpot dinner of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes simmered all day had put her salt-buds over the top. I agree, it was too salty for my taste too, but it didn’t stop me from devouring mass quantities of it. We restrict ourselves to this type of meal once or twice a year.

So now I present to you a “healthier” version of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes, made in soup form.

Chopped Cabbage and Veggies for Soup

Chopped Cabbage and Veggies for Soup

Healthy Leftover Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Potato Soup

About 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup sliced cabbage
1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup sliced baby carrots
Ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups homemade or low-salt chicken broth
1 cup shredded cooked corned beef
1 small peeled potato, diced small
1 small chopped tomato
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons of leftover corned beef broth, or salt, to taste

In a medium pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, cabbage, carrots, and ground black pepper. Saute for about five minutes, until the cabbage starts to brown a tad. Add the chicken broth, shredded corned beef, and potatoes. Bring up to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the tomato and allspice, and simmer for another 10 or 15 minutes on low. At this point, taste for saltiness. I had my daughter taste it and said it was a bit bland, so then added a tablespoon of the leftover corned beef broth. She thought it needed a bit more so added 2 more tablespoons, and she deemed it fit to eat. If you didn’t save any corned beef broth, then just add salt to taste at this point.  I was very pleased with this soup, and wish I hadn’t angsted so much in just starting to make it!

Soothing Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

26 Jan
Soothing Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Soothing Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Mom!? We’re having soup AGAIN??!! You’ve made that like five times already the past week! (Not true.) OK, OK, my soup kick has gotten out of hand. But I’m in comfort mode. It’s winter, the hubby is gone on a business trip for two weeks, my work is crazy busy right now, and that’s what I feel like eating. So there. I did, however, promise the daughter I’d serve her  some “real food” next, although I can’t quite figure out how a good soup for dinner is not real food. Oh well.

So this is another one of my Asian-inspired soups that is a snap to make. I used my Inside-Out Won-Ton Soup broth as the base, but then threw in some new flavors and textures. To make this really simple, I picked up a rotisserie chicken on the way home from my physical therapy after work for my pinky finger (YES, I still can’t straighten the durn thang… apparently in the long healing process my tendon got stuck to the top of my joint and will be awhile to get it unstuck). I also picked up a baby bok choy, which was an astounding $2.99 a pound, but I handled it and it felt pretty light. At the checkout stand it only ended up 53 cents. I can do that! I also picked up some quite spendier fresh basil, as I know I have some cilantro-hater fans (read it’s SOAP!) so I thought I’d throw some of that in to see how that melded.  A fairly decent-priced bag of bean sprouts was also added to the cart. With all that in hand, I traveled home to concoct a really soothing, very slightly spicy, chicken noodle soup. I didn’t bother even looking for rice noodles at the store as I knew they didn’t have any from my prior hunt. So I used Angel Hair pasta snapped in half instead. This took about 35 minutes to make from start to finish to table to eat. Well, it actually took me closer to 45 minutes by dinking with my camera to take pics because I forgot to add the green onion for garnish in my first shots, and when I reshot with them I forgot to do my white balance setting again.My daughter ate it during that process. All in good time.

OK friends, now on to the recipe! Oh, and I made half the amount I normally would, so feel free to double or triple.

Simmering Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Simmering Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Soothing Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Angel hair pasta, broken in half
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 large white mushroom, sliced
1/2 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 or 2 green onions, chopped, white and green parts divided
1 cup baby bok choy, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
3 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 tablespoon lime juice
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Fresh basil, chopped

Asian Soup Ingredients

Some of the Asian Soup Ingredients

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta, then start gathering and chopping up all the ingredients. Things tend to go quickly when cooking Asian, so it’s always best just to have everything ready. When the water starts boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions. I’m sorry I didn’t give you an amount to use, as I’m terrible about measuring or guessing pasta amounts to cook. Go with your gut. If you don’t have enough, that won’t matter much with the soup, or if you have too much, just leave some in the pot for something else. When all your ingredients are ready, heat the sesame oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper, and the white and light green parts of the green onion. Saute for five minutes, then add the broth, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Bring this up to a low boil, then turn down to simmer for about 10 minutes. Now add the cooked angel hair pasta, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, bok choy, spinach, and lime juice. Come up to a simmer again, and let the flavors meld for about another 10 minutes. Serve in bowls garnished with the green onion parts, fresh chopped cilantro and/or basil. This was a perfect soothing soup for a cold winter’s night, and I cursed myself for halving the recipe, as the one small  portion of leftovers the next day was fabulous and I was hankering for more.

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