Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last Day of my Christmas Vacation

Today is the last day of my Christmas Vacation. Our company graciously gave us the 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th off. It was so wonderful having that much time off at Christmas! We have to work on New Years Eve, but we have the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th off! So next week is going to be very, very busy, but also a very, very short week!!!

So what did I spend my last day of freedom doing? Well I spent it cooking! What?? I know right? Me, cooking on a day off? What was I thinking? But cook I did and I went all out making Meatloaf Pie, click this link to see the recipe. I made two meatloaf pies, a big one for us since my son is having his friend William, who is home from Basic Training in the Army, come over for dinner and a little one to send over to my mom and dad.
I also made Scalloped Potatoes and Ham, which is my daughter's favorite and she had begged me to make it at Christmas and I didn't have time. I haven't made this dish since I was married and that was over 15 years ago. So I hope it comes out. I’m sure it will cause I’m just that good!

Here’s the cast of characters: Butter, Salt, Milk, Onion Powder, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Flour, Pepper, Cooked Ham and Sliced Potatoes (complete recipe below).
Dice your ham up, however big you want, I like little pieces so you get a little in every bite. You need about three cups.And yep, your eyes do not deceive you, that is one WHOLE stick of butter! Yummy! Hey come on, I make this once every 15 years or so! Surely one whole stick of butter isn't going to kill me!

Once your butter is melted, then you toss in the flour, salt and pepper and stir, stir, stir because before you know it, this stuff can burn. Be sure to turn the heat down. You want to cook this until it's a nice golden color.

Then you take it off the heat and stir in the milk slowly, stirring the whole time. Once the milk is mixed in, then place it back on a low heat, stirring constantly. I prefer using a whisk.At this point in the process I got a little help from William who is home from Army Basic Training. He's been friends with my son since high school. These are his lovely hands helping out so I can take action shots. This is a good one don't you think?And you also add in the ham once the roux is thickened and bubbly! Hey William! Look over here! Give us a smile!There you go, that's the William I know and love, always smiling!
Ok, once you run the boys out of the kitchen, you turn the heat off of the ham/cheese/roux sauce pan and turn your attention to the potatoes. As you can see here, you just slice them into rounds, not to thinly, but thin enough so they cook thoroughly.You then place the potatoes in a bowl such as the one below that was given to me as part of a set by my daughter for Christmas which I totally LOVE! and you pour the ham/cheese/roux over the potatoes. Stir gently with a spoon and you're ready to pour them into your baking dish or bowl. For some odd reason I placed them in a big Pyrex bowl instead of in a baking dish. I think it's because my baking dish is black metal and I prefer glass so I put them in a Pyrex because it's glass...that's just the way my mind works.Here they are in the Pyrex bowl, cover with foil and place in the oven.Set your timer to 30 minutes! After the 30 minutes are up, then you uncover and bake another hour. And here's the finished product. Mmmm, gooey and cheesy and delicious! I love the way they smell. I had forgotten how easy and how good this dish is.Here's a spoonful on the little plates my daughter also gave me for Christmas. See the next post to see the whole set of bowls and dishes she got me!
Beautiful? no? And the crocheted table covering you see under the little plate...I crocheted that! Yep, uh huh, lil ol me! I'm very talented aren't I?
So bake this up, or the meatloaf pie and let me know how you like it, better yet, make it, invite me over and I'll tell you how I like it!

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (serves 6)
½ cup butter
2 tsp. salt
3 cups milk
1 large onion chopped (or 4 tsp. onion powder)
½ cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
½ cup flour
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups cooked cubed ham
5 cups sliced potatoes

Heat butter in large sauce pan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly (I like using a whisk), for one minute. Remove from Heat and gradually stir in milk. Return to heat, cook til thickened and bubbly.

Fold in ham, onion and cheese. Pour over potatoes in a large bowl and stir gently to combine. Pour into buttered 12 x 9 x 2” baking dish and cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, uncover and continue baking for 1 hour or til browned & bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment.I would love to know your thoughts!