Go ahead, ham it up…

A food hug is so great at the end of an icky day…Plus this one uses up leftovers from the Holiday….

Here’s 2 other great recipes for using up leftovers, Turkey Tetrazzini from PW which I made over the weekend and was yummy, and my new favorite: Breakfast hash made from leftover stuffing from Jessica  at How Sweet It Is. It was fabulous!

But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to use up all the dang leftover ham….

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes ala Grammy

  1.  5 medium russet potatoes
  2. 1 & 1/2 pound chunk of ham leftover from Thanksgiving. (I’m guessing at the size, I did not weigh the thing)
  3. 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (I never use just 1 kind, always a blend but the blend will vary depending on what I have on hand. Today it was maybe a cup and 1/2 of cheddar and the rest was swiss, plus some parmesan so maybe it was more like 2  & 1/2 cups of cheese. I dump, I rarely measure!)
  4. 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  5. 2 Tablespoons butter
  6. 3 Tablespoons flour
  7. 1 & 1/2 cups milk
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  9. dash of tumeric
  10. fresh ground pepper 

I parboil the potatoes just to slighly less than done. It cuts down on baking time. I also leave the skins on cuz I’m not a fan of peeling! Do whatever floats your boat!! Drain them in a colander to cool. While they’re cooling, dice the onion, slice the ham, grate the cheese. 

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Let it brown a little, don’t be scared! Browned butter has a nice rich flavor,  just watch it carefully. Saute the onion in the butter ’til it carmelizes a little . Stir in the flour. When its all combined and as smooth as its gonna get with onion pieces in there, add the milk then your spices.  Stir until it starts to thicken then add most of the cheese but reserve about 3/4 a cup for layering. Continue to stir until your sauce is nice and creamy. Turn the heat off.

When your ‘taters are cool enough to handle (spray ’em with cold water if you’re impatient or your peeps are starving) slice them as thin as you can without losing a digit. Spray your casserole dish with Pam and start layering; Ham, ‘taters, reserved cheese until your dish is full, ending with ‘taters on top. NOTE: You’ll notice that no where here does it say to salt anything! That’ll come from the ham. I can’t tell you how many oversalted ham dishes Luke was forced to eat before I figured that one out. Don’t be like me! Pour your yummy-nummy cheese sauce over the top. Poke around with a fork to let that sauce settle in all the little nooks. 

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until it starts to brown a little on top. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before you serve it as the sauce WILL BE LIKE MOLTEN LAVA!!!!!!!!!

 

This recipe will clog your arteries and make you fluffy, but your belly will be oh so happy!!

Enjoy your food hug!  

 🙂

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Tyler Florence can cook for me anytime

I’m Southern. I fry stuff….It’s my heritage. Deep fried lil’ smokies wrapped in bacon anyone??? However Kiddos, today’s lesson in Southern comfort food comes not from Grammy’s age-old-passed-down-for-generations recipe for old fashioned Fried Chicken but from Mr. Tyler Florence. (mostly because I don’t have one of those great family recipes, my Mom never fried chicken….Sacrilege right??? I agree)

I’ve been wanting to try Tyler’s original recipe since I first saw it on the Food Network for a couple of reasons: A) Tyler’s a cutie and I have a little crush on him… Wha?? Grammy’s still crush! And B) his ingredients and method totally intrigued me. So here it is:

Fried Chicken ala Cutie Patootie

  • 1 (3 to 4 pound) chicken, cut up into 10 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili sauce (recommended: Srirachi)
  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 3 big sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 bunch fresh sage
  • 1/2 head garlic, smashed, husk still attached

 Start off by rinsing and trimming the chicken. Personally, I always take the skin off chicken before I fry it but that’s a matter of preference…Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl or container and cover with cold water, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt for every quart of water. Let chicken brine in salt water in fridge a minimum of 2 hours.

Don’t skip this step, brining will make all the difference in the moistness and juiciness of your fried chicken no matter what recipe you use….trust me! After brining, drain chicken and pat dry.

Mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne and black pepper in a gallon ziplock bag or large container.

Mix buttermilk and Srirachi in another bowl. *hint, I never buy buttermilk. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of  milk and let it sit for a minute. Wahlah! Buttermilk!*

Dredge chicken pieces in seasoned flour, then dip in buttermilk mixture, then back in the flour. Lay the breaded pieces on a cookie sheet to rest while you work on flavoring the oil.

I used my FryDaddy but you can use a deep skillet for frying. If using a skillet, fill it with at least  2 inches of oil making sure there is enough  room for the massive bubbling effect you’ll get when you add the chicken! This is why I use the deep fryer…

Add the garlic cloves, and fresh herb sprigs to the cool oil, and begin heating the oil. You want to heat to a temperature of 350-365. The idea is to flavor the oil with the herbs/garlic….

If at some point during all this you feel compelled to to have yourself a red beer (V8, beer, dash of worchestire sauce, think Bloody Mary with beer!) you go right ahead…frying chicken is a long hot job. You deserve a wee drinky-poo…Or a rather large one if you’re like me. Whatever..

When the oil has reached the proper temperature, start frying the chicken in batches. Please, please, pleeeeeease don’t overcrowd the pieces!! Overcrowding will cause the chicken to be less crispy…you always want to leave plenty of room around each piece. If using a skillet, resist the urge to turn and turn and turn the pieces! Only turn them once, each side will take approximately 12 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 165. I use a meat thermometer, I don’t trust chicken as it’s lied to me repeatedly. It looks all golden brown and yummy on the outside but inside it’s still undercooked…

Remove pieces to paper towels or a brown paper bag to drain, garnish with the fried herbs.

  And there you have it, a sort of non traditional version of Fried Chicken…and it was yummy! However, Hubs and I could not tell the difference in the taste as opposed to my normal fried chicken…disappointing. I had such high hopes for an explosion of flavors! Infusing the oil with herbs is such a culinary thing to do..*sighhh* It was juicy and flavorful but aside from the Srirachi and the herby oil thing it was very close to my recipe. Oh well……

 Ya know, now that I think about it, I betcha I messed something up….I betcha if I had a personal demonstration from Chef Cutie-pie Florence, in my own kitchen,  I could learn the error of my ways….

Yep, that’s exactly what is needed here in order to accurately judge his recipe against mine…

🙂

 So here’s my recipe….judge for yourself. (Personal visit from Tyler is optional…)

 Grammy’s Fried Chicken

  • 1 baking chicken

For the brine:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

Cut up chicken. Remove skins and trim excess fat.

Mix all brine ingredients together in large pot, simmer until salt has dissolved. Allow to cool.  Pour over chicken in a large ziplock bag or container with lid. Brine in the fridge for 6-8 hours. (I usually do this part in the morning before work, and then it’s ready to fry when I get home)

Remove chicken from brine, rinse and pat dry.

For the breading:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups milk mixed with 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola or peanut oil

Mix first 6 ingredients together in large ziplock bag.

Mix milk, lemon juice and black pepper in large bowl.

Dip chicken pieces one at a time in flour mixture, then milk mixture, then flour mixture again. Let breaded chicken rest for 30 minutes before cooking.

Fry chicken pieces in batches in oil heated to 350 in either deep fryer or large skillet deep enough to hold 2 inches of oil.

Drain on paper towels.

 I hope you enjoy your Fried Chicken, whichever you recipe you choose! And please, let me know which one you try!! So you know, when Tyler comes over we can debate the merits of each others recipes….

🙂

Stuff I cooked while my Hubs prepared to abandon me, part 1…

So it’s that time of year again, and I am a Hunting-Season widow….Hubs says its the last blow out of the summer for he and his cronies, but it’s soooooo not. It’s totally the beginning of several long months of every spare moment he has being spent in up the Hills, or on the Plains depending on what he’s hunting. This weekend he’s in Wyoming for Antelope season….bonding with the boys.

I’m a good little wifey, I always make some kind of YumYum they can take with them for one nights supper. This trip its Chili and Cornbread muffins….

Grammy’s Awesome Chili (I picked that name myself!)

 2 lbs ground venison (or hamburger)

1 can black beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can rotell

1 small onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, pressed

2 Tablespoons olive oil

12 oz. tomato paste

1 bottle of beer

½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon dry mustard

1 Tablespoon dried cilantro

2 Tablespoon cumin

3 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 Tablespoon cocoa (Yes, you read that right, COCOA! Trust me!)

1 Tablespoon paprika

salt to taste

1-2 cup water depending on how thick you like your chili, I generally use 1 cup

If you’re like me and forgot you were out of cocoa when you were at the dang grocery store earlier today, go ahead and run on over the oh-so-handy-and-totally-overpriced neighborhood market and buy a box for $ 5.79….didn’t we already have this talk about forgetting to get stuff you need from the store??? Geeeeesh…….

 

Brown whatever type of ground meat you’re using. I haven’t purchased ground beef in years. We eat what Luke hunts, no trophy hunting here…Drain it and set aside. I usually open the cans of beans and dump them in the colander, then dump the meat on top to drain it,  just seems easier when it all has to drain anyway….

 Heat the olive oil in the pot, brown the onions for a couple of minutes, add the garlic and cook another couple of minutes.

 

 Add the tomato paste to the onions/garlic and let it cook for about 5 minutes or until it carmelizes. This step really adds a richness to the taste….trust me!

 When the tomato paste is fragrant, pour in the beer and the spices. Stir to blend well.

Add the meat and beans to the pot.  Stir it all until well combined, add water if it seems too thick. Cover and let simmer for 2 hours or so. (or throw it all in the crockpot for 6-8 hours if you’re so inclined)

 Top with cheese, maybe some pretty green onions….

 Serve with Fritos….Or….

Grammy’s Sweet Cornbread

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 8×8 inch pan or a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Put everything into a big mixing bowl and stir until it’s well mixed. Pour into whatever pan you choose and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean…

Enjoy!

🙂