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Braised Pork Roast in Green Sauce 

This idea had been in my mind for quite a while. I finally put it together and the flavors are just amazing. I love Green Sauce, or Salsa Verde with all the flavors of tomatillos, cilantro, parsley, peppers, etc.  Pairing it with a fresh pork ham roast and long braising makes an excellent flavor sensation. I served this over polenta.

Serves 6 to 8

1 fresh pork ham roast, about 4 - 5 pounds
1 recipe Salsa Verde (Green Sauce)
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 large bay leaf, or 2 if small
salt, to taste (start with 1 teaspoon)
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Trim off any excess fat from the pork roast, if desired. Place the roast into a large Dutch oven or other large oven safe pot that will hold the roast and the sauce (approximately 6 quart capacity, minimum).

Pour the recipe of green sauce over the roast. Add in the fresh thyme sprigs and the bay leaf. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring the pot to a boil. Place pot, covered, into a slow oven, about 265 - 275 degrees, or whatever temperature will maintain a simmer. Allow to braise slowly for a minimum of 2½ hours, preferably more.

When meat is tender, taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed. Slice and serve the meat with the green sauce. This may be served over rice, mashed potatoes or polenta, as desired.


Braised Pork Roast in Green Sauce
Braised Pork Roast in Green Sauce
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Italian Meatloaf with Balsamic Reduction 
This is a meatloaf with some unusual ingredients. A sweet and sour style, it contains raisins, pine nuts and capers, among the list of ingredients.


Makes one large meatloaf, about 8 servings

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork, or pork sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 - 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
1/3 cup raisins, lightly chopped
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly chopped
2 tablespoons capers, lightly chopped
3 eggs
½ cup (1 ounce) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 (12-ounce) sweet potato, baked, peeled, mashed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Italian Meatloaf with Balsamic Reduction
Italian Meatloaf with Balsamic Reduction

Place meats in a large bowl and set aside. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat with the olive oil. Add in the chopped onion and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until nicely browned. Add in the garlic, thyme
and raisins and stir for another 1 - 2 minutes. Add in the balsamic vinegar and stir for another 1 - 2 minutes, or until the balsamic has evaporated completely. Add this mixture to the meats in the bowl, along with all the other ingredients. Mix well until combined. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large loaf pan that will accommodate all the meatloaf. If desired, mix together 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and spread over the top of the meat in the loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour.


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Taco Pizza 

With a great cornmeal crust that is easy to use, this layering of taco ingredients bakes up to a fantastic and easy weeknight dinner. It could be used cut into smaller squares as an appetizer for a party. Small crusts could be made ahead and baked and filled for a party, giving them a brief time in the oven to melt the toppings.

One 13 - 15-inch pizza

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
¼teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 (8½ ounce) can refried beans
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped coarsely
1 (or more) cup salsa of your choice, optional
8 ounces "Mexican Blend" shredded cheese, or use a combination of shredded Monterrey jack and cheddar

Sour cream, for serving
Guacamole, for serving if desired

Cornmeal Crust

Prepare the Cornmeal Crust. Roll out to fit a 15 inch round pizza pan. Form a small edge to hold in ingredients.

In a skillet, fry the meat until it begins to lose its color, then add in the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are becoming translucent. Add in the salt, cumin, chili powder and chopped green chilies. Stir well to combine. Allow to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the refried beans over the cornmeal crust. Spread the meat mixture over top of the beans. Scatter the tomatoes and bell pepper over the meat. If using the salsa, sprinkle over top. Strew the shredded cheese over all and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden. Serve with the sour cream and guacamole on the side, if desired.




Taco Pizza ready for oven

Taco Pizza: ready for the oven,, above; a slice served, below

Taco Pizza Slice
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Mix the marinade ingredients together in a zip top bag. Use individual bags keeping shrimp and scallops separate. Either mix marinade and divide between bags, or if amounts of shrimp and or scallops is large, made 2 recipes of the marinade.

Grilled Marinated Shrimp or Scallops 

For those with the ability to use their grill, this recipe is so simple it is hard to go wrong. If you love shrimp or scallops, this is the recipe for you.

Recipe amount is up to you!

MARINADE
:
1 individual can pineapple juice
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup olive oil


Shrimp, or scallops as needed


Marinated Shrimp Skewers for Party
Grilled Marinated Shrimp
Made on mini skewers with onion and pineapple for a party
Allow to marinate up to an hour or so, maximum, then have a preheated grill. The shrimp can be skewered onto long skewers. The scallops do better on a grill pan. They tend to fall off individual skewers. If you prefer to have them skewered, use two skewers about ¼ inch apart and skewer them double to keep them in place.

Grill time is short. The shrimp are done as they turn pink, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. The scallops may take just a little longer, when they begin to show little cracks in the surface.

The shrimp are also great if skewered alternately with pieces of onion and chunks of unsweetened pineapple before grilling.

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Pepper Curried Chicken 

Not placed under Indian Dishes, as it is not terribly authentic, but this meal has excellent flavors, nonetheless. Add other spices if you desire, or green chiles if that is to your taste. Use chicken breasts, or skinless boneless chicken thighs.


Serves 4

2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
2 teaspoons coarsely ground, good quality black pepper
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, or equivalent

2 tablespoons coconut oil, or olive oil, if preferred
2 large onions,
thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 or 2 Serrano chiles, minced, optional
1 can coconut milk
2 cups frozen peas
½ cup raw cashews, roasted in a dry pan

Pepper Curried Chicken
Pepper Curried Chicken
Mix together the first 5 ingredients and set aside. Cut the chicken into 1½-inch pieces and place in a bowl. Pour spices over and toss to combine. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil and saute the onions until they are a nice golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add in the ginger and garlic (and chiles, if using) and continue to saute for about 30 seconds, or until very fragrant. Add in the chicken and toss to coat. Saute on medium high until the chicken pieces are all beginning to turn brown. Add in the coconut milk and stir. Bring to boil, lower heat to medium low and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Add in the frozen peas and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

NOTES: This dish is great served over saffron rice (pictured), with a garnish of cilantro leaves. A great wine to serve with this dish is a fruity California Riesling.


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Sweet Cocoa Rubbed Pork Loin Roast 

Succulently juicy and tender, the rub gives rich cocoa and smoky flavor. More smoky-spicy heat could be attained by adding chipotle powder to the rub mix.

Serves 10 to 12

1 (4½ pound) pork loin roast
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 large cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
¾ to 1 cup Sweet Smoky Cocoa Rub
3
- 4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
4 strips thick sliced bacon, optional
Butcher's twine, for tying

Sweet Cocoa Rubbed Pork Loin Roast
Sweet Cocoa Rubbed Pork Loin Roast
To distribute flavor all through the meat, using a good sharp chef knife, start at the lower edge of the length of the roast and slice in horizontally, about 1-inch up from the bottom, the entire length of the meat, until you are about at 1-inch from the other edge. Leave the bottom flat, lift the center of the meat and slice horizontally again, continuing until the entire piece of meat is approximately 1-inch thick. Do not worry if the meat is not perfectly flat. Lay the meat open.

Mix together the thyme, garlic and olive oil into a paste and spread this over the open meat. Sprinkle on about 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, then rub in about 4 tablespoons of the Sweet Smoky Cocoa Rub. At this point, if desired, fry the optional bacon strips and then lay them lengthwise on the meat. Roll the meat back into its original position, and tie at about 2-inch intervals along the length of the meat. Trim ends of the twine.

Sprinkle 6 to 8 tablespoons more of the Sweet Smoky Cocoa Rub over the entire outside of the roast. Sprinkle on more Kosher salt.

About 2½ - 3 hours before the roast will be served, have the oven at 300 degrees with a rack positioned so the roast will be in the center of the oven. Use a thermometer placed into the center of the meat to monitor the temperature. Place the roast on a rack in a pan and place in oven for approximately 2 - 2¼ hours, or internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Remove from oven and tent with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Remove twine, slice into about 1-inch thick slices and serve.

NOTES: I did not use the bacon inside the roast, but instead placed the raw bacon strips, cut in half, over the top of the roast about 1 hour into the roasting time. Doing this again, I will put the bacon inside, allowing each slice to have some rolled inside it.


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Bubble and Squeak 

The name comes from the sounds made as the foods are frying up together: bubbling and squeaking. This is a traditional British recipe, and cousin to Ireland's Colcannon, for using up leftovers from dinner the night before; a hash of a sort. It is sometimes served for breakfast or brunch, but can just as easily be dinner. It may be served alone, with a salad or with some eggs and sausage. This is my own version, and mightily delicious, though I have not a lick of British blood in me!

Serves 3 - 4 as main course, or 6 as a side dish


pounds potatoes, peeled, cut in chunks
½ pound parsnips, peeled, sliced
½ pound bacon, preferably thick sliced, cut across in ½-inch bits
½ large onion, in thin half moon slices
1 clove garlic, minced
12 ounces cabbage, cut in thin strips
1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons cream cheese

Prepare the potatoes and parsnips and place in a pot with water to cover. Add in 1 tablespoon of the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked through.

Meantime, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving about 3 tablespoons of the the bacon fat in the pan. Add in the onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on medium high heat until beginning to brown. Add in the garlic and toss for about 1 minute.




Bubble and Squeak
Add in the cabbage and toss to coat well. Sprinkle on the half teaspoon of salt. Place a lid on the pan and let cook, reducing heat to medium. Remove lid frequently to toss the cabbage, for a total of about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent.

Before draining potatoes, scoop out about 1 cup of the cooking liquid and reserve. Mash, smash or rice the potatoes and parsnips, with the butter and the cream cheese. Add in enough of the potato cooking liquid to make the desired consistency. Mix in the cabbage mixture and the reserved bacon and serve.

NOTES: Bubble and Squeak is often served for breakfast or brunch with eggs. A
ny other leftover vegetable may also be added. It can be made into patties and fried or left as is. This dish is naturally Gluten Free.


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Meatloaf Inspiration 

I thought up this combination of flavors and tried it out. The aromas while baking were extraordinary. The flavors lived up to the aromas, and here is my recipe.

Serves 6 - 8

2 pounds lean hamburger meat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup walnuts, finely grated
4 tablespoons psyllium husks
2 small cans mushrooms, drained, chopped
1 cup Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
½ cup barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup barbecue sauce, for top of meatloaf

Meatloaf Inspiration
Meatloaf Inspiration

Saute the onion in the olive oil until nicely browned, then add in the garlic to saute for another minute. Place the ground meat into a large bowl, and add in all the ingredients except the last 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce. Mix well with hands until combined. Place mixture into a large loaf pan, or two smaller pans. Spread the remaining barbecue sauce over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours for the larger pan, or 1 hour for the smaller pans, until done.

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Turkey Tetrazzini 

This meal is great no matter what time of year, and can just as easily be made with leftover or rotisserie chicken. When turkey is left over from a holiday meal, this is my favorite go-to dish.

Serves 6

6 ounces spaghetti
¼cup butter
½ cup flour
2¾ cups chicken broth
1 cup light cream or evaporated milk
¼ cup dry sherry
1 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained (6 oz. can)
½ cup green pepper, chopped
1 small jar chopped pimiento, drained
2 cups diced cooked turkey, or chicken
½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water till just barely tender; drain. In a large skillet melt butter; blend in flour. Stir in broth, whisking so no lumps form. Add cream. Cook and stir till mixture thickens and bubbles. Add the wine, salt, pepper, spaghetti, mushrooms, green pepper, pimiento and cooked turkey. Turn into a 12 x 7½ x 2" baking dish. Sprinkle top with Parmesan. Bake @ 350 for about 30 minutes.


Turkey Tetrazzini
Turkey Tetrazzini
NOTES: I have on occasion tripled this recipe for a party. Divide the mixture into two 9 x 13 inch pans, and add on about 10 minutes of cooking time, or untill it is bubbling all through.

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Texicali Meat Sauce for Pasta 

We all have days when inspiration is low, and nothing seems just right. What to make for dinner? I had a day like that not too long ago, and started frying up hamburger, hoping to come up with some kind of sauce for pasta. I hoped for inspiration to hit along the way, and this was the result. Recalling that day years ago, I decided to again use salsa. I fried the hamburger meat, added in onions and green pepper, some salsa, though not a whole large container. I added a little of this and that, and this is the recipe I created. It is great over spaghetti, or ziti, rigatoni or any pasta you desire.

Serves 6 to 8

1 pound hamburger meat, fried in a large pan
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups your favorite salsa
1 can tomato paste, 6 ounces
1 cup water
1 small can chopped green chiles
Herbs of choice: chopped fresh basil, rosemary or thyme, use any or a combination
5 – 10 green olives, chopped finely

Texicali Meat Sauce

Texicali Meat Sauce over Rigatoni

Brown the meat in a large skillet, breaking up well. As the meat is nearly done, add in the onions and green pepper and toss, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add in all the rest of the ingredients, mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for at least half an hour, until everything is cooked through.

NOTES: One time I made this I had pesto on hand. As pesto is nothing more than basil and parsley in olive oil, I used a couple of tablespoons of pesto instead of the other fresh herbs. Once I had only rosemary on hand and that is all that went in. As you can see, I have made it quite a few times recently. It is good over any type of pasta. It could be assembled with a large ziti and topped with cheese and baked until bubbling. It is not a hard and fast recipe. This came completely out of the blue. The idea is to relax and enjoy the flavors. Experiment and see which ones work for you. Use what you have on hand. I do urge you to try out making the sauce with a salsa of choice.


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Red Curry Chicken Kebabs 

Whether you buy pre-made Thai Red Curry Paste or make your own (recipe provided) this recipe is really full of flavors.  The accompanying yogurt sauce is just delicious, too!

Serves 8 - 10

2½ tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste (see recipe, or use store-bought)
½ cup vegetable oil (I use olive oil or coconut oil)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or to taste
2½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ each of red and green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch squares

Minty Yogurt Sauce 
¾ cup plain low-fat yogurt
¼ cup mayonnaise, or low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped

In a large bowl, mix the curry paste with the oil and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the chicken cubes and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Red Curry Chicken Kebabs
Red Curry Chicken Kebabs
These can also be made as whole
boneless chicken breast or thigh pieces.

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Light a grill. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt with the mayonnaise, honey, lime juice and mint and season with salt.

Thread the chicken onto 10 skewers, threading a chunk of red or green bell pepper between the cubes. Grill over moderately high heat, turning frequently, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Serve the kebabs with the minty yogurt sauce on the side.

NOTES:
If you like pineapple, this could be another addition to your skewers!.

As mentioned above, there is no reason these could not be made as whole boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh sections. As the recipe states the chunks should be about 1-inch cubes, it might also be good to cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, so they are not so thick, and will get more marinade onto the surface area.

Anything that can be grilled, can also be broiled. If the weather is not cooperating, or it's the wrong season, try broiling.

These are great served with rice. In the photo above, I served these with white Basmati rice, cooked with a pinch of saffron. The meal is delicious with a nice white wine, chardonnay, pinot gris or torrontes would be my first choices.

Stuffed Peppers 

This recipe is delicious, and incorporates a good amount of vegetables into the diet.  Onion, pepper, tomato, celery, carrot are the base.  I have seen corn added, but I feel it unnecessary, with the rice already added as a starch.  The flavors are especially good in this recipe!

Makes 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup green pepper, chopped
¾ cup celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 medium tomato, diced
1 cup ketchup

1 cup rice, brown or regular white
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
8 bell peppers, trimmed

Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed Peppers

Directions:  If using brown rice in this recipe, it takes an hour to cook through; start this first.  With regular white rice, it takes only 15 minutes to cook, so it can be done ahead, or a little later in the process.  Place the rice, 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook (1 hour for brown rice or 15 minutes for white) until tender. 

Place a large pot of water on the stove; bring to a boil.


Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Add in the onion, chopped green pepper, celery, carrot and garlic. Saute until soft. Add in the ground meat and cook, breaking up finely, until brown. Add the salt, pepper, Worcestershire, tomato and ketchup and stir to combine. Allow this mixture to simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Trim off the tops of the 8 bell peppers, clean out the seeds and membranes. Place them into the pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes, to soften, but still retain shape. This helps the pepper to cook all the way through later. Remove from water and set into a casserole dish, or two, as needed.

Preheat oven to 350. Once the rice is cooked, and the meat mixture has simmered, combine the rice with the meat and mix well. Use about ¾ cup of the meat mixture per pepper. Top with more ketchup, or for a real treat, La Choy's Sweet and Sour Sauce is a great topping. Place casserole(s) in the oven for 30 minutes, until heated through. Great served with mashed potatoes.

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One Skillet Hamburger Meal 

I made this recipe up long ago when the children were very young.  It was a quick dinner to get together, as a working Mom. Fresh Thyme, always growing in my garden, is a necessity to the flavors.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 pound lean hamburger meat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, thick grated
2 stalks celery, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
1 cup green beans, cut across into ¼ inch pieces, optional
1 can corn, drained 
1 cup rice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ to ¾ cup ketchup

One Skillet Hamburger Meal, ready to cook
One Skillet Hamburger meal, ready to cook

One Skillet Hamburger Meal
One Skillet Hamburger Meal

1 to 2 bay leaves
1½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 or 2 large sprigs thyme, left whole
1 cup frozen peas


Brown the hamburger in a very large skillet.  As it nears being completely browned, add in the onion and toss well; allow to cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes more. Add in the garlic, carrot, celery, green pepper, green beans and corn; toss well. Add in the rice and the Worcestershire, ketchup, bay leaves, salt and pepper and mix until all is combined. Nestle the thyme sprigs into the mixture and add water to almost cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover, maintaining a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Add in the frozen peas just as the rice is tender and cover for about 5 minutes until the peas are warmed through. Remove thyme and bay leaves and discard.


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Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham 

This casserole came into being over many years.  I finally took the time to write down the amounts. It is a most excellent dish, whether a stand-alone with a side salad, or as a side dish.  It can be made with any milk desired.

Serves 6 to 8
Makes one 9 x 13-inch casserole

2 cups ham, cut in small chunks
3 - 3½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled, sliced ¼" thick
½ medium onion, sliced thinly, then roughly chopped
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, reserving ¾ cup aside
6 tablespoons flour
1½ teaspoon salt
¼ - ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups milk, evaporated milk or cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham casserole
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham casserole

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (375, if convection). Spray a 9 x 13-inch casserole with cooking spray. Divide the potatoes into three piles, making one pile of the best and most even shaped slices, and one with the smallest bits and pieces. Place the latter pile into the bottom of the casserole. Layer half the ham over the potatoes, then half the onion, and half the cheese. Sprinkle on 3 tablespoons of the flour, then half the salt and pepper. Place pats of one tablespoon of the butter over the surface. Repeat with another layer of potatoes, then the ham, onion, cheese, flour, salt, pepper and the butter. Top with the best looking potato slices. 

Heat the milk to just warm, and whisk in the dijon mustard. Pour this over the casserole, cover the casserole with foil and bake for45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 45 minutes. Ten minutes before the potatoes are done, sprinkle the reserved cheddar cheese over top of the casserole and allow to finish baking. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.


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