Ham Florentine Appetizer Wreath

Ham Florentine Appetizer Wreath
recipe courtesy of Pampered Chef

2 8 oz packages refrigerated crescent rolls
8 oz thickly sliced deli ham, diced
1/4 c green onions with tops, thinly sliced
5 oz Swiss cheese, grated (1 1/4 cups)
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 t coarsely ground black pepper
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 egg, separated
1/4 cup almonds, choppedPreheat oven to 375° F.

Unroll crescents into 16 triangles. With wide end toward center arrange 8 triangles in circle. Arrange remaining 8 triangles in center matching wide ends. Seal seams.

Mix ham, green onions, 1 cup cheese, spinach, mayo and black pepper. Scoop filling over seams of dough forming circle. Arrange tomatoes in overlapping circular pattern over filling. Top with remaining cheese. Lift corners of dough over filling one at a time slightly overlapping to form wreath.

Beat egg white lightly; brush over dough. Sprinkle almonds over wreath.

Bake 25 to 30 min or until golden brown.

France’s yellow split pea soup

This soup was made for my Soup & Sandwich Swap event, which you can read about HERE for more recipes and pictures.

France’s yellow split pea soup

1 lb dried yellow or green split peas
1 lb cubed turkey ham diced (ham and ham bone can also be used)
1 1/2 cup carrots peeled diced
1 1/2 cup potatoes peeled and diced
1 large onion diced
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Bay leaves
Salt and Pepper

Rinse and soak the peas overnight according to the package directions.

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high 6-8 hours on low.

Stir occasionally. Additional broth may be necessary if the soup becomes too thick.

Remove bay leaves and allspice and serve.

Starting the Day a Mile High!

A favorite breakfast of my husband’s is a denver omelette. In fact, everytime we go out to breakfast or brunch, that is what he tends to order. So fortunately for him, I had all the makings for his favorite omelette. However, instead of whipping them up as I usually do, I wanted to try out a recipe for a Denver Omelette from one of my America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks.

Taken from the 2004 Companion cookbook, Inside America’s Test Kitchen:

What we wanted: A hearty American omelet with properly cooked vegetables and tender eggs.
What we learned: Dice the pepper and onion so they cook quickly and don’t poke through the eggs. Add the diced ham steak, garlic, parsley, and hot sauce to liven the vegetable filling. Add milk
or cream to keep the eggs moist as they cook and make sure to use a nonstick pan set over medium high heat.

I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfectly with a bit more flavor. The addition of the Tabasco sauce really made it stand out. Louis, my husband, thought this variation of the Denver omelette was great and I would definitely make this again. Here’s the recipe for Denver Omelette
Inside America’s Test Kitchen 2004
pages 256-259

Prepare the filling (recipe follows) and then begin making the omelet. The filling recipe makes enough for two omelets and can be doubled. You can make one omelet after another in the same pan, although you may need to reduce the heat. For the best results, serve all omelets on warmed plates.

3 large eggs
1 tablespoon cream or milk
salt & ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)

1. Beat the eggs, cream or milk, and salt & pepper to taste with a fork in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.

2. Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides and the butter just begins to turn color, pour in the eggs. Cook until the edges begin to set, about 2 to 3 seconds, then, with a rubber spatula, stir in a circular motion until slightly thickened, about 10 seconds. Use the spatula to pull the cooked edges in to the center, then tilt the pan to one side so that the uncooked egg runs to the edge of the pan. Repeat until the omelet is just set but still moist on the surface, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Sprinkle the cheese evenly across the surface of the omelet and allow to partially melt, 15 to 20 seconds. With the handle of the pan facing you,. spoon the filling over the left side of the omelet. Slide the omelet onto a warmed plate, filled-side fist, and with a slight twist of the wrist, invert the pan so that the other side of the omelet folds over the filling. Serve immediately.

Filling for Denver Omelet
A ham steak is our top choice for this recipe, although canned ham and sliced deli ham will work. (If using sliced deli ham, add it with the garlic, parsley, and hot sauce). If you can find them, Cook’s brand ham steaks are our favorite.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded & diced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded & diced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces ham steak, diced (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)

Heat the butter in a medium non stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, add the peppers, onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the ham and cook until the peppers begin to brown lightly, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley, and hot sauce and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl and cover to keep warm.

Sweet & Spicy Baked Ham

Sweet & Spicy Baked Ham

For the Sweet & Spicy Baked Ham, I was able to handle on my own… and it was my offering to make up for the storebought bird. Here’s my recipe, which took a little bit from quite a few different recipe ideas:

1 city ham, fully cooked, spiral cut
1 cup spicy mustard
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350.
Line roasting pan with parchment paper.
Place ham on a rack or cut side down.
Liberally brush on mustard all over the ham.
Carefully press brown sugar to coat the ham over the mustard layer.
Drizzle honey over the brown sugar.
Tent the ham loosely an bake for 1 hour*
*Bake about 10 minutes per pound – I used a 6 lb ham.

Ham & Swiss Croissant Puffs

We made these appetizers during the holiday appetizer cooking class I hosted. You can view pictures, the entire appetizer menu and get links to the other recipes from the class HERE.

Ham & Swiss Croissant Puffs

1 can croissant dough
¼ cup flour
1 cup sliced ham
1 bottle Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare muffin pan by spraying the inside of each well with cooking spray.
Open can of croissant dough and layout into one large rectangle.
Seal perforations in the dough.
Carefully cut out 24 equal squares of croissant dough.
Place a croissant square in each well.
Dip the tart shaper in the flour to prevent sticking.
Using the tart shaper, gently push the croissant square inside the well to form a cup.
Repeat until all wells are filled with a croissant square.
Fill each well with ham.
Squeeze a small dollop of Dijon mustard over ham.
Top each well with shredded swiss cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Quiche… give it a try!

What a wonderful Sunday morning. After a fulls night’s rest I was engerized with making a flavorful breakfast featuring ham, broccoli & 4 cheese quiche. I also submitted this dish to Nandita’s “Breakfast Blogging Event” through her blog, Saffron Trail.
So what is quiche? Well, it’s derived from French cuisine that consists of a baked dish made primarily of eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust. Other ingredients such as cooked chopped meat, vegetables or cheese are often added to the egg mixture before the quiche is baked. It’s great for breakfast, lunch or even dinner!
Here’s my recipe for ham, broccoli & 4 cheese quiche:

1/2 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup chopped, steamed broccoli
1/4 cup gruyere cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup colby cheese
seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
6 eggs, scrambled
pie crust dough (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Press the pie crust into a shallow baking pan or a torte pan.
Sprinkle the ham and brocoli over the crust.
Top with the cheeses.
In a bowl, scramble the eggs and carefully pour the eggs over the ham, broccoli and cheese.
Carefully place the quiche into the oven and allow it to bake about 45 minutes in preheated oven or until middle has set.
This is great with a salad or on its own!

pie crust ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very-cold, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup ice cold water

Combine flour, butter, salt & sugar in food processor or in a bowl with a pastry cutter.
Slowly add the ice cold water until the dough comes together.
Form dough into a ball, wrap well and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before using.

Love is in the Air…

Today marks our one year wedding anniversary and to start it off, I prepared my loving husband a big breakfast including a fresh veggie omelette, oven baked bacon and buttered toast. An omelette or omelet or omlet is a preparation of beaten egg cooked with butter or oil in a frying pan, usually folded around a filling such as cheese, and/or mushrooms. Gourmet cook Julia Child famously described an omelette as soft-cooked scrambled eggs wrapped in an envelope of firmly-cooked scrambled eggs.

In the omelette I prepared for breakfast, I used sliced mushrooms, chopped bell peppers, spinach, chopped tomatoes, diced lean ham & turkey and a blend of asiago & parmesan cheeses.Here is my recipe for veggie omelettes (serves 2):

6 eggs
1 stalk green onion, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/8 cups chopped bell peppers
1/8 cup chopped spinach
1/8 cup seeded & chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup diced lean ham & /or turkey
1/8 cup shredded asiago & parmesan cheese
cooking spray
pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon cold water
fresh thyme leaves

Spray large saute pan with cooking spray.
Saute green onion and mushrooms.
When mushrooms have caramelized, add peppers.
When peppers have softened add remaining ingredients.
Cook through until heated.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs.
Add water & a pinch of kosher salt to eggs.
Add scrambled eggs over sauted veggie mixture.
Allow eggs to set over medium heat.
When is it almost fully cooked, sprinkle cheese on one half of egg.
Fold over other half of egg over the cheese portion.
Slide onto plate to serve.
Sprinkle fresh thyme leaves for extra flavor.

I served this with buttered toasted a oven baked bacon.

Paninis for You & Me

I love panini sandwiches. It can be breakfast, lunch or dinner, I could always make a simple sandwich into a full meal.

Panini simply means sandwich in Italian, but here in the US has come to mean a sandwich toasted in an Italian style clam shell grill with ridged grilling plates. Panini can be made with any kind of bread and filling. They can be assembled before service and then grilled to order (usually takes 3 minutes for grilling), making them quick and convenient.

Here are some panini making tips I found helpful:
~ Lightly butter or oil the outside of the sandwich just before grilling to create a golden brown crust.
~Layer sliced or grated cheese next to the bottom and the top slices of the bread to hold the
sandwich together.
~ Focaccia is popular for making Panini.
~ To promote even browning, try building the Panino (singular) with cut sides of the focaccia out.
This morning, I made myself my daily breakfast panino to start my day. Here’s my recipe for breakfast panini:

2 slices lean ham
1 scrambled egg or egg substitute
1 slice american cheese
2 slices italian pane bread
canola or butter cooking spray
chopped parsley

On one slice of bread, layer ham.
Scramble your egg in a pan with cooking spray.
Lay your scrambled egg over ham.
Top with slice of cheese.
Place other slice of bread on top.
Spray top of sandwich with cooking spray and sprinkle chopped parsley.
Lay parsley side down on panini press, grill pan or frying pan.
Spray top of sandwich with cooking spray and sprinkle chopped parsley.
Press sandwich to increase contact with grill so it can brown and crisp up.
Cook for about 3 minutes until bread is toasted brown.