Friday, October 23, 2009

Hot Ham & Cheese Dip

Makes 4-6 Servings

3-4 slices deli ham, cut or torn into 1" pieces
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, swiss, whatever floats your boat!)
1 tsp cayenne
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1/4-1/2 cup chopped green onions


Oven: Mix all ingredients together, spread in a pie dish and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Crockpot: Mix all ingredients together and spread in a crockpot. Cook on low until heated through & bubbly, about 30-45 minutes. Leave on keep warm to serve right from crockpot.

Microwave: Put cream cheese in microwaveable bowl and microwave for about 45 seconds to 1 minute until soft and mixable. Stir in shredded cheese and microwave another 30 seconds to melt the cheese. Stir again and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Microwave for another 30-45 seconds to incorporate everything.

This is one of my favorite dip recipes! It is the best with Ritz crackers but good on tortilla chips or just about any other cracker you have in your pantry. It's also good on tortillas and rolled up and eaten as is or sliced to make pinwheels. We have this several times during Gator football season!

Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese

Makes 12 Servings

2-3 cups uncooked pasta
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated fresh Gruyere, Parmesan or Romano
1/2 cup grated sharp or mild Cheddar cheese, for topping
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


In a greased crockpot, combine the eggs, sour cream, soup and milk and stir well. Add the mustard, salt and pepper and stir well. Boil the macaroni according to package directions. Leave in the hot water to stay warm. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. Then drain the macaroni and add it to the crockpot, pouring the melted cheese/butter mixture on top of the warm macaroni. Stir everything together well. Sprinkle with extra 1/2 cup grated cheese. Cook on low for 3 hours.

I love this recipe! I like to use penne or "curly-q" pasta for mine, but you can use pretty much any pasta shape you want. I also like to use the 1/2 cup of extra-sharp cheese such as Gruyere or Parmesan, but you certainly don't have to, you can always just stick to cheddar--nothing wrong with that! We like to serve this with some spiral ham or we've even cubed some up and mixed it right in with some peas to make it a one-dish meal. You can't really mess this one up, it is easily customizable and you can pretty much do whatever you want and it turns out delicious. This is a family favorite!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apple & Sage Pork Chops

Makes 6 Servings

1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 boneless pork chops, 3/4- to 1-inch thick (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 Gala apples, cut into thin wedges
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple juice


Mix flour, sage, seasoned salt, thyme and nutmeg in small bowl until well blended. Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add pork chops; brown on both sides. Remove from skillet. Add apples, onion, remaining seasoned flour and juice to skillet; stir until well mixed. Return pork chops to skillet. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until pork chops are desired doneness. Remove pork chops to serving platter; keep warm. Simmer sauce 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve sauce over pork chop.

This is a delicious dish that has lots of aromatic fall flavors. Perfect for this time of year! We ate ours up and my kids loved the fact that we were having apples for dinner. We served ours with Fettuccine Alfredo, Yeast Rolls & Brussels Sprouts. We had brownies for dessert with some warm cocoa. This is a super quick and easy dish for those weeknights when you're limited on time.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fried Grit Cake with Tasso Cream Sauce

Makes 8 Servings

6 cups water
1 1/2 cups grits
2 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons water
corn oil


Cook grits according to package directions. As soon as they are done, put eggs and cream into a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Slowly whisk several small portions of the grits into the egg and cream mixture to temper the eggs, then pour the resulting warm mixture into the pot containing the grits and stir well until mixed. Pour grits into greased 9" cake pan and place in refrigerator until firm (2-4 hours). Heat oil in heavy pan over medium high heat. Remove grits from refrigerator and run a knife around the edges to loosen. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 8 wedges. Fry in oil on all sides until golden brown. Place on paper-towel lined surface to drain. Serve with Tasso Cream Sauce.

Tasso Cream Sauce


2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Tasso or regular smoked ham, finely diced
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups half & half
Kosher salt to taste
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 dashes hot sauce
1 dash Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream

Add the butter and Tasso to a small saucepan and saute until lightly browned. Slowly add the flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in the cold half & half and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt then add the lemon juice, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Just before serving whisk in the sour cream and cook until heated through.

We like our grit cakes with the Tasso Cream Sauce, but there are literally hundreds of ways to enjoy this dish for any meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizer, etc. These would be good with ham, eggs and cheese/cheese sauce or with shrimp/fish and Tasso sauce, or even with spinach, chopped tomato and shredded Swiss cheese. Be creative and use it for whatever sounds good to you. We ate ours with fried catfish and broccoli tonight and the Tasso sauce was good on everything.