Celebrating Christmas after December 25th & a Recipe for ‘Ham and Cheddar Balls with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce’

Tonight is New Year’s Eve but my extended family and I celebrated Christmas yesterday – and a merry time it was!

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Snowmen at Twilight – My Yellow Farmhouse

Christmas Traditions – making buttery sugar cookies with new & old cookies cutters.  (The angel and poinsettia cookie cutters were my mother’s.)  

Christmas, even though celebrated after December 25th, still felt like Christmas to me and my extended family two days ago. There were happy, excited children, brightly wrapped presents, rum-spiked eggnog and lots of food and Christmas cookies – plus love, laughter and Bing Crosby singing Christmas Carols.    ; o )

I kept the menu for our ‘Christmas Meal’ simple and did much of the cooking the day before.  I baked three French Canadian Meat Pies, ‘spiral cut’and roasted the ham and prepared Make-Ahead Loaded Mashed Potatoes. I served only one vegetable – Wilted Spinach with Olive Oil and Pine Nuts, which takes only minutes to prepare.

To nosh on while we opened presents I made a platter featuring good old deviled eggs, various types of olives, and sliced tomatoes & fresh mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I also served a few old favorites like one we like to call Vito’s Dip, and Ham and Cheddar Balls with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce.  (I think my twin brother ate half the Ham and Cheddar Cheese Balls because he loves them and I hadn’t make them in years.)

Below my directions for making Ham and Cheddar Balls you’ll find links to Grammy Brouillette’s French Canadian Meat Pies, Make Ahead Loaded Mashed Potatoes and a link to Fabulous Foods.com‘s directions for how to cut and bake a spiral ham.

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Ham and Cheddar Balls with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

 

Oven at 350F          Bake for 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups biscuit mix – such as Bisquick   ++  If Bisquick isn’t available, check online for directions to make your own.  It’s easy!
  • 1 1/2 cups diced ham
  • 4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (16 oz.)
  • 1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. brown mustard    ++  I use GREY POUPON’S ‘Country Mustard’
  • 2/3 cup milk

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbs. brown mustard
  • 1 – 2 Tbs. honey

METHOD

Lightly grease a cookie sheet ..  OR  ..  line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, using a large serving spoon, mix all ingredients until well blended.

Form dough into 1″ balls. Place balls 2″ apart on cookie sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Balls will be lightly browned

While balls are baking, prepare sauce.  In a small serving bowl mix 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 3 Tbs. brown mustard and 1 2 Tbs. honey until blended.

++  ‘Ham and Cheese Balls may be baked the day before, placed in a big ziplock bag, refrigerated and reheated on a cookie sheet for a 6 – 7 minutes at 350F.

Recipe adapted from Bisquick brand’s Holiday Ham Balls.

Directions for preparing Grammy Brouillette’s French Canadian Meat Pies

Recipe for ‘Make Ahead Loaded Mashed Potatoes’

slow-cooker-loaded-mashed-potatoes-myyellowfarmhouse-com

Fabulous Foods tells you everything you need to know to spiral and cook a ham.  My ham sure didn’t look quite as ‘pretty’ as this one, but it was delicious!

http://www.fabulousfoods.com/articles/957827/how-to-spiral-carve-ham

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Photo courtesy of FARMPAC.

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Make Ahead Loaded Mashed Potatoes – Tastes Like Loaded Baked Potatoes!

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Happy Thanksgiving from My Yellow Farmhouse

These potatoes can served immediately or they can be made a day ahead.  

You have two choices for heating them the next day.

Potato mixture can be warmed in a slow cooker for 3 – 3 1/2 hours before serving –  OR  –  baked in a 3 quart COVERED casserole at 350F for about an hour. 

Sometimes we make a Happy Mistake, as I just did.  The recipe I was adapting called for 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese. But.. I put in THREE cups of cheese.  Guess what? It’s tastes AWESOME – just like loaded baked potatoes.

So now you have two ways to prepare this. The original version, with one cup shredded cheese-  OR –  the ‘Tastes Like Loaded Baked Potatoes’ version with three cups shredded cheese!  And two ways to heat the potatoes the next day!

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Ingredients & Method

  • 3 ½ – 4  lbs. white peeled potatoes, cut into small pieces  (About 10 good-sized potatoes.)      OR –  3 packages  (20 oz. each) precooked, diced potatoes like “Simply Potatoes”  ++  I used these for the first time and loved the convenience – no peeling… no cutting!
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  • ½ cup butter, softened and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ½ lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled   ++ Reserve 2 Tbs.bacon crumbles for serving      ++  I cut the bacon into pieces using kitchen shears before cooking it  ; o )
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese  ++ I purchased a mixture of both cheeses
  • ++ Add 3 cups shredded cheese for the ‘Tastes Like Loaded Baked Potatoes’ version
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin  ++ Use the green part as well
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 pepper

Place  peeled and diced potatoes in a Dutch Oven.  Cover potatoes with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook potatoes, uncovered, until tender – between 10 to 15 minutes. ++ The more well-cooked the potatoes, the less the likely-hood of having lumpy potatoes.

Dutch Oven - Walmart

Drain potatoes and return to pan. Mash with cream cheese, sour cream, butter and milk. Add bacon crumbles (Reserve 2 Tbs.bacon crumbles for serving.), ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese, ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 3 green onions, 1/4 tsp. garlic salt, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 pepper.

++ Add a total of 3 cups shredded cheese for the ‘Tastes Just Like Baked Potatoes’ version.  

If serving immediately, made sure potato mixture is heated through.  Sprinkle on 2 Tbs bacon bits and serve.  OR – cover and refrigerator overnight.  

You have two choices for heating the potatoes the next day:

 1.  Potato mixture can be warmed in a slow cooker for 3 – 3 1/2 hours.  Sprinkle on 2 Tbs. crumbled bacon right before serving.  

2.  Bake in a 3 quart COVERED casserole at 350F for about an hour – or until heated through.  ++ Stir potatoes midway through cooking. Sprinkle on 2 Tbs. crumbled bacon right before serving.  ++ I suggest taking the prepared potato mixture out of the fridge about an hour before reheating in the oven.

 

 

Grammy Brouillette’s French Canadian Meat Pie (Also known as Tourtière) – – Filling Can Be Used as a Stuffing

 Recipe makes TWO French Canadian Meat Pies  

OR

For French Canadian Meat Stuffing – Make half the recipe. 

OR

If you prefer having extra stuffing, prepare recipe as written. Warm in a covered casserole.

 Grammy Brouillette’s French Canadian Meat Pies  – Christmas 2016   According to my sons (and my twin brother) these were the best pies yet! 

This recipe is my mother’s mother’s and has been handed down for from mother to daughter for who-knows-how long. (My grandmother (Memere in French, but we called her Grammy) was born in Quebec in the late 1880’s. She and her family moved to Boston when she was young.  Of course our family thinks our handed-down recipe is ‘The Best French Canadian Meat Pie’.. but everyone believes their family recipe to be The Best!  Today most recipes call for a mixture of ground beef and pork.  In the Old Days, Tourtiere could be made using pork, beef, rabbit or other game, or, possibly, a mixture of different meats – whatever was available.

French Canadian Meat Pie – or Tourtiere – recipes can vary quite a bit from family to family – and each family believes theirs to be the best!!  I’ve found it extremely interesting just how many variations there are between different family recipes. My mother’s family uses ground pork, potatoes, onions – plus salt & pepper.  My husband’s family only uses hamburger, onions, salt & pepper and a bit of cloves.  And an aunt on my father’s side puts crushed cracker crumbs in her meat pies instead of potatoes.  I’ve found it doesn’t matter whose recipe you follow – to me, they’re all delicious!

 “à chacun son goût” – – ‘To each his own taste”

As far as seasonings go, except for salt & pepper, most of the flavor in Grammy Brouillette’s recipe comes from the ground pork, potato and onion mixture. My mother and my Grammy never added any spices, but I like to add a bit of poultry seasoning (Bell’s). Some meat pie recipes call for a bit of allspice, cloves or mace. Feel free to add/adjust seasonings to suit your own family’s tastes. And – if you’re lucky enough to live in Quebec – you can buy Meat Pie Seasoning!

Meat Pie is traditionally served on Christmas Eve (Réveillon) and New Year’s Eve. Our family still continues that time-honored tradition, and we look forward to it every year. I usually make four pies – two for Christmas Eve and one for each of my twin sons to take home. (And this year I’m going to ‘try’ to be organized and make the pies ahead and then freeze them.)

Joyeux Noel et une Bonne Année !! 

Oven at 400 F

Ingredients & Method

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes  (About 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 lbs. ground pork   ++ If you prefer, substitute ground beef for ground pork. Buy 80% lean.     ++  You also have the option to use half ground beef & half ground pork.
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning  – I like Bell’s.   ++  If desired, add a bit of allspice .. or a bit of mace .. or a bit of ground cloves.
  • crust enough for TWO pies – – – – – –  2 top crusts  & 2 bottoms crusts
  • one beaten egg – to spread on the 2 top crusts

– – – –

In a medium saucepan, cook the potatoes in a few inches of water until fully cooked. Once cooked. drain and mash. (Don’t add any butter or milk !!) Set aside.

In a large frying pan, cook the ground pork and onions until the pork is no longer pink and the onions have become fully cooked – perhaps 10 minutes or so. While cooking the pork and onions, break up the pork so you have crumbles and not hunks. (If you don’t have a big enough frying pan, cook the pork and onions in two batches.)

Grammy Brouillette's French Canadian Meat Pie - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Mix the cooked, mashed potatoes in with the pork/onion mixture. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. At this point my mother used to, using a potato masher, “mash” down the mixture a bit to incorporate the potatoes into the pork/onion mixture.

Grammy Brouillett

If you wish, at this point, add 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning (I like Bell’s)… or a bit of allspice .. or a bit of mace .. or a bit of ground cloves – or any combination you chose. (Feel free to adjust salt, pepper & spices to taste.)

How easy has this been – and you’re almost done!  Divide your pie filling equally between the TWO pie-crust lined pie plates. Cover each with the 2nd crust.

Crimp the edges of the pie crust with your fingers or with a fork.

++  Here’s a video which shows you how to ‘crimp’ a pie crust.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJRY1vdCMkQ

++  If you’re feeling really creative – here’s a video showing how to make ‘fancy’ crimps!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcQGja6jpbE

Spread SOME of the beaten egg onto each crust, using your fingers (my personal choice!) or with a bit of paper towel. (This isn’t necessary, but it does give the crust a lovely, golden look!!)

Bake at 400F for about 30 – 40 minutes. The crust should be a nice golden brown and the filling should be nice and hot.   Enjoy !

++ If planning to make pies a few days ahead – –  Bake pies for only 25 minutes at 400F. Allow pies to cool.  Cover with foil and refrigerate.  To Reheat Pre-Baked Pies – remove foil. Bake pies at 350F for 30 – 40 minutes, until thoroughly heated through.

How to Freeze Prepared Pies

Below are two different directions concerning ‘freezing Meat Pies’.  One set of directions comes from my Uncle George and the other comes from my Godmother, my Aunt Yvonne – both of whom ‘inherited’ the recipe from my grandmother.

You chose if you want to cook the pies & then freeze them – or freeze them without baking them.

++ A few tips from my Uncle George – How to Freeze UNBAKED Meat Pies ++

Based on my grandmother’s directions (according to my uncle) you do NOT have to bake the pies before you freeze them!!  ++ Cover the unbaked pies with foil and freeze them.  While still frozen (but with foil removed) bake the pies at 400F degree for 25 minutes.   Then lower heat to 350F and continue to bake pies until crusts are browned and pie(s) are heated through.

++  A few tips from my Aunt YvonneHow to Freeze PRE-BAKED Pies ++

++ If planning to freeze the pies, bake them for only 25 minutes at 400F.   Allow pies to cool, then cover with foil and place them in the freezer.

++ To Reheat – Allow pies to thaw in the refrigerator, then bake (with foil removed) at 350F for 30 – 40 minutes, until thoroughly heated through.

Enjoy – – Bon Appetit !!

Grammy Brouillette's French Canadian Meat Pie - My Yellow Farmhouse.com