Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Red Pepper, Ham & Parmesan – – Ready in 20 Minutes!!

Quick, Easy and Good!!

If you’ve been following My Yellow Farmhouse for a while, you know I call these types of recipes Quick, Easy and Good. And you may also know – at times when the ‘cupboard is bare’ – I make up with a recipe using whatever I happen to have in the house.

And – this is one of those recipes!!  Looking through my ‘almost empty fridge’ I scored some ham, a red pepper and a hunk of Parmesan cheese – plus a bag of refrigerated KANA brand Spinach & Ricotta-Filled Ravioli.  With the addition of butter and onion, I had the makings of a quick, delicious meal.

(I like KANA refrigerated pastas.  Buitoni is good as well.)

So, see what you have on hand.  Only have a green pepper… or a bit of leftover green or orange peppers, sliced those up  and throw them in.  Like a lot of onion?  Slice up a bunch.  Want a bit more butter… add it in.  Make this recipe your own.  I’m  just giving you a place to start.     PS  I highly recommend preparing this with ham because it adds  quite a bit of flavor to the dish.       ; o )

 

INGREDIENTS

Recipe feeds two, but is easily doubled!

  • One (10 oz.) package Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli, cooked according to package directions   ++ RANA cooks in 4 – 5 minutes!!
  • 2 Tb. – 3 Tb. butter
  • sliced red pepper.. about half a pepper
  • sliced onion..about half a large onion
  • 1 cup ham, cut into short, rather thin slices    ++ If you are going to use deli ham, have it sliced thicker than for sandwiches.
  • about a 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese   ++ Invest in a cheese grater.  Freshly grated Parmesan tastes so much better!

While you’re waiting for the ravioli water to boil, slice the red pepper, onion and ham.

Place 2 Tb. – 3 Tb. butter in a large non-stick skillet.  ++ TIP  Add veggies once pan starts to get hot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until veggies are softened.  Add ham, and cook just until heated through. Remove skillet from heat.

Drain cooked ravioli and add to skillet.  Sprinkle on 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Stir to mix ingredients – and you’ve got dinner.  Enjoy!

COPY - Ricotta and Spanach Ravioli with Red Peppers, Ham and Freshly Grated Parmesan - My Yellow Farmhous
Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Ham, Red Pepper and Parmesan

 

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!

snowmen-at-twilight-myyellowfarmhouse-com
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.

small red heart

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

spiral-cut-ham-courtesy-of-farmpac
Photo courtesy of FARMPAC.

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‘A Little Help from My Friends’ Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake

++ If you wish, this casserole can be prepared using just chicken or ham.  It could also be prepared with a few cans of drained tuna !!

Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake’ comes together quickly thanks to the use of frozen hash brown potatoes. (I like Potatoes O’Brien hash browns because they already include red pepper and onion.)  Thaw the potatoes in your microwave, allow to drain – and they’re ready to go.  No cooking and no peeling!

After scattering the potatoes on the bottom of a 9′ x 13′ casserole dish, chunks of cooked chicken and ham are added, along with sweet red pepper, mushrooms and a touch of garlic.  A quickly-prepared sauce is poured over all, followed by a sprinkling of three-cheese mix (Parmesan, Romano and Asiago) and some sliced almonds.  Bake the casserole at 350F for about for 50 – 60 minutes and get ready for some Good Eaten’ !!

INGREDIENTS         Bake in 350F oven for 50 – 60 minutes

  • 1 pkg (28 oz) frozen Potatoes O’Brien – thawed  — OR —  1 pkg. (32 oz.) frozen cubed hash browns – thawed
  • 2 cups cooked chicken cut into bite-sized pieces  ++ If you don’t happen to have cooked chicken, in a small covered skillet simmer 1 boneless chicken breast in 1/4 water or broth until fully cooked. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 2 cups ham, cut into bite-sized pieces = (10 oz) ham steak      ++  Most hams are now water-injected…. If the ham seems ‘drippy’ place between paper towels and squeeze out some of the moisture.
  • 1 small pkg. (10 oz.) cremini  (or button) mushrooms, sliced       ++ If there are any specs of dirt on the mushrooms, wipe with a paper towel.  Do NOT wash under running water.  Mushrooms are like little sponges!
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken or mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley     ++  Fresh parsley can be chopped, then frozen in a small storage bag.  Simply break off what you need !!
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • a bit of parsley – to sprinkle on top
  • paprika – to sprinkle on top for color

METHOD

Spread thawed Potatoes O’Brien evenly on the bottom of a 9′ x 13′ casserole.

Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

Add cooked chicken and ham pieces.

Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Place 1 Tbs. butter in a large skillet and cook sliced mushrooms, stirring, until mushrooms wilt.  Remove mushrooms and set aside while you cook the 1/4 chopped onion and 1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper.  Cook onion and pepper until softened.  Add 1 clove minced garlic.  Continue to cook a minute more, until garlic softens.

Spread cooked mushrooms, onion, red pepper and garlic over ham and chicken.

Sauce – –  In a medium-sized bowl mix 1 cup sour cream, 1 can condensed cream of chicken (or mushroom soup), 1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled, 3/4 to 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley and  1 1/2 cups chicken broth until well blended.  Pour over ingredients already in casserole.

Sprinkle with 2/3 cup three-cheese-blend   ++ Or any mixture of Parmesan and other cheeses.  Add 1/2 cup sliced almonds and a bit more chopped fresh parsley.  Sprinkle with some paprika.

Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Bake at 350F for 50 – 60 minutes – until sauce bubbles around edges of casserole.  Allow casserole to sit for 5 – 10 minutes and serve.  Enjoy!!

 Ham, Chicken and Potato Bake - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Italian Pasta Sauce with Meat and Fresh Herbs

Recipe makes approximately  2 quarts.  The sauce freezes well, so you can make a lot and freeze it for later! Or, you can easily halve the recipe.

Ingredients 

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil     
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef 
  • 3/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 large onion, chopped   (About 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced    (I highly recommend using a garlic press.)
  • 4 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh parsley –  divided
  • 4 Tbs. roughly chopped fresh basil –  divided
  • 1/2 tsp.salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 cup red wine
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano
  • OPTIONAL – 10 Crimini (or any type of brown mushroom) mushrooms, sliced       

In a large skillet with high sides – or a large pan, such as the size you boil pasta in, heat  3 Tbs. olive oil – add 3/4 lb. ground beef and 3/4 lb. ground pork. Break up the meat as it cooks, and continue cooking until juices run clear. Continue cooking until all liquid is absorbed and meat is browned a bit. Add chopped onion, HALF the chopped parsley, HALF the chopped basil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Continue cooking until onion is translucent.

Basic Italian Pasta Sauce with Meat - My Yellow Farmhouse.com -

Add tomato paste and mix until paste is thoroughly combined with the meat/onion mixture. Cook for another minute, then add the red wine. Allow to simmer a few minutes to intensify the flavors, then pour in the two cans of diced tomatoes.

 Basic Italian Meat Sauce - before simmering

I like to use a mesh cover to cut down on splashing. (I wonder why I bother… my kitchen is always a total disaster when I cook!)

splash screen - John's sauce

Simmer the sauce – uncovered – for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every once in a while.  ++  If you prefer your sauce thicker, just continue simmering a bit longer.

Basic Italian Pasta Sauce with Meat - after 1 hour - My Yellow Farmhouse.comPhoto shows Italian Pasta Sauce with Meat and Fresh Herbs – 1 hour into cooking time.

Add the rest of the chopped fresh basil and chopped fresh parsley, which will gives you a wonderful burst of flavor.

++ The diced tomatoes may still be a bit “chunky at the end of the cooking time.  If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can “mash” the the diced tomatoes down a bit with a potato masher, which is what I do.

Remove the sauce from the heat.   Pour yourself a glass of some of that red wine and enjoy !

Basic Pasta Sauce with Meat - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

Here’s the link to my friend John’s Italian Pasta Sauce recipe, which was the basis of this recipe. http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2013/01/16/basic-meat-sauce-sugo-di-carne/

Savory Cajun Pork Chops

 Because these pork chops are cooked quickly, they’re tender and juicy – not to mention flavorful !!

I just love Louisiana. I love New Orleans, I love the bayous, I love the cities and the small towns, I love the people, I love the music, I love the atmosphere & I love the food. I’ve visited there three times and I can’t wait to go back again!!

During our 2nd visit to Louisiana we visited Bayou Teche. As per usual, I had a great conversation with a woman behind the counter of a small store. She told me how to make Alligator Sauce Piquant – for which we Northerners can substitute chicken. (I actually made it (with chicken) when we lived in Malta for Mardi Gras – and it came out pretty darn good, if I say so myself !)  I’ll post that recipe another time ! Today – it’s Savory Cajun Pork Chops!

       Photo taken on my third to Louisiana – I’m addicted to everything Cajun!

Trip to Louisiana - 2012

Many Cajun/Creole dishes start with the Holy Trinity, which is bell peppers, onions and celery. Also many Cajun/Creole dishes ask you to make a roux, which is simply oil (or butter) and flour which you cook, stirring, until the mixture resembles the color of peanut butter – or darker.

The woman in the store along Bayou Teche advised me to make roux with butter. She said, “It’s always better with butter” – and she knew what she was talking about ’cause this time I used butter, butter and only butter – and I never had my roux come out even close to how it came out this time!

+++ This recipe for Savory Cajun Pork Chops serves 4 – 6, depending upon the size of the chops – and your appetite.

+++ I only add 1/4 tsp. of cayenne pepper because not everyone likes their food spicy. But be sure to add more if you want that real Cajun Kick !

+++ Just as a suggestion – I served the Savory Cajun Pork Chops on a bed of Chicken Flavored Rice-a-Roni. You’ll probably want to make two boxes for 4 – 6 people.

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in pork chops – about 4 lbs.  (Of course, you can use boneless pork but the flavor of pork or beef is often better when the meat is ‘bone-in”.)
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning – adds flavor and some “heat”
  • 2 – 3 Tbs. olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped – leaves and bottom part cut off
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 5 Tbs. flour
  • 1 (28 oz) can stewed tomatoes with basil & oregano
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper – or “to taste”
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ++ IF YOU USE BONE-IN PORK CHOPS !  Unless you have a very large skillet, you might need a Dutch oven or a stock pot (extra large saucepan) to complete the recipe.

Cooked Pork Chops - USE FOR BLOGSprinkle both sides of the six pork chops with some Montreal Steak Seasoning. Over medium-high heat, fry chops in a few tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil until browned on one side. Turn over and brown on the other side. Remove chops to plate/platter and keep warm if possible.

Holy Trinity - Crisp Tender

Add a bit more oil to the skillet, then add your Holy Trinity veggies & the minced garlic. Cook only until Crisp Tender – you don’t want mushy veggies. Once veggies are crisp tender, remove from skillet and set aside.

Making the RouxMAKING THE ROUX

Don’t be upset if the roux doesn’t get as brown as shown. This is the first time my roux came out “like it’s supposed to” and my Cajun food always tasted great. (Probably not by a true Cajun standards… but pretty delicious anyway!)

++ Tip   Have both the 5 Tbs. of flour and the 28 ounce can of stewed tomatoes opened ready to go.

Lower the heat a bit. In the same skillet, melt 4 Tb. butter and allow to brown a teeny, tiny bit. Add 5 Tbs. flour.  Cook, stirring, until the mixture becomes a lovely shade of brown. ++  This might take a few minutes, but, all of a sudden – it starts to turn brown!

Once your roux is browned and beautiful – add 28 oz. can of stewed tomatoes, 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1/4+ cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1 tsp. salt.

Holy Trinity & TomatoesReintroduce the veggies. Mix everything together and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until bubbly and slightly thickened.

If you don’t have a really large skillet, at this point you may have to pour out your veggies/tomato/spices mixture into a large stockpot or Dutch oven because you’re going to now add the six cooked pork chops. Continue to simmer 1 – 2 minutes until everything is heated through.  ++ Don’t overcook the pork chops, because it can make them tough.  Enjoy !!

Savory Cajun Pork

Ham ‘n Swiss Bread

When we lived in Villanova, outside of Philadelphia, my sons and their friends used to love grabbing something to eat which didn’t need to be heated.  Just Grab and Go!   Therefore, they  loved Ham ‘n Swiss Bread.   Ham ‘n Swiss Bread is good reheated, at room temperature or right out of the oven = which makes it nice for a party or a picnic.

Oven at 375 F       Bake for 30 minutes       Makes  one  Ham ‘n Swiss Bread

            Ingredients

  • white bread dough – enough for one bread, either made from scratch or purchased.  ++ Of course, if it’s frozen…. you’ll have to thaw it first.  Follow directions on the package.)
  • 3 cups chopped ham   (I used a 12 oz. packaged ham slice)
  • 1 cup chopped Swiss cheese
  • 1 Tbs. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. grainy mustard    (I use Grey Poupon “Country Djion”)
  • a bit of oil to grease baking sheet
  • 1 egg, beaten – to be used right before baking

Place dough (after thawing, if necessary) in a medium-sized greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap (or a dish towel).  Allow dough to almost double in size in a warm place. (I like to warm up the oven – just a tiny bit – and leave the dough to rise there  – out of any drafts.)

Ham and Swiss Bread - My Yellow Farmhouse

Once dough has risen, remove it from bowl and ‘punch it down’, which means punching or pressing the dough down until it’s, basically, hardly any bigger than when you first placed it into the covered bowl.   This rising is called (no surprise here..) – The First Rising.

Form the punched down dough into a log shape about 8″ long.

Ham and Swiss - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Place “dough log” onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten down with your hands – or a rolling-pin – into a rectangle about 11″ x 13′.    ++ The rectangle doesn’t have to be perfect. 

Once you begin working the dough, it’ll get softer and your job will be easier.  Here I am stretching the dough. Whatever works, right?      ++ I discovered purchased bread dough is harder to work with than homemade bread dough.

Ham and Swiss Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Mix chopped ham and chopped Swiss cheese with 1 Tbs. mustard and 1 Tbs. mayonnaise. Spread the mixture in the center of the rectangle. Then, using kitchen shears (you can use a knife, but I think shears make the job easier), make cuts at 1″ intervals on both sides of the dough – cutting towards the center.

Ham and Cheese Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com

One by one, take a strip from each side and bring them together in the middle of the loaf.  Twist the two ends together, using the photo of the finished bread as your model.  Don’t worry – it’s super easy.  And, actually, kind of fun!   ++ You might have to stretch some strips a little bit to make them ‘meet’.

Ham and Swiss Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

After you’ve finished twisting – admire you handiwork for a minute – then cover bread with a dish towel. (Tea towel for my British, Maltese & Australian friends!!).   Allow bread to rise for the second time, which should take about 40 minutes.

When bread has risen sufficiently, meaning almost doubled in size,  heat oven to 375F.    ++ Don’t forget to remove bread from oven – if it’s been rising there.

Using a brush or your fingers (I always use my fingers…) spread beaten egg on the risen bread.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  Bread should be golden brown, and should sound hollow when lightly tapped.      Enjoy!!