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.

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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

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

christmas-2016-myyellowfarmhouse-com

Chocolate and Pistachio Swirl Cake

How the chocolate layer goes from the top to the bottom is a mystery to me!!

A dear friend of mine shared this recipe with me back in the 80s, when bundt cakes were the ‘in thing’.  Chocolate and Pistachio Swirl Cake  baked in a bundt pan does make a beautiful presentation, but I wanted something to bring to a Fourth of July picnic that could be eaten ‘out of hand’, so I went for the good old 13′ x 9′ pan and cut the cake into squares.

Because Chocolate and Pistachio Swirl Cake is prepared with a boxed cake mix, it’s really quick to put together. Once the cake was cooled and cut into squares, a little dusting of confectionery (icing) sugar was all that was needed and off I went to the barbecue.

3 - Chocolate and - Pistachio and  Swirl Cake - myfarmhouse.com

new type bundt cake pan
In case you’ve never heard of a bundt pan – here’s an example.

We had a wonderful time the Fourth of July at my cousin’s home on Lake George (Massachusetts), which a small lake and not the big, big Lake George in New York State.  And everyone very much liked what I brought for dessert!

Fourth of July - David's - 2016
Lake George, Massachusetts (USA)  Don’t you just LOVE having friends/family who live on the water AND who own a boat??!!

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Oven at 350F      

++  13″ x 9″ pan  (buttered & floured) – bake for 35 – 40 mins. 

++ bundt pan (buttered & floured) – bake for 55 – 60 mins.

++  Cake is cooked when it pulls away from the sides of the pan – and when a sharp knife (or toothpick) inserted in the middle comes out clean

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 package instant pistachio pudding
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup chocolate syrup  ++  I use Hershey’s.  Be sure not to buy thick fudge topping.  You want the chocolate syrup used to make chocolate milk.

METHOD

In a large bowl beat yellow cake mix, 1 package instant pistachio pudding, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup oil and 4 eggs for two minutes on medium speed.  Pour half the batter into buttered and floured pan.

++  To ‘flour a pan’, put some flour into the buttered pan.  Shake the pan around so that the butter is totally covered with a light coating of flour.  Turn the pan upside and hit the bottom of the pan so the extra flour falls out. 

Mix remaining batter with 3/4 cup chocolate syrup.  Pour batter on top of the pistachio layer.

Bake for 37 – 40 minutes (or so) if using a 13″ x 9″ pan.  (Oven temperatures vary.)

Bake 55 – 60 minutes (or so) if using a bundt pan.  (Oven temperatures vary.)

Allow cake to cool – in the pan – on a cake rack for 20 – 30 minutes.  ++  Allowing  the cake to cool thoroughly makes it easier to cut because this cake is very moist.

++  Here’s a trick to get that ‘dusting’ of confectionery sugar (icing) sugar on prettily – use a small strainer.  

small strainer
Photo courtesy of WebstaurantStore

3 - Chocolate and - Pistachio and  Swirl Cake - myfarmhouse.com

Mini Shepherd’s Pies (Also known as Cottage Pies)

Mini Shepherds Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!  www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

If you have parchment paper, place a strip, long enough so that it hangs out on each side, in each section of the muffin tin.  This will help when you remove the mini pies.

I had planned to share these with my neighbors…. but ended up eating them all – that’s how much I love them!  I based both the ground beef filling and creamy mashed potatoes on my recipe for Shepherds Pie, with a few adjustments.   – –  https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2013/01/10/shepherds-pie/

Mini Shepherds Pies are easy to make!  The recipe calls for purchased pie crust and – if you’re short on time – a 24 oz. container of ready-to-eat mashed potatoes can be used.  Making these mini pies is fun and easy – and so is eating them.

Ingredients and Method
  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts
  • 24 oz. refrigerated mashed potatoes  –  OR  –  homemade mashed potatoes
  • Homemade Mashed Potatoes
  • 5 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes   ++ Peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
  •  3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 – 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1/3+ cup milk or Half and Half     ++  I used Half and Half
  • Ground Beef & Vegetable Filling
  • 1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped  ++ About 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 lb. ground (minced) beef  ++ I used 80%
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn     ++ No need to thaw
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas    ++ No need to thaw
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste    ++ Freeze tomato paste in 1 Tbs. portions in a ziploc bag. 
  • 1 beef or chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 tsp. pepper

Place 5 cups chopped, peeled Yukon Gold potatoes in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add enough cold water to cover.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Lower heat and cover saucepan. Allow potatoes to simmer for 25 – 30 minutes or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a sharp knife.  ++  It’s better to cook the potatoes longer than end up with lumpy potatoes!!  I know – Been There – Done That!

Mini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

While potatoes are cooking, begin beef/veggie filling.  Place 1 Tbs. butter In a large non-stick skillet.  Add 1/3 cup chopped onion. Cook onions, stirring often, over medium heat until they soften.  Add 1/2 pound chopped (minced) beef.  Continue to cook until beef loses its pink color.  ++ Break up any large chunks of beef.   ++  Remove any extra grease, although I leave about 2 Tbs. – for the flavor.

Add 3/4 cup still-frozen corn and 3/4 cup still-frozen peas, 1/3 cup water, 1 Tbs. tomato paste, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/3 tsp. pepper and either a chicken or beef bouillon cube.

Mini Shepherds (Cottage) Pies - myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

Continue cooking, stirring often, for an additional 4 to 5 minutes… until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Set aside.

Now it’s time for the mini-pie crusts.  This is fun!  ++  Remove the pie crusts from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before so the crusts will be soft enough to work with.

Unroll pie crusts. Roll each crust into a 12″ circle, which only takes a second ’cause the crusts are almost that big already.  Using a 4″ circle (I used the 4″ top of a plastic food container – or you could use a piece of cardboard) cut out 12 circles.

Mini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow Farmhouse.comMini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (2)

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Place one pie crust circle in each of the sections of a 12-cup muffin tin.  Gently press pie crust to fit.

Bake at 400F for 8 minutes.  ++ Lower oven temperature to 350F once you’ve removed muffin tin with bottom crusts from oven.

Finishing the mashed potatoes

Mini Shepherds  Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!

Drain cooked potatoes. Mash down with a potato masher.  Add 2 – 3 Tbs. butter, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and approximately 1/3 cup milk – or ‘Half ‘n Half‘ – or Single Cream – and beat with a mixer until the potatoes are creamy but still stiff enough to hold their shape on top of the beef filling.

Putting it all together

Mini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow Farmhouse.com (3)

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, put a portion of the meat/vegetable filling in each section.  Top with 1/4 cup mashed potatoes.  ++ If you have extra mashed potatoes, add a bit more to each mini-pie.

Sprinkle with a bit of paprika to give the Mini Shepherds Pies a bit of color.  You know, part of finding a particular food delicious is often due to it’s color, so adding a bit of paprika not only makes things taste better but also gives them better eye-appeal.  You can also sprinkle on a bit of cheese!

Mini Shepherds Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!  myyellowfarmhouse.comMini Shepherds Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!  myyellowfarmhouse.com

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Bake the Mini-Shepherds Pies at  350F  for 25 – 30 minutes.  Potatoes and crust will be slightly browned.     

++ Let stand 10 minutes before serving, which helps the pie crust to not fall apart when you remove the mini-pies.  Enjoy !!

Mini Shepherds Pies - and I do mean 'pies'!  www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

++  Recipe adapted from myfridgefood.com/recipes/entree-beef/mini-meat-pies

Oven Baked Salmon with Crispy Topping ++ Can Be Prepared Gluten Free !

As you may know, I’m seriously ‘on a mission’ lately to eat more healthy and I’ve discovered eating healthy does NOT mean dining on meals that taste like cardboard!!

Just because I’m trying to eat better doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in the occasional treat, as I did yesterday when I lost my car key (it just dropped off the key chain….).  After searching the parking lot etc. I finally found it at my doctor’s office…. but that was AFTER I called AAA to open my car in the hopes the key had dropped off inside.  I ended up rewarding myself, after all that frustration, with a (not too big…) piece of carrot cake – and I enjoyed every single bite !!

– – – – 

++  If you prefer to prepare this “gluten-free” – just use gluten free corn flakes, such as Nature’s Path Organic. 

++  Corn itself is gluten free but many products containing corn, such as corn flakes, may have flour (wheat) in the ingredients.

++  Recipe makes enough for 4 people, depending upon the size of your piece of salmon.    ++  I prepared 1 piece of salmon and stored the extra topping in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS                Oven at 375 F           ++ Bake salmon for approximately 20 minutes

  • a bit of olive oil, to grease skillet….. about 2 tsp.
  • 4 pieces of salmon about 5″ long and 1/2″ in center    ++  Can be either with – or without – skin.
  • TOPPING
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • some freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups corn flakes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup pine nuts      ++ I used 1/4 cup – – pine nuts are expensive!!
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • a bit of fresh parsley         ++  optional

Preheat oven 375F

Put all the ingredients into a food processor.  Pulse into ground.

++  If you don’t have a food processor, put all topping ingredients in a ziplock bag and crush.

Oven Baked Crispy Salmon  with Crispy Topping  -  myyellowfarmhouse.com

Oven Baked Salmon with Crispy Topping  -  myyellowfarmhouse.com

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Sprinkle between 1/4 to 1/3 cup of crumb mixture on each piece of salmon, pressing the crumbs into the fish a bit.     ++  Leftovers of crumb mixture can be stored in fridge !

Oven Baked Salmon with Srispy Topping - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Place salmon pieces on a broiler broiler  OR  on a rack, as shown above.

Bake in 375 F oven for 20 minutes, depending upon thickness of salmon.    ++  Salmon should be firm in the middle and look opaque. 

It does NOT get much easier than this. And – believe me, this Oven Baked Salmon with Crispy Topping is delicious.   Enjoy!!

Oven Baked Salmon with Crispy Topping - myyellowfarmhouse.com