Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ham Loaf

I can not believe that this family classic is just now making it's debut on the food blog. This is an Easter meal in our family that I have fond memories of. I hate to even post a picture because this is for sure the ugly step child of main dishes. The trickiest part of this recipe is getting the nerve to ask the butcher to grind your ham and you may get a dirty look or two because they have to clean the machine before and after to do this, but for this Stewart family classic it is worth it. My kids ate this meal for the first time and they all loved it's sweetness and texture. It's a great meal and really takes ham to a whole other level!!

Loaf Mixture

1 lbs ground ham
3/4 lbs ground pork
1 egg
1/2 cup cracker crumbs (crushed saltines)
1/2 c milk

Purchase you meats at the store, you should be able to buy ground pork in the meat case, and the ham you will purchase in a small ham "roast", then have the butcher put it through the grinder like I talked about. Tip... go to a "customer friendly" grocer. You will have better luck at a high end grocery store then you will asking them to do this at Walmart.
Mix all ingredients together and shape into loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Poke holes in meat with a skewer to allow glaze to distribute in the meat. Set aside while you make the glaze.

Glaze Mixture
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c vinegar
2 t prepared mustard (Dijon)
1/2 c water

Bring all ingredients to a boil in small saucepan. Boil 5 minutes. Pour mixture over meat.
Cook in loaf pan 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mustard Sauce
(Make earlier in the day)
1 beaten egg
6 T vinegar
1 T flour
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 T water

Heat ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat. Heat and Stir until thickens. Take off of heat pour into small bow and cool completely in the refrigerator.
Then fold in
1 c !!Whipped!!! Whipping cream
2 T sugar

Refrigerate mixture until ready to serve as a dollop on top or to the side of ham loaf.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese Pasta

Photo and Recipe from

4 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Mizithra cheese; shredded
6 ounces Spaghetti
Cracked pepper

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the butter over medium heat; the butter will froth a bit, and then start to turn a nice golden brown. Let the butter cook until it is a light caramel color. Set aside.
Drain the pasta.
Carefully pour off the butter into a small dish, being careful to leave behind the solids that have settled to the bottom of the pan.
Mix the butter, spaghetti, and most of the cheese (save some to sprinkle on top).
Garnish with remaining cheese and Cracked pepper to taste. YUMMY!

Crockpot Marinara

Photo courtesy of Budget Bites

I've always wanted to try marinara sauce in my crock pot and I surfed around looking for the perfect recipe. This one caught my eye because it included two of my favorite ingredients that many of the other sauces did not include. Balsamic Vinegar and Brown Sugar! I was not disappointed, this sauce will darken and caramelize the flavors as you cook it over a long period of time. It was excellent. I served mine with a browned butter and mizithra cheese pasta kind of like my own "Managers Special" at Spaghetti Factory. It was AMAZING! Enjoy this recipe from Budget Bites with my notes.

2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes (I used whole and then pureed my sauce at the end)
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves fresh)
2 whole bay leaves
1 Tbsp dried basil
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
to taste salt & pepper

STEP 1: Cut the onion into a small dice and mince the garlic (or use pre-minced garlic from a jar). Place both in the slow cooker. Also add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, bay leaves, basil, oregano, and freshly cracked pepper. Stir well to combine. If your slow cooker tends to lose moisture and dry things out, add 1/2 to 1 cup of water as well.

STEP 2: Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs. (I read from other websites that some people prefer to cook their marinara with the lid off, so I did about half and half. I guess when you leave the lid on, the marinara can get watery.)

STEP 3: Remove the lid on the slow cooker, stir the sauce, and remove the bay leaves. Season with salt to taste (I added about 1 tsp). Enjoy over your favorite pasta! (I also pureed my sauced at the end with an immersion blender to give it that smooth consistency.)

Now how easy was that? You can also try adding other ingredients like sliced mushrooms, Italian sausage (cook separately and add to the sauce after it has cooked), crushed red pepper, olive oil (for a richer sauce), bell peppers... the sky is the limit.
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