Thursday, February 28, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip is one of our family’s favorite special treats for a holiday or get-together. It’s great for potlucks, and you can be sure there won’t be any to take home! One of my sisters first brought it to a family Christmas party, and it’s become a Christmas Eve tradition for us now.

Since we have no buffaloes around here, we'll just use chicken. ;) Let's get cooking!

First, boil the chicken breasts. When they are cool enough for you to handle, place them in a 9X13” baking dish and shred apart with a fork. Coat evenly with the red hot sauce.

While the chicken was cooling, you should have been making the sauce for on top. But I didn’t tell you that, so now I will! ;) In a medium saucepan, melt the cream cheese and ranch dressing together until smooth and well mixed.

Poor the cream cheese/ranch dressing mixture over the shredded chicken in the baking dish and smooth out till even.

Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top, and then the minced celery.

Bake at 350° for about 40 minutes, until slightly browned at the edges and bubbly.

Serve with tortilla chips. You’ll want a spoon, too! It is SO good! ~TMMF

Buffalo Chicken Dip

4 chicken breast halves
1 12 oz. bottle Frank’s hot sauce
     (you’ll need about 1 c. or to taste)
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1 16 oz. bottle ranch dressing
2 c. sharp cheddar cheese
¼ c. minced celery

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ham Fat Rolls

Ham fat rolls? Whoever heard of them? Well, I happened to grow up eating them, and are they ever GOOD!! This is a recipe my mom made that we kids loved, and of course I had to carry on with my own children.

Whenever you have a baked or boiled ham, you need to remember three things: save the bone with any meat on it, save the drippings and gummy goodness on the bottom of the baking pan, and save the fat! Set the bone aside in a freezer bag, and save the fat in a freezer bag separately. Use a spatula to scrape the flavorful  pan drippings into a freezer bag also. This can be used to flavor soups and you will love how they turn out. Nothing is ever wasted!

So, first you want to make your dinner roll dough. You’ll add the sugar to the warm water, and then the yeast. After about 5-10 minutes, add the melted butter, flour, salt, and dry milk. Stir well with wooden spoon. Knead on floured surface for about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, flipping so top is greased, and cover with a kitchen towel.

While it is rising in a warm place (oven, back of stove, etc.), mince the onion, ham, and ham fat. I usually use any ham that happens to be with the fat I’ve saved and frozen, or I may use some turkey ham, which I usually keep on hand. I buy a 5 lb. turkey ham once a month for various recipes and meals.

Sauté the minced onion, ham, and ham fat in a skillet.

When browned and tender, remove from heat and cool a few minutes.

The dinner roll dough will be doubled in 45-60 minutes. Punch down and then knead for about 10 minutes. Using a knife, divide dough into 12 equal pieces. To do this, cut the dough in half. Cut each half in half again. Then cut each of those four doughs into three equal pieces.

Take the finished and cooled ham fat, ham, and onions, and separate into 12 equal piles. They will probably be about a teaspoon each. Take a piece of dough, flatten slightly, and place a pile of ham fat/onion into the middle of it.

Fold the outer edges of the dough over the pile of ham fat/onion, enclosing it all.

Place the filled rolls into a greased 7 X 9” pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a slightly warm place again, about 30-40 minutes.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes in a 350° oven, till browned on top.

Serve while still warm, with butter if you’d like. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Ham Fat Rolls                  

dinner roll recipe
1/4 c. minced ham fat
1/4 c. minced ham
1/4 c. minced Vidalia onions

Dinner Rolls

1 c. warm (80°) water
3 Tbl. Sugar
2 tsp. yeast
3 Tbl. Melted butter
3 c. flour
2-3 Tbl. Dry milk
2 tsp. salt

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pea Soup!

Pea soup is one of my favorite soups, and it’s what’s actually simmering in the kitchen right now, so that’s what’s cooking here at The Magic Meal Fairy!

Boil the dry split peas in the water for two minutes, then add the ham bone or ham hocks, and simmer on a lower heat for an hour to an hour and a half. I used ham hocks for this tonight because that’s what I had on hand. When you make a ham dinner, never throw away the bone; freeze it for later use in soups.

Meanwhile, you can get the chopping done. Slice the celery in half lengthwise and then into ¼ to ½ inch slices.

Chop the onions as you would for most anything else.

And peel and slice the carrots into ½ inch rounds.

When the ham bone or ham hocks are done, remove from the pan and let cool on a plate.

Add the celery, onions, and carrots to the split peas and simmer until tender.

When the ham bone or ham hocks are cooled enough, pick off the meat, if any. Seriously, ham hocks don’t exactly have much meat to speak of, haha. But they do give the soup the wonderful smoky hammy flavor, so I use them if I don’t have a ham bone.

At any rate, I’ve always had to add some meat to whatever I used for this soup, so I just cut up some turkey ham into chunks and added that.

Your pea soup is done when the vegetables are tender and the added ham meat is heated through. Serve with some nice dinner rolls. My favorite bread to serve with pea sou p is ham fat rolls. They are easy to make and compliment this soup wonderfully! I’ll share that recipe next time.

Just a note about pea soup: it is actually better tasting the day after. And since it’s so easy to make, it’s a great little soup to make for the next day while you’re making something else for supper. Hope you enjoy! ~TMMF

Pea Soup
     (serves 6-8)

1 bag dry split peas
8 c. water
ham bone or ham hocks
2 c. ham
1 medium onion
2 large stalks celery
5-6 carrots

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pizza Part 3: Philly Cheese Steak

Philly Cheese Steak pizza…easily one of my favorite pizzas, and I have many. I first had this at a pizza shop, a national chain. It was love at first bite. And I realized, I can make this! And so can you. So, let’s get cooking!

Slice the peppers and cut into halves or thirds, depending on the length of the slices. I like to use a variety of colors, and I like sweet peppers. For this I used a green bell pepper and an orange ancient sweet.

Cut the onion in half, place on the flat side, and slice. Cut those slices in half.

Sauté the peppers, onions, and sliced mushrooms in a little oil until slightly tender, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, on a griddle sprayed with cooking spray, on medium heat, fry the Steak-umms, flipping once. When cooked thoroughly, chop up into bite size pieces.

Spread your pizza dough into a greased pan. I do have a large round deep dish pizza pan, but with a large family, it’s not enough. So I use two sheet pans when I make pizza.

Break up the American cheese and place evenly on the dough. I just rip pieces off each slice. Place the provolone cheese on top, evenly spaced apart.

Now spread the sautéed peppers, onions, and mushrooms on top, and then the chopped Steak-umm.

Bake for about 18 minutes in a 425° oven. Let cool a few minutes before cutting. Serve and listen to the moans of delight! ~TMMF

Philly Cheese Steak Pizza
     (for 1 pizza)

pizza dough
1 green bell pepper
1 sweet pepper of another color
1 medium Vidalia onion
2 sm. cans mushrooms or 2 c. fresh sliced
5-7 sheets of  frozen Steak-umms
8 slices American cheese
12 slices provolone cheese

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cheesy Scalloped Ham and Potatoes

What’s on the menu today? Cheesy Scalloped Ham and Potatoes! If it involves cheese, I’m in! This dish does require a little more time to prepare, but it’s very easy and well worth the effort.

Chop the onions and set them in a skillet with a little butter to sauté on medium heat until tender and browned.

While the onions are cooking, dice the ham. I like mine somewhat small because I can use less and still make sure every bite has plenty of ham in it.

After you've washed the potatoes, slice them into about 1/8” wide slices.

Grate the cheddar cheese and set aside.

Spray a 9 X 13” baking pan with cooking spray. Layer half the potato slices in the baking pan, and sprinkle half the ham and half the sautéed onions.

Layer the Swiss cheese and sprinkle half the cheddar cheese on top. Sprinkle salt and pepper if you’d like.

Begin again, layering the potatoes, ham, sautéed onions, and then lastly, the rest of the cheddar cheese. The Swiss cheese is only placed in the middle of this casserole.

Open the evaporated milk and pour evenly over the entire casserole.

Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes. Let set 5-10 minutes and serve.

Cheesy Scalloped Ham and Potatoes
     (serves 6-8)

6 large potatoes
1 medium Vidalia onion
1-1 ½ c. ham
6-8 slices Swiss cheese
1 ½ c. extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 cans evaporated milk

Monday, February 11, 2013

Crock Pot Chili

It’s chilly, so it’s time to make chili! This is such a simple and quick recipe, and I’ve been making it like this for years. This is one of those crock pot meals that I loved to make on Saturday night to have ready for lunch on Sunday after church. Make some dinner rolls to go with it, or for a quick accompaniment, pick up some French bread at the grocery.

Let’s get cooking!

You’ll need to open the cans of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and kidney beans. I usually ask someone who doesn’t have as much arthritis to do it for me. ;) Drain the kidney beans but do not rinse.

Next, dice up the onions, peppers, and celery. When I made this the other night, I happened to only have some yellow, orange, and red sweet peppers, so that’s what I used. I do like to have green bell pepper along with other colors, just because I like how nice it makes the chili look, if I have some.

Peel and mince the garlic. I actually had taken the photo of the lovely veggies before I minced the garlic, so it missed the boat in this picture. Oh well, I use garlic a lot, so there’ll be another “photo op” for it in the future. ;)

Put the tomatoes, tomato paste, drained kidney beans, and all vegetables in the crock pot.

Add the hamburg. This is optional, but I usually add at least a little bit for the ones who like it. This is one of the bags of browned hamburg that I had in the freezer. I just put it in the microwave for three minutes and it was ready to use.

Add the brown sugar, medium hot chili powder, and black pepper. I don’t add salt to this; there’s already a lot of sodium in the tomatoes.

Cook on low in the crock pot overnight. I usually start it out on high for 2 hours, then turn down to low until lunch the next day. Stir many times throughout.

Serve with grated extra sharp cheddar cheese and some sour cream if you’d like. I love the way the sour cream adds a cool creamy compliment to the spicy hot chili! ~TMMF

Crock Pot Chili
(serves 8 with leftovers!)

2 large cans diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 cans light red kidney beans
2 cans dark red kidney beans
1 large Vidalia onion
2 peppers, any color
2 stalks celery
5-6 cloves garlic
2-3 Tbl. brown sugar
2-3 Tbl. medium hot chili powder
2 tsp. black pepper

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pizza Part Deux: Chicken Bacon Ranch

So, pizza again. Last time we discussed pizza, we talked about making  pizza dough and tomato based sauces for it.

Today we’ll work on a pizza with a different kind of sauce, Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza.

First, set the chicken breast to sauté in a skillet with a little oil. You can leave it whole and cut after cooking, or slice it beforehand.

In another pan, cook the bacon. I prefer mine to be somewhat soft cooked, but most people like it crispy crumbly.

When both are done, cut the chicken into small pieces and chop up the bacon.

While the meats are cooking, prepare the sauce. For a ranch sauce, I like to mix the ranch dressing with mayonnaise. The mayonnaise really does enhance the flavor of the dressing, making it creamier and more flavorful.

Press your dough into the greased pan, and spread the ranch/mayo sauce evenly on it. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over it.

Next put the cut up chicken and bacon on it. And you’re ready to pop it into your pre-heated 425° oven, for 18 minutes, to make this…

…come out like this! Enjoy! ~TMMF

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
     (for 1 pizza)

pizza dough
1 large or 2 small chicken breasts
6-8 oz. bacon
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. ranch dressing
1/2 c. mayonnaise