Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rotini with Ham and Veggie Casserole

Have you ever made a ham and thought...wow...lots of leftovers? How many days am I going to have to eat ham? Well here is one recipe you can throw in some of your leftover ham and make up a tasty casserole. The Cheddar cheese sauce is mixed with cooked pasta (you can use penne, rotini, elbow whatever you have on hand), bake with a buttery crumb topping....MMMM scrumptious. You can pair with a nice fruit salad or tossed salad to round out a nice complete and tasty meal.

Rotini with Ham and Veggie Casserole


  • 3 cups (1 box of rotini pasta)
  • 2 cups frozen mixed veggies, cooked
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced or you can finely dice a small sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic (1 small clove)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups diced ham
  • 2 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese    (keeping 1/2 cup separate)   
For the Topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

  • Heat the oven to 350°.
  • Lightly grease 3 Qt baking dish with butter.
  • In a large saucepan, cook rotini pasta following package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with hot water. Cook the frozen veggies. Note: To cook the veggies with the pasta, add the frozen veggies to the pasta during the last 4-5 minutes of cooking time and add 2 minutes to the cooking time. Drain the pasta and veggies together and rinse with hot water.
  • In a saucepan or saute pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the green onions, parsley, and garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Add the diced ham and 2 cups of the shredded cheese and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted and the sauce is hot and bubbly.
  • Add the drained pasta and veggies to the sauce, mixing well and heating through.
  • Spoon into the baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of Cheddar cheese.
  • Combine the bread crumbs and melted butter and blend thoroughly. Sprinkle crumbs over the shredded cheese layer.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, until crumbs are browned and the casserole is hot and bubbly.
This casserole was surprisingly light and I must confess, I found myself eating more than I probably should have. 

"Redneck" Thin Mints - two simple ingredients



Redneck Thin Mints

I love thin mints and I came across this idea on Pinterest. It is so easy.

Melt some chocolate mint baking pieces ( I used Andes) in the microwave or use a double boiler.

Dip your Ritz crackers into the minty goodness. Place the chocolate covered cracker on a waxed lined baking sheet. Allow the chocolate coating to harden. You can speed up the process by placing tray of crackers in the freezer for a few minutes. Enjoy.

Sugar Cream Pie- Indiana's State Pie

Sugar Cream Pie oh how I love thee! Mercy I finally get to eat what I have been craving for over a week. Delicious!

Mimi's Sugar Cream Pie- special thank you to Leah Austin for sharing her Grandma's recipe.

Sugar Cream Pie

2 c heavy cream
1 c half n half
2 c white granulated sugar
8 generous T flour
Dash salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 unbaked pie shells
12 pats of butter
Touch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Whisk cream, half and half in med bowl.

In larger bowl mix together sugar, flour and salt.

Slowly pour liquids into dry ingredients. Mix well. Add vanilla.

Pour into unbaked pie shells evenly. Dot with 6 pats of butter per pie. Dust with a touch of nutmeg.

Bake for 15 min at 400 degrees then back temperature down to 350 bake for 30-40 minutes or until center of pies are set. They may jiggle but will firm up as they cool.

I must confess, I tried a piece while waiting on dinner to cook.

Donut Bread Pudding- Egg Nog Inspired

I have always been curious about trying bread pudding. I finally got up the nerve to experiment. 
Not having anything to compare it to, I will just have to say that I quite enjoyed what I came up with. 

Eggnog Donut Bread Pudding

4 glazed white yeast donuts
1/2 c raisins
1 c egg nog
1 c half n half
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs
2 tsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray nonstick cooking oil spray into 8 x8 baking dish.

Tear your donuts into small bite sized pieces and out in baking dish along with the raisins.

In a separate bowl whisk together egg nog, half n half, eggs, cinnamon, and orange zest.

Pour liquid mixture over the donuts and raisins. Press down to make sure all of the donuts have made contact with custard liquid.

Let sit for at least 15 min or overnight.

Before baking place you baking dish inside a 9 x13 baking pan and poor warm water into the 9 x 13 pan to create a water bath. Have the water level halfway up the 8x8 dish. It will prevent the pudding from drying out.

Bake for 40 minutes. Insert pick in center and it should come out clean. Serve warm.

Basic Biscuits

Ever start dreaming of a nice bowl of sausage or hamburger gravy and biscuit only to find yourself not having a handy tube of ready to bake biscuits in the fridge?

Well that is where I found myself a couple of Sunday mornings ago. I then remembered running across a recipe of my Grandma Dunham's for Baking Powder Biscuits. There weren't any directions just ingredients. Luckily I am familiar to the concept of making biscuits. I was psyched.

Basic Biscuits


2 c flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
4 T. Shortening (I used cold cubed butter)
3/4 c. milk


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Then cut in with either a fork or pastry blender the butter. Add the milk once you see the butter is in blended into the flour mixture and is about the size of tiny peas.

Roll out your dough onto a floured surface and lightly work it (knead it) a few times. Roll dough or press dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch and use your biscuit cutter or I must confess I couldn't find mine so I used a small juice glass to cut out my biscuits.

This will make 6 biscuits. Place on a greased cookie sheet or parchment lined cookie sheet. You can brush the tops with a little melted butter but I didn't for this batch.

Bake for 12 minutes.

They should have nice layers due to using the cold butter.

Tip- don't over work your dough. It will cause the butter to soften before you get into oven to bake. If you think you over worked dough, wrap it plastic wrap in a disc shape and refrigerate for 30 minutes and then roll out and cut the biscuits and bake.