Ham Stacks with Colby Slices- Avocado- and Cilantro

Ham Breakfast Stacks

Inspiration: Brandon and I struggle with breakfast sometimes. It seems that all of the traditional breakfast foods are just laden with carbohydrates and sugars that we don’t eat. So we eat a lot of eggs – frittatas, omelets, scrambled eggs – but after a while, nothing but eggs sure can get old. We love these breakfast bars, but again – you can only do so much of the same thing (I think we ate these guys for about a year straight!). These breakfast stacks were Brandon’s idea to get out of our breakfast rut, and we had a lot of fun experimenting with them.

What We Loved: We really enjoyed these because they were so versatile. Ham is always a great savory breakfast option, and when you add all kinds of cheeses, eggs, vegetables, and herbs, there’s really a lot of flavor in every bite. Of the different combinations shown, our favorite was the ham combined with the colby, avocado, and cilantro. The salty ham with the slightly sharp cheese, super creamy avocado, and fresh herbal cilantro just offered a great range of tastes and texures. Second place for both of us was the fried egg and cheddar combination, which is really a great classic breakfast pairing. Really, though, every option was tasty and provided us with some great variety on our week day mornings.

Tips: The options with these are pretty much endless – whatever toppings that you like would probably work. You could also stack these up a few layers tall for a more substantial breakfast, as these are pretty light. They work great as is for a weekday lunch for us, though. On a weekend for a larger meal, I might stack them up taller and and be more generous with the ingredients (or serve them alongside a nice fruit salad).

Ham Breakfast Stacks
Source: Original Recipe to Serve Two

2 breakfast ham slices
Desired toppings

1. Saute your ham slices in a bit of butter until they are beginning to brown and are nice and hot. Stack with your desired toppings. We used the following ingredients (each pictured in this post):

- sliced colby cheese, avocado slices, and cilantro

- ricotta cheese, tomato slices, pesto, fresh black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil

- fried egg, grated cheddar cheese, and cilantro

- tomato slices, scrambled eggs, shredded gruyere, and fresh black pepper

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Three Bean Soup with Ham

Inspiration:1) I froze the stock from our (nitrate/nitrite free) corned beef that we made at St. Patrick’s Day, and I was on the hunt for a nice soup to showcase it. 2) Brandon bought me this soup cookbook for my last birthday, and I had tried two different soups from it that turned out….well….just awful. One of them made enough to serve an army (two armies?) and became known as The Sludge in our house. As in, “Good grief, another day of The Sludge for lunch…” The other one had a slimy texture that was just….not pleasant. This book seriously needed to be redeemed! 3) Brandon always makes fun of me for this, but I love beans of any kind (definitely in my top ten favorite foods), and bean soups are my absolute favorite kind of soups. Why does Brandon make fun? When he first knew me, I was really unreasonable/obnoxious about how much I detested beans. Which led him to comment after we enjoyed this meal how cool it is how much people change and grow together. It is, isn’t it? :)

What we Loved: Perusing back over all of the soup recipes that I’ve posted, I’d put this one in my top three, up there with my pork hock and 15 bean soup and black bean and sausage soup (I told you, I really love bean soups!). It’s rich, salty, creamy, and chock full of vegetables and nutrients. I think there’s a reason that ham and beans are such a classic combo – that salty, savory ham flavor really complements the mild, creamy beans so well. And I just loved the three different kinds of beans that were used in this recipe, as I thought that you could really taste each one. Pinto beans always remind me of Mexican food since I eat them most often as refried beans, and then there are the mild navy beans and the richer red kidney beans. Paired with a deeply flavorful and rich stock, this is truly comfort food in a bowl. In fact, I already have it on the menu again for a second time.

Helpful Hints: Since I used leftover corned beef stock (heavily salted because I had cooked a corned beef in it) and since ham is pretty salty itself, I didn’t even need to add any additional salt to this soup. This might be completely different for you, though, if you use a light- or no-salt stock. So I would suggest finishing the soup and then salting accordingly. My preference for this one is to make sure that it’s nice and salty!

Three Bean Soup with Ham
Source: Adapted from Williams Sonoma Soup cookbook

1 cup dried pinto beans
1 cup dried kidney beans
1 cup dried navy beans
Olive oil or butter
1 large onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
6 cups stock (I used a very flavorful and salty corned beef stock)
2 bay leaves
1 Parmesan rind
2 cups diced ham, more if desired
Black pepper
Kosher salt (if needed)

1. Place the three cups of beans in a pot, and cover with water. Soak for eight hours or overnight, then drain and rinse the beans.

2. In a large soup pot, heat some oil or butter and then add the onions. Cook until softened, then add the carrots and cook until just softened, a few minutes more.

3. Add the beans, garlic, diced tomatoes and juice, stock, bay leaves, Parmesan rind, and ham. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for one hour, or until the beans are softened.

4. Remove the bay leaves and the Parmesan rind. Blend about 1/3 or 1/2 of the soup (or as much/little as you’d like) with an immersion blender or food processor.

5. Season to taste with black pepper, Kosher salt (if needed – mine needed no salt since my stock was very salty), and oregano.

Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu

Inspiration: Chicken cordon bleu has always been one of our favorite dishes. We served it as part of our wedding meal, after all. Chicken cordon bleu, roasted pork tenderloin, green beans, baby red potatoes. All topped with these gorgeous, deep purple edible flowers that just delighted me when I saw them. And boy did we get the royal treatment during that meal. A personal waitress who delivered our drinks from the bar, all of our personally-picked and favorite songs playing while we ate, a gorgeous sunny day shining through the huge windows behind us. Sharing that perfect setting and perfect meal with everyone that I love in the same room with me is one of my favorite memories. Oddly, I don’t know if we’ve eaten chicken cordon bleu since then (3+ years ago), and we had both been craving it the last few weeks after seeing it mentioned on TV. Our wedding version was a fancy, rolled version with a nice pan sauce, but a quick weeknight version fit the bill for us this time. I think they both have their place – and the fancy version is next up!

What we Loved: I loved the simplicity of this dish. It’s a great way to enjoy all of the flavors of chicken cordon bleu on a night when you might not necessarily have a lot of time to cook. And as far as the flavors go, there’s nothing bad to be said about the rich and savory combination of chicken, ham, and cheese. With only being quickly sauteed in a skillet, the chicken was nice and moist, and it had some great added flavor from paprika and Italian seasonings, We also used a smoked Swiss instead of a plain Swiss, and we really enjoyed that extra added smokiness. This is really just a simple, classic comfort food that is great any night of the week.

Helpful Hints: I used breakfast ham steaks to make this meal, but I feel like it would be really great with piles of shaved deli ham, too. I just love deli ham when it’s falling-apart shaved, so I think that’s another great option for this dish.

Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu
Source: Very imprecise original recipe to serve 2

2 chicken breasts, butterflied (or cut into two cutlets each, if they’re really large)
Seasoning of choice (I used paprika, Italian seasoning, Kosher salt, and black pepper)
Butter and olive oil
Ham (I used 2 breakfast ham steaks, but you could also use ham from the deli)
Swiss cheese, freshly shredded (I used a smoked Swiss)

1. Season both sides of the chicken pieces well with your seasoning choice.

2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil and a pat of butter in a large saute pan. Add the chicken and the ham steaks. Cook until the chicken is nearly cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. The ham is already cooked, so you are just adding some flavor by browning it.

3. Place the ham and shredded Swiss on top of each chicken piece. Cover the pan, and cook until the cheese melts. Sprinkle with additional pepper and serve.

Avocado Salad with Blueberries, Grape Tomatoes, and Shaved Ham

Inspiration: I recently ran across a recipe for a blueberry avocado salsa that was unlike any salsa that I’d ever seen. I filed it away somewhere in the back of my mind, and I think it inspired this blueberry avocado salad that I first served with chicken cordon bleu and pina coladas. B originally gave me the side eye when I was planning this one, but in the end, both of us loved it more than nearly any side dish that we’ve ever made!

What we Loved: If you’re looking for something a little different for a summery, island-y recipe, than this salad really is the perfect option. B and I absolutely loved it, and I’ve made it twice in one week, which says a lot around our house! It’s a wonderful, cool blend of creamy, sweet, and salty flavors. I particularly adored how well the sweet tang of the blueberries and the salty, savory ham paired with the rest of the flavors in the dish, and B immediately listed this as something that we need to make all of the time from now on throughout the summer.

Helpful Hints: We ate this as a side dish to chicken cordon bleu the first time around, but the second time that I made this, I made a little extra and we ate it as a main course for a light supper. Both ways were fantastic! Just make sure to serve this alongside a pina colada (it’s a must!) and to use plenty of Kosher salt (I just love the flavor that it gives to avocado!).

Avocado Salad with Blueberries, Grape Tomatoes, and Shaved Ham
Source: Original recipe

1 avocado, diced
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 pint blueberries
1/8 lb shaved ham
Handful cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1/2 small lime
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Gently mix the avocado, tomatoes, blueberries, ham, cilantro, and lime juice together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill before serving.

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

Scalloped POtatoes with Ham

Inspiration: I’ve been working on cleaning out my freezer, and I had stashed away a nice package of ham that my parents gave me on Easter Sunday. I knew that I wanted to make my Mom’s scalloped potatoes with my leftover ham, and yesterday was the perfect day. I sat at my desk all day at work thinking about supper, which I guess isn’t that abnormal for me, but it was just the kind of day when what I had planned sounded absolutely delicious. And it was. 

What we Loved: This potato recipe is from my Mom, and it’s amazing. It’s the definition of comfort food to me, and I definitely won’t ever look elsewhere for a scalloped potato recipe. This one is perfect. The potatoes are so creamy and cheesy, with a really rich flavor from the sauteed onions and the Parmesan cheese. Parmesan is quickly becoming one of my favorite cheeses, because it has such a strong, sharp flavor, and its inclusion in this recipe is perfect. I simply added the chopped up pieces of the leftover ham into the scalloped potato dish, and B and I both really enjoyed the great salty flavor that the ham added. My kitchen smelled wonderful as this was baking, and it was hard for me to resist bringing the entire pan to the table and eating the whole thing. My Mom always said that peas go well with ham, so I served this with some sugar snap peas. I’ve only recently found that I really enjoy sugar snap peas, which is odd since I don’t care much for peas that aren’t in their pods.

Helpful Hints: The recipe calls for you to peel the potatoes before slicing and cooking, but I have always really loved the flavor of potato skins, so I left them on. You could go either way, depending on your preferences.

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
Source: Mom

6 small to medium sized potatoes, peeled (or left unpeeled) and sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk (or 1 can evaporated milk and 1 cup water)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
Ham, thickly sliced and cut into pieces

1. Place the potatoes in a pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook for 3-4 minutes only. Drain the water, and then add the ham to the potatoes, mixing together. Set aside.

2. Heat the tablespoon of butter in a sauce pan, and add the onion. Cook for 1-2 minutes until tender. Mix in the flour, and then slowly add the milk. Stir over medium high heat until the mixture thickens, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Arrange the potatoes and ham in a greased baking dish. Pour the milk mixture over the potatoes, and then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.