Category Archives: Holiday

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Yield: 4 servings     Prep Time: 30 minutes     Cook Time: 1 hour

Texture is an important factor when it comes to food.  I love when something creamy is contrasted by a nice crunch.  It would be similar, I suppose, to the salty and sweet phenomenon.  Opposing flavors and textures stimulate our senses and leave us wanting more.

To update the classic scalloped potatoes and ham, I was looking for something to add a nice crunchy crust which I feel is often lacking from this dish.  I recently came across a new ingredient called Onion Crunch.  Think French’s fried onions brought to the 21st century.  Not only does this stuff add texture to any dish, but it carries a clean straight-forward onion flavor.

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes and Ham


I chose to leave the potato skins on for this recipe.  It gives the dish a more rustic look not to mention potato skins are packed with B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium, and fiber.  I also added ham in the dish which makes for a great Easter leftover meal, but if you are planning on this for a side to your Easter ham, the creamy scalloped potatoes with Onion Crunch fairs just as well sans meat.

A mandolin is the easiest way to get ultra thin cut potatoes.  Although I haven’t done my research on the history of mandolins, I’m guessing there were scalloped potatoes long before mandolins were invented.  So if you don’t own a mandolin do not fear, just cut the thinnest potatoes you can using the sharpest knife you have.  What’s more important than the thinness of the potatoes is that they are all consistently the same size.  This will ensure that the potatoes cook evenly.


  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • pinch fresh nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, grated (not pre-shredded)
  • 4 cups Russet potatoes (about 2 large potatoes), washed and sliced thin
  • 2 cups ham, chopped
  • 1/2 cup gruyere, grated
  • 3/4 cup Onion Crunch


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a casserole dish and set aside until ready to assemble.
  2. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in flour and whisk constantly for 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly whisk in milk over medium heat until there are no clumps.  Turn the heat to low and stir frequently until sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.*
  4. Add salt, nutmeg, 1 tsp. thyme, then whisk in cheddar cheese.
  5. To assemble, layer half of the potatoes, ham, and cheese sauce.  Repeat.
  6. Mix together shredded Gruyere, Onion Crunch, and remaining 1 tsp. thyme.  Sprinkle mixture over casserole.
  7. Bake casserole covered with aluminum foil for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until cheese is bubbling and Onion Crunch is browned.

* If cheese is added when mixture is too hot, the milk solids separate resulting in an undesirable grainy texture.


Posted by on March 23, 2013 in Entrees, Holiday, Uncategorized


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White and Green Bean Casserole

White and Green Bean Casserole

Here is a new twist to the classic holiday green bean casserole.  You can eat this any time of the year as I have added white beans in place of all the holiday guilt!

Servings: 9

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes (topping); 15 minutes



  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt


  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 12 oz fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed, and halved
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 (15oz) can S&W white beans, drained and rinsed


  1. Preheat oven to 475F.
  2. Combine topping ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to fully coat onions.
  3. Spread onions evenly on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  4. Cook until golden brown for ~30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 Tbsp. salt.  Add green beans and blanch for 5 minutes.  Strain beans through a colander and plunge into an ice bath to quickly stop cooking.  Once green beans are cooled, strain and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add flour and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes.  Slowly whisk in chicken broth.
  4. Add pepper, garlic, and nutmeg.  Continue heating over medium heat until sauce is smooth and has thickened.
  5. Reduce heat to low and stir in half-and-half.
  6. Add white beans and green beans to sauce mixture until heated through.
  7. Pour sauce mixture into a casserole dish and top with onions.
  8. Bake until bubbly, ~15 minutes.

White and Green Bean Casserole Label


Posted by on January 28, 2013 in Beans, Entrees, Holiday, Made from Scratch


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Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

This is a great snack and adds a nice spicy crunch to any salad.


  • 2 (14oz) cans S&W Garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Transfer chickpeas to a paper-towel lined cookie sheet to dry chickpeas as much as possible.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients.
  4. Transfer dried chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil then mix in the spice blend.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chickpeas are very crispy being careful not to burn.

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas Label

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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Appetizers, Beans, Holiday, Uncategorized


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Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers

Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 red peppers, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 2 green peppers, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey, browned and drained
  • 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 1 can S&W black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh sweet corn
  • 8oz medium-hot salsa
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided


  • cilantro
  • sour cream
  • avocado slices


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Place peppers on baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and roast for 20 minutes until softened.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Saute onions in remaining olive oil until soft, ~5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together turkey, taco seasoning, rice, beans, corn, salsa, and 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  4. Spoon mixture into peppers and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella on top.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until filling is heated through and cheese is melted on top.
  6. Serve with garnish on the side.
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Beans, Entrees, Holiday, Uncategorized


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Curried Garbanzo Bean Deviled Eggs

Curried Garbanzo Bean Deviled Eggs

Makes 24 deviled eggs


  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. green onion, minced
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup radishes, finely diced


  1. Cut eggs lengthwise and spoon out yolks.  In a blender, mix together egg yolks, garbanzo beans, mayo, lemon juice, green onion, and curry powder.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Transfer mixture to a zip-loc bag.  Cut the tip off the bag and pipe mixture into egg-whites.
  3. Garnish with minced parsley and radishes.
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Appetizers, Beans, Holiday, Uncategorized


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White Bean Deviled Eggs Pickled in Beet Juice

Beet Pickled Eggs

Why just color the outside shell of Easter eggs when you can paint the whole egg in vibrant beet juice! 


  • 2 large beets, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. coarse ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons prepared white horseradish
  • Chives


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Wrap beets in tinfoil and roast on a baking sheet until soft, ~45 minutes.  Cool, peel, and cut into 1 inch slices.
  2. In a saucepan, simmer vinegar, sugar, coriander, mustard, cloves, bay leaf, and sea salt for ~10 minutes.
  3. Place beets in a container and pour vinegar mixture over beets.  Allow to cool.  Cool and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Peel hard-boiled eggs, strain beet juice, and place eggs in juice until desired pink color is achieved.
  5. Cut eggs lengthwise, remove yolks and mix with remaining ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Fill mixture into a zip-loc bag and trim end.  Pipe egg mixture into egg-white shells.  Garnish with finely diced beets and chives.
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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Appetizers, Beans, Holiday, Uncategorized


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Game Day Queso Dip

Game Day Queso Dip

If you want to make queso dip, but can’t bring yourself to use Velveeta this is a great recipe for you.  If you can’t part with your Velveeta on game day, there’s a solution to that as well!

Makes 4-5 cups


  • 4 Tbsp. butter (omit if using Velveeta)
  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (omit if using Velveeta)
  • 2 cups 2% milk (omit if using Velveeta)
  • 2 cups heavy cream (omit if using Velveeta)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 16 oz Monterrey Jack Cheese (or Velveeta), coarsely grated
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (4oz) can diced jalapenos, drained
  • 2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. Bufalo brand chipotle sauce

Directions for non-Velveeta fans:

  1. Make a roux by heating butter and flour in a heavy skillet over medium heat, whisking constantly until it turns golden brown.  Whisk in milk and cream slowly.  Add diced red peppers.  Simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  2. While sauce is thickening, brown hamburger, and season according to taco packet directions.
  3. Once sauce has thickened, remove skillet from heat and whisk in cheese gradually.  Be sure not to add the cheese over heat as this will cause the milk solids to separate and the sauce will have a grainy texture.
  4. Once all the cheese has melted, mix in the remaining ingredients.  Season with salt and adjust heat to your likeness.
  5. Transfer to crockpot to keep warm.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Directions for Velveeta fans:

  1. Brown hamburger and season according to taco packet directions.
  2. Add all ingredients omitting the butter, flour, and milk to a crockpot over low heat.
  3. Stir occasionally until all cheese is melted and ingredients are incorporated.  Season with salt and adjust heat to your likeness.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Balsamic-Braised Pearl Onions

Balsamic-Braised Pearl Onions

8 Servings


  • 2 pounds pearl onions
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon golden brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds


1.  Blanch onions in boiling water 1 minute. Drain and place in ice bath to cool. Peel and trim, leaving core
2.  Saute onions over medium-high heat seasoning with salt and pepper until browned
3.  Bring broth, red wine, vinegar, and brown sugar to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
4.  Increase heat and boil until the onions are tender and the liquid is thickened, ~20 minutes.
5.  Fold creme fraiche into onions and simmer until the sauce coats the onions thickly, about 2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Note: Can be prepared up to Step 4 a day in advance.  Cover and chill and continue with Step 5 right before

Recipe adapted from “; Issue of Bon Appetit November 2007.”  Link to original recipe:

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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Holiday, Sides, Uncategorized


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Roasted Brussel Sprout and Apple Salad with Blue Cheese and Walnuts

Roasted Brussel Sprout and Apple Salad with Bleu Cheese and Walnuts

30 servings


  • 3 3/4 pounds small brussels sprouts, quartered through stem ends
  • 1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 9 large Honeycrisp apples, quartered, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese
  • 3 cups walnuts toasted, coarsely chopped
  • Radicchio leaves, for garnish


1.  Roast brussels sprouts on baking sheet drizzled with oil and salt and pepper.  Cool. Transfer to large bowl.
2.  Whisk vinegar and mayonnaise in bowl and gradually add oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
3.  Toss brussel sprouts with apples and toss with dressing.  Mix in blue cheese and walnuts.  Season to
4.  Line bowl with radicchio leaves and add salad.

Note: Brussel sprouts and dressing can be made 1 day ahead.

Recipe adapted from “; Issue of Bon Appetit December 1999.”  Link to original recipe:

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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Fall, Holiday, Sides, Uncategorized


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Sage Stuffing

Sage Stuffing

 8-10 Servings
  • 8 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 cups crumbled buttermilk corn bread
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup homemade turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

1.  Preheat oven to 325°F.
2.  Spread bread crumbs on baking sheet and dry out in oven for approximately 15 minutes.  Transfer to a large
bowl and stir in parsley, sage, salt, and pepper.
3.  Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat, add onions and cook until onions are softened, 8 to 10
minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with crumbs and toss well.
Add eggs, stock, and cream and toss well.
4.  Transfer stuffing to a buttered baking dish. Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake until browned,
about 30 minutes more.

Note: Stuffing can be assembled (but not baked) 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Recipe adapted from “; Issue of Gourmet November 2002; originally published November 1975.”  Link to original recipe:

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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Holiday, Sides, Uncategorized


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