Honey Baked Ham

April 22, 2011

It’s not a holiday at our house without some kind of baked ham. With that said, we don’t normally have baked ham unless it’s a holiday :). Last year, I experimented baking our own honey baked ham at home to see whether it would really make a difference.  And yes it did! This ham did not disappoint. It was tender, juicy and full of flavor. I love how thew red pepper flakes added a little bit of tang to the sweetness of the honey glaze. Skip the store-bought ham, and try this one instead. While it takes time to make, it’s really worth the wait.

Recipe courtesy the Neely’s via Food Network

Ingredients

6 pounds bone-in ham
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a standard size roasting pan with aluminum foil, and place ham with rounded side up. Bake for an hour.

In the meantime, mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan, oven medium heat. Stir occasionally until it forms a thick glaze.

Use 1/2 of the glaze to coat the ham, and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. (If the glaze thickens up, let it heat back up for a few minutes until it reaches the consistency to coat).

Flip the ham, use the remaining 1/2 of the glaze, and finish baking for another hour.

Let stand for 30 minutes before slicing to serve.

Yield: 8 Servings

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Easy Banana Bread {Lightened Up}

April 5, 2011

As many of my readers probably know by now, I really love quick breads and eat them almost everyday (on the days that I don’t eat them, I get really grouchy). A few of my friends have asked me whether I have tried to make my banana bread lighter.  And the answer is yes, of course I have! I honestly don’t recall where the source of this recipe was, I have had this for over 15-years, but it is a lighter version of this Easy Banana Bread recipe that I posted earlier this year.

Of all of the other quick breads that I have made, this is the only version that I must say transformed beautifully into a “lighter” bread without losing its beautiful flavor and texture.  I substitute half of the butter with unsweetened apple sauce, use white wheat flour, omit the walnuts, and add a little bit more of mashed bananas into the mixture. Finally, I add a couple of tablespoons of dark chocolate chip morsels because dark chocolate has been said to be healthy! But feel free to omit those. The key here is to make sure that the bananas are very ripe; to ensure that they are tender and have excreted all of that sweet goodness. With this lighter version, I think I can have an extra slice! By the way, I’m absolutely in love with this cinnamon pecan streussel, so I added some for topping–and they were divine. Happy baking! 🙂

Source: Blissfully Delicious original

Ingredients
1-3/4 cups white wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup butter/margarine, softened
1/3 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cup mashed ripened bananas (make sure that the banana skin is almost black)
2 tablespoons of dark chocolate chip

Directions

Blend in everything, bake at 350 degree for an hour in a 10×4 pan or, in 2 loaves of 8×3.

Yield: 8 servings per loaf.


Slow Cooker Smothered Pork Chops

April 2, 2011

I’m always on the lookout for a new delicious dish that can be prepared in a slow-cooker. My weekly recipe rotation consists of one slow-cooker dish; and I don’t know about you guys, but I need variety!!! Trust me, I understand first hand how difficult it is to get a nice dinner on the table during the week where we seem to be on the race against time. This recipe is attractive to me because I have never cooked pork chops in a slow cooker before; and it also uses bone-in blade cut pork chops.


This dish requires a little bit of prep time in the beginning but I promise you that the end result is worth it. I also don’t have time in the mornings to prepare my slow cooker, therefore I prepare everything the night before, cover the slow cooker insert with the lid, and leave in the refrigerator overnight. That way, I can just put the insert into the slow cooker in the morning and turn it on, which only takes two minutes. These pork chops were fork-tender, melt-in your mouth delicious, with gravy that was equally rich and decadent, without being too heavy. Finally, I love how beautiful the final product was. We enjoyed this with another household favorite Mustard Roasted Potatoes, but I think they’re great with hot egg noodles, rice pilaf, or mashed potatoes. Yum! I will be making this again very soon. Happy cooking!

Adapted from The Best of American Test Kitchen 2008

Ingredients
4 slices bacon, chopped fine
Vegetable oil if necessary
6 bone-in blade-cut pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and Pepper
3 onions, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick (I used my mini food processor to do this)
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Directions
Fry the bacon in a skillet until they are crisp. Transfer bacon to paper-towel lined plate, and leave the bacon fat in the skillet. Refrigerate the bacon.

Meanwhile, pat the pork chops with paper towel until they are dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the bacon fat until it smoking. Fry 3 chops at a time, about 3 minutes on each sides until they are golden brown. Then transfer to the slow cooker insert. Repeat process with remaining chops.

Pour off all but 1 tsp of bacon fat from the skillet; add onions, 1 tsp light brown sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 cup water to the now-empty skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits from the pan and cook over medium high heat until the onions are soft, approximately 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds.

Pour this mixture into the slow cooker insert over the pork chops. Add broth, soy sauce, and remaining 1 tbsp brown sugar to the skillet, bring to a boil and add the bay leaves. Pour the mixture in the slow cooker.

Cover the slow cooker, and cook either on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

When ready to serve, reheat the bacon in a large saute pan until crisp. Transfer bacon to a small bowl. Slowly, transfer the pork chops into a large platter, and tent the plate with an aluminum foil. Remove bay leaves from the crock pot, and pour the liquid through mesh strainer into a large saucepan.

Transfer the solids into a blender along with 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and blend until smooth. Stir back into the remaining liquid in the saucepan. Mix the cornstarch and remaining 2 tbsp water together in a small bowl and stir into the sauce. Cook over medium heat for approximately 8 minutes.

Add vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chops and sprinkle with bacon and parsley. Serve.

Yield: 6