cooking: stove top mac and cheese

There were still ham leftovers and I was craving for some mac and cheese all day in the office so dinner was definitely going to be mac and cheese, someway, somehow.


CHOW had this recipe for Stove Top Mac and Cheese. I followed everything exactly and my only addition was 2-3 cups of diced, cooked ham.

This dish completely blew my mind. Not just because it tasted great, but also because the following day when I brought leftovers for lunch, I heated it up in the microwave and it was still creamy! Never have I had leftover mac and cheese that wasn’t dried up and just as enjoyable (if not close to enjoyable) as it was when it was freshly made.

This one is definitely a keeper!

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cooking: ham & potato bake


Since I had a ton of leftovers from the ham, I wanted to make a dish using those leftovers. I also had a bag of russet potatoes, so a casserole or bake of some sort came into mind.

I would have attempted a gratin if I only had a mandoline…birthday gift anyone? Haha…I kid…

Again, I kinda used two different recipes and combined different bits and pieces of the two.

Ham & Potato Casserole/Bake
Adapted from Mother’s Ham Casserole and Hearty Ham Casserole

3 medium sized russet potatoes, diced (I think I used three…)
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 medium to large sized carrots, chopped
1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
2 cups cooked ham, cubed
7 tablespoons butter, split into 1 tbsp portions
1/3 cup ap flour
1 3/4 cups milk
8 – 12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup gorgonzola crumbles
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once there, I tossed in the potatoes and cooked for about 15 minutes. Next, I heated a skillet on medium heat with the butter, then added the onions, celery, and carrots. Saute for a couple minutes until onions become soft. Add the flour, little by little…you want to make a roux and cook off the raw taste of the flour.

Take the milk and slowly pour it into the mixture, little by little, making sure to stir the mixture constantly. Once all the milk has been mixed in, add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Turn off the heat once the mixture has thickened.

When 15 minutes pass, drain the potatoes and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the ham cubes to the potato, followed by the sauce. Use a spatula to mix everything together.

Once evenly mixed, pour the mixture into a buttered 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Toss in the oven for 25 minutes. After 25, take out the dish, spread the mozzarella and gorgonzola, bake for an addition 5 or until melted. Remove from oven, let cool, enjoy.

Mozzarella and gorgonzola was okay on the bake. I woulda preferred gruyere but it was last minute and I just kinda used what I had in the fridge.

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merry christmas!

This post was originally intended to have a picture of Christmas cookies/treats made by my friend’s girlfriend. He brought in a ridiculous amount of treats to the office on Monday…and the next day when I wanted to take a photo of the treats, they were all eaten…

Thanks for the treats Tom & Ally, they were delicious…and put me beyond my necessary sugar intake for the week…in a single day hahaha.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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cooking: pineapple-chipotle glazed ham

This is the cover of Saveur’s December 2008 issue:


from Saveur.com

My previous ham bakes/roasts have been alright, really nothing to write home about. So this time, I really wanted to make an extra effort to make this one better than my previous attempts. When I came across this issue at the bookstore, I knew that I wanted to make my ham look identical to the one on the front page.

Zarela Martinez’s Pineapple-Chipotle Glazed Ham

For this recipe, I used a shank end city ham from the supermarket. Probably not the best kind…it was one that you get free from purchasing a lot of items during the holiday season. I basically followed the recipe exactly, no additions or omissions of ingredients.

This came out very well. The glaze was delicious as was the ham. I had tons of leftovers after dinner which I used for more dishes (posts to come).


it kinda looks like a pig head haha

Definitely recommend this recipe! Thanks Saveur and Zarela Martinez!

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cooking: chicken marsala


I never recall having chicken marsala. Last week since I had some chicken breasts and leftover Marsala wine, I figured, “why not? let’s make some chicken marsala tonight.”

Since I’ve never made it before I did some googling and found two recipes which I kinda combined together…

Chicken Marsala
Adapted from Allrecipes and Epicurious

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded until 1/4″ thick
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1/2 stick butter (approx. 4 tablespoons)
1 cup flour (might have used more, don’t remember)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup Sherry wine
1/3 – 2/3 cup half and half
1 lb. button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

First, I mixed together the flour, oregano, salt & pepper (eyeball the salt and pepper). Dry the breasts and then dredge them in the flour until well coated and shake off excess.

Next, I heated a dutch oven (a large skillet should work fine too) over medium heat with the butter and oil. Once hot, I placed the chicken in and browned for about 3-4 minutes on each side. You may have to do this in portions (depending on your pan size). Add the mushrooms. Next, I poured in the Sherry and Marsala, deglazing the pan and making sure all the stuck browned goodness gets scraped off the bottom and sides of the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce until about 1/4 of the liquid is gone. Place your half and half in next and stir until well incorporated.

Adjust heat to medium/medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked to 165­°. Make sure you add salt and pepper during the simmering. Tasting the sauce to your liking.

Once cooked, I served it over linguine.

Verdict: It came out well (I think). Since I don’t have any previous experiences with chicken marsala, it’s hard to compare what I made to how it should be. The only con was the sauce. It tasted just right in the pan, and once I poured it out over the noodles, the noodles took away a lot thus making the sauce seemed a tad on the bland side. I also think that the sauce should have been a little thicker than it was.

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