I think I can say, without hesitation, that we all have favorite recipes that we tend to make again and again. We make them so often because, well, we like them. They are also easy, forgiving, comforting, crowd-pleasing, and something we can probably put together in our sleep, they are that familiar. So familiar in fact, that, perhaps, they are beginning to get a bit old and tired.
There is a remedy for this. What do we do when we start to look a bit old and tired? We perk things up, of course. Add something new, try something different, breathe life into the all too familiar. This same treatment can be given to recipes.
A long time family favorite in our house is Creamy Ham Towers. I don't know anyone who doesn't like it, adults and kids alike, so I like to prepare it. A lot. The other day I started thinking about how I could make this comforting and delicious, but rather shopworn recipe better. The trick was to make it different, but equally as good.
I kept things basically the same, but replaced the existing cheese with a combination of Fontina and Gruyere. I diced the ham smaller, replaced water with wine, used roasted red peppers instead of pimiento and, instead of serving it on patty shells, I served it on rye toast strips in individual dishes like a hot, knife-and-fork sandwich. It was delicious! Something new, but something comforting and familiar at the same time.
The next time you are looking for a new recipe, pull out an old one and “renew.” You'll have guaranteed success.
Creamed Ham with Two Cheeses
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon Jamieson Chicken Soup Base
1/2 cup grated gruyere
1/2 cup grated Fontina
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups fully cooked ham, cubed
1/3 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
2 tablespoons Melissa’s Fire Roasted Red Bell Peppers, diced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
4 slices rye bread, toasted
Melt butter; blend in flour. Add milk, wine, and soup base. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add cheeses, mustard, and Worcestershire; stir until cheese melts. Add ham, olives, red peppers, and parsley. Spoon over toast strips.
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