We all need something to put the steam in our engine for the entire day, so I encourage everyone to try this to give you powerful protein-filled strength tomorrow morning.
The term “cordon bleu” refers to the highest rank of knights instituted by King Henri III of France in 1578. These knights wore a sash of blue to distinguish themselves and this simple breakfast will bolster you with all the fortitude of which those cordon bleu knights ever dreamed.
In just five minutes you can strengthen you day with these few ingredients:
- one egg, whisked
- 2 oz. diced grilled chicken breast
- 2 oz. diced cooked ham
- 1 oz. diced or shredded Swiss cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish with fresh spinach
Get a small skillet and pour a whisper of olive oil in and get the heat going until little ripples can be seen in the oil. Add your meats. Get them good and warm. Add the egg and the cheese and scramble it all together until the eggs are set. Shut the flame and let the heat of the pan gently melt the Swiss cheese. Stir in a tiny pat of butter to finish and tumble it all onto your plate and season to taste.
This is one of those dishes with that great idiot-proof factor. No matter your cooking skills, this one can be done on the fly with nothing but the tastiest of results. If ham, or meat for that matter, isn’t your thing, play around. Use mushrooms and onions. Try beef or veal. You can’t go wrong. Don’t like cheese? Use roasted peppers and garlic. What ever you choose, you will have a blue ribbon winning breakfast and the energy of the highest appointed knight to fuel your morning.
The crowning moment of a leftover’s existence is winding up in a casserole. I call this one Casserole Cordon Bleu. I wasn’t raised during the Great Depression or anything but my mother was, and my grandmother was raising her during that very difficult time. As a result I’ve also been raised to not let food go to waste. It is in my blood to use everything while it is still good and I think we’ve gotten to the last of that 14 lb ham…FINALLY. Many a sliced ham sandwich was eaten but there were several other more creative dishes in the mix that contained ham to break up the monotony. This one allowed the ham to go out in style.
- 1 lb penne rigate pasta
- 2 and 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 finely diced onion
- 2 chicken breasts baked, cooled and cubed (reserve the juice)
- 1 cup cubed cooked ham (you could substitute corned beef)
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup bread crumbs made with French bread
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
- salt to taste
First, boil the pasta in salted water 10 or 12 minutes to al’ dente and drain. In the pot pour in the 2 cups milk and cream, garlic powder, pepper, and onion and bring to a boil. Add the cheeses and stir until it thickens and becomes smooth and turn off the heat. Salt to taste (this is a basically an Alfredo sauce). Preheat oven to 350°. Add drained pasta back into the pot and and coat well. Add the juice of the baked chicken, the chicken and ham, the chopped spinach, and fold it all together. Turn it all into a 13″ x 9″ glass or ceramic casserole dish. I had a bit of Swiss cheese left so I sprinkled some on top.
In the processor, pulse a hand size chunk (which makes about 1 cup of crumbs or you could also use panko crumbs) of French bread until it is fine crumbs. Dump them into a bowl (I used the foil I covered the chicken with as my bowl) add the olive oil, parsley flakes, and a pinch of salt and toss it together with your fingertips. Sprinkle this evenly over the top of the pasta mixture and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are toasty and the casserole is bubbling.
Now this really didn’t seem a bad way for the rest of our ham to make its last meal. I’m almost sure I could have survived the Great Depression with as many meals as this huge piece of meat provided…plus, it was free and this dish contains all the four food groups. This ham kept well, and kept us well fed, but Heaven help me if I have to eat another bite of the stuff before next Spring!
So the hammy saga continues. We’ve had spiral sliced ham in, on, and around everything we’ve eaten these past few days, and there is still so darn much ham I feel like it will come out my ears soon. Today, I used about a pound of it to make something that was pleasant change from sliced ham…ham salad. I made this in the food processor with a chunk of ham from the end where the spiral slicing machine didn’t slice. I guess because of the knobby part of the bone it won’t slice down that far but that left me with a good solid pound of it to use for this spreadable ham salad
I cut it up into smaller chunks and put it into the processor with about 1/2 cup mayonnaise, a pickle spear, a few Spanish style olives, a few slices of pickled jalapeno pepper, a pinch of pepper and garlic powder, and a splash or two of the pickle juice to help it move around while processing. In a pretty glass dish, I garnished it with paprika and fresh parsley and let everyone serve themselves.
I was amazed at how fast it disappeared. Since it didn’t look like sliced ham any more, I guess it was more appealing to make a sandwich of it or snack on some atop savory crackers. Either way, it tasted pretty good…for yet another thing made with ham.
At Christmas, a traditional meal is usually centered around a large feast-worthy piece of meat. Some prepare a Christmas goose. Some choose a turkey, but since I already did that at Thanksgiving, I made this feast around a good ham. This won’t exactly be for Christmas because we are usually on the road during the actual holiday but since this day is a day that might have been the last according to the Mayans (now discovered to be disproved by a more recent archaeological mural finding), we wished to celebrate just being lucky to be alive!
Not only should we celebrate the good fortune that the Mayan prediction didn’t have all the information uncovered until today, but this lovely Farmland ham was a door prize my husband won at his department’s Christmas/Holiday party. It weighed about as much as my two daughters weighed at birth combined…14 lbs. Another gift was a butternut squash a friend gave us that for a while I’ve been looking for a way to prepare. It was used as a part of a cornucopia decoration during the Thanksgiving holiday and even though it showed no signs of age I thought that we should eat the darn thing lest it outlive us. Besides I thought this this free vitamin rich vegetable would go well with our free but protein and iron rich ham. A bag of frozen green beans and some easy instant mashed potatoes on the side made the five of us a feast fit for a king.
This ham was fully cooked and spiral cut so tying it together with a little cotton string, heating, and glazing it at the end was about all there was to do to prepare it. I put the ham in a roasting pan loosely tented in foil paper and put it in the oven which I didn’t even need to preheat. I set it at 275° and left it alone for three hours. An hour before the ham was done, I sliced the squash right down the middle, removed the seeds and placed each half on the rack on either side of the roasting ham. After that last hour of cooking the ham and the squash, I shut off the oven and let them rest in there for another 15 minutes. The ham came with a glaze packet you heat in the microwave and pour on top in the end so I did that, quickly whipped up some mashed potatoes, steamed the green beans, and it all came together with very little effort.
This meal could have easily been prepared for at least a dozen people! A 14 lb ham with just one bone through it makes a whole lot of servings. I’m sure a few more ham leftover recipes will ensue. It sure is a good thing the world didn’t come to an end today!