Hot Ham Dips on Homemade Slider Buns

I hope everyone has fared well from Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy. It looks like she did quite a bit of damage in some areas.  We had lots of wind and rain. And rain….and rain.  I thought we were about out of the woods, when I noticed how much standing water we had in our yard.  And then one of the toilets wouldn’t flush. Then we discovered standing water in our detached garage.  To make a long story short, our septic system was starting to back up.  So, I packed up the kids and dog, and headed inland to the parentals.  No way was I going to stay in a house with non-functioning toilets and 3 kids. So anyway, I’m posting from my parents. Who just got internet service back…what did we do prior to the internet?!  So, now that everyone’s mind is in the sewer….let’s re-direct shall we?!
Seriously, go to your happy place, b/c these sandwiches deserve your full not-influenced-by-sewage-talk attention!  They were delicious!
This is yet another recipe by Plain Chicken. I love her recipes b/c they are so easy, and kid-friendly.  French dip sandwiches are a favorite of mine, so I was intrigued by the use of ham instead.  Let me tell ya, it is a great variation!

Hot Ham Dips

slightly adapted from Plain Chicken
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 tsp garlic powder
6 pretzel slider buns or 4 ciabatta rolls, split *I used homemade buns, recipe below

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound thinly sliced ham
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef consommé or beef broth *I used a packet of Charlie’s Pride Au Jus mix
1/2 tsp garlic powder *I omitted

In a small bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Add 1 tsp garlic powder.
Place rolls on a baking sheet; brush cut sides with garlic butter.

Sprinkle with cheese. Broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

In a large saucepan, combine broth consommé and 1/2 tsp garlic powder mix Au Jus according to package directions (you just add water!); bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.

Place ham into beef consommé and garlic Au Jus. Heat ham for 30-60 seconds, until slightly warm.  Using tongs, place ham on rolls. Serve sandwiches with remaining broth for dipping.

And check out my cute little buns! (In my dreams. haha)
These also come together pretty quickly, and are SO good.
Speedy Slider Buns 
*adapted from here
  1. 2 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
  2. 1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Warm Water
  3. 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  4. 1/4 Cup Sugar
  5. 1 Egg *or egg replacer; I used Ener-G
  6. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  7. 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the oil and sugar, and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
  • Add the egg replacer, salt, and 3 1/2 cups of flour.  Combine until it forms a soft dough. Add the additional 1/4 cup of flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands (if you need a little more, that is okay too). Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes or so.
  • Divide the dough into 16 pieces, shape each into a small, thick disc (about the size of a biscuit – a regular not a Grands!) and place them on silicone mat lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  
  • Preheat oven to 425ºF. Lightly cover the balls of dough and let them rest for about 10 minutes (or longer if you wish).
  • Pop them in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Verdict? As I said, these are DELISH! Everyone loved them. Mr. Three, of course, had his without ham, and garlic butter.  So, yes, he had a plain roll, with plain rolled up ham on the side. Don’t ask. These are definitely a keeper, and will be made again soon.  They made a great dinner, but would also be great for parties!

 

Speaking of parties, I’m linking up with these!  Naptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxIt’s a Blog PartyWeiner Tales33 Shades of GreenBlessed with GraceSimply Sugar and Gluten FreeOur Delightful Home, Adorned from Above, Lady Behind the Curtain, Tessa the Domestic Diva, Ginger Snap Crafts, The Newlyweds

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Blueberry Lime Salsa

I’ve been a little more adventurous of late with the food combinations I have been willing to try.  I have pretty much been alone in this endeavor since my children have zero sense of adventure when it comes to eating new things.  (Unless they are covered in chocolate.  But even I could not add chocolate to this.)  Now, if you want to see if they will use an air mattress as a launching pad (even though they have been told repeatedly not too); or use snow boards on the slip ‘n slide; or combine several items of makeup together for their own personal ‘makeover’ from hell then I would say their spirit of adventure is alive and well.  But ask them to try something new that involves a vegetable….not so much.  All I can say is, their loss.  (And if anyone out there is an animal trainer, I could probably use a few pointers, since as I type, the kids sound like they have the Wild Kingdom plus WW III going on in the next room.)

At least I can look at this.  So pretty!  And yes, it is a little odd to see beautiful red strawberries and blueberries mixed in with cilantro and red onion.  But give it a go, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Blueberry Lime Salsa

recipe from How Sweet Eats
1 cup fresh blueberries

5 medium strawberries

1/4 red onion

1 teaspoon lime zest

juice of two limes

1/3 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 avocado, chopped (I omitted)

salt and pepper to taste

Combine blueberries, strawberries, onion, lime zest, juice and cilantro in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until you reach desired consistency. Add salt and pepper if desired. If using avocado, fold in now.  I ate mine with tortilla chips, but had the intentions of adding it to shrimp or fish tacos.  It just didn’t last long enough!
I will not even mention what my kids said this looked like.
*sigh* Just eat it!

‘Lightened Up’ Apple & Snicker Bar Salad

This is one of those dishes that isn’t really ‘pretty’, but taste oh soooo yummy! I was wondering if anyone would notice the apples in yesterday’s What was it Wednesday! I saw versions of this all over the web, and first spotted it somewhere on Pinterest.  Since I sorta winged this when I made it, I don’t have any particular person to give credit to.
 For Mother’s Day, I decided I wanted needed a lighter dessert, but it still had to have chocolate. (duhhh!)  This fit the bill, and would be great all during the summer.  Speaking of, today is supposed to be 90 degrees with 93% humidity.  Yep, bring on the hot sticky NC weather!
Lightened Up Apple & Snicker Bar Salad (it seems odd to call this a salad)
4 Apples of choice (I used Granny Smith and Pink Lady)
4 regular size Snicker Bars*
1 tub of Sugar Free Cool Whip (regular size, not large)
1 small box of Vanilla Sugar Free/Fat Free pudding**
1 cup skim milk (optional – see notes)
*I used Almond Snicker Bars b/c I can’t eat peanuts
Chop apples into bite size pieces.  You can dip them in lemon juice to prevent browning, but they are going to be covered in cool whip so it doesn’t really matter.  If you are going to pre-cut your apples like I did, you may want to do this just so they don’t look all yucky (technical cooking term).  Chop your candy bars into small bite size pieces.  This is easier if you have them nice and chilled.
In a large bowl, add your container of Cool Whip and your pudding (see notes). Fold in your apples, and candy bar pieces (reserving a few to sprinkle on top if desired.)  Chill for about an hour (not really necessary if you are in a time crunch).
**NOTES:  Learn from my experience….if you buy the SF/FF INSTANT pudding – you need to add 1 cup milk to your pudding mix first.  Mix it together and then add to your Cool Whip.  If you buy the SF/FF Cook and Serve pudding, you can just add that to your Cool Whip.
Oh yeah, and I chopped up a few Hershey’s Miniatures too, b/c it didn’t seem like enough chocolate. But it’s rare that I feel like I have enough chocolate. and it was Mother’s Day and all.
You can play around with the recipe and use whatever flavor pudding and fruits you like.
I also made an apple/strawberry version with chocolate pudding! I skipped the candy bars to reduce the calories, but it would be awesome with them! My girls love this.

I’m going to link this recipe up with these fab linky parties – The Newlyweds, It’s a Keeper, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, A Little Nosh, Talking Dollars and Cents, Eat at Home

Margarita Cake

I’ve mentioned that I made a Margarita Cake for Easter, and wanted to share the recipe.  It was really good, and it starts with a cake mix!

Margarita Cake

slightly adapted from the Cake Mix Doctor

  • Cake: 
  • Cooking spray, for misting the pan
  • Flour, for dusting the pan
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow or lemon cake mix (I used lemon)
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix (I used fat free, sugar free instant pudding)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime or Key lime juice
  • ¼ cup tequila
  • 2 tablespoons triple sec orange liqueur 
  • 1 teaspoon  tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • Glaze:
  • 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • 1 tablespoon triple sec orange liqueur 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or Key lime juice
  • 3-4 drops Orange NuStevia (optional)
  • 2-3 drops of Lemon NuStevia (optional)
  • 1 lime, cut into thin slices (I omitted)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons coarse sugar (I omitted)
  •  
  • Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the cake mix, pudding mix, sugar, water, oil, 1/3 cup lime juice, ¼ cup tequila, 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, lime zest and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are combined, abt 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix on medium speed for 1½ minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look smooth and thick. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula, and place the pan in the oven.
  2. Bake the cake until the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 42 to 47 minutes. Transfer the Bundt pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edges of the cake, shake the pan gently, and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, about 25 minutes longer.  (My cake pulled away from the sides as it cooled and I didn’t need to run a knife along the sides of the pan.  It came out easily, unlike this one! My cake also fell some.  ALL my cakes fall…I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!)
  3. Meanwhile, make the glaze: Place the confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon tequila, 1 tablespoon orange liqueur, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and the lemon and orange Stevia drops in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Slide the cake onto a serving plate. Using a long wooden skewer poke 12 to 16 holes in the top of the cake. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Garnish the cake with the lime slices and a sprinkling of coarse sugar. Let the glaze set for 10 minutes, then slice and serve the cake.
Verdict – This cake was all I hoped it would be….dense and moist like a pound cake, with a nice citrus flavor.  The glaze was delicious and really complimented and added to the flavor of the cake.  The new flavored stevia extracts from NuNaturals are amazing!  Very intense flavor.  I can’t wait to try them in different recipes. (Review & Giveaway coming!)  I only tasted a hint of Tequila in the glaze, and I think that is just because I knew it was there.  It could be left out if you prefer, or increased if you want to intensify the flavor.  (If you add more liquid, you may need to add more confectioner’s sugar,depending on the consistency of the glaze.)  Overall, this is a perfect dessert for spring/summer and is going in the ‘keeper file’!
 
 

I’m linking this recipe up with Homemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, A Southern Fairytale, Skip to my Lou, The Girl Creative,  All the Small Stuff, Tasty Tuesdays, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday @ For The Love Of Blogs,Blue Cricket Design,Ginger Snap CraftsLady Behind the Curtain, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, A Little Nosh, Simply Delish, It’s a Keeper, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo, Simple Living with Diane Balch, Around My Family Table,  Just us FourSix Sisters’ Stuff, The Sweet Details for Savory Sunday; Finding Joy in my Kitchen (Ingredient Spotlight: Citrus)