Ham and Biscuit Ring – Perfect End to a Holiday Ham

In my paternal grandmother’s notebook she kept for her cook was the following recipe written in her hand.  The notebook no doubt dates from the 20s’ and 30s’ since she died in 1941.

Ham Biscuit Ring

  • Put through the food grinder (you can use a Cuisinart but don’t get the meat too fine) 1 lb cooked ham.
  • Add ham to your favorite rich biscuit recipe, adding an extra teaspoon of baking powder to the mix.
  • Bake in well-greased ring mold until done – in moderate oven (350)
  • Turn out on hot platter and fill the center with hot buttered peas.
  • Surround with peach halves filled with ground nut meats, brown sugar and butter having been glazed on a cookie sheet in the oven (375).

Homemade Thin Crust Pizza

I adopted my recipe for pizza crust from the 1956 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. I prefer the “thin crust” this recipe calls for over the thicker crusts many folks love. I use Betty’s recipe for the dough, but I’ll top the pizza with whatever I want.

I’ve made pizzas from this recipe quite a few times now & we had enjoyed them so much, that my wife suggested that we do a “pizza night” each week. I don’t know if we’ll do it every week, as it does take several hours from start to finish. Save this recipe for another day if you want to be eating pizza in half an hour.

But if you do have the time, it’s well worth the effort. And if you’ve got kids, I know they’ll like helping build their own “pie”. The beauty of this recipe is you can top it any way you like it!!

DOUGH PREPARATION:

Dissolve 1/2 TSP. active dry yeast in 3/4 cup plus 2 TBSP. warm water (110° – 115°)

Blend in 3 – 3 1/4 cups sifted flour to make a stiff dough.

Knead on a lightly floured surface. Place in greased bowl. Turn to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (about 85°) until doubled in size (about 2 hrs.)

Divide into two parts. Roll each part until it’s about 12″ in diameter (1/8″ thick). You can roll the edge of the crust to make a stand up ridge if you like. (There’s no reason you couldn’t divide the dough again and make four individual pizzas.)

So it doesn’t stick, sprinkle a little corn meal on your pizza pan, pizza stone or baking sheet before you put the crust on it. (Don’t have a round pan? Roll the pizza dough into two 14″ x 10″ rectangles instead.) Now comes the fun part….

ADDING THE TOPPINGS:

Here’s where you get to be creative! You can add what ever toppings you like! There’s virtually no limit to the different combinations you can come up with.

Start off by adding a favorite sauce. You can use regular tomato sauce and add some Italian herbs or purchase a pre-made pizza sauce. Sometimes, I like using BBQ sauce in place of the tomato sauce. Ranch dressing is also an option or experiment with some different kinds of sauces. Sometimes I’ll use a very light coating of olive oil on the crust instead of a sauce.*

* When applying the sauce or oil, keep it about 1 inch away from the edge of crust so it doesn’t burn. Also, try to completely cover the sauce with your toppings. This helps keep the sauce from burning near the edge of the pizza.

Here's Pizza#1 after it finished baking. Pizza #2 didn't come out quite as round!
See below for what the pizzas were topped with.

Now it’s time to add your favorite toppings. Just to give you an idea of what kind of combos are possible, here’s what I loaded on my two pizzas last night:

PIZZA #1:

I brushed the crust with a very light layer of olive oil. Then I added chopped turkey breast, chopped mushrooms, chopped broccoli, Monterey Jack cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese,  oregano, basil & rosemary. Topped it off with chopped green onions when it came out of the oven.

PIZZA #2:

I brushed the crust with a nice thick layer of my favorite BBQ sauce. Then I added cooked hamburger meat, chopped onions, chopped garlic, sliced olives, extra sharp cheddar cheese & oregano.

BAKING:

Bake at 425° for about 18 -20 minutes or so. Watch closely, as edge of crust will burn quickly. Pizzas cooked on a “stone” tend to be done a little sooner. Edge of crust will be crunchy.

Bake only one pizza at a time. I usually prepare the second pizza while the first one is in the oven. Makes about 6 -8 servings. Hope you enjoy!

posted by Mountain Republic

Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

Here’s a quick & easy recipe for old fashioned rice pudding. As you probably know, all my recipes are quick & easy or I wouldn’t be cooking it! Here we go:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 TSP. salt
  • 1 TSP. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 -1/2 cups milk
  • ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°

In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients, except cinnamon.  Mix well.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle top with cinnamon.

Put baking dish in a pan of hot water in the oven and bake for about 1-1/2 hours or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Can be served warm or cold. Top it with some whipped cream if you like. Enjoy!

recipe by Mountain Republic

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

This may just be one of my favorite dinners. Forget about that stuff in a box they call “The Cheesiest”.  This dish is made the old-fashioned way – with REAL cheese. And the sharper the cheese, the better! I like using Extra Sharp Cheddar for this recipe, but just about any kind of cheese that melts will work just fine.

This dish can easily be altered to fit your family’s own tastes. Some cooked ground beef or sausage, chopped vegetables etc. can be added to give this recipe a little variety.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup buttered fresh bread crumbs* (if desired)

Preparation:

Boil macaroni in salted water. Rinse with cold water and drain well.

Cover the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with layer of cooked macaroni, a layer of shredded cheese, bits of butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Continue making layers until all the ingredients are used, ending with a cheese layer on top.

Whisk the milk, egg & cayenne together and pour over the top. Cover with buttered bread crumbs, if desired.

Bake in a 350° oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

*An easy way to make fresh bread crumbs is to process 2 slices of bread in a food processor, mix in 2 to 3 teaspoons of butter and you’re done.

posted by Mountain Republic

Fresh Blackberry Cobbler

Where I live in the mountains of California, blackberries are like an invasive weed. Many folks spend a good portion of time each year trying to eradicate the persistent plant from their property, fighting a good battle, but eventually losing the war.

All that’s mostly forgotten around this time of year, when the blackberries are ready to harvest. Head out into the forest & you’ll find a healthy patch of blackberries growing alongside just about any dirt road or near any damp, shady spot like a creek. Berry patches cover the entrances to many old mines around here.

We like to go hiking along old logging roads. Blackberries grow abundantly along the edges of these now seldom used roads. On our return trip, we’ll pick a gallon of berries to take home. Once home, we wash & drain the berries well. What we don’t use for that night’s cobbler, we will freeze and use later.

The following is my Grandmother’s recipe for Fresh Blackberry Cobbler:

Ingredients & directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a saucepan, add:

  • 3 cup fresh or fresh frozen blackberries (washed & drained)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Bring to a boil for about a minute or until it starts to thicken a bit, stirring constantly. Pour the hot berry mixture into a 1 – 1/2 quart baking dish. Top with bits of butter. Dust with cinnamon is desired.

Measure & sift together:

  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 – 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Add to flour mixture:

  • 3 tbsp. soft shortening

(Mix in shortening with a pastry knife or fork until the mixture has the appearance & consistency  of “meal”)

Add to flour mixture & stir until mixed:

  • 1/2 cup milk

Drop spoonfuls of the topping mixture on top of the hot berries until covered.

Bake until golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes. Serve warm, with cream if desired.

posted by Mountain Republic                                                    recipe by Amy Chenevert