You may notice a trend here at A Blog About Food. Most posts will be clean and healthy, since that it how we strive to eat in our home. And then every once and a while I post a not so healthy recipe like this when I hit a "healthy brick wall" and lose my freaking mind.
I've been asked a few times what I miss the most since eating healthier. While it seems natural to say things like "chocolate, cake or french fries," what I have missed more than all of those things is CHEESE. Cheddar, Mozzarella, Havarti, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Brie, to name only a few. I am a total cheese head and I LOVES my cheese.
So, during Christmas, whilst I was on my brief healthy eating hiatus (I refuse to use the word diet, it's a lifestyle, right?) I made these potatoes. We had a ton of ham leftover and this was the perfect thing.
The tangy and delicious flavor is actually inspired by my blog buddy Kim at Stirring the Pot. She talks often about her love for mustard, and has even featured an amazing Dragon Ale mustard cheese from Whole Foods, which I now purchase every Christmas. While I was making the potatoes I felt the sauce was a bit bland and definitely needed a kick. In goes the rest of that creamy Dragon Ale cheese, along with a couple tablespoons of yellow mustard and we were all in cheesy, hammy (it's a word), heaven. Thanks Kim, your love for mustard saved our meal!
Ham and Potatoes
Adapted from Cooking Light June 2005 (see, it's Cooking Light, not too bad, right?)
2 teaspoons butter
1 medium onion (about 5 1/2 ounces), thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
6 ounces extra shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups), divided (or Dragon Ale mustard cheese if you have it)
1-2 tablespoons yellow or Dijon mustard, to taste
6 ounces diced ham (about 1 1/4 cups)
3 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
Preheat oven to 350°.
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Combine milk, salt, pepper, and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan. Bring to a simmer; cook until slightly thick (about 2 minutes), stirring frequently. Add 4 ounces cheese, mustard and ham, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in potatoes.
Place the potato mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle potato mixture with remaining 2 ounces of cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until lightly browned and potatoes are tender. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
What I'm Reading
Technically I'm not reading this, I read it a few months ago, but even if I'd read it a few years ago, I'd be completely remiss not to share it with as many people as possible. It's easily one of the best books I've ever read.
Usually after a read a book, I smile, close the book, and start thinking about my next one right away. This was one of those books that I closed and then sat on the couch for about fifteen minutes absorbing the amazingness that was this book. I then had to get online and find any extra info, photos or interviews that I could.
Whether you are a WWII buff or not, read this book. It follows the life of Louis Zamperini from childhood, into the war, and then his life after the war. It is gripping, intense, inspiring and so touching. His experience as a bombardier, fighting on the Pacific side are just incredible. I also loved learning more about what happened in Japan during the war, where most of my WWII books are centered around the Holocaust.
Read it, and then let me know so we can cyber-highfive about how great this book is.