Monthly Archives: December 2019

Scalloped potatoes for two

Peg and I don’t eat a whole lot at a time, and we’re headed away for holiday, so I needed to make a small batch of scalloped potatoes for dinner. We always add ham, and I had one on hand.

  • Two medium potatoes
  • 3 T butter, divided
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 C milk
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 C cubed ham

Peel and pare the potatoes thinly.

Melt the butter and flour to form a roux, cooking slightly. Whisk in the milk, add salt and pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Spread 1T butter around the inside of a one-quart casserole.

Place a thin layer of white sauce in the bottom of the casserole. Alternate adding potatoes, cubed ham, and white sauce to fill the casserole.

Cover with foil and bake at 350F For 50 minutes. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes…

We like to serve ham and green beans with it.

Meatballs: ’tis the season, right?

Peggy signed us up for meatballs for the annual W1GZ Holiday Party. W1GZ is the call sign for the Montachusett Amateur Radio Club. Peggy and I are both hams.

So, anyway, Peg did a search and found “The World’s Best Meatballs” from a clever lady named Kristen. Well, never one to leave well enough alone, we slightly modified the recipe ( we wanted a less “Italian” meatball than Kristen was offering) by removing the Parmesan cheese and the garlic, and opting for half beef/half pork in the meat department.

Herewith, I guess we can call them “John’s Best Meatballs”, because they did turn out quite nicely. In fact, I’m doing this post as someone asked for the recipe!

Preheat oven to 450F and grease a large rimmed cookie sheet.

  • 1 # ground pork
  • 1 # ground beef
  • 1/2 C breadcrumbs (I used panko)
  • 1/4 C milk (any %)
  • 1/4 C chopped parsley
  • 1 C beef broth, divided (1/4 C in meatballs)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1 t oregano (one might argue removing this would make it even less “Italian”)
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all but the ground meats in a large bowl, mixing well to form the panade, which will bind the meatballs.

Add the meats and mix until just combined, but not over mixed, which can toughen the meat texture.

Portion and roll meatballs about 1″ in diameter, spacing them closely on the cookie sheet. I use a small portioning scoop to make the work go faster and get better consistency than I manage on my own.

Pour the remaining 3/4 C of beef broth in the cookie sheet, and bake the meatballs for about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.

The Hawaiian Meatball conclusion

This recipe came from Taste of Home and called for frozen store-bought meatballs, but hey, we can make those, right?

  • 1 20 ounce can unsweetened pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 C cornstarch
  • 1/2 C cider vinegar
  • 2 green peppers, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 10 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1 recipe of “John’s Best Meatballs”
  • salt and pepper to taste

Reserve the pineapple juice. Add enough water to make two cups. Place the juice, brown sugar, cornstarch and vinegar into a saucepan. Mix well, then heat gently to a boil; cook until the sauce thickens.

Combine the meatballs, peppers, pineapple, and sauce in a slow cooker. Cook on medium until the peppers are tender, mix in the cherries, and serve over white rice if desired.

Mrs. Cheney’s Apple Cake

For as long as I can remember, Mom made “Mrs. Cheney’s Apple Cake”, or a variant thereof.

Mr. Cheney owned and operated Cheney Orchards in Brimfield Massachusetts. I grew up in the adjacent town, Monson, but Dad grew up in Brimfield, and at one time or another, worked in the orchard for Mr. Cheney.

Mrs. Cheney, his clever wife, was a college-educated (nearly scandalous at the time) home-economics teacher in Brimfield. My Aunt Joann had her as a teacher. Well, Mrs. Cheney was the author of a number of (oddly, apple-related) recipes, and I can remember seeing printed recipes for the taking at the orchard when we visited in the fall.

Herewith, Mrs. Cheney’s Apple Cake (one of many variants):

5 apples, pared & sliced (Macintosh preferably)
½ c. sugar
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

Mix together and set aside.

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 c. oil
1/3 c. orange juice
2 tsp. Vanilla

Mix all ingredients together well.

Grease and flour a bundt pan.

Alternate layers of batter and apples, beginning and ending with batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes (1 ½ hours) or until a toothpick comes out clean.