7 Ways To Serve Leftover Ham

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Last year I hosted Easter dinner for my friend-family, and since buying a small ham wasn’t exactly possible at my grocery store, I ended up with over 5 pounds of leftover ham. Unwilling to waste food, I came up with lots of creative ways to repurpose my leftover ham. With Easter on Sunday, I am guessing that some of my readers might have some leftover ham in the fridge next week. Here are seven fun ways to make new meals with your leftovers.

For Breakfast:

Make Baked Scrambled Eggs with Ham, Tomato, Artichoke, and Swiss – this is a very easy dish with little prep time. You can make a big batch and have breakfast ready for the entire week.

For Brunch:

Last year I made meals with leftover ham from a week straight. This Monte Cristo was my absolute favorite. It could be served any time of the day, but it does make a great brunch.

For Lunch:

Ham and Swiss Macaroni and Cheese is a great twist on macaroni and cheese. You could even add broccoli or other vegetables into this dish.

If you want to pack lunches for the family, try Ham Swiss and Mustard on a Pretzel Roll.

For Dinner:

Linguine with Ham and Asparagus in a Mascarpone Sauce is an easy recipe that gets dinner to the table is just 20 minutes.

If you want Pizza:

Try this Ham, Spinach, and Artichoke Pizza which is probably one of the best pizza’s I have ever made. It was basically spinach artichoke dip, ham, and pizza combined.

Or, Hawaiian Pizza - you could even grill the pineapple if you want to get fancy.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Easter! If you happen to be hosting an Easter brunch, you may want to check out this brunch post I wrote with my friend Christine for Coca-Cola.

Chicago Restaurant Spotlight: Flo

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Spring arrived in Chicago on Saturday (and then promptly left again, but that is another story). Saturday was a sunny 70 degree day, so instead of lounging around at home cooking breakfast in my pajamas, we decided to go out for brunch. Charles suggested that we go to Flo, a Mexican restaurant in West Town, where we went on one of our first dates. We hadn’t been to Flo in years – it somehow slipped off of our radar; finally returning an old date spot was a special treat.

Flo was just as we remembered it. It is a casual restaurant with a laid back vibe. There is usually a crowd of people waiting outside for tables. Free coffee is available while you wait, giving diners an extra incentive to patiently wait for a table. It was such a nice day that the wait flew right by.

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The menu has several different breakfast cocktails, but I went for a mimosa since it sounded refreshing. We shared the chips and guacamole to start, because when you have brunch after noon, ordering an appetizer just makes sense. The chips are freshly made in house, and the guacamole is full of big chunks of avocado.

I had the huevos rancheros, while Charles had a gigantic Smothered Ranchero Burrito with potatoes. I love the simplicity of huevos rancheros. In it’s most basic form, huevos ranchers consists of tortillas, red chili sauce, black beans, and fried eggs. Often the dish incorporates rice, cheese, and/or guacamole. At Flo the huevos rancheros begins with cheese stuffed tortillas, which are smothered with red chili sauce, and then topped with fried eggs with runny yolks. Black beans, pico de gallo, and extra tortillas are served on the side. This is the ultimate breakfast (especially if you indulged in a few beverages the night before) – it is cheesy, spicy, and packed with protein.

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I will admit to reaching across the table several times to steal potatoes off Charles’s plate. The Smothered Ranchero Burrito was a lot of food. It was stuffed with eggs, beef, black beans, cheese, pico de gallo and sour cream. The entire thing was smothered in red chili sauce. Charles must have been hungry, and this burrito must have been good because Charles quickly devoured every bite.

I am sure we won’t be waiting long before we return to Flo’s again. It is a fun and reasonably priced place for brunch. It is a little out of the way just because there isn’t much happening on that section of Chicago Ave, but it is easily accessible from the 66 bus.

Flo’s is located at 1434 West Chicago Avenue. They do not take reservations.

Sunny Side Up Egg on a Portabella Mushroom with Goat Cheese and Avocado

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I love making breakfast on the weekends. Often my weekend breakfasts are inspired by whatever is left in the fridge at the end of the week. Last weekend the leftover ingredients in my fridge inspired this breakfast, a sunny side up egg served on a roasted portabella mushroom with goat cheese and avocado. The goat cheese and avocado add creaminess to this meal, and they compliment the flavor of the runny egg yolk.

You could serve this meal over toast instead of on a portabella mushroom, but I think that a mushroom is a healthy and hearty alternative to bread. I was the only one home when I made this breakfast, but it could easily be made for multiple people without much additional effort. If you are feeling extra hungry, you could add another egg on top, or add an english muffin and turn this into a giant egg sandwich.

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For each serving, you will need:

1 Portabella Mushroom
1 Egg
1 slice of Lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons Goat Cheese
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
3 slices of Avocado

Step 1:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the mushroom on a baking sheet, inside facing up. Drizzle the olive oil over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then squeeze the slice of lemon over. Place in the oven.

Step 2:
After the mushroom has cooked for 10 minutes, fry the egg. To make a sunny side up egg, heat a skillet over high heat. Crack the egg into the pan, and reduce heat to medium. Cook egg for 2 minutes, then cover and cook for one more minute. The goal is for the white of the egg to be completely cooked, and for the yolk to be soft. If you prefer a less runny yolk, flip the egg over and cook for about 30 seconds.

Step 3:
Remove the mushroom from the oven. Then spread the goat cheese and the avocado over. Top with the egg. Serve immediately.

Paleo Meals by The Kittchen Available from Relished Foods

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I am excited to announce that I am creating Paleo meals for Relished Foods! Relished Foods takes the guess work out of cooking. They deliver portioned ingredients and recipes straight to your doorstep. You shop their menus online, and the ingredients for each meal are separately packaged and labeled. The meals take 20-40 minutes to prepare. Relished Foods provides customers with a fast and easy way to make a home cooked meal. They post the nutritional information with the menus, making it easy to stick to a diet.

I am focusing on creating Paleo recipes for Relished Foods. Paleo meals are all dairy-free and gluten-free. Expect meals with lean proteins and lots of vegetables, that are full of flavor and fun to prepare. If you are vegan, my lovely friend Ashlee of The Lil Foxes is creating vegan meals.

Want to try Relished? Use the discount code “TheKittchen” for 60% off your first order! Relished Foods delivers to over half the states in the U.S. – which means you can take advantage of this service – and discount even if you aren’t in Chicago.

Blaze Pizza

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What if a pizza place and Chipotle were combined? That combination would be Blaze Pizza, a pizza joint that offers guests with a Chipotle style choose your own topping experience. On Wednesday night Blaze Pizza generously hosted the Windy City Blogger Collective for a pizza party, where we got to try out this new type of pizza parlor.

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Want to see a bunch of grown women act like kids? Dress them up in a uniform, send them behind the counter, and let them create their own pizzas. I was so excited about this, it was almost embarrassing.

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I decided to make a pizza with a white sauce, spinach, artichoke, tomatoes, bacon, caramelized onions, mozzarella, and ricotta. It got a little messy since I put so many toppings on it. I loved the thin crispy crust and the quality of the ingredients. Everyone’s pizzas were complete different, which demonstrated how many toppings are offered at Blaze. If you don’t want to go through the effort of creating you own ‘za, you can simply order off the menu.

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Once the pizzas are covered with the toppings of your choice, they immediately go into the pizza oven for about 3 minutes. Build your own pizza is a really fun fast casual restaurant idea, and I think it is an idea that will be taking off.

Not pictured was the individual sized s’mores cookie sandwiches that were passed around. I loved this so much that I might have immediately eaten my s’more despite the fact I was really full. (don’t judge).

Huge thanks go out to Blaze Pizza for hosting the Windy City Blogger Collective and for showing us such a fun time. Blaze is located on Belmont, just next to the Brown/Red/Purple lime Belmost stop. Blaze is a great place to grab a quick bite or to pick up take out.

Five Food Blogs to Follow

I am still playing catch up after being in Kansas City all weekend. Today in leu of sharing a recipe, I thought I would share five food bloggers that you should follow. So here we go, five lovely ladies who have drool worthy food blogs.

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1. Grandbaby Cakes
I have never seen Jocelyn without a huge smile on her face. Plus, this lady can bake. Just looking through her recipes practically satisfies my sweet tooth. Doesn’t that yellow cake with chocolate frosting look absolutely perfect? Jocelyn does include some savory recipes on her site too, because you can’t have sweets for every meal.

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2. The Kitchen Paper
I met Mary at Go Blog Social last weekend and I just love the photography on her site. She is a great writer who weaves stories about her live into her posts. Mary and her husband are about to embark on a year long journey through Asia, and I can’t wait to follow along on her site. She is also a self published author – she wrote a book about nut butters that includes recipes for making and using the butters.

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3. The Lil Foxes
Ashlee’s blog is a blend of vegan fashion and vegan recipes. I am a big fan of Ashlee’s sassy writing style, and her recipes that teach readers how to create vegan versions of comfort foods. She is originally from Texas, and I think that comes through a bit in her cooking. Ashlee’s site is also a great place to learn about cruelty free beauty brands.

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4. Dietitian Debbie Dishes
Debbie is a Chicago based dietitian and foodie. She makes healthy food fun. Want an example? She recently recreated Antique Taco’s Salad, pictured above. A girl who is making Mexican food healthier is a girl after my heart.

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5. Kailley’s Kitchen
Kailley is one of few Windy City Blogger Collective members that I haven’t met in real life yet. She has a thing for cupcakes, and she really gets creative with them. Check out her Breaking Bad Cupcakes (pictured above).

YJ’s Snack Bar in Kansas City, MO

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After two days at Go Blog Social my brain was bursting with ideas, and I was getting tired. Once the sessions came to a close, we had a couple hours to relax before going to one last GBS party. My friend Nicole and I decided to use our time to explore Kansas City, Missouri. We were already smitten with the city, and we wanted to see more so we went to a walk to explore.

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We couldn’t walk past YJ’s Snack Bar. This funky cafe was begging us to stop in, and the promise of coffee was exactly what we needed. Everyone in KC is beyond friendly, so naturally the barista was chatting with us while she prepared our drinks. We learned that YJ’s Snack Bar has been around since 1927 – and at one point it was a bar/coffee shop. The decor included an old sign advertising drink specials, a piano, and lots of other eclectic memorabilia.

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Nicole ordered the Lemon Tart and a coffee, while I had German Chocolate Cake with Sun Tea. The desserts were both made in house, and were outstanding. The chocolate cake was perfectly moist. The lemon tart was a lovely mix of tart and sweet.

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While having coffee and cake in the afternoon isn’t common on this side of the Atlantic, it is a popular tradition in Germany. When I studied abroad in Berlin, the teachers and students would often stop in the mid-afternoon for coffee and cake. It is a fun little pick me up in the middle of the day. (There is Nicole in the corner, she is always smiling!)

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I am so pleased that we stumbled across YJ’s Snack Bar. It was such a unique authentic local experience. If you are in Kansas City, you can visit YJ’s at 128 W 18th St, Kansas City, MO. They do serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner in addition to coffee and snacks. Thanks to my friend Nicole for helping with the photos.

Coffee and Cake in Kansas City

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Want to hear about the most delicious German Chocolate Cake at the cutest coffee shop in Kansas City (that has been open since 1927!)? Give me a day to get the post ready. I am still playing catch up after a busy weekend at Go Blog Social.

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Photo credit goes to Nicole of Cedar and Rush – she is the nicest chick around – and a great roomie on trips.

Aixois Brasserie in Kansas City, Missouri

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Kansas City, Missouri, I am sorry. I severely underestimated you. I spent my weekend attending Go Blog Social with several members of the Windy City Blogger Collective and we  were charmed by the little city in America’s heartland.

Since I was visiting for a conference, my weekend was already packed with events and I didn’t do much research leading up to the trip. The only thing that I did research was restaurants, and I made a reservation to dine at Aixois, a charming French brasserie. When Go Blog Social’s organizers found out that Aixois Brasserie was my first stop after checking into my hotel, they were impressed – apparently the restaurant is well loved but they didn’t expect an out of towner to discover the off the beaten path gem. (I hit Yelp pretty aggressively and reviewed several menus before selecting Aixois).

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When you enter Aixois you are practically transported into a chic Parisian eatery. I loved the bright round lights, the mix of high tables by the bar, and traditional lower tables by the windows. The girls and I grabbed a spot at the large marble bar, which it was happy hour all night.

I took advantage of the $30 prix fix menu and selected a fresh green salad, Chicken Paillard, and ice cream with berries. The Chicken Paillard was piled high with crispy frites and green beans. The chicken itself was tender and had nice flavor from the shallots, capers, and a touch of mustard.
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My friends and I felt so right at home at Aixois that we chatted away and drank wine for hours – past the restaurant’s closing time. I felt a little guilty when I realized that the couple beside us wasn’t a pair of patrons, but rather the owners! They didn’t seem to mind that we kept them open and chatted and drank wine with us for a while longer. We owners are so lovely, charming, and fun (not to mention gorgeous) and that shines through in their restaurant.

I will be writing more about Kansas City. I definitely fell in love with the city, and think it would be a perfect place for a inexpensive and nearby weekend getaway. Have you been to Kansas City, MO? What did you think?

More Recipes Coming Soon

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Hi everyone! It’s been a very very busy week. I left my super messy kitchen and am in Kansas City attending- and speaking at Go Blog Social. I will be back Monday with more recipes. Happy Friday everyone!

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