December 2012 archive

The Perfect Holiday Appetizer–Mini Marinated Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

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Don’t let the size of these mini marinated ham and cheese sandwiches fool you. This quick and delicious holiday appetizer packs a wallop of flavor in a tiny bite–I’m talking about a party in your mouth. Yeah baby! My sister has been serving these delicious sandwiches on Christmas Eve–paired with tomato bisque soup and a Caesar salad–for years. It’s become one of my most requested recipes. Coworkers frequently ask me to bring this dish to potluck lunches and I’m always happy to oblige because I can whip up a batch of these sandwiches in a snap, they can be cooked in a microwave if necessary, and I always get rave reviews.

Marinated Ham & Cheese Sandwiches & Tomato Bisque Soup

You may want to double the recipe because these sandwiches always disappear fast. As usual, I’ve tweaked the recipe to suit my taste, but you can find the original recipe here. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these tasty ham and cheese appetizers:

Marinated Ham & Cheese Sandwich Ingredients


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Duke’s mayonnaise)
4 tablespoons creamy horseradish sauce (I used Kraft)
1 package of sliced deli ham, cut to fit buns
1 package of sliced Swiss cheese, cut to fit buns
1 package party rolls or small dinner rolls (I used Martin’s potato rolls)

Saute the onions in butter over low heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the brown sugar, mustard, poppy seeds, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and parsley. Stir and cook until the brown sugar is melted. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, assemble the sandwiches. Cut sandwiches in half (it’s faster to cut the entire sheet of buns at one time instead of cutting each bun individually). Place the bottom half of the buns in a 9 x 13″ pan. Combine the mayonnaise and horseradish sauce in a small bowl. Spread a thin layer of the mayonnaise mixture on the buns. Top with ham and cheese slices and the top half of the buns. Spoon marinade on top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops of the sandwiches are browned and the cheese is melted.

Marinated Ham & Cheese Sandwiches7

Serve these mini sandwiches for a quick holiday meal, an office potluck luncheon, a superbowl party, or a church supper. They’ll be a hit.

Quick Holiday Meals–Tomato Bisque Soup

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Here’s a holiday gem to warm your heart. My sister has been serving this delicious, creamy tomato bisque soup on Christmas Eve for many years. It’s become a holiday tradition in our family–it wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without it. The best thing about this tomato soup–besides the amazing taste–is that you can whip it up from start to finish in just 15 minutes. You can find this recipe plus many more delicious offerings in the Heart and Hand cookbook by Suzanne Winningham Worsham.

For a truly memorable and quick holiday meal I often serve this tomato bisque soup with mini marinated ham and cheese sandwiches (recipe coming up next) and a crisp Caesar salad with homemade garlic croutons.

Tomato Bisque Soup & Marinated Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

Doesn’t this look tasty? What a great combination. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this tomato bisque soup:

Tomato Bisque Soup Ingredients


1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 1/2 cups prepared bloody Mary mix (I used Mrs. T’s bloody Mary mix)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream

Make a roux in large pot using the butter and flour, stirring continuously so the mixture doesn’t brown. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Garnish with garlic croutons, a dollop of sour cream, or chopped chives.

I hope you’ll give this super fast and delicious soup a try and make it a holiday tradition in your home, too.

Quick Holiday Meals–Au Gratin Potato Soup

Au Gratin Potato Soup1

Christmas is only three weeks away and there’s still so much to do to get ready for the big day. During this hectic time of year it can be hard to find time to cook a good meal for your family. So I rely on recipes like this super quick au gratin potato soup featured  in Gooseberry Patch’s “Almost Homemade” cookbook. This hearty soup starts with a box of au gratin potatoes–something just about everyone has in their pantry.Toss in a few fresh vegetables, some chicken broth, and cream and you’ll have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes. You can order a copy of the cookbook here. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this soup:

Au Gratin Potato Soup Ingredients


1 9-oz. box au gratin potato mix
1 10-oz. can chicken broth
3 cups water
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the first six ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Stir in cream. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with sour cream, chopped chives, and bacon bits, if desired.

Doesn’t this look fabulous? This recipe was so quick, easy, and delicious that I made it twice in one week.

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