BBQ Ham Sandwiches

I know I have shared this with you before, but it’s worth repeating.  My mother-in-law, Mary Jeffers is a wonderful cook. When I married Mark she gave me a recipe card book with all of Mark’s favorite dishes.  I remember looking at this binder filled with 60 or more recipes in it and thinking,  Make Mark’s favorite recipes?  Wait… I really don’t even know how to cook.  I mean I can make a mean grilled cheese, or fry up some minute steaks and pour some canned gravy over them,  but make Chicken a L’ Orange, or Linguine with Clam Sauce, French chocolate Pie? Uh oh… I’m in trouble.

Growing up in Northeast Ohio in a very small Farming and Steelmill town,  I wasn’t exposed to a variety of  fancy meals. My mom wasn’t the greatest cook.  Don’t get me wrong,  she had her staples and that’s what we had for dinner every week. You know,  Sloppy Joes,  Beef Vegetable Soup,  Meatloaf,  Pan Fried Steaks or if it was summer, Fried Green Tomatoes, Corn on-the-Cob, and BLT’s.  We were a big beef eating family.  Chicken… WHAT?  My mom made chicken once a year. When it was time for Daddy’s company picnic, she would go to the Sparkle Market(the only grocery store in town) and buy a mini-charcoal grill, a package of chicken and a bottle of Open Pit.. Vola!  And Seafood?  Please… I didn’t even know what fish was except for canned tuna or salmon. Mom would make a concoction of tuna, noodles, and canned soup with crushed potato chips on top or Lord help us all when she would make Salmon Patties with this white congealed sauce on top YUCK!

So now I was faced with making dishes I have never heard of.  HELP!!  Mary worked so hard on the binder.  Every recipe hand written beautifully and organized. I gave her a big hug and with a deer in headlights smile said “Thank you, I can’t wait to start cooking for Mark”!  When I  got home later that night, I pulled the binder out and started reading recipe after recipe. I was thinking, What am I going to do? Is he really going to expect me to cook like his mother? I mean, I have sat at her beautiful dining room table and she has served Honey-Glazed Cornish Hens with Risotto,  Steamed Asparagus, and Coconut Cream Pie for dessert.

And then I came across this recipe.  I knew I could make it!  I have been making these sandwiches for 23 years now and it’s one of my favorites. Yes, I know what you are thinking… I can make everything in the binder and I would like to think I am as good a cook as my mother-in-law!
I hope it becomes one of your favorites too!
Enjoy and Happy cooking,

2 pounds cold cut ham, chipped
1/2 bottle of ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp.  yellow mustard
1 Tbsp.  white vinegar

Mix together all ingredients except ham. In a large skillet cook sauce to boiling point, add ham. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until ham is heated thoroughly.
Serve on hamburger buns.


Mini Cheeseburger Salad with Yellow Mustard Vinaigrette

It came to my attention today that I did not have this recipe posted. First let me say, I am sorry for not sharing this sooner and second, be prepared to keep this recipe at the front of your recipe file. You will be making this one OFTEN!!  I like to serve it with warm garlic bread and some fresh sliced melon.  Kudos to Rachael Ray!
This is one of her fabulous recipes.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                                                         
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 small red onion, grated and chopped, divided
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
3/4 pound brick sharp cheddar cheese, or American cheese, sliced
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 large hearts of romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
1 cup sliced pickles, drained and chopped – choose from sweet, half-sour or dill varieties
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
Preparation Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 TBSP of olive oil. (You can also pre-heat a grill pan or a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat or pre-heat an outdoor grill instead of the skillet).While the pan is heating up, combine the meat with about 3 tablespoons of the grated red onion, the Worcestershire sauce and the grill and poultry seasonings (you may substitute salt and pepper for the grill and poultry seasonings). Form two-inch meatballs, then flatten them into patties.Cook the mini burgers for 3 minutes on each side, then top with cheese. Tent the mini cheeseburgers loosely with foil to help the cheese melt.

While the burgers are cooking, whisk together the mustard and cider vinegar in a large salad bowl. Continue whisking and stream in the remaining 2 TBSP olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Finely chop up the remaining red onion and add it to the bowl along with the romaine, pickles and tomatoes. Toss the salad to evenly coat everything in dressing.

To serve, arrange the salad on a large platter and slide the mini burgers on top.

NOTE: You can use ground chicken or turkey instead of beef