Lemon butter and capers is an elegant presentation for pork. Incredibly, you can get this delicious entrée to the table in under 15 minutes. How’s that for fast-fix?!

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 loin chops, thinly cut
Pepper, freshly cracked and ground
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon chives

Peel and mince the garlic. Rinse and chop the chives.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Lightly season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high 4 – 5 minutes until lightly browned, turn and cook 2 – 3 minutes until cooked through and tender but not dried out. Transfer the chops to a warm platter and lightly cover.

Add the butter to the skillet, add the garlic and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the capers, lemon juice and chives. Spoon the pan sauce over the chops and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings.

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Ham can be a great value for the family on a budget. Ham and Swiss cheese are a classic combination for this easy casserole recipe.

1 pastry crust, prepared and fitted into pie pan

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1-1/4 cup Swiss cheese, grated
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cooked ham, diced
2 tablespoons diced pimentos

Melt the butter over medium heat; blend in flour and nutmeg. Add the milk and stir constantly until it thickens. Add 1 cup of the grated cheese and stir until it melts. Allow the sauce to cool slightly. Temper the eggs by adding a couple of tablespoons of the cooled sauce to the eggs; mix well. Add the tempered eggs to the sauce, mix well. Add the diced ham and pimentos to the sauce and stir to coat. Pour your mixture into the pastry shell.

Bake in a 375° oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle top with the remaining 1/4 cup of Swiss cheese and allow the casserole to set for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings.

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Recipes for using leftover holiday ham are great to have on hand. You can enjoy this Sherried Ham and Eggs with Swiss cheese for breakfast, brunch or a quick supper.

8 slices ham, cooked
16 eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, optional garnish

Preheat oven to 400°.

Butter 8 ramekins and place a slice of ham in the bottom of each and place on a baking pan. Without breaking the yolks, break two eggs into a small bowl. Slide eggs, two by two, onto the ham in each ramekin. Breaking into a small bowl will allow for easier removal of broken yolks or stray egg shell. If your egg breaking skills are superior, skip the extra bowl :-)

Stir together the half-and-half, sherry, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the mixture over the eggs in each ramekin.

Place the pan of ramekins in the hot oven and bake for approximately 6 minutes. You’re looking for sunny side up eggs with set, but not cooked, whites. Add a sprinkling of grated cheese to each ramekin and continue baking for 3 – 5 minutes. Now you’re looking for firm whites, but you don’t want them or the yolks to become hard.

Warm the remaining cream and sherry mixture (I set the bowl near the oven exhaust vent) and pour a little of the warmed mixture over each ramekin, garnish with parsley just before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

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Pork Chops with Sweet Onions and Leeks is another quickly prepared entrée that’s incredibly delicious.

4 boneless pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 large sweet onion, sliced thinly
1 large leek, well washed and thinly sliced, discard tough top
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup cream sherry
1/4 cup heavy cream

Warm oven to 200 °

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Place skillet over medium high heat, add half the butter. When melted, add the pork chops. Cook until lightly browned. Turn; cook the other side until lightly brown. Remove pork chops to an oven safe dish, cover and place in oven to keep warm.

If needed, add half the remaining butter to the pan, melt and add onion cooking until lightly browned. Add leeks and garlic, cook for approximately two minutes. Add cream sherry to the pan and increase heat. Just as it begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally until your sauce is reduced by about half and thickens nicely. Stir the remaining butter into the sauce, add the cream and stir to blend. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add the pork chops back to the pan, spooning sauce to baste the tops and heat through for 2 – 3 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

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