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June 16, 2010

Mid-Century Menu Redux – Ham Banana Casserole Updated!

 Welcome to this week’s Mid-Century Menu!  In this episode, I have finally decided to bow to the wishes of my stupid brain and itchy fingers, and finally revamp a disgusting recipe.  Why am I doing this?  Well, I am a glutton for punishment.  And I want to see if it is possible, with just small tweaks, to save a horrible mid-century recipe.  Maybe I will fail.  Maybe everything will taste terrible. But at least I will have tried!

So, my goal in this is to preserve as many of the original ingredients in the recipe as possible.  When I went to tweak the Ham Banana Nightmare, I identified a few quick changes immediately. 

Casserole Components:

Ham – That can stay ham. Easy

Bananas – Plantains. A small switch that will make a big difference.

Cheese Sauce – Chihuahua Cheese, but not in a sauce.  Just straight up.

Mustard – No. Way. The mustard was terrible in this. No mustard in the new one.  Instead I am serving it with hot sauce on the side.

The old recipe:


The new recipe:

Ham and Cheese Plantains

4 ripe plantains

1/2 cup ham, chopped into small pieces

1 cup Chihuahua or Monterey Jack Cheese

2 T Melted Butter or Oil

Peel plantains and place in a baking dish.  Brush plantains with half of the melted butter or oil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 mins.  Flip plantains, brush with reserved butter or oil and cook for another 15-20 mins. Meanwhile, brown ham in a pan, making sure it gets nice and crispy.  Take cooked plantains and carefully cut a slit in one side, taking care not to cut all the way through. Stuff the plantain with cheese and crispy ham. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese and ham on the plantains.  If they aren’t hot enough to melt the cheese, return to the oven for 5 mins. Serve immediately with hot sauce.   

*Note: The inspiration for this was several Latin American recipes found online, especially this one at Laylita’s site.  And her pictures look WAAAAAAAAAAAY better than mine!

So, here is the experiment!

I also remade the Flan, with evaporated milk and less eggs!

The peeled plantains.  Mine didn’t get as ripe as I would have liked them, but oh well.

Finished.  You know, this still doesn’t look very good. Good thing I am not a food stylist.

Tom, hesitantly taking a bite of the new creation.

“So, how is it?”

“Pretty good.  Definitely better than the last one. But the plantains are a little dry.”

I took a bite.  They were a little dry, but it was still a hundred times better than the bananas.  Tom and I tried different combinations of seasonings and spices, but we both like the new recipe with just hot sauce, even though Tom missed the mustard.

“Where is the mustard? And the cheese sauce?  Those MADE that casserole!”

I rolled my eyes.  “Just eat your plantains.”

The Verdict:  Good.  Way better than the Ham Banana Nightmare, so this experiment is a success!!! Try and get your plantains as ripe as you can get them, otherwise they get a little dry.  Next time, I might just leave the skins on if they aren’t ripe enough.  Tom kept asking where the eggs were, and saying this reminded him of breakfast, so I would recommend serving them for breakfast with some eggs. 🙂

The Flan: Better than the other version, but still not perfect.  Didn’t someone say that have an amazing Flan recipe?? Share it with us!

The recipe I used:

The only difference is that I reduced the number of eggs to three and used a can of evaporated milk instead of water!

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10 Responses to Mid-Century Menu Redux – Ham Banana Casserole Updated!

  1. Sara in AZ Reply

    June 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Just from the pictures, your new recipe looks a million times better!!! And I am glad it was. Ugh, mustard – glad you left that ingredient out. Mike is crazy for Flan and yours looks amazing – to bad we weren’t there last night. 🙂

  2. Andrea Reply

    June 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    LOL, Tom’s look of concern as he’s about to try the first bite is killing me!

    I am amazed that you managed to turn this recipe into something edible!

  3. Jen Reply

    June 16, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I give you tons of credit for even going back to this one!

    What if you fried the plantains then kind of mashed them into little ‘cups’ for the ham? Then the dryness issue goes away, plus the presentation might be…Well, no, it would still be MCM scary mode.

    Oh boy. Now you’ve got ME involved in this one…

  4. Dr. Julie-Ann Reply

    June 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    I feel a “rescue this recipe” contest coming on!

    This recipe looks so much better than that original one. I give you kudos for giving it another go!

  5. Miss Marwood Reply

    June 17, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Wow, I religiously read your menu every week and you two really amaaaaaze me. Is it deathdefying bravery or just utter foolhardiness? Bananaham Supreme is not one of those I will try for myself, thanks. Goodlord. But this week it’s going to be hyphenated-meat-ring-complete-with-cascading-peas on our table! Yay! Looking forward to this.

    Could I ask you both a favour? I have a recipe for a green seafoam chiffon-pie with orange melon balls inside, early 60’s I think. I can’t get over it. I haven’t got the guts to make it myself, but it seems a worthy project. It’s in Better Homes and Gardens Pies and Cakes or Desserts… would you please eat this for me? Pretty please with sugared melon-ball atop? I am dying to see whether this pie is actually possible.

    Will provide recipe, of course, but am sure you have it in your collection. THANK YOU!!

    Best wishes from England!

  6. Miss Marwood Reply

    June 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Here’s a pic of seafoam pie:

    Tempted??? 🙂 I thought so!

  7. Miss Marwood Reply

    June 17, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    hmmm….just wondering whether this is really crispy fried onions on top of the seafoam…

  8. RetroRuth Reply

    June 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks, everyone!

    Jen – that is a good idea! I actually had a secondary idea for this dish also. I was thinking about a quiche-type dish with a fried plaintain crust and a egg, ham and cheese filling. We can make this even better! 🙂

    Dr. Julie – Girl, you have got a nose for news! I have “worst recipe” contest that I am announcing this weekend, but after that I will have to have a “recipe rescue” contest!

    Miss Marwood – Ohh, you know just what I like! Scan that recipe and send it over. I think we have a MCMenu for next week! And take a picture of your hypenated-meat-ring! I would love to post it!

  9. Miss Marwood Reply

    June 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    OOoohh, you are the best! Thanks so much! Will scan it in first thing tomorrow! I cannot wait for dangling off Tom’s spoon, being eyed suspiciously. It’s got to be a winner!!

    I haven’t got your swish copper ring, so my meat-ring-pea-cascade will have to work in a bundt-cake-mold. There’s hope. I promise you a picture 🙂

  10. sablemable Reply

    June 18, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Ruth, you have restored my desire for bananas/plantains again!

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