Now that 2019 is in full swing, your favorite food columnist is back in action. This year the Sanders house was packed full of relatives and good times. Laughs, arguments, good food and drinks were abundant.

Christmas and New Year’s falling on the Tuesday were very convenient for my extended family and wife. My wife already gets Friday’s off, so two days of PTO turns into two weeks straight of 5 day weekends. Lucky.

In the paper industry, days off just means cramming more things into the days leading up to it. Things still have to be reported on and papers still need to be designed. Unless your a big-time slacker like this guy, and just decide to enjoy the few days off with your family.

Nonetheless, after two weeks straight of cooking prime rib, homemade pizzas and countless breakfasts, I was a bit burnt out on living in the kitchen. But we all still need to eat, right?

My son has turned into a cheese hound. Grilled cheese, cheese sticks, cheesy potatoes… Whatever it is, if it has cheese on it, it’s for him. He turns 1 on Friday and I can’t wait to see him with his birthday cake.

Until then, I made him some homemade hot pockets. I’m in the camp of eating questionable stuff myself, but my kid gets organic and food ‘I know where it came from’ kind of thing.

Is the ham inside Hot Pockets really ham? Tastes and feels like it, and I will give them the benefit of the doubt, but still. I would prefer my 1 year old not chow down on a Hot Pocket.

If you have making dough down to an art like I do from this past year, they are about as easy as they get and they are delicious.

Bruce and I happen to be Kraft Deli Deluxe American cheese slices fans. I know, I know… “But Doug… American cheese slices? How can that be someone’s favorite cheese?”

It’s not like your usual plastic-looking, individually-wrapped cheese product. These are like any American cheese you get at the deli, just slightly cheaper. Plus, it melts like a champ and doesn’t get all oily like cheddar does. So with these I used American Cheese, deli ham and sprinkled some parmigiano in the mix for good measure. And, like most things I make for the column, your imagination is the limit for what you put in these. It really comes down to the love you give your dough.

With that, happy New Year and I hope 2018 was amazing and this year is better!

Ham and cheese pockets

For Dough

1 tsp active dry yeast

1 tbsp sugar

2/3 cup water lukewarm

3 cups all-purpose flour (I like bread flour in the circumstance)

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter unsalted, melted

2 eggs For Pockets

8 American Cheese slices

8 slices ham sliced medium

1 egg beaten, for egg wash

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated

1 tbsp parsley dried


1. In a small bowl mix the yeast, sugar and water together and let the yeast rest for about 10 minutes, until it dissolves and starts bubbling up.

2. In the bowl of your mixer add the flour, salt, butter, eggs and yeast mixture and mix for about 5 minutes. Dough should be soft, but not sticky. If dough is sticky add a bit more flour and continue mixing until it comes clean from the sides of the bowl. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size in a warm place. It should take about an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Roll out the dough so that it’s about 14 inches by 18 inches and about 1/4 inch in thickness. On half of the dough place all the american cheese and half of the parmesan cheese. Lay the ham slices over the cheese. Fold the dough over the filling and if you want you can pinch the ends together, but not really necessary.

5. Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Place the pockets on the prepared baking sheet.

6. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle each piece with half of the parmesan cheese and parsley. Let the pockets rest and rise a bit, for about half hour.

7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

8. Enjoy!